Peaches and Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon

I can smell the peach aroma as soon as I walk into the market. It is sweet, floral and distinctive. Instantly, the peach scent produces an urge in me to make a pie. I follow the scent to their location and examine the peaches, taking in the glory of a massive display. Once satisfied, I look and listen to any orange hued fuzzy globes that speak to me, then make a selection and breath in its’ perfume. I wonder how many days must pass before they are ripe enough to eat.  The summer sunset colors are seductive, so I gather up a collection and bag them for home.

Peaches with Berries and Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Peaches with Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Peaches and Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Once home, my peaches are carefully placed on my kitchen windowsill to soak in the western sun. With gratitude and anticipation, I watch over the sun-drenched peaches and wait for the fruit to ripen.

My favorite way to eat peaches is as nature intended ripe, fresh and unadorned. Typically, I eat them standing in front of the kitchen sink, and with each bite into the sweet and yielding flesh, I feel the squirt of peach juice dripping down my chin. The taste is sweet and refreshing at the same time, like the first morning sip of orange juice after a long nights’ sleep. Ah, how I love summer peaches in all their glory.

Peaches with Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Peaches and Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Originally, I planned to make a galette. I love galettes and often make them for dessert. However, I changed my mind because I wanted to make something different. Once I get that curiosity itch I can’t stop. An idea came to mind for making a dessert I have not made in a long time, sabayon. Sabayon layered with fresh fruit is a delightful dessert and one that deserves to be served on a regular basis.

Peaches with Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Sabayon is the French name for Zabayon, which is an Italian egg foam dessert. It is a delicate dessert made with egg yolks and wine, or Marsala. Eggs and wine are gently warmed and whisked together, creating a luscious and foamy sauce. It is light and creamy with a sweetness that perfectly complements fresh fruit.

Sabayon is usually chilled and the egg foam is folded into whipped cream. The whipped cream gives it a similar texture to mousse, and is less foamy than Zabayon. Because it is also chilled, sabayon is prepared ahead of time. Thus, it makes a perfect dessert for entertaining. Unlike sabayon, zabayon does not have cream and is served immediately while still warm and frothy. Both options are elegant dessert sauces.

Peaches with Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Peaches and Bourbon Sabayon

Peaches combined with berries and complimented by the sweet boozy sabayon is smooth, nutty and airy. I forgot how exquisite this dessert is. Every bite is a fruity explosion tempered with warm and subdued notes of bourbon, basil and sabayon. Bourbon sabayon is not as airy as my Lemon Mousse, but it satisfies just the same.

Peaches and Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Sabayon is a great way to dress up a fresh fruit dessert. It does not take long to make, but it does take some practice, confidence and whisking power. It is important to control the heat and prevent the egg yolks from cooking and scrambling. The eggs require gentle heat and constant whisking. The process can take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your set up and how many eggs you are using. The result is all about keeping the yolks at the right temperature and vigorously whisking them into a thickened foamy sauce.

Traditionally, Marsala or a sweet sparkling wine, is used for sabayon and zabayon. Bourbon and peaches pair well together so I decided to try it with sabayon. I also added a touch of orange juice and zest to cut some of the sharp boozy notes. However, I noticed a difference in texture between sabayon with bourbon vs. with Marsala. The bourbon sabayon does not get as frothy, but it still works and I like the caramelized flavor with the peaches.

Peaches and Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Peaches with Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon recipe

Summer Loves Peaches

This post is part of a collaborative project between food enthusiasts and bloggers. On June 29th, 2017, we are all celebrating the summer by posting a recipe featuring peaches. You can follow along on social medial and see what everyone else made using the hashtag, #summerlovespeaches. Below are links to all the #summerlovespeaches participants websites.

Amanda Skirp

Flours in Your Hair

Prickly Fresh

Mindy Cooking Obsession

Cocoa and Salt

The Good Cooker

Farm and Coast Cookery

Sprouting Radiance

Cooks and Kid

The Whole El’Chilada

Gobble the Cook

Weelicious

Pamela Salzman

Feed the Swimmers

The Gingered Whisk

Its a Vegworld Afterall

What Annie’s Eating

Blossom to Stem

Hola Jalapeno

Square Meal Round Table

Something New For Dinner

Foodfash

Cloudy Kitchen

Allo Maman, Whats Cooking

Always Eat Dessert

My Afternoon Kitchen

Especially Southern Dishes

Baking the Goods

Easy and Delicious

Fork to Summit

Playz with Food

Hatibon

Flotte Lotte

Carly Diaz

Pie Girl Bakes

Teebsie

Noci Sonoma- Salty Spicy Bitter and Sweet

Wellness With Alyssa

Jessie Sheehan Bakes

Measuring Cups Optional

Weeknight Bite

Confetti Kitchen

Ful-filled

Linda Campos

Do you have a favorite recipe using peaches? I would love to hear about it. Please post your favorite way to serve peaches in the comments section below my recipe.

Peaches and Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Category: Dessert

Cuisine: French - American

4 servings

Peaches and Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon

Sabayon makes a luscious sauce to layer between, or mound over fresh fruit. It makes for an elegant dessert and perfect for an intimate dinner with friends or family. Sabayon with fruit tastes best when it is assembled right before serving. The sabayon and raspberry sauce can be made ahead and kept chilled in the refrigerator. Peeling and slicing the peaches will take some time, and should not be done too far in advance. Once that is complete, assembly is simple and quick.

