Flounder Baked in Fig Leaves

Since our fig tree is recalcitrant when it comes to producing ripe fruit, I decided to use some of its abundant leaves instead. Did you know that fig leaves are edible? They’re kind of tough to eat without boiling first, but for this kind of recipe, they’re perfect. They keep the fish moist, and impart a delicate flavor to what’s inside. Don’t turn away if you don’t have a fig tree — this recipe can easily be made with Swiss chard (or grape) leaves instead. But if you have a fig tree, or know someone with one, you will love this recipe. It’s easy, it’s delicious, it’s low in calories and it’s good for you to boot. Cut a nice size leaf or two from your tree for each fish filet, and place it on a baking sheet that has been smeared with olive oil. Center the fish filet in the center of the leaf, then season with salt, pepper and fresh herbs. I used a combination of chives, parsley and thyme. Place a couple of lemon slices over the herbs and fish, then drizzle with a little olive oil. Fold the leaves over the fish, overlapping them to hold them in place. If you have a gap where the fish shows through, cut up another leaf and cover the space. Flip the entire leaf-wrapped fish over, so that the flaps are on the underside.

After 15 minutes in the oven, it will look something like this:

Using a long spatula, carefully flip the package of fish and leaves back over so that when you place it on your plate, you’ll be able to peel back the leaf easily and reveal the fish. The lemon will have softened enough that just pressing gently with a fork will release the remaining lemon juice onto the fish. Then bite into and enjoy a very moist, delicious piece of flounder.

If I can’t enjoy a bounty of figs from my tree, at least I can make use of some of those beautiful leaves.

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what’s cooking in Ciao Chow Linda’s kitchen each day (and more)

Flounder Baked in Fig Leaves
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Flounder (or salmon or snapper) (1 filet per person)
  • fig leaves (1 or 2 large fig leaves per portion)
  • olive oil to drizzle
  • salt, pepper
  • fresh herbs (I used a combination of chives, thyme and parsley)
  • lemon slices
Instructions
  1. Rinse the fig leaves.
  2. Spread a little olive oil on a cookie sheet.
  3. Lay the fig leaf down, then place a filet of fish on top.
  4. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, the minced herbs, then drizzle a little olive oil on top of the fish.
  5. Lay a couple of slices of lemon over the fish.
  6. Close the fig leaf over the fish, then flip it over so that the flaps are on the bottom.
  7. If some of the fish is uncovered, but up another fig leaf and wrap around the exposed parts.
  8. Bake in a 375 degree over for 25 minutes.
  9. Serve immediately with the fig leaves, allowing each person to unwrap the leaves.
 

Fresh Fig and Ricotta Cake

Are you lucky enough to have a fig tree growing in your yard? I’ve known many Italians (and non-Italians) with fig trees, either in the ground or in pots, and they all seem to get a prolific harvest each year. I wish I could say the same for my fig tree, or should I say fig trees, because I’ve tried year after year to grow them and never seem to get more than a handful of fruit, if that. Each year, I declare I’ve had it with my barren fig tree — no more relegating precious real estate to this freeloader. One winter I even followed through on my threat, refusing to protect a 10 year-old fig tree from its frigid fruitless fate. As expected, it died from the cold temperatures and what did I do? I went out and bought another fig tree in the spring. That was two fig trees ago. Long story short, the current fig tree died this last winter too, or so I thought. We had protected it from winter’s blast, but when we uncovered the tree in the spring, it had as much life in it as a Latin word at a rapper’s concert. But surprise! By June, the tree sprang back to life from its roots, and has even produced a half dozen fruits, although whether they ripen before the frost is doubtful. What’s a fig lover to do? Buy figs, naturally, which is what I did when I saw these zebra figs in the market.

I ate a few, gave some to my dad, but had a hankering to bake a cake with them, since my husband is such a dessert lover. In the past, I’ve posted recipes for several fresh fig desserts including a fig upside down cake, a lemony olive oil fig cake, a fig frangipane tart, a fig crostata, and a poached fig and almond crostata,  But I had never made a fresh fig and ricotta cake until now. In searching for a recipe, I came across many, and settled on one by Rosella Rago, whose website Cooking with Nonna, is always a great source of inspiration.  Rosella’s recipe calls for slicing the figs thinly.

