Archive for August, 2011

Summer Pea Crostini

Fresh English peas combine well with all the mint family herbs: basil, mint, oregano, etc. Here they transformed into a chunky puree accented with scallions and fresh mint. The crostini use French mini-toasts as a base — they are fine-grained and lightly crisp, a better complement to the delicately flavored peas than a coarse Italian or French-style bread.

Summer Fruit Shortcakes

Perfectly ripe, juicy summer fruit needs only a few simple accompaniments to be transformed into a gala dessert. And a gala dessert that requires no baking on a hot summer day? Even better! Macerating the fruits in a mixture of sweet wine and lavender honey perfumes them, plus creates a richly-flavored syrup for soaking ladyfingers, used as a lighter alternative to the traditional biscuit-type shortcake. A dollop of creme fraiche and a drizzle of lavender honey complete the shortcakes— or use French vanilla/honey yogurt, if a lighter dessert is desired.

Pan-Seared Scallops with Cider Glaze

Scallops’ delicately sweet taste pairs brilliantly with fragrant French cider, particularly when said cider is reduced to a luscious glaze that clings to each bite. The scallops are placed atop a bed of spinach studded with crisp bacon and sauteed mushrooms, then generously napped with the unctuous sauce.

Ebly Wheat with Carmelized Onions and Herbs

Ebly is made from whole durum wheat grains. Like pearl barley, it’s been partially cooked and hulled, then dried. As a result, it cooks in 10 minutes, versus the 40 minutes required to cook whole wheat berries. It has a light, deliciously wheaty taste and readily absorbs flavor from ingredients cooked with it. Here it’s accented with rich caramelized onions and a sprinkle fresh thyme sprigs. If you can get it (or grow it!) flowering thyme adds a lovely touch to the dish.