For this recipe, I selected bourbon as my spirit of choice because it pairs nicely with peaches. You can substitute Marsala or a sweet sparkling wine if you prefer. Any alcohol beverage like rum, brandy, fruit brandy, whiskey or wine should work. When selecting your spirit keep in mind how it pairs with what your are serving the sabayon with.

Slivered basil leaves are also added for extra panache. Mint leaves are nice additions as well.

Included is a raspberry sauce recipe adapted from, Seasonal Fruit Desserts by Deborah Madison. She makes this sauce with blackcap raspberries, or black raspberries. If you can find them, their distinctive flavor is delicious. Fresh or frozen berries can be used to make the sauce.

My sabayon recipe is inspired by and adapted from Peaches and Raspberries Layered with Honey Sabayon in Seasonal Fruit Desserts by Deborah Madison.

Ingredients

    Bourbon Sabayon
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 TB (27 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 TB (45 ml) Bourbon
  • 1 TB (15 ml) fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) heavy cream
  • zest from half an orange
    Raspberry Sauce
  • 2 cups (500 ml) fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 2 TB (27 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) water
  • Lemon juice to taste, around 1 teaspoon
    Fruit filling
  • 6 ripe peaches
  • 2 TB basil, thinly sliced - chiffonade (optional or substitute with fresh mint leaves)
  • 1- 6 oz (175 g) basket raspberries
  • 1- 6 oz (175 g) basket blackberries
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) raspberry sauce

Instructions

    Bourbon Sabayon
  1. Prepare a medium saucepan and fill with about an inch of water. Measure the bourbon and orange juice and keep in a measuring cup close to your work area. Add the egg yolks to a bowl that will easily fit over your saucepan, but will not touch the water. Add the sugar to the egg yolks placing the sugar to the side of the yolks.
  2. Turn on the heat to medium and place your bowl over your saucepan. Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in the bowl. Continue to whisk the eggs until it gets light and frothy. Slowly add the bourbon and orange juice and continue to whisk. The eggs should double in volume, become lighter and creamy looking. You do not want to scramble the eggs, so keep the temperature low and constantly whisk. You can move the bowl on and off the heat while you are whisking to control the temperature and make sure your water is not boiling.
  3. The eggs are done when they have doubled in size, and there is no liquid left in the bowl, and everything is frothy. About 10 - 15 minutes, depending on the shape and size of your bowl and temperature. A recommended temperature when the sabayon done, is around 150F (65C) on an instant read thermometer.
  4. Remove the bowl with the eggs off the heat and continue to whisk for another five minutes to cool.
  5. Cover the frothy eggs with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
  6. Whip the heavy cream and zest from half an orange until soft peaks are formed. Fold the whipped cream into chilled sabayon. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to assemble.
    Make the raspberry sauce
  1. Add the raspberries, sugar and water to a small saucepan. Bring the fruit to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Cook the berries at a high simmer for 3 minutes. Pour the raspberry liquid over a fine mesh strainer, catching the sauce in a bowl underneath. Press the pulp through the strainer. This will take some time, as the pulp clings to the seeds, but keep at it and you will be rewarded with a delicious berry sauce. The back side of a flat spoon is a great tool to press the pulp through the mesh. Scrape off any pulp from the underside of the strainer and add to the bowl. Discard the seeds. Cover and chill the sauce until needed. Will last 3 days in the refrigerator.
    Prepare the fruit
  1. Fill a large stock pot with water and bring the water to a boil. Partially fill a large bowl with ice and water. Set aside near your stove.
  2. Lightly score the peaches with a crisscross pattern across the pointed south pole of the fruit.
  3. When the water is boiling, add the peaches and boil for 30 - 40 seconds. If your peaches are large and not as ripe, they will need the longer time. Quickly remove the peaches from the boiling water and put them in the ice bath to stop the cooking.
  4. Once cooled, peel away the skin from the peach flesh starting at the crisscross center. The skin should easily peel away. Use a sharp paring knife to assist you at any stubborn parts.
  5. Cut the peaches in half and slice into 1/2 inch wedges and place in a bowl. Add the basil and gently mix together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to serve the sabayon.
    Assemble the Sabayon
  1. You have at least two choices for how to present the sabayon. Use a tall wine glass or flute, and layer the sabayon between layers of fruit and raspberry sauce. Or, fill each glass with fruit and raspberry sauce, then top off the fruit with sabayon. Either way looks inviting and tastes delicious.
  2. Assemble the sabayon right before you serve it for dessert.
  3. Best eaten the day it is made.

Notes

The most time-consuming part is peeling and slicing all the peaches. Everything else is done within a 15-minute time frame.

The peaches will get soggy and discolor if you slice them too early, and it sits around for a while.

Deborah Madison recommends you can make the sabayon earlier in the day, then fold in the whipped cream one to two hours ahead of time. Peel and slice the peaches before you sit down for dinner. Assemble the dessert right before serving.