Then placing them on top. Rosella’s recipe also called for using a round springform pan, but I didn’t have one handy at the beach house,where we spend our summers, so I used a rectangular one that measured 8″ x 11.”

The cake was moist, with a nice crumb and a lemony flavor, and is a perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee. Next time, I plan to double the amount of figs, and spread half the batter into the pan, cover with a layer of figs, then add the rest of the batter, and top it with more figs. Maybe I’ll even have my own stash of figs from my own tree by the end of next summer. Wish me (and our fig tree) luck.

Coincidentally, while I was baking my cake, my friend Stacey was also baking a fig ricotta cake, using a recipe from one of my favorite cookbook writers, Ina Garten. You can find that version here.

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what’s cooking in Ciao Chow Linda’s kitchen each day (and more)

Fresh Fig and Ricotta Cake
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • For the Cake:
  • ½ cup olive oil + 2 tablespoons
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on top
  • 2 packets Vanillina OR 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt (preferably full fat)
  • 1¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 6 fresh figs cut into thin, round slices
  • confectioners sugar for dusting
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Butter and flour a 9 inch springform pan or spray with baking spray.
  3. (I used a glass baking dish that measured 8" x 11" - Linda)
  4. In a large mixing bow combine the oil, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest. Using an electric mixer beat the ingredients on medium speed until combined.
  5. Add in the eggs one at a time and beat until they are fluffy and pale yellow in color.
  6. Add in the ricotta and yogurt and beat until combined.
  7. Add in the flour and salt and finally the baking powder.
  8. Beat until the dry ingredients are just fully incorporated.
  9. Do not overmix!
  10. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and arrange the fig slices in a single layer on top making sure they are not overlapping one another.
  11. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and bake until the top is lightly golden and the center of the cake has set. About 40-45 minutes.
  12. (I baked the rectangular pan only 35 minutes,)
  13. Allow the cake to cool 20-30 minutes in the pan before opening the spring and slicing.
  14. Dust with confectioners sugar if desired.
 

Grilled Rack of Lamb

If you’re like most Americans, lamb isn’t the first thing you think of when you’re planning a barbecue for a holiday weekend. But with Labor Day just around the corner, you may want to reconsider. A rack of lamb cooked on the grill is delicious, easy to cook and makes a beautiful presentation. Lots of people think of lamb as having a ‘gamey’ or strong taste, but if you prepare it according to these directions, your family (and guests) will be asking for seconds.

This is typically how the rack of lamb looks when I bring it home from the market. As you can see, it has been “frenched,” meaning that the tips of the rack have been scraped clean of any fat or bits of flesh. But there’s still a lot of fat remaining, and in my opinion, the fat is what gives lamb the “gamey” taste that many people find objectionable. Also, removing most of the fat helps the marinade to penetrate better.

Use a sharp knife and remove most of the visible fat and the “silver skin,” as in the photo below.

Here’s a photo of how much fat I removed from just one rack of lamb.

Smear the herbs, garlic, olive oil and soy sauce all over the rack, on both sides. Let it sit in the refrigerator at least an hour or two, and if you have time, even overnight.

Place the rack on a hot grill and sear on both sides, before lowering the grill to medium heat.

Use a thermometer to test for doneness, placing it inside the thickest part of the lamb, and away from the bone. For medium rare, remove the rack when the internal temperature has reached 125 degrees. It will continue to cook when it rests off the grill. Optional – Serve with a mint pesto if desired.

