Sichuan Dry Fried Green Beans

INGREDIENTS

Sauce

2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
Stir fry

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound (450 grams) green beans, tough ends removed
(Optional) 1/2 pound (220 grams) ground pork (*Footnote 1)
(Optional) 3 tablespoons Sichuan pickled mustard greens (Sui Mi Ya Cai) (*Footnote 2)
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon whole Szechuan peppercorn
3 dried chili peppers (*Footnote 3)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside. Dry the green beans thoroughly before cooking to prevent oil splatter.

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add the green beans and stir to coat well with oil. Spread the beans to prevent them from overlapping, as much as possible. Flip every 15 seconds or so. Cook and stir until the surface is mostly brown and withered, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn to medium heat if the pan starts to smoke too much. Remove the pan from the stove. Transfer the green beans to a plate and set aside. (*Footnote 4)

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the Sichuan peppercorns to the pan. Cook over medium heat until the peppercorns turn dark. Scoop out and save for later. (*Footnote 5)

Add the ground pork, Sichuan pickled mustard greens, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook and chop the pork to separate it into small pieces. When the surface of the pork turns golden, add the dried chili pepper, garlic, and ginger. Stir a few seconds to release the fragrance. Add back the green beans and pour the sauce over them. Cook and stir until the sauce is mostly absorbed, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove the pan from the stove and taste a green bean. If it’s not salty enough, add a pinch more salt, return the pan to the stove, and stir to mix well. Transfer everything to a plate.
Serve hot on top of rice as a main, or as a side.

NOTES

The purpose of ground pork is to add flavor, although I did use a bit more pork in this recipe to make the dish substantial enough to serve as a main. You can replace it with ground chicken or ground beef, or skip it altogether for a side dish. If you choose to skip the ground meat, I highly recommend you add 2 more tablespoons of the Sichuan pickled mustard greens to enhance the flavor. If you do not have Sichuan pickled mustard greens, adding a bit of chicken bouillon, 2 tablespoons of fermented black beans, or 1 tablespoon of fermented chili bean paste (Doubanjiang) will work too.

Sichuan pickled mustard greens add savory and sweetness to the dish, making it extra rich. You can double the pickles and skip the salt to make the dish extra fragrant. If you do not have pickled mustard greens, 2 tablespoons of fermented black beans, or 1 tablespoon of fermented chili bean paste (Doubanjiang) will work great, too.

The dried chili peppers add a fragrance and smokiness to the dish but not much in terms of heat. If you want the dish to be a bit spicy, break apart the chili peppers before adding them.
Alternatively, you could use a pair of tongs to remove charred beans and transfer them to a plate. This way, the beans will be browned more evenly without overcooking.

For the cooked Sichuan peppercorns, drain the oil with kitchen paper towel and ground them to powder. You can use them on the cooked green beans to add a zing or add to other dishes such as noodles etc.

Thai Spicy Chicken and Holy Basil Fried Rice

1/2 lb. boneless chicken, cut into small bite-size pieces
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3-4 shallots, thinly sliced (or substitute with a small onion)
2-3 cups young Asian broccoli
2 jalapeno, serrano or fresno hot chilli peppers
4 cups cold cooked leftover rice
3-4 Tbs. peanut oil
2 tsp. black soy sauce – the semi-sweet kind (or substitute with regular soy plus sugar)
2 Tbs. fish sauce (nahm bplah), or to desired saltiness
1+ cups basil leaves and flowers
Liberal sprinkling of powdered white pepper
1 lime, cut into four wedges

Prepare the ingredients where instructed above. For the Asian broccoli, cut the stem ends at a very slanted angle into thin strips about 1 1/2 inches long and the leafy portion in segments about the same length. Keep the stemy pieces separate from the leafy pieces.

Slice the chilli peppers into half circles or short slivers; do not remove the seeds if you wish a spicier fried rice (skip if you don’t want your fried rice to be spicy).