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Click the see more for links to Orchards in the Hudson Valley where you can visit and pick your own peaches.

Continue reading “Peaches and Berries Layered with Bourbon Sabayon”

© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Nifty Cake with Strawberries Peaches and Cream

A tribute to my father for his many gifts and love. Dad gave me my first photography lesson and encouraged me to continue with it along the way. Included with this tribute is a cake recipe for Nifty Cake. An updated version of the birthday cake I baked for him when I was a teenager. This cake recipe features his favorite fruits, strawberries and peaches.  GS

Over the past few weeks my dad and his memory has filled my thoughts. His forward presence came around for no other reason than it is strawberry season. Dad loved strawberries, especially strawberries and cream. I can clearly see him sitting at the head of the table with a bowl of strawberries, pouring heavy cream all over them and then add a sprinkle of sugar. Whenever strawberries were in the house, this was his impromptu dessert.

Nifty Cake: Buttermilk Cake with Strawberries, Peaches and Whipped Cream cake recipe

Nifty Cake: Buttermilk Cake with Strawberries, Peaches and Whipped Cream cake recipe

I would watch his strawberry and cream routine with a raised eyebrow and a sideways smirk, “Really Dad? You’re drinking heavy cream.” I could not see how heavy cream, even adorned with strawberries, was worthy of such attention. Eating sweetened whipped cream I understood, but cream straight out of the container was gross. Ignoring my smirky adolescent attitude, Dad would dive into his bowl of strawberries and cream like a seasoned athlete, ever so focused and determined to savor every drop. Eventually, he would look up seeing my adolescent stare and say, “What? It’s great. Do you want some?” He was always eager to share the things that brought him joy.

It amazes me how random and small instances, or thoughts, can bring out strong emotions and memories. Once the strawberry trigger hit me, memories of my life with Dad filled me with his spirit, and it hasn’t left. I am not sad with these memories, it is nice to feel his presence since I can no longer see or talk with him. He gave me many gifts over our lifetime together, and I am grateful for the precious time we spent together.

Nifty Cake: Buttermilk Cake with Strawberries, Peaches and Cream cake recipe

Nifty Cake: Buttermilk Cake with Strawberries, Peaches and Cream cake recipe

One common interest we shared is still very prominent in my life. He gave me my first photography lesson. I can’t remember if I initiated it or not, but when I was around 12 years old he took me out to the dry grassy hills above Old St. Hilary Church and taught me how to use his Tele-Rolleiflex camera and his light meter. Tele-Rollei is a 120mm camera that required the photographer to look down into a viewing box to see the image. Also, a separate hand-held light meter was needed to determine the exposure. There was a lot to learn, and each photograph took extra time to set up and capture.

One of Dad’s favorite activities was taking pictures of wildflowers. So, on my first day I wandered along the Tiburon hills photographing wildflowers with apt attention and a new-found love. That day is as vivid to me like a bright California summer day. I wonder if Dad initiated this outing because the two of us were just sitting around the house and he thought we both needed something to do.

I recently found the photographs I took on our day together. Dad saved them filed with his slides as, “Jennifer’s Pictures.” Seeing my slides organized with his, made me feel that day was as important to him as it was to me. After all these years I never knew he had them. Ever since that day on the Tiburon hills, photography has been a significant part of my life. Thanks Dad.

Father’s Day BBQ recipe ideas to serve with Nifty Cake: 

Grilled Sherry Marinated Flank Steak

Garden Vegetable Pasta Salad

Nifty Cake: Buttermilk Cake with Strawberries, Peaches and Cream cake recipe

Nifty Cake Recipe for Dad

When I was in middle school I started making birthday cakes for my family. I would ask my brothers what cake they wanted and set out to bake it for them. For Dad’s birthday I did not ask him what he wanted, I knew. I created a cake overflowing with his favorite fruits: yellow butter cake (from a mix), layered with strawberries, peaches and whipped cream.

This was my first “original” cake recipe. I piled the middle layer with whipped cream and fruit, then frosted the entire cake with more whipped cream and decorated with strawberries and peaches. It was a miracle the cake did not topple over. This cake is a strawberry, peaches and cream lover’s dream come true, and I made it for him every year until I went away to college.

Dad often used the expression “nifty” when he described something fun. In his honor, I decided to recreate my cake recipe I made for dad and call it Nifty Cake. When I first developed this cake recipe for Dad I used a cake mix. Now, I make cakes from scratch and had a lot of fun figuring out the type of cake to make. After testing several cake recipes, I decided on a Buttermilk Cake from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s book, The Cake Bible. I slightly adapted her cake recipe and substituted all-purpose flour instead of cake flour, because it is an ingredient people can easily get.

Nifty Cake: Buttermilk Cake with Strawberries, Peaches and Cream cake recipe

This buttermilk cake recipe with strawberries, peaches and sweetened whipped cream can be dressed up or kept simply adorned. If you are a person who does not like frosting, this is the cake for you. This is a delicate cake with slight tang and prominent butter flavor. It is delicious all by itself, or covered with any type of frosting. This cake is a blank canvas for endless varieties of frosting and toppings. It is the perfect cake for the strawberries and cream lover in your life.

