Nectarines and Peaches with Lavender and Gorgonzola

1/2 cup pecans
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons plus ¼ cup sugar
1 sprig rosemary
1 tablespoon dried lavender buds
Kosher salt
3 ripe white or yellow nectarines, cut into wedges
3 ripe white or yellow peaches, cut into wedges
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola, divided

Preheat oven to 350°. Toast pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, stirring once, until slightly darkened in color and fragrant, 10–12 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, bring honey, 2 Tbsp. sugar, and 3 Tbsp. water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, swirling occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Add rosemary and lavender and remove from heat. Let sit 5 minutes. Remove rosemary and let syrup cool.

Bring a pinch of salt, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 Tbsp. water to a boil in another small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook (without stirring) until sugar turns a light amber color, about 2 minutes. Add pecans and cook, stirring constantly, until nuts are coated and caramel is a dark amber color, about 2 minutes. Immediately scrape out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread out into a single layer; let cool. Break into smaller pieces.

Toss nectarines, peaches, lemon zest, and 1/4 cup syrup in a large bowl to coat. Let sit 5 minutes. Gently toss in half of Gorgonzola and half of candied pecans; taste and season with salt if needed. Transfer to a platter. Top with remaining Gorgonzola and candied pecans.

Do Ahead: Syrup can be made 1 month ahead; cover and chill. Pecans can be candied 1 day ahead; store airtight at room temperature.

Ramen Salad with Steak

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons tahini
1 1/2 easpoons sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
8 ounces dried ramen noodles (flavor packet discarded)
Kosher salt
12 ounces thinly sliced cooked boneless steak (such as New York strip steak)
1 small kohlrabi, peeled, cut into matchsticks
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage
1 cup cilantro leaves with tender stems
1/4 cup crushed salted, roasted cashews
1 tablespoon crushed Sichuan peppercorns

Whisk lemon juice, soy sauce, tahini, sugar, ginger, and garlic in a small bowl to combine. Gradually add vegetable oil followed by sesame oil, whisking constantly until emulsified; set aside.

Cook noodles in a large saucepan of boiling salted water according to package instructions until al dente. Drain; rinse under cold water, then drain again.

Toss noodles, steak, kohlrabi, scallions, cabbage, and cilantro in a large bowl with three-quarters of reserved dressing to combine and evenly coat; season with salt. Top with cashews and Sichuan peppercorns and drizzle remaining dressing over.
Do Ahead: Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Grilled Pork with Nuoc Cham

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro stems, plus leaves for serving
2 1-inch-thick boneless pork shoulder steaks (about 1 pound each)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Prepare a grill for medium heat. Whisk lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Stir in garlic and cilantro stems; set nuoc cham aside.

Place pork on a rimmed baking sheet and season generously on both sides with salt and pepper, then drizzle with oil and turn pork to coat. Grill, turning often and moving around on grill to prevent flare-ups, until lightly charred all over and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 140° for medium), 12–15 minutes. Transfer meat to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Spoon some of nuoc cham over pork and top with cilantro leaves. Serve remaining sauce alongside.

Tangy Steak and Watercress

2 teaspoons Chinese hot mustard powder or English mustard powder (such as Colman’s)
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon demerara or light brown sugar, divided
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1–1 1/2 pounds boneless rib eye
1 red Thai chile, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bunch watercress, tough stems trimmed (about 6 cups)
2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
1/4 cup mint leaves
1/4 cup salted, dry-roasted peanuts, lightly crushed

Whisk mustard powder, fish sauce, 1/2 tsp. demerara sugar, and 1 Tbsp. very hot water in a medium bowl until sugar is dissolved; season with salt and plenty of pepper. Add steak to bowl and turn several times to coat. Let sit while you make the vinaigrette.

Whisk chile, lime juice, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and remaining ½ tsp. demerara sugar in a large bowl; set vinaigrette aside.
Heat vegetable oil in a medium skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high. Add steak and cook, turning every couple of minutes, until nicely browned and medium-rare, 7–10 minutes. Add butter to skillet, then tilt skillet toward you and use a large spoon to baste steak with foaming butter for a minute longer. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, add watercress, cucumbers, and mint leaves to bowl with reserved vinaigrette and toss to combine; season salad with salt and pepper. Top with peanuts and drizzle with olive oil.