Grilled Rack of Lamb
 
Author:
Serves: serves 2-4 depending on appetite
Ingredients
  • 1 rack of lamb (about 2 lbs)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • a sprig of rosemary, chopped finely
  • salt, pepper
  • rind of ½ lemon, grated
  • FOR MINT PESTO:
  • about 1 cup of fresh mint, plucked from the stem and packed firmly
  • ½ cup parsley leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons almonds
  • salt, pepper
  • grated rind of ½ lemon
Instructions
  1. Trim the rack of lamb of most of the fat, but leave enough so that the rack doesn't fall apart.
  2. Pour the olive oil, soy sauce and garlic over both sides of the rack, and sprinkle with the rosemary, salt, pepper and lemon rind.
  3. Let it sit in the refrigerator for at least one or two hours, or even overnight if possible.
  4. Remove the meat from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
  5. Place it on a hot grill with the fat side down for about five minutes or until a nice sear has formed.
  6. Turn it over and do the same thing on the other side.
  7. Then lower the heat, flip back on the fat side and cook until the internal temperature measures 125 degrees fahrenheit for a medium rare doneness.
  8. Remove from the grill and let it rest for about 5 minutes.
  9. The temperature will rise a bit more.
  10. Keep it on the grill longer, for a medium or well done finish.
  11. Cut between the ribs and serve.
  12. MINT PESTO:
  13. Place the mint leaves, parsley, garlic, almonds, lemon rind and salt and pepper in a food processor. Slowly add the olive oil and process until a paste is formed. Add more olive oil to make a looser pesto.
 

 

Foglie D’Ulivo with Browned Butter Pine Nut Sauce

Aren’t they cute? I was enchanted by this shape of pasta and learned to make it following a video by Rosetta Costantino on her excellent Instagram page. They’re called foglie d’ulivo (olive leaves). This pasta shape is widely known across Italy, but originally is from the Apulia region. It’s made similarly to orecchiette, another specialty of Apulia, but instead of forming round little “ears,” the leaf-like shape requires a different technique.

You can make this with plain white or whole wheat flour, but I added spinach to the dough to attain the bright green color, mimicking actual leaves. After making the dough, (and letting it rest at least a half hour), roll it out into snake-like shapes, then cut into small pieces, which you then roll into smaller “logs” that are slightly more lumpy in the center.

Here is a step by step demonstration of me shaping the pasta leaves.

It takes a little practice, but after a few minutes of trying, you’ll be an expert and these adorable little leaves will be the beautiful result of your labor.

I served them in two different ways – with a browned butter sauce and pine nuts, plus a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Another time I tossed them with a summer salsa verde that was featured in Food 52 and includes mint, parsley, basil and capers. We liked it, but thought we might like the salsa better over fish or vegetables.

We much preferred the browned butter/pine nut sauce over this pasta, or a traditional basil pesto. You might also like it with a red sauce, but I would keep it light and use fresh tomatoes (maybe even small cherry tomatoes) so the color and shape of the green leaves don’t disappear in the sauce.

If you’ve never made pasta at home before, foglie d’ulivo may seem a bit daunting. Want to increase your knowledge of making pasta, with a really comprehensive guide to everything pasta – from the ingredients to the techniques?  It’s an online cooking school run by two sisters in Rome, Benedetta and Valeria, who started their company, Local Aromas, to teach people about Italian food. Knowledgeable, enthusiastic and passionate about Italy and its food, they conduct food tours in Rome in addition to their online slate of classes.

They started with courses on pasta and gnocchi but plan to expand in the future to include other foods and wines too. In their classes, you’ll learn why certain flours are used for certain pastas, how to make the dough and shape it to specific types of pasta, from farfalle to fettuccine and much more. Especially during this pandemic, if you can’t get to Italy and are looking for a great way to learn a new skill, sign up for a class at Local Aromas.

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what’s cooking in Ciao Chow Linda’s kitchen each day (and more)