Love and miss you Dad.

Nifty Cake: Buttermilk Cake with Strawberries, Peaches and Whipped Cream

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Category: Dessert

Cuisine: American

8-10 servings

Nifty Cake: Buttermilk Cake with Strawberries, Peaches and Whipped Cream

Nifty Cake is a buttermilk cake with strawberries, peaches and sweetened whipped cream. It is a delicious and simple cake that is appropriate for any occasion. The buttermilk cake can easily be eaten plain, topped with whipped cream and fruit on the side. It is the perfect cake for those who do not like frosting, as well as served with any variety of frosting you wish.

The buttermilk cake recipe was slightly adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum recipe, "Buttermilk Country Cake" in "The Cake Bible Cookbook".

Ingredients

    Buttermilk Cake
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup / 5.5 oz / 160 g buttermilk
  • 1/2 tea pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 Tbls / 7 oz / 200 grams sifted all-purpose flour (see note)
  • 1 cup / 7 oz / 200 g sugar
  • 1 TB / 15 g baking powder
  • 1/2 tea / 3.5 g Kosher salt
  • 8 TB / 4 oz / 113 g unsalted butter - softened
    Fruit Filling
  • 8 oz / 225 g Fresh Strawberries
  • 1/2 Fresh Peach
  • 1/3 cup / 75 ml best quality strawberry or peach jam
    Whipped Cream Frosting
  • 2 cups / 16 oz / 500 ml heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tea pure vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tea sugar
  • Decorate the top of the cake with additional peach slices and strawberries.

Instructions

    Buttermilk Cake
  1. You will have more success if all your ingredients are at room temperature when you begin mixing the cake batter.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit /175 degrees Celsius/ Gas Mark 4
  3. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch (23cm) springform cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, then butter the paper. Lightly flour the bottom and sides of the cake pan. Shake out excess flour.
  4. In a medium bowl lightly mix together the egg yolks, 1/4 of the buttermilk, and vanilla.
  5. In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer add the sifted flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix together for a few seconds on low speed so they are all fully blended. Add the butter, cut up in tablespoons pieces, and the remaining buttermilk to the mix. Mix the ingredients together on low speed until the dry ingredients are incorporated with the butter. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 1.5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and scrape the batter off the
  6. paddle/beaters.
  7. Add the buttermilk/egg mixture to the flour in 3 intervals, beating the batter for 20 seconds between each addition. After mixing the batter, scrape down the sides of the bowl and paddle attachment.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth out the surface with an offset spatula. Bake the cake for 30-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean and dry.
  9. Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes in its pan on a cooling rack. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake from the sides. Turn the cake out of the pan and remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake. Turn the cake over, right side up, and place on the cooling rack. The cake should be completely cooled before frosting and serving.
  10. This cake is best eaten the same day it is made, but will last wrapped airtight in plastic wrap, for 3 days on the counter, 5 days in the refrigerator, and for 2 months in the freezer.
    Fruit Filling
  1. Clean and remove the stems from the strawberries. Dry with paper towels. Cut the strawberries into bite size pieces and put into a small bowl.
  2. Peal the skin off the peach, then slice into thin segments. Cut each segment into bite size pieces and add to the bowl with the strawberries. Gently mix the fruit together until well combined. Set aside.
    Whipped Cream
  1. Chill the bowl you will use to make whipped cream and the beaters in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Take the bowl and beaters out of the freezer and add cold heavy cream and vanilla to the chilled bowl. Beat the cream mixture on high speed until the cream forms soft peaks. Add the sugar and beat on high until stiff peaks are formed when the beaters are lifted from the cream. Be careful not to over mix and turn the cream into butter. If you are planning to frost the cake with the cream, you will want the stiff peaks. If you are planning to have the whipped cream only for the middle and top cake layers the whipped cream can be softer and not whipped as stiff.
    Putting the cake together
  1. Divide the cake in half horizontally to make two layers. (See Note) Put the bottom layer on a serving plate and the top layer on another plate or rimless pan or tray. (Cardboard cake rounds are perfect if you have them)
  2. Evenly spread the strawberry or peach jam across the top of the bottom cake layer. Spread 1 cup of the whipped cream evenly across the jam.
  3. Add the mixed fruit then spread the fruit. Press the fruit evenly into the cream so that there is a flat and smooth fruit/cream layer.
  4. Slide the top cake layer on top of the bottom cake layer, lining up the notches on the side, (see note). Add the remaining whipped cream and spread it over the top of the cake. Decorate the cake with additional peaches and strawberries as you wish.
  5. The cake is best served the same day it is made. Add the fruit and whipped cream to the cake as close to serving time as comfortable. Store the cake in the refrigerator, loosely wrapped with plastic wrap until ready to serve. Take the cake out of the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving.
  6. After 24 hours the cake will get soggy and the whipped cream will loosen.

Notes

I find I have more consistent results when I weight my dry ingredients whenever I bake. The original recipe was calculated using cake flour. I decided to use all-purpose flour because the cake made with cake flour was very delicate and did not hold together well. 200 grams of cake flour is about 2 cups of cake flour. 200 grams of all-purpose flour is shy of two cups of flour. You do not want to add a full 2 cups of all-purpose flour, or the cake will be too dry. If you switch up any flours or dry ingredients it is always better to follow the weight vs the volume measurement for accuracy.