Crumble and break up the cold leftover rice so that the grains are no longer stuck together in big chunks. (If you do not have leftover rice, cook rice earlier in the day and cool completely before frying. Freshly cooked rice makes mushy fried rice if used when it is still warm.) Set aside.

Heat a wok over high heat until hot. Swirl in the oil to coat its surface and wait a few seconds for the oil to heat.

Add the chopped garlic, followed a few seconds later with the chicken. Stir-fry half a minute, or until the chicken begins to lose its raw pink color.

Toss in the sliced shallots and chillies. Stir and follow 15 seconds later with the broccoli stems. Stir-fry another 20 seconds before adding the leaves. Toss until leaves are partially wilted, then add the rice and toss well with all the ingredients in the wok.

Continue to stir-fry until the rice is well coated with the oil and has softened and begun to brown. Sprinkle evenly with some black soy sauce, enough to lightly color the grains. Stir some more, then sprinkle with fish sauce to the desired saltiness. Stir-fry until the broccoli is cooked to your liking, preferably still crisp and a vibrant green color.

Toss in the basil and stir quickly for a few seconds to wilt and mix in with the rice. Sprinkle with white pepper. Stir well and transfer to serving plate(s).

Serve with a wedge of fresh lime for each serving. Squeeze the juice over the rice, as desired, before eating. Serves 2-3 as a one-dish meal.

Thai Zucchini and Carrot Salad

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. packed light brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red Thai chile, minced
3 large zucchini, julienned
1 large carrot, julienned
1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves
1/4 cup packed mint leaves
1/4 cup unsalted, dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

In a large bowl, whisk the lime juice with the fish sauce, oil, sugar, garlic, and chile. Add the zucchini, carrot, cilantro, mint, and peanuts, and toss to combine. Transfer the salad to a bowl to serve.

Burmese Tomato Salad

250 grams tomatoes (approx. 2-3 medium), cut into bite size chunks
1 shallot, medium, thinly sliced
20 grams garlic, peeled
5 grams green chilis (Thai bird chilis), roughly chopped
15 grams roasted peanuts (Planters work just fine), coarsely crushed. Choose your weapon to crush: mortar and pestle, rolling pin, can of soup.
1-2 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced into hair-like shreds
1 handful cilantro, leaves and stems, chopped
1/2 tablespoon chickpea flour (also called gram flour or besan), toasted. Easily found in Indian stores, Asian stores, or other specialty stores.
2 tablespoons “tep say an lien” or crisp-fried, seasoned tiny shrimp (easily found in Asian stores in the ready to eat snacks aisle)
1 tablespoon peanut oil or vegetable oil
pinches kosher salt to taste

Begin by toasting 1/2 a cup of chickpea flour in a cast iron pan or skillet set on medium heat. Keep stirring every 2 minutes or so. At the 7-8 minute mark, it’ll start to change color and your nose will start to pick up a wonderful, nutty aroma. At this point, stir every 30 seconds or so for an additional 3-4 minutes, until it resembles the color of finely powdered graham crackers. Remove pan off the heat and let cool. Store in an airtight container and use any extra in Burmese-style vegetable salads or as a thickener/base in soups and curries.

Next, put garlic and green chilis in a blender and pulse a couple of times to get a chunky mix with easily distinguishable pieces of garlic and chili; at no point should it become a paste.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a small wok and cook the garlic-chili blend in it until it turns an even golden brown.
Carefully remove the fried garlic-chili blend gently pressing against the side of the wok as you do, so as to leave most of the oil in the wok. Wait for the wok to cool down a bit.

Next, add a 1/2 tablespoon of toasted chickpea flour into the residual oil in the wok and stir it in to instantly form an emulsified dressing of sort. Follow with tomatoes, shallot, kaffir lime leaves, and cilantro and give it a good mix. At this point, you can stick it into the refrigerator for a couple of hours until ready to eat.