Spinach Foglie D'Ulivo with Browned Butter Pine Nut Sauce
 
Author:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • FOR THE PASTA:
  • 1 10-ounce box frozen spinach, thawed
  • 2 cups 00 flour
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • FOR THE SAUCE:
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • parmesan cheese, to taste
Instructions
  1. FOR THE PASTA:
  2. Drain the spinach thoroughly, squeezing out all the water you can with your hands.
  3. Then press it with paper towels to get out any remaining water.
  4. Place the spinach and the two eggs into the food processor to break down the spinach.
  5. Start adding the flour.
  6. You may need as little as a cup and a quarter of flour.
  7. It's easy to add more flour later, but much harder to work the dough if you place too much flour into the food processor.
  8. Add just enough flour and process until the dough comes together into a ball.
  9. It will be sticky.
  10. Place the dough onto a wooden work surface, add more flour until the stickiness disappears and the dough seems more "homogenized" and softer.
  11. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a bowl and let it sit for at least ½ hour.
  12. To make the foglie, take a piece of the dough and roll it out to a snake-like shape, about ½ inch thick and about 6 to 8 inches long.
  13. If you roll it too long, it's harder to handle.
  14. Cut off small bits of the snake-like roll.
  15. Roll the small bit so it is a bit thinner on the ends than in the middle,
  16. Holding one part of the dough with one hand, use a knife or spatula in the other hand and press down on the dough, sliding the knife or spatula along the dough.
  17. Shape with your fingers to make the ends more like a "point" of a leaf if you like.
  18. Cook the pasta in abundant salted water.
  19. If you let the pasta dry overnight, it will take longer to cook, maybe as long as 15 minutes, depending on the thickness.
  20. Meanwhile, take the butter and place it in a saucepan.
  21. Cook it on medium heat until it starts to turn tan.
  22. It can burn easily, so be careful not to let it get to that point.
  23. Add the toasted pine nuts, then the drained pasta and toss everything together.
  24. Place in a serving bowl, then sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
 

Brutti Ma Buoni

Do you ever make a recipe that calls for egg yolks only, leaving you with leftover egg whites? I sure do, and as a result, there are usually at least three containers in my freezer containing leftover egg whites. After thawing, they’re as good as using fresh egg whites, and they’re perfect for making these delicious cookies from Rosemary Molloy’s “Authentic Italian Desserts.” They’re also perfect for anyone on a gluten free diet, since no flour is involved. They’re called “brutti ma buoni,” or “ugly but good,” but I think that’s a misnomer. I wouldn’t call them ugly at all. Homely, maybe, but not ugly. And boy are they good. It’s hard to stop eating these, so make a double batch and watch them disappear.

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what’s cooking in Ciao Chow Linda’s kitchen each day (and more)

Brutti Ma Buoni
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a 10 x 14 inch baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the sugar and salt and beat on medium speed to combine.
  4. Fold in the hazelnuts.
  5. Pour the mixture into a medium pot over low heat and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, gently stirring continuously with a wooden spoon.
  6. The mixture is ready when it becomes a light brown color and has thickened.
  7. Remove the mixture from the heat and place heaping tablespoons on the prepared baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.
  9. Let the cookies cool completely before serving.
 

Everything Cheddar Tomato Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Who doesn’t love a grilled cheese sandwich? And particularly one that elevates the pedestrian sandwich to sublime, oozing with cheeses, herbs, bacon and tomato. If that’s not enough to convince you, just wait till you crunch into the coating of parmesan cheese and “everything-bagel” seeds after crisping the sandwich in butter. After I saw this posted on Half Baked Harvest‘s Instagram page, I knew it was in my future. Bacon is not a staple in my house, but I bought it to make this sandwich, and have to confess, I’ve been enjoying bacon for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s an indulgence to be sure, but even if you make it only once a year, this sandwich is worth the calories.

I cooked the bacon a day ahead, to make things go more quickly when I prepared the sandwiches the next day. When you’re ready to get the sandwiches started, slice the tomatoes and salt them first, then let them rest on paper towels to drain off some of the water, so your sandwich doesn’t get soggy. Mix the cheeses with the herbs. I used a combination of sharp white cheddar and Havarti with dill.

Don’t add any salt to the cheese, since the “everything bagel” seasoning (bought at Trader Joe’s but you can make your own with the recipe below) is salty enough. Spread the butter on the outside bread slices, then sprinkle with the parmesan cheese (which also is plenty salty) and the “everything bagel” seeds.

Assemble the interior of the sandwich, placing the cheese, tomatoes and bacon inside,

Top with the second slice of bread and sauté in butter.