There are many ways to slice cake layers in half horizontally and different tools you could buy. I cut cake layers using a ruler, toothpicks and a long serrated knife. I am not brave enough to cut it in half without a guide. First, cut a small vertical mark on the side of the cake. This mark will be your guide to evenly line up your layers. Measure with a ruler the middle point around the circumference of the cake. Mark the middle with a toothpick every 3 inches all the way around the side of the cake. Put one hand gently on top of the cake with the other hand working the knife. Place the middle of a long serrated knife against the top of the toothpicks and make a cut, or score, around the circumference of the cake. Use the hand on the cake to turn the cake as you cut. Continue to cut in a circle around the edge of the cake, focusing your eye on the tip end of the knife. It helps keeps the knife level. Cut your way around the cake, gradually cutting toward the middle and then all the way through.

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© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Orange Saffron Dressing

Several years ago I discovered two cookbooks that opened a new world of food and cooking, Jerusalem and Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. When first published, I resisted reading these cookbooks because of the hype surrounding them. It is my experience, hyped-up media often disappoints and does not live up to the claims. Later, when I got around to reading the books for myself, I realized how completely wrong I was. These cookbooks and all their other publications, are worthy of all the praise they receive. Jerusalem and Ottolenghi cookbooks changed the way I approach learning about new ingredients, cuisines, and cooking.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Orange Saffron reicpe

There are many recipes between these two books that I love, like Roast Chicken with Clementines and Arak, and Basmati Rice with Saffron Barberries Pistachios and Mixed Herbs, just to name a couple. However, I wanted to feature their recipe for Saffron Chicken with Herb Salad. I just learned this recipe and believe is perfect for this time of year. I renamed it, Grilled Chicken Salad with Orange Saffron Dressing. This recipe is fresh and vibrant and easily prepared. Perfect for the days when the warm sun is beckoning you outside.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Orange Saffron Dressing reicpe

For another salad idea try chicken salad with avocado dressing.

Grilled chicken salad with orange saffron dressing shows how well bitter and sweet flavors blend to form a perfect union. To start, a whole orange simmers for an hour with honey and saffron until soft and the liquid is reduced. The bitterness of the orange peel mellows when combined with grilled chicken salad, crisp fresh fennel, and handfuls of fresh herbs. This is a well composed salad and with each ingredient plays an important role. The grilled chicken provides the backbone and mellows the concentrated flavor of the orange dressing. A composed blend of fresh herbs brightens and lightens the salad with sweet aromas and a refreshing bite. The finishing touch that ties everything together, is a spark of heat from the fresh hot red pepper.

Additionally, this recipe taught me a new trick. The secret to making this dressing is to blitz the whole cooked orange in the food processor with the reduced syrup. Using the whole fruit developed intense orange flavor that reminded me of concentrated frozen orange juice. Also, the best orange popsicle you ever had on a hot summer day. It is amazing how bittersweet fruit flavor can cut the heat of summer in an instant like diving into a mountain pool.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Orange Saffron Dressing recipe

Personally, I hate throwing away citrus rind and am always looking for ways to include the zest in my meals. Citrus zest makes everything taste better so I was more than happy to use the orange rind. There is also less food waste. This grilled chicken salad recipe will turn heads and enlighten taste buds because of a simple and brilliant idea. It is a healthy and refreshing salad with hardly any added fat to weigh the meal down.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Orange Saffron Dressing recipe

The moment I read these two cookbooks, it was love at first sight. Savoring the bold flavors in each tested recipe, inspired me to be more daring in my cooking. I no longer shied away from unfamiliar spices like za’atar and sumac, but embraced them. For the past several years, Jerusalem and Ottolenghi hold an influential spot in my life like The Silver Palate and Marcella Hazan cookbooks did in the 1980’s. Not only are they inspirational, but educational about new ingredients, fresh insights, and different cultures. I am forever grateful.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Orange Saffron Dressing

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Category: Dinner Salad

Cuisine: Middle Eastern

6 servings

Grilled Chicken Salad with Orange Saffron Dressing

This is a bright and refreshing salad. By itself the orange dressing has a very concentrated bitter-orange flavor lightly sweetened with honey and saffron. The dressing mellows with the other ingredients and the freshness of the herbs are key to the bright flavor. A kick of heat from the fresh red chili pepper ties everything together. You can mix the salad with arugula if desired. Best eaten the day it is made. This recipe is from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Saffron Chicken and Herb Salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 orange
  • 2 1/2 TB (50g) honey
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 TB white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/4 (300 ml) cup water
  • 2 1/4 lbs / 1 k skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, or 1 large bulb
  • 1 cup / 15 g picked cilantro leaves
  • 2/3 cup / 15 g picked basil leaves, torn
  • 15 picked mint leaves, torn
  • 2 TBS freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 red chili, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