This salad can be enjoyed at room temperature or cold. Remember to salt only when ready to eat. After salting, garnish with fried garlic-chili blend, crushed peanuts, and crisp-fried dried shrimp.

Pesto all Trapanese (Sicilian Almond Pesto)

3 medium cloves garlic
Kosher salt
2 ounces toasted blanched almonds (60g; about 1/2 cup); see note
35 large basil leaves (about 4 sprigs, weighing 25g total)
2 to 4 mint leaves (optional)
3 1/2 ounces (100g) grated cheese, preferably a milder aged pecorino or a 50/50 mix of Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
1 pound (450g) plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 pound (450g) linguine

If Using a Mortar and Pestle: Crush the garlic in the mortar with a pinch of salt to form a paste. Add almonds and beat and crush into a rough paste. Work in basil leaves and mint (if using), pounding and crushing into tiny bits. Smash in cheese, followed by tomatoes and olive oil. The final sauce should be a rough paste. Season with salt.

If Using a Food Processor: Pulse garlic with almonds until roughly chopped. Add basil, mint (if using), cheese, tomatoes, and olive oil and process to a rough paste. Season with salt.

Transfer two-thirds of the sauce to a large heatproof serving bowl.

In a pot of salted boiling water, cook linguine until al dente. Transfer pasta to serving bowl, reserving some of the pasta-cooking water. Toss well, adding more olive oil and pasta-cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time each, until a creamy sauce forms that’s not dry but also not soupy. Season with salt, if needed. If the sauce gets too dry at any point, simply add more pasta-cooking water to loosen it.

Serve, spooning remaining sauce on top of each portion and adding more cheese as desired.

Caramelized Coconut Green Beans

Kosher salt
1 pound green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen coconut chunks, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 red Thai chiles, split lengthwise
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and cracked
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans; cook until bright green and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain beans and rinse under cold water until chilled; pat dry with a paper towel.?

Melt coconut oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add coconut slices, and cook until browned on one side, about 4 minutes. Stir to loosen coconut; add garlic, mustard seeds, and peppercorns. Cook, stirring often, until mustard seeds pop, about 30 seconds. Stir in onion and chiles. Cook, stirring often, until onion and coconut are golden around edges, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add green beans to skillet, and fold to coat. Cook until green beans are heated through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a platter, and top with coriander seeds and flaky sea salt.

Thai Corn Salad

1 to 2 red Thai bird’s eye chiles (depending on your tolerance for heat), stemmed, seeded and cut into ½ -inch slices
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 ounces green beans, cut into
1-inch pieces (3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, or more as needed
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 or 3 limes)
2 medium tomatoes, cored and cut into 8 wedges each
3 medium carrots, coarsely grated
2 1/2 cups cooked corn kernels (from 3 cobs; see NOTE)
1 3/4 cups roasted, unsalted cashews

Combine the chiles (to taste) and garlic in a gallon zip-top bag and zip it almost all the way closed, leaving an inch or two unzipped. Use a rolling pin to pound the chiles and garlic through the plastic and form a rough paste. Add the beans and pound briefly to crush them a little. Add the brown sugar, soy sauce and lime juice.

Add the tomatoes and pound briefly, just to flatten them. Stir in the carrots and corn; pound gently, just to help the flavors incorporate. Taste, and add more soy sauce as needed.

Transfer to a serving bowl, top with the cashews and serve right away.

NOTE: For an easy way to briefly cook corn that makes it easy to husk and de-silk, dip the three cobs, husks and all, in water (just to moisten them). Microwave on HIGH for 4 to 5 minutes, until very hot. Remove, let cool for a bit, then use a sharp knife to cut crosswise through the husk and cob an inch or two from the wide end (opposite from the end with the tassel of silk). Hold the silk end, and push the corn out. To cut off the kernels, let the cobs cool until easy to handle. Cut the cobs in half crosswise, stand each half on one end and cut off the kernels from each side.