Flip the sandwiches over and cook until nicely browned on both sides. Use a little more butter or olive oil if needed. (This is definitely NOT a low calorie meal).

Then get some napkins ready to keep your hands clean, and enjoy one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches you’ll ever eat.

To really complete the meal, make yourself some tomato soup, the traditional accompaniment to grilled cheese sandwiches. And don’t forget to take a photo before you eat, as the bowl says.Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what Ciao Chow Linda is up to in the kitchen (and other places too) each day.

Everything Cheddar Tomato Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwich
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Havarti cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 2-4 tablespoons everything bagel spice (recipe below)
  • 2-4 slices cooked crispy bacon
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter or olive oil to cook the sandwiches
Instructions
  1. Arrange the tomatoes on a cutting board and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Let sit 15 minutes to draw out excess moisture.
  3. In a bowl, combine the cheddar, Havarti, basil, thyme, and chives.
  4. Brush the outside of each slice of bread with butter.
  5. Sprinkle the parmesan and everything spice over both buttered sides of the bread, pressing the spice mix gently into the bread to adhere.
  6. On the inside of half of the slices of bread, evenly layer half of the cheese mix, the tomatoes, bacon, and the remaining cheese. Add the top piece of bread.
  7. Heat 1-2 tablespoons butter or olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.
  8. Place the sandwiches in the skillet and cook until golden on each side, about 3-5 minutes per side.
  9. Everything Spice: In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons toasted white or black sesame seeds, 2 tablespoons poppy seeds, 2 teaspoons dried onion., 2 teaspoons dried garlic, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Keep stored in a cool, dry place.
 

Summer Minestrone

It doesn’t matter whether it’s winter or summer, but for me, soup is always welcome at the table. And when you’ve got summer produce like zucchini, beans and corn at their freshest, why not make a minestrone soup and combine them all, adding some carrots and celery along the way? Don’t forget the pasta too, which in this case was some homemade pasta scraps I cut out and left to dry after a ravioli-making session a while ago. If I hadn’t used homemade pasta bits, I would have tossed in some store-bought ditalini or orzo pasta or maybe even elbow macaroni. I normally cook the pasta in a separate pot of water and add it to the soup when I’m doling it out into the bowl. Otherwise, if you’ve got leftover soup and have added too much pasta to start with, you’re likely to end up with hardly any broth. By the way, this soup is even better the second day, when it’s had more time for all the flavors to blend and the starch from the beans is released to make it a bit thicker.

There is no meat in this soup recipe, but feel free to use some chicken or beef broth if you like. But it’s got plenty of flavor without it, especially if you’ve added the corn cobs to the broth and a parmesan rind or two. Don’t forget to take them out before serving though, or someone could be in for a surprise! Also, the amounts and varieties of the vegetables are up to you. If you want more corn, add it. Or if you don’t like beans, leave them out. Mix and match with whatever suits your fancy.

By the way, I was so thrilled to post this soup using this bowl, which brought back memories of my mother and something she used to say quite often at the table when I was growing up.

For those of you who don’t speak Italian, here’s the translation: “Either eat this soup, or jump out the window.” Fortunately my mom was a great cook, hence we had no window jumpers in my family.

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what Ciao Chow Linda is up to in the kitchen (and other places too) each day.

Summer Minestrone
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 stalks of celery, minced
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1½ cups chopped green beans
  • 2 cups chopped zucchini
  • 8 cups water
  • a parmesan cheese rind
  • 1 cup pureed plum tomatoes
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can red or black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 ears of corn, stripped off the cob, but retain the cob to put in the pot
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • fresh basil, thyme and parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ditalini, elbows or orzo pasta
  • parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top
Instructions
  1. Place the olive oil in a large pot, and sauté the onion, garlic and celery until soft but not browned.
  2. Add the carrots, green beans, zucchini, water, parmesan cheese rind and tomatoes.
  3. Add the salt, pepper and fresh and dried herbs.
  4. Cook everything together at a low simmer for 45 minutes, adding the corn cobs.
  5. Remove the corn cobs from the pot and add the beans and the corn kernels.
  6. Cook for another ½ hour.
  7. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in water in a separate pot.
  8. When the vegetables are cooked, add some of the pasta to the soup and serve in bowls.
  9. If you're not serving all the soup at once, wait to add the pasta, otherwise the pasta will become overcooked and mushy when you reheat it.
 

