Caprese

IMG_0465One of the simplest summer salads is this most beautiful and flavor filled Italian favorite It is a family favorite, and I can (and have!) eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Insalata caprese (salad of Capri) consists of freshly sliced tomatoes and mozzarella topped with basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper.  In Italy it is usually served as antipasto rather than as a side salad. The classic recipe has only olive oill, but we enjoy adding a splash of aged balsamic vinegar.  Home grown tomatoes and full fat mozzarella guarantee a satisfying, refreshing plate of goodness.

Caprese

3 large, ripe tomatoes.

3-4 slices mozzarella

fresh basil leaves

olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

balsamic vinegar, optional

Slice tomatoes thinly and arrange on large plate. Cut mozzarella into triangles or slice if using ball of mozzarella.  Add to tomatoes and garnish with whole basil leaves.  Drizzle olive oil over the top and add salt and pepper. Pass balsamic vinegar.

 

 

Fresh Peach Coffee Cake

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There is no doubt that fresh peaches are best sliced and eaten without any thing added and certainly without cooking.  But  if you have more ripe peaches than you can eat that way, be sure to try this delicious coffee cake.

Fresh Peach Coffee Cake

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 cup  flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups peeled and sliced peaches

 

For topping:

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons white sugar

2 tablespoons chopped pecans

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 Tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F . Grease and flour a 9 inch square baking dish, or spray with Baker’s Joy.

In a large bowl, cream 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup butter. Stir in Greek yogurt, almond extract, vanilla, and eggs. Mix in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Spread 1/2 the batter into the baking pan. Spoon oh peaches, and top with remaining batter.

In a small bowl, mix topping ingredients. Cut in butter to make crumbly mixture .  Spoon on top of the batter. Bake 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

 

Sauteed Mixed Greens

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The two kinds of kale, collards, and Swiss chard in this dish all came from our garden! We have a very small vegetable plot, with only 2 or 3 plants of each of the leafy greens, but that provides plenty for us.  Also, greens in this area winter nicely so these were from last fall’s garden.  Greens are cut and come back as long as you leave the roots in the ground, meaning they will happily grow new leaves to be harvested soon.

Mixed Greens

1 large bunch collard greens

1 large bunch kale, Tuscan or curly kale, or mixed

one bunch of Swiss Chard

3 tablespoons olive oil

6 -8 cloves garlic peeled and minced

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 Tablespoons Meyer lemon juice, or to taste* see cook’s note

a few dashes Tabasco sauce

Rinse collard greens and kale well, drain and strip off tough stems, separating collard leaves and kale leaves since you cook collards first. Rolling several leaves together at the same time, cut leaves into 1/4-inch strips. You should have about 8 packed cups.

Heat the olive oil in large skillet or wok, add the garlic and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add half of the collard greens and cook, tossing and turning, for about 30 seconds, then the remainder of collards.  Add  kale and cook stirring, for about, 1 minute, until it begins to often. Add the Chard and cook, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes, until all  greens are tender. The point is to begin the cooking with the toughest leaves, adding the more tender leaves last.
Season with the salt, pepper, and lemon juice, and a few drops of hot pepper sauce.
Serves 4.

*Please note:  I either use fresh Meyer lemons or frozen Meyer lemon juice, which is sweeter than regular lemons since Meyers are a cross between orange and lemon. If you use regular lemons, you will probably want to half the lemon juice.

Blackberry Cobbler

IMG_1829When I was a little girl, my Grandma Terrell and I could walk down one fork of the dirt road that led up to their house and pick buckets of blackberries which grew wild between the roadside and the barbed wire fence where cows were pastured. I loved picking the berries, the inevitable chigger bites, not so much.  We ate freshly picked berries sprinkled with sugar. Grandma made jars of blackberry jam and jelly, blackberry pies, and blackberry cobbler.  Today we can still find them along fence rows and roadsides, but in our suburban life, that is what they are – a find!  We sometimes find fresh berries at the Farmer’s Market, or wait for them to go on sale at the supermarket. Out of season, frozen berries can be used.

This cobbler was made from berries shared with me which were picked by my good friend near her house. We like the crispy results of using regular pie crust instead of making a cakey batter for topping.  As you see in the photo, I made a very rustic lattice top crust from purchased refrigerated pie dough. Since fruit pies and cobbler are the very best when eaten soon after they come out of the oven, I had to photograph this cobbler quickly!

Blackberry Cobbler with Lattice Pie Crust

5-6 cups fresh blackberries

1 cup sugar

4 Tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest

2 pie crusts, homemade or purchased – used Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts

1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Place blackberries in large bowl, add lemon zest, sugar, and flour, and toss. Lightly butter 8X12 baking dish and pour in blackberry mixture.  Cut both pie crusts into 1-inch strips and roughly weave across top.  Make egg wash by scrambling the egg, then brushing over crust.  This does not have to be perfect – the crust will come out rusttic, golden brown and delicious!

Serve with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream if you wish.
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Bake for 1 hour or until crust is golden.

Allow cobbler to cool at least 1 hour before serving