Roasted Tomato Salsa

2 pounds Roma tomatoes (or similar), cut in half lengthwise
1 medium white onion, cut into six wedges
1 large garlic clove, halved
a couple pinches of finely ground sea salt
2-3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium dried guajillo chile pepper, soaked in boiling water until softened, and then drained
1 -2 chipotles in adobo sauce (canned)
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

Heat oven to 400F degrees. Now gently tossed the tomatoes, onions, garlic, and salt with the olive oil in a large bowl. After they are nicely coated arrange in a single layer, tomatoes cut-side facing up, across a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the tomatoes start to collapse and the onions begin to caramelize a bit. Remove from the oven.

Puree the chiles (both the guajillo and chipotles) with the roasted garlic and two roasted tomato halves. Chop the remaining tomatoes by hand (once they’ve cooled a bit). Chop and add the onions as well. Season with salt generously, and stir in the cilantro.

Pasta alla Norma

1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes
Kosher salt
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
12 ounces penne rigate or mezze rigatoni pasta
8 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pints grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
2 ounces ricotta salata, shredded

Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the upper-middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment. In a large bowl, toss the eggplant with 1½ teaspoons salt and 4 tablespoons of the oil. Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and roast until browned and tender, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring once.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Stir in the pasta and 2 tablespoons salt; cook until the pasta is al dente. Reserve about ½ cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.

While the eggplant roasts and the water heats, in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and 1½ teaspoons salt, then cover and cook, occasionally shaking the pan, until the tomatoes begin to release their liquid, about 1 minute. Stir in the vinegar, then use the back of a large spoon to crush the tomatoes. Cover, reduce to medium and cook, stirring, until the mixture breaks down into a lightly thickened sauce, 8 to 9 minutes.

Peach Bread Pudding with Warm Brown Sugar Sauce

Bread Pudding:
1/2 a loaf of day-old unsliced bakery bread
3-4 peaches, peeled and sliced
3 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla or vanilla bean paste
4 tsp white sugar, for topping

Brown Sugar Sauce:
1/4 cup salted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350° and grease 4 individual dishes or an 8×8-inch baking pan. Set on to a baking sheet and set aside.

Peel peaches and cut in to slices. Set aside.

Slice bread in to thin 3/4-inch slices or cube. If using slices, you’ll want your bread pieces to be about an inch higher than the height of your baking dish, so figure out how tall they should be and cut off the bottom of the slices to that height. (*You won’t need the part you cut off the bottom, but you can use them by cutting them in to cubes and making some croutons with them!). Then cut each of the trimmed slices in half from top to bottom to make two pieces. Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1/2 cup white sugar, cream, milk and vanilla.

Place your bread slices in to your baking dishes (or disby slightly overlapping them (crust side facing the side of the disand allowing them to tilt back a bit. If using cubes, place in your dish or dishes.

Place some peach slices in the gaps between the bread. Pour some of the egg mixture over the bread and in to the dishes, just until it reaches the top edge of the dish or until it nears but doesn’t cover the top of the bread.

Allow to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes, then top up with remaining egg mixture, just until it reaches the edge of the dish again or near the top of the bread. You may not need it all.

Lightly brush the top of the bread with a bit of the egg mixture, then sprinkle a heaped 1 tsp. of white sugar over the top of each dish, especially on the top crust edge.

Place dishes on baking sheet (to catch any overflow!) in to preheated 350° oven and bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden and set. (*You may want to check at 25-30 minutes in case it’s browning too quickly, in which case, just lay a sheet of aluminum foil over top while it finishes baking.

Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before eating. If not eating right away, allow to cool for 10 minutes, then cover and refrigerate.

While puddings are baking, make the brown sugar sauce by melting butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar, cream and a pinch of salt and stir to combine.

Allow to come to a boil, stirring regularly. Once it comes to a boil, cook another few minutes, stirring regularly, then remove from heat and pour in to a bowl or pitcher.