Ottolenghi’s Blueberry, Almond and Lemon Cake

There are infinite cake recipes and infinite GOOD cake recipes. Then there are GREAT cake recipes. This one, from Yotam Ottolenghi, is one of those. It may not be the biggest cake out there — it doesn’t serve a ton of people. But it’s one you’ll want to make again and again. It has a really tender and moist texture, a lively lemon flavor and blueberries too. I love this cake so much I’ll be making this without the fruit when blueberry season is long gone. Many of the blueberries will sink to the bottom (sorry, even if you coat them first in flour, which I did) but if you follow the directions and reserve some to place on the top after the cake’s been baking for 15 minutes, they won’t sink. Scout’s honor.

Make sure to leave the cake in the oven for the entire time mentioned in the recipe to allow it to rise properly and not sink in the middle. Just cover with a tented piece of aluminum foil if it starts to get too browned. Let it cool and drizzle with a lemon glaze. You’ll find it hard to stop eating slice after slice, I promise.

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what Ciao Chow Linda is up to in the kitchen (and other places too) each day.

Blueberry, Almond and Lemon Cake
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (1 stick) plus 3 tablespoons/150 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 1 scant cup/190 grams granulated or superfine sugar (caster sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or more juice as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (vanilla essence)
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • ⅔ cup/90 grams all-purpose flour (plain flour), sifted
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup/110 grams almond flour (ground almonds)
  • 1 ½ cups/200 grams fresh blueberries
  • ⅔ cup/70 grams confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Grease a 9- or 8-inch/21-centimeter loaf pan with butter, line it with a parchment paper sling and butter the paper. (I didn't use the parchment paper but just buttered and floured the pan.)
  3. Set the pan aside.
  4. Place butter, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  5. Beat on high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until light, then lower speed to medium.
  6. Add eggs in three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times as necessary.
  7. The mix may split a little but don’t worry: It’ll come back together once you add the dry ingredients.
  8. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and almond flour.
  9. With the stand mixer on low, add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing just until no white specks remain.
  10. Fold in about ¾ of the blueberries by hand, then scoop batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  11. Bake for 15 minutes, then sprinkle the remaining blueberries over the top of the cake.
  12. Return to the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes, until cake is golden brown but still uncooked.
  13. Cover loosely with foil and continue to cook for another 25 to 30 minutes (less for a 9-inch pan, more for an 8-inch pan), or until risen and cooked, and a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  14. Remove from oven and set aside in its pan to cool for 10 minutes before removing cake from pan and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.
  15. When cake is cool, make the icing: Add lemon juice and icing sugar to a bowl and whisk together until smooth, adding a bit more juice if necessary, just until the icing moves when you tilt the bowl. Pour over the cake and gently spread out.
  16. The blueberries on the top of the cake may bleed into the icing a little, but this will add to the look. Let icing set (about 30 minutes), slice and serve.
 

 

 

Blueberry Tart

We’re in full blueberry season here in New Jersey and one of the most delicious ways to highlight this fruit is to give it a starring role in a tart. This one raises the bar even higher with an oatmeal crumb topping. I used an 8″ tart pan, since it was just for the two of us. But if you want to bake it in a standard 9″ tart pan, just increase the amounts as I’ve written in the recipe. Don’t forget to add the lemon juice and lemon zest. Without it, the blueberries just don’t have that “zing” that the citrus adds.

You’ll get four servings from this small tart pan and I guarantee you it won’t last long.

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what Ciao Chow Linda is up to in the kitchen (and other places too) each day.

