Ah, the joys of summer.
Seattle hot today (mid-80s, and everyone talking about it). After two hours of kayaking on Lake Union with my friend Julie, looking at that open sky, I knew I needed to cook tonight. I’ve been reading nothing but food blogs lately, and my mouth has been watering for days. It may be hot, but it was time to turn on the oven.
I’m especially blessed to live in Seattle on these summer days. We have the most incredible produce in the world. The farmers’ markets are filled with such fresh abundance that even the fruit and veg at the gourmet co-op feels a few days old. On days like this, I just don’t understand why Americans have a hard time meeting their daily veggie requirements.
So this evening, my friend Meri and I made a meal.
First, we ate a spinach/grapefruit/avocado salad, with pine nuts and a champagne vinegar dressing. Add some hummus and nut crackers on the side, and you’re sated for a bit, just enough to cook some more.
We constructed the corn quiche in a tef crust that I had read about here, but I substituted this for the traditional wheat. Gluten-free products, I have discovered, are far more crumbly, less cohesive, and a little more demanding of my time than traditional flour. But that’s just the joy of the challenge. I added a bit more butter and about a half cup more water to the crust, and I put it in the freezer for ten minutes to rest, since GF flour seems to behave more when it’s cold. Instead of tabasco sauce, I used a wheat-free piquante sauce. *Yikes, it’s hot. Beware* And we shaved corn cobs for the kernels, cobs that were so juicy that corn juice showered on us both. There was a flurry of flour on the kitchen floor after I made it, but it was all worth it.
Take a look at this if you want to see it.
Sorry there isn’t any left for you to eat, however. We ate it hot, and then we ate some more when Amy came over later. She loved it too. We all agreed that the tef crust is outrageously good. Better than traditional crust. Because it was so crumbly in the making, I had to pat it into the pie pan. It was thick, but still soft. More manageable than traditional crust. Hearty without feeling too healthy. Slightly sweet. And the eggs were a mile high. I used shaved asiago cheese instead of the swiss cheese, and it gave the quiche an extra depth. I’m going on a picnic tomorrow, and I’m sure the leftovers will go fast.
Last, we ate apricot-cherry crisp straight out of the oven. Okay, we waited a few minutes, but it still steamed as we ate it. We couldn’t wait. The apricots had been fit-to-burst juicy in their original form. In the crisp, they had exploded and oozed into the rest of the dessert. The cherries stayed intact, which gave the entire crisp a rosy glow. And the crumble topping, made with GF flour again, tasted of brown sugar and nutmeg. We never missed the white flour.
I’ll post the recipes tomorrow. Now, I have to tackle the dishes.
APRICOT-CHERRY CRISP (BUT YOU CAN SUBSTITUTE ANY FRUIT)
Okay, here’s the crisp recipe, sort of cobbled together from a lot of sources, so I guess it’s mine. Make it with fresh fruit for your company, and there’s no way they could complain!
Slice ripe apricots into quarters. (about a pound) Make sure they are juicy and ripe, not mealy.
Pit bing cherries. (again, about a pound) This is time-consuming, but it’s worth it.
Mix the two together, with liberal dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and gluten-free vanilla.
Throw in some chopped, crystallized ginger (Reed’s is gluten-free, if they have it where you live.)
Stir in half a cup of sugar, or more to taste. (In summer, the fruit should be sweet enough.)
Let it all sit for a bit and marinate, while you make the crisp.
I really didn’t use a recipe for this, as I went on instinct. So the proportions will change according to the size of the crisp you are making.
1 cup of GF flour (I like the GF pantry French bread and pizza mix.)
1/2 cup of white sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
cinnamon, nutmeg to taste
pinch of salt
one stick of cold butter, cut into tiny pieces
Mix everything together but the butter. Using either a pastry fork or the food processor, blend in the butter until the dough looks like a crumbly jumble of peas. Spread this over the fruit (I used a 9 by 9 pan) and put into a 375 degree oven for about an hour. It’s done when the juices are spilling, the fruit is tender, and you just can’t wait one more minute to take it out and eat it.
So there you go. I made a blueberry-peach one this past weekend, and it was gorgeous. You really can’t go wrong with crisps. I’m starting to enjoy them more than pies!