Cover and refrigerate if not using right away. Can be re-warmed in the microwave/saucepan to serve.

Serve puddings at warm, at room temperature or slightly re-warmed in the microwave, topped with warm brown sugar sauce (*You’ll want to place your small dishes on a plate, as the brown sugar sauce will most likely spill over the sides when poured on top).

Peaches and Cream Cake

2/3 cup white sugar (scant 2/3 cup)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
6 Tbsp whole milk at room temperature
6-7 fresh peaches

Grease an 8 or 9-inch springform pan (if you don’t have a springform, use a regular round 8 or 9-inch cake pan, but note that you will not be able to remove in one piece from this type of pan). If you’d like to later remove the cake from the base, be sure to line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Sprinkle the inside of the greased pan with a bit of brown sugar. Wrap the outside of the springform pan in a piece of aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 355° F.

Peel peaches and cut flesh off sides, then cut in to chunks (don’t have to be too small). Set aside.

Melt the butter and let it cool. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.

In the meantime, whisk the eggs with the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the vanilla and (coolemelted butter until combined. Add the milk and then the flour sifted with baking powder. Gently fold peaches into the batter.

Pour in to the prepared pan. (*You’ll know you have enough peaches if they poke above the batter when you pour it in the pan. If not, maybe add another). If you like, you can sprinkle the top with white sugar before baking for a sweet top crust.

Bake in preheated 355° oven for 50-55 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely in the pan. Once cooled, refrigerate in the pan if you are making ahead. To eat right away, run a knife around the outside and remove the outer ring. Slice and serve cool, at room temperature or slightly re-warmed, garnished with a dusting of icing sugar or dress it up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.

Peaches and Cream Crumble Cake

For the cake:
2 cups cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cups white sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter cold and cut into 6-8 pieces
3 medium peaches peeled and cut into thin slices
2 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream 35%, table cream (18%) or half and half cream (10%)
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Pinch salt

For the crumble topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
Icing/Confectioner’s Sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 360° F. and grease an 8-inch springform pan. If you want to easily remove the cake from the base to a serving platter easily, line the bottom with a round of parchment paper, as well. Set on a baking sheet and set aside.

Make the cake: In a food processor, add the flour, sugar and baking powder. Pulse a couple of times to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse until the butter is combined with the flour. You’ll end up with a very dry mixture, like sand almost.

Sprinkle about 3/4 of this mixture over the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Don’t press it down at all, but move it around a bit so it goes up the sides just a bit. Scatter the prepared peach slices over the crumbs (avoiding the sides), then sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the top. Again, do not press down. Leave it as is. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, sour cream, brown sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

When cake base has baked 20 minutes, remove from oven and carefully pour the egg mixture over the top. Return cake to oven and cook for a further 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the crumble topping. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Add melted butter to the mixture, just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the mixture comes together in large clumps. Place the bowl into the freezer until needed.

When the cake has baked for a further 25 minutes, remove from oven. (The egg mixture should have set somewhat so that the crumbs won’t sink into the cake. If it is too liquidy still, return to the oven for a few more minutes.) Evenly sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top. Return to the oven and bake a further 25-30 minutes. Note that the cake will be sunken in the middle, even when it’s “done”. As long as it’s not jiggly and a tester inserted in the centre comes out with just crumbs (not liquid), it’s ready to take out of the oven. It should have bake about 70-75 total, including all 3 steps.

Allow to cool in the pan, on a cooling rack, for 10-15 minutes. Run a knife around the outside and carefully remove the outer ring of the springform pan. Allow to cool more before removing from the base.

Dust with powdered/icing sugar, if desired.