Blueberry Tart
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • FOR THE PASTRY (This makes enough for two 9" tart shells. I place the extra one in the freezer):
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1 small lemon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine salt
  • ½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into dice
  • 2 large eggs
  • FOR THE FILLING - amounts are for an 8" tart. Measurements for a 9" tart are in parentheses:
  • 3 cups blueberries (4 cups)
  • ¼ cup white sugar (1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch or flour (1/4 cup)
  • grated zest of a lemon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • FOR THE TOPPING: amounts are for an 8" tart. Measurements for a 9" tart are in parentheses:
  • ½ cups old-fashioned oats (3/4 cup)
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar (1/2 cup)
  • ¼ cup flour (1/3 cup)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon (3/4 tsp.)
  • 4 tablespoons butter (6 tablespoons)
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, combine the flour, granulated sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, and salt and pulse to mix.
  2. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly.
  3. Add the eggs and process just until the dough comes together.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, divide it in half, and pat it into two disks.
  5. Wrap one half in plastic wrap and freeze for another use.
  6. Wrap the second piece and refrigerate it for 1 hour.
  7. Remove the pastry disk from the refrigerator.
  8. On a lightly floured surface, roll the disk into a 12-inch circle.
  9. Carefully transfer the dough to a 10-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom.
  10. Gently press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
  11. Trim the overhang.
  12. Refrigerate for 1 hour (or up to overnight).
  13. Preheat the oven to 475° F.
  14. Remove the tart shell from the refrigerator.
  15. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork.
  16. Bake until the edges are just beginning to turn golden, about 10 minutes.
  17. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Leave the oven on but reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.
  18. Mix the blueberries with the lemon zest, sugar, flour and lemon juice.
  19. In a separate bowl, mix the oatmeal with the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter.
  20. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, blend everything together until it's crumbly.
  21. Gelntly place the blueberries into the pastry shell and top with the crumb mixture.
  22. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
 

 

Codfish and Corn

It’s only in summer when this perfect combination comes together in my part of the world. Fresh, sweet New Jersey corn and codfish caught off our coast are meant to snuggle next to each other when the warm weather finally arrives. You can cook everything in one pot and have it ready to eat in a half hour. I started with this piece of codfish, a little more than 1 pound. If you have a piece this long, cut it in two or three pieces, otherwise it will flake apart after it cooks, when you try to lift it from the pan in one large section.

Start by seasoning the pieces with salt and pepper, then give them a light dusting with flour. Place some olive oil and butter in a saucepan, place the fish into the pan and sear at high heat, but only on one side. You’ll finish the cooking after you’ve put the rest of the ingredients in the pan.

Remove the seared pieces and flip over onto a platter. As you can see, they’re still partly raw inside.

Scrape the corn from the cobs. I used two ears of corn, but they were so sweet, we were wishing we had one or two more to join the party. Next time.

Place more butter into the pan and add the red pepper and shallots to the pan, stirring for a minute or two. Add the corn and seasonings, stirring for another minute, then push the corn to the side and make room for the fish, adding the pieces of cod in the center of the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer on a low heat for another 5 -8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Sprinkle it with more minced parsley and serve.

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what Ciao Chow Linda is up to in the kitchen (and other places too) each day.

Codfish and Corn
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 lb - 1¼ lb. codfish
  • salt, pepper to season
  • flour to lightly dust the fish
  • 2 or 3 ears of fresh corn
  • ½ cup diced red pepper
  • ¼ shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 more tablespoons butter
  • minced parsley
Instructions
  1. Remove the corn from the cobs and set aside.
  2. Season the fish with salt and pepper, then lightly dust with flour.
  3. Place the olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet and bring to high heat.
  4. Gently place the fish pieces into the pan and sear until browned on one side.
  5. Remove the fish from the pan, reserving them on a platter with the seared side facing up.
  6. Add the red pepper and shallot to the pan and cook for one minute.
  7. Add another tablespoon of butter to the pan, along with the corn, the salt and pepper and minced parsley.
  8. Stir for one minute, then push the vegetables to the edges of the pan.
  9. Add the remaining butter to the center space of the pan, then place the fish in the center, with the seared side up.
  10. Turn the heat to low-medium and place a lid on top.
  11. Continue cooking for five to eight minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.