    Make the Orange Saffron Syrup
  1. Cut a thin slice off the top and bottom of the orange so it will stand flat on a cutting board. Cut the orange in half then cut each half into 6 wedges. Add the orange wedges into a medium sauce pan. Add the honey, saffron, vinegar, and water to the saucepan. If any of the orange wedges are exposed and not submerged under water, add more water so all oranges are covered. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the oranges to a boil. Then turn the heat down and simmer the oranges for about 1 hour. By the end the wedges will be soft and there will be about 5 tablespoons of syrupy liquid.
  2. Once reduced, add the oranges and syrup to a food processor and process until the orange syrup is smooth. If needed, add water to thin out the sauce and reach a runny and smooth dressing. Set aside.
    Prepare Chicken
  1. While the oranges are simmering, preheat the oven to 400F /200C. Gently pound the chicken breast with a meat mallet or the heal of your hand to create an even thickness in each piece. Mix the chicken breasts with 2 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/2 tsp kosher salt and a couple of grinds of pepper. Sear the chicken breasts for 2 minutes on each side on a stovetop grill pan, or cook on a grill. Transfer to a sheet pan or baking pan and cook in the oven until done. (If you are using the grill there is no need to cook the chicken in your oven.) Pierce each breast with a fork, if the juices from the chicken are clear, not pink or cloudy, then the chicken is done. Internal
  2. temperature of 165F - 170F (74C - 77C). Depending on the thickness of each piece of chicken, roasting time could last for 5 to 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken from the oven (or grill) and set aside to cool.
    Putting it all together
  1. Once the chicken is cooled, shred the chicken breasts into decent size pieces and place in a bowl. Mix 1/2 of the orange dressing with the shredded chicken. Cut the fennel bulb in half and slice as thin as possible, lengthwise. Trim off the core if desired. Add the fennel, fresh herbs, remaining olive oil, crushed garlic, and lemon juice to the chicken. Gently stir to combine. Add the sliced red chili. Taste and correct for seasoning with olive oil, lemon juice or Kosher salt if needed.
  2. Serve immediately.

Notes

For an easy shortcut, substitute the grilled chicken with shredded rotisserie chicken, or any leftover chicken.

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© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Kitchen Sink Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

What do you get when you combine, rolled oats, sun-dried raisins, butterscotch chips, dark chocolate chips and cinnamon? You have everything but the kitchen sink oatmeal cookies. This recipe is a family favorite and one of our staple cookie recipes. Kitchen sink oatmeal cookies have stood the test of time and saw this family through growth spurts, swim meets, birthdays, snow days, fun days, and holidays.

I got this recipe about 19 years ago from a friend. Our children were in nursery school together and it was her turn to bring the school snack. I can still hear Jane’s friendly voice telling me about her cookies.

Kitchen Sink Oatmeal Cookies reicpe

Me: “What are these cookies? They are delicious.”

Jane:  “They are Kitchen Sink Cookies.”

Me: Perplexed and speechless as I tried to grasp the meaning behind naming cookies after a kitchen sink.  Certainly, my kitchen sink was not an appetizing sight, especially after making cookies. Obviously, I was not to date with familiar expressions.

Jane: Seeing my befuddled expression rescues me from my confusion and with a joking smile on her face says, “They’re called Kitchen Sink Cookies because they have everything in them but the kitchen sink.”

Me: (LOL) “Oh yeah, I get it. Right.”

With that mystery solved, Jane gladly shared her recipe.

Kitchen Sink Oatmeal Cookies recipe

Kitchen Sink Oatmeal Cookies reicpe

The real surprise inside these oatmeal cookies is the blast of buttery caramel from the butterscotch chips. Even though there is a decent amount of butter, the butterscotch makes everything stand out. Every bite is loaded with surprises. I believe there is no such thing as too many goodies mixed into cookie dough.

When I make these cookies, I feel like I am not just sharing cookies, but my family’s history as well. This oatmeal cookie recipe begins when my youngest son attended preschool and fills many spaces up to the present. Hopefully, there will be several  opportunities to share these oatmeal cookies in the future. Every time I make these cookies, clear memories of each of my sons come to mind. It is one of the great things about homemade cookies. Not only do they bring joy, but they share a story of life well lived.

Kitchen Sink Oatmeal Cookies reicpe

One memory I have, and it always gives me a laugh, is from Andrew’s college years. You would think nothing would outshine cute preschoolers eating cookies with their classmates, but imagine college varsity swimmers inhaling a bag of cookies after an exhausting swim meet. That is a sight to see. Think of Doctor Seuss characters with crazy spiked hair and large funnel-shaped mouths, sucking up everything in its path. 

After giving Andrew two bags of Kitchen Sink Oatmeal Cookies to share with the team, I noticed everyone seemed restless. The whole team sat on the bleachers, supposedly listening to their coach go over the team’s accomplishments after a triumphant swim meet. However, all the swimmers discretely had their eye on the bags of cookies. Their facial expressions said, “Where’s the cookies?” while glancing back and forth from their coach to their teammates searching for the cookie trail.