Slice steak and serve with salad.

Black Diamond Steak Marinade

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (90ml) Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (90ml) soy sauce
2 tablespoons (30ml) balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Freshly ground black pepper
About 2 to 3 pounds (900g to 1.4kg) steak of your choice

In a large zipper-lock bag, combine Worcestershire, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, and a generous grinding of black pepper.

Add steak to bag, press out air, and seal. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours. When ready to cook, remove steak from marinade, blot dry with paper towels, and grill as desired.

Beer and Lemongrass Steak Marinade

1 (12-ounce; 355ml) bottle light lager beer
3 tablespoons (45ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 (6-inch) length fresh lemongrass, lightly bruised with the blunt side of a knife
1 (2-inch) strip fresh lemon zest
1 (1-inch) knob peeled fresh ginger, sliced
1 teaspoon (5g) toasted coriander seed
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon (5g) kosher salt
About 2 to 3 pounds (900g to 1.4kg) steak of your choice

In a large zipper-lock bag, combine beer, oil, lemongrass, lemon zest, ginger, coriander seed, thyme, and salt. Swish until salt is dissolved.

Add steak to bag, press out air, and seal. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours. When ready to cook, remove steak from marinade, blot dry with paper towels, and grill as desired.

Cocoa-Coffee Steak Marinade

1 cup (235ml) hot, strong brewed coffee
1/2 ounce (15g) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon (15g) dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon (5g) kosher salt
Pinch chili powder or cayenne pepper
About 2 to 3 pounds (900g to 1.4kg) steak of your choice

Stir together coffee, chocolate, sugar, salt, and chili powder or cayenne, until chocolate is fully melted and sugar and salt are fully dissolved. Let cool.

Transfer marinade to a large zipper-lock bag, add steak, press out air from bag, and seal. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours. When ready to cook, remove steak from marinade, blot dry with paper towels, and grill as desired.

Golden Milk Panna Cotta

1 cup low fat milk
1 envelope (7 grams) gelatin
1 1/2 tablespoons ground turmeric
3 cups cream
1/8 teaspoon (I use fine sea salt)
1/16 teaspoon finely ground black pepper (3-4 grinds from a pepper mill set on the finest setting)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (125 grams) honey (orange blossom, clover or wildflower rather than a strong or dark honey or woody flavored honey)
A cinnamon stick, optional for grating
A whole (or piece of) nutmeg, option for grating
8 pretty dessert glasses or martini glasses (we are not unmolding this panna cotta)

Pour the milk into small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the surface. Let the gelatin soften (without stirring) for at least 5 minutes or until needed.

Meanwhile, put the turmeric into a medium saucepan and stir in a tablespoon of the cream to form a smooth paste.

Stir in the remaining cream, salt, pepper, and honey. Stir over medium heat until the honey is dissolved and the mixture is steaming hot—but don’t let it simmer.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the milk and gelatin and stir well to dissolve the gelatin. Pour the mixture into a bowl and set the bowl into a large bowl of ice and water. Let the mixture cool in the ice bath, stirring and scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl thoroughly (with a rubber or silicon spatula) from time to time to equalize the temperature and prevent the mix from setting against the cold surface of the bowl.

When the mixture has thickened (at about 50° F, but not set, remove the bowl from the ice water. Wipe the bottom of the bowl to avoid dripping water, and pour the mixture into the glasses, dividing it equally.

Cover and refrigerate the panna cotta for several hours and as long at 2 days before serving. It will be quite wobbly, just set enough to be thick and luxurious on the tongue. Use a micro plane grater to grate a little cinnamon and/or nutmeg over each serving.

Perfect Basmati Rice

1 cup of basmati rice
1 1/2 cups of just-boiled water
2 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 teaspoon salt

Wash the rice in a few changes of cold water, until the water runs clear. Let it soak in a bowl of cold water for at least 20 minutes.

Put the kettle on to boil.

Put the oil into a wide-bottomed, lidded frying pan on medium heat. Add the drained rice and the salt, stirring a couple of times so as to coat each grain in the oil.