I discovered Andrew was on a mission to hide the cookies from his best friend. A person who had no problem inhaling the double batch of cookies in one bite, especially after a swim meet.  When I caught up with Andrew I saw a full bag of crumbles, not a full bag of homemade with love oatmeal cookies.  I imagined this bag of cookies being tossed about and stuffed into backpacks just to keep them out of sight. Andrew did not mind because with his mission accomplished, that bag of cookie crumbles was all for him.

Kitchen Sink Oatmeal Cookies reicpe

I really like cookies and for many years always had them in the house. Between myself, Joe, and three sons we easily went through more than one box of cookies a week. If there weren’t any cookies in our pantry, the boys would say there was no food in the house.

We are now better behaved. Several years ago I made a promise to myself, I would no longer buy cookies. If I wanted them, I would make them, or someone else in the family could. I made this promise to cut back on processed food and lose weight. It worked, and over the years I kept this promise 98% of the time. It is not as much of an inconvenience as I first thought.

There is a big difference in flavor and texture between homemade and store-bought cookies. If you are going to eat sweets, then you might as well eat the freshest and healthiest option you can.

Fortunately, when I make kitchen sink oatmeal cookies they satisfy everyone’s favorite cookie requirement. Joe and Andrew’s favorite cookie is oatmeal raisin. I always want some form of dark chocolate in my cookies, and Evan and Taylor are just happy to have them. Making one batch beats buying multiple boxes from the store every time.

Kitchen Sink Oatmeal Cookies recipe

Kitchen Sink Oatmeal Cookies reicpe

Making cookies instead of buying them is an easy promise to keep. I discovered it is not a major production to do. Besides, cookies are timeless and every generation enjoys having fresh made cookies, as they bring out the child spirit in all of us.

Kitchen Sink Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Category: Dessert

Cuisine: American

About 40 Cookies

Kitchen Sink Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

These chewy oatmeal cookies are loaded with raisins, chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. They have have lots of great flavor with a pop of buttery caramel from the butterscotch. They make a perfect snack with fruit or a great casual dessert.

Nutmeg is another spice that tastes great with oats. Substitute the cinnamon with 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg up to 1/2 teaspoon for a change of pace.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (223 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp (1 g) baking soda
  • 1 tsp (2 g) cinnamon (or 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg)
  • 1/2 tsp (1 g) Kosher salt
  • 1/2 lb / 2 sticks / (226 g) butter, softened but still cool
  • 1 cup (192 g) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (109 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp (3 g) pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (253 g) old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 heaping cup (85 g) raisins
  • 1/2 heaping cup (88 g) Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 heaping cup (88 g) butterscotch chips

Instructions

  1. If you are cooking one cookie sheet at a time, arrange the oven rack in the center position in your oven. Preheat oven to 350F / 175C/ Gas Mark 4 and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl add the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon and stir with a wire whisk until evenly mixed. Set aside
  3. In a bowl of a stand mixer, or handheld mixer, beat together on medium to medium-high speed, the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until soft and creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until the eggs are thoroughly combined.
  5. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed to start just for the flour to get absorbed in the batter. Then turn the seep up to medium and mix until just combined. This does not take long so be careful not to overmix the dough.
  6. Add the rolled oats and mix until just combined.
  7. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the raisins, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips until evenly combined in the cookie dough.
  8. Drop rounded tablespoons (1 oz / 32 g) of cookie dough on the cookie sheet, spaced about 2 inches (5 cm) apart.
  9. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown.
  10. Cool on cookie sheet for 3 minutes, then move the cookies to cool on a cooling rack.
  11. Store the cookies in an airtight container on the counter. Should stay fresh for a couple of days.

Notes

If you wish, spoon the cookie dough on a cookie sheet then cool in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Then bake. They might take a minute or too longer to bake. The chilled dough makes the cookies a little lighter and fluffier then when you bake the dough beginning at room temperature.

If you are baking more than one rack at a time, arrange the oven racks in the upper thirds of your oven. Rotate the cookie sheets from top to bottom rack and front to back halfway between the total cooking time.

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Here Comes the Sun: Papaya, Cucumber and Feta Salad

Is it June? Cold and damp air surround me, along with dark grey clouds and constant rain showers. It’s so damp and chilly, I’m wearing my fleece jacket inside. This is not typical seasonal weather in New York. When will the warm days of summer arrive? Wrapped in my winter sweater, I gaze out my window and feel dreary about the looming storms. This past weekend, I got a rare 24 hours of warm glorious sunshine, but it was nothing but a tease. I am craving warmth and sunshine in any form.

Sunshine Salad of Papaya Cucumber and Feta recipe

In good conscious I cannot complain about rain. I value its importance too much. Yet, we all have a fickle relationship with rain. It is something that you want when you don’t have it, and something you hate when you do. However, this weather is getting me down. Desperate times call for the unexpected and if I cannot feel the sun on my back, I must taste it in my food.

This recipe for papaya, cucumber and feta cheese salad is a bowl of sunshine and a party of different flavors and textures mixed together. The ingredients include sweet tropical fruit, crisp vegetables, crumbly cheese, brined olives, and a citrus dressing. This is what happens when tropical paradise invites the Greek Islands over for a party. You are not sure how everyone will get along, but delightfully they harmoniously mingle and create a festive atmosphere. Even the cured Greek olives add a welcome note into the party.

Sunshine Salad with Papaya, cucumber and Feta recipe

Sunshine Salad with Papaya, Cucumber and Feta reicpe

Learn more about Papaya here.

I first discovered this papaya salad from one of my brothers in law. Tom made this salad for my mother in law’s 85th birthday party. I was curious how the papaya would taste with all the ingredients because papaya is not a fruit I typically eat or cook with. Tom took great care making the salad and arranged each layer like a sculptor attentive to every detail. We placed his salad on the table like a work of art, almost too beautiful to eat.

Sunshine Salad with Papaya, cucumber and feta recipe

As expected, the papaya salad was a huge success. Each guest stopped and admired the salad before they helped themselves. A lot of love went into making the salad, and in return love was given in appreciation. The fresh flavor of papaya and cucumber complemented the saltiness of the feta and olives. This unexpected pairing brought a delightful and subtle sensory experience. They say opposites attract, yet they also harmoniously blend and make for some of the best tasting foods.

Tom made this salad from a recipe in, The Inspired Vegetarian by Louise Pickford with photographs by Gus Filgate. This cookbook was first published in 1992 and Louise Pickford is a British cook and food stylist. Her intention was to inspire vegetarian cooking to mean more than sprouts and tofu. She certainly succeeded with this recipe.

Sunshine Salad with Papaya cucumber and feta recipe

Tips for making Papaya, Cucumber and Feta Salad

I slightly adapted Louise Pickford’s recipe, which she adapted from a feta salad recipe she first tasted in Astipalaia, Greece. First, I increased the amount of cucumber, then decreased the amount of feta. The contrast of the crisp cucumber with the soft papaya is refreshing. Adding more cucumber helps with the dryness of the feta cheese as well.

I also added fresh mint and eliminated the ground nutmeg. I am sure the nutmeg is nice, but I was hoping to create a fresh and sunny salad. The flavors of fresh herbs with a hint of spice from ground red chilies brought forward the flavors of the sun I dream of.

Papaya is ripe when the skin is yellow. The riper it is, the sweeter the taste. Like avocados, it is rare to find ripe papaya in the store. So plan to buy your papaya at least 3 days in advance. Hopefully, 3 days is enough time for the papaya to ripen.

If you cannot get papaya (or not a fan), substitute the papaya with ripe cantaloupe or watermelon. The olives might not pair as well with the watermelon, but they are easily removed.

I also like to serve this salad on greens dressed in extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. This papaya salad tastes great on peppery arugula or other slightly bitter greens.

Sunshine salad with papaya, cucumber and feta recipe

Sunshine salad with papaya, cucumber and feta recipe

Here comes the sun and summer fun with Papaya, Cucumber and Feta Salad. It is an unexpected and delicious salad and delight for the senses. And I say, “It’s all right.”

Papaya, Cucumber and Feta Salad

Category: Salad

Cuisine: Greek with a Tropical twist

4 servings

Serving Size: 4-6 servings

Papaya, Cucumber and Feta Salad

Papaya and feta cheese is not your ordinary combination, but mixed with cucumber and cured Greek olives this recipe creates a beautiful and delicious salad. The mild sweetness of the papaya with the saltiness of the feta and olives blend perfectly. This is a fresh and unexpected salad perfect for a party or BBQ.

Plan ahead because papaya's take a few days to fully ripen.

Best eaten the day it is made.

This recipe is slightly adapted from The Inspired Vegetarian by Louise Pickford, 1992

Ingredients

    Salad
  • 1 cup / 4 oz / 125 g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 large cucumber, (about 14 oz / 400 g) peeled, seeds removed and chopped
  • 1 TB chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tsp fresh mint, chiffonade
  • 1 large, about 2 lbs 11 oz / 1 K 225 g) papaya
  • Shy 1/4 cup / 1 oz / 28 g pitted black Greek olives, sliced thin
    Salad Dressing
  • 1 TB extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Pinch of ground chili pepper

Instructions

    Make the salad dressing
  1. In a small bowl, blend together the salad dressing ingredients until well incorporated.
    Make the salad
  1. In a medium bowl mix together the chopped cucumber, crumbled feta cheese and fresh dill and mint. Add two thirds of the salad dressing, about 2 tablespoons (38 g) to the feta and cucumber and mix. Cover the salad with plastic wrap and let the cucumbers and feta cheese marinate at room temperature for a couple of hours. About a half hour before you want to display the salad or eat, peel the papaya, cut it in half, then remove the seeds. Cut the papaya into bite size chunks. The papaya can be peeled and chopped in advance, but not too long for it to get soggy. Pour the remaining salad dressing over the papaya and mix. Arrange the papaya around the interior rim of your serving platter, then add the cucumber and feta mixture in the middle. Sprinkle with sliced olives and more fresh mint.
  2. Serve
  3. Papaya cucumber salad is best eaten the day it is made. Leftovers will keep well in the refrigerator, in a sealed container for 24 hours.

Notes

Papaya is ripe when the skin is yellow and the flesh is somewhat soft. If you cannot find papaya in your store, ripe cantaloupe or watermelon are great substitutes. You may or may not want to add the olives with the watermelon.

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