Pour in the boiling water and bring the rice to a fierce boil, then pop the lid on and turn the heat down to a simmer.

Leave to cook for 10 minutes without lifting the lid. If you have a clear lid, you’ll see craters start to form in the rice where the water is bubbling through. Over time the number of bubbles will reduce, which is a sign that the water is being absorbed. If you’re worried about there not being enough water, you can tip the pan. If the rice slides, you will know there’s still water left on the bottom.

When the 10 minutes is up, turn the heat off and let the rice and let the rice rest for a further 10 minutes.

Just before serving, dot the rice with a couple teaspoons of butter if you like, and gently fluff it up it up with a fork.

Bengali Orange Lentils with Cilantro and Tomatoes

3/4 cup split orange lentils
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 medium-sized Roma tomatoes, chopped (or 1 cup of drained chopped tomatoes from a can)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 green Serrano chiles, tops removed, cut in half lengthwise
3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed
1 small onion, diced (about 1/4 cup)
2 teaspoons ghee or clarified butter
1 1/2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
1 or 2 dried red chiles
Torn cilantro, for garnish

In a large pot, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add in the orange lentils, turmeric, salt, tomatoes, ginger, and green chiles. Cover the lentils, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. For a less spicy dish, add the green chiles about 15 minutes into the cooking process.

Turn of the heat and mix well. You should have a smooth, bright yellow batch of lentils, with just a hint of integrity.

Heat the oil in a separate pot, add in the onions and cook for about 6 to 7 minutes, until wilted soft and flecked golden. Add the clarified butter and the cumin seeds and the dried red chilies to the same pan (with the oil) and cook for about a minute, until the cumin seeds darken.

Pour the seasoned oil and onion mixture over the lentils. Add some of the lentils into the tempering pan to sop up any remaining bit of flavored oil, then stir back into the larger pot. This is the process of creating the seasoning and tempering the lentils.

Garnish with torn cilantro. Serve with steaming hot rice or freshly made flatbreads.

Cherry Clafoutis

1 1/4 pounds (570 grams) sweet cherries
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract (otpional)
1/2 cup (100 grams) plus 3 tablespoons (38 grams) sugar, divided
1 1/3 cups (330 milliliters) milk
Softened butter, for preparing the baking dish

Heat the oven to 375° F (190° C). Grease a 2-quart shallow baking dish liberally with butter.

Stem and pit the cherries and lay them in a single layer in the baking dish.

Working with a stand blender or an immersion blender and a bowl, blend the eggs, flour, extracts, 1/2 cup sugar, and milk together until smooth.

Pour the batter over the cherries and sprinkle with remaining 3 tablespoons sugar.

Bake the clafoutis until the custard is just set; a knife poked in the center should emerge relatively clean after about 45 minutes.

Serve the clafoutis warm, at room temperature or cold. It can be made up to a day in advance and refrigerated overnight.

Chocolate Mousse

3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
pinches salt
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar, divided
3/4 cup heavy cream, chilled

Melt the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl placed over a small pot of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

Remove bowl from water, add the egg yolks, and whisk until smooth.

Using an electric beater, beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt until you have soft peaks. Gradually add 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, beating constantly, until whites are glossy with medium-firm peaks.

Use a spatula to fold 1/4 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Then fold the remaining whites into the chocolate until just incorporated, being careful not to overmix or deflate the mixture.

Divide mousse among 4 bowls. Cover and chill until set, about 4 hours (and up to 1 day in advance).

When ready to serve, beat the cream with the remaining teaspoon of sugar until soft peaks form. Spoon over mousse, sprinkle with chocolate shavings, and eat.

Sauce Vierge

3 large, very ripe tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 whole, peeled garlic cloves, lightly smashed
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh herbs (any combination of chives, tarragon, parsley, basil, chervil, basil, cilantro)
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or to taste)
Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Pinch of ground coriander (optional)

Roughly chop the tomatoes (peel and seed them first if you like).

Mix with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl, cover, and leave to sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours; alternately, mix the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer the sauce very slowly over low heat for 30 minutes.

Taste and adjust the seasoning, remove the cloves of garlic, and serve warm or room temperature, over fish, pasta, chicken, or anything else summer throws at you.