Skillet Peach and Blueberry Cake (with other fruit variations)

For the cake batter:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
Pinch nutmeg
1/2 cup butter softened
3/4 cup brown sugar packed
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup sour cream
1 peach peeled, pitted and cut into large chunks
1/2 cup fresh blueberries or a bit more, if you like
For the top of the cake:
2 peaches unpeeled and cut into thin slices
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
Turbinado white or brown sugar, for sprinkling over-top

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the brown sugar until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and sour cream and mix in. Scrape down side of bowl as needed. Add flour mixture and mix until smooth and well combined.

Fold chunks of peach and 1/2 cup blueberries in to the batter, then spread the batter into a greased skillet (10-inch top diameter works well) or a 9-inch cake or springform pan. Arrange peach slices in a circular pattern on top of the batter, around the outside of the cake. Fill the centre with a mound of blueberries.

Bake in pre-heated 350 F. oven for 45-50 minutes, or until deep golden and a tester inserted near the centre comes out clean.

Pickled Peaches with Burrata

3 ripe peaches cut into thin slices
1/4 small red onion cut into thin slices
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups mixed greens Spring Mix, arugula, spinach etc.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. burrata or fresh mozzarella cut or torn into pieces

In a large bowl, combine vinegar and sugar. Add red onion slices with a little salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Allow to stand at room temperature about 10 minutes.

Add peach slices and allow them to “pickle” for a bit as well. Let sit in vinegar from 1-5 minutes, depending on how pickled you’d like them. Somewhere around 3 minutes gives a nice blend of sweet and sour. Drain off pickling liquid, reserving the liquid.

Add greens to the bowl and drizzle with olive oil and about 2 Tbsp. of the reserved pickling liquid. Toss to combine.

Place salad on plates and place pieces of burrata on top. Season with salt and pepper.

Peach Raspberry Almond Cake

Cake:
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups + 1 1/2 Tbsp self-raising flour
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp ground almonds
1/4 tsp salt omit if you used salted butter
2 ripe but firm peaches cut into 12 large wedges (peeled or not, as you like)
3 1/2 oz. fresh raspberries
1/4 cup flaked almonds

Garnish:
Icing/Confectioners’ sugar

Line a 7×11-inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside. (Alternately, you could use a 9×9-inch baking pan. As cake will be a bit thinner, expect baking time to be a bit less, so adjust accordingly.)

Preheat oven to 355 F.

Prepare your peach wedges by cutting 6 generous wedges from each peach and set aside.

On the stovetop, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Add the sugar, vanilla and eggs and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in the flour, ground almonds and salt.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Lay the peach slices on top 3 wide and 4 long, so that each finished piece of cake with have a full peach slice on top. Scatter the raspberries over-top, then sprinkle with flaked almonds.

Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, then loosely cover top with a piece of aluminum foil. Bake a further 15-20 minutes, or until a tested comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then lift out onto a cooling rack.
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When mostly cooled, cut into 12 squares, dividing the cake into thirds from the short end and quarters along the longer side.

Enjoy slightly warm or allow to cool completely. Serve dusted with icing sugar.

Peach Crisp Buttermilk Biscuits

Topping:
1/4 cup large-flake, old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp butter melted

Biscuits:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp white sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt (3/4 tsp if using salted butter)
1/4 cup butter cold and cut in to 8 pieces
3/4 cup + buttermilk * cold and well shaken
Milk or cream for brushing tops

Filling:
2 medium firm, ripe peaches peeled and diced
1 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Glaze (Optional):
1 cup icing/confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp + milk

Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Prepare topping mixture by combining all ingredients and stirring until moistened. Set aside. Peel and dice peaches and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together well the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add cold butter chunks to flour mixture. Using your fingertips, rub the butter in to the flour mixture until you have coarse crumbs with butter pieces no larger than a pea. Add about 2/3 of the cold buttermilk and using a fork, stir in to mixture until flour. Add more buttermilk, AS NEEDED, until the flour is just evenly moistened (but not wet).

Turn dough out on to floured surface. Gather the dough in to a mound and fold it over on to itself 2 or 3 times, until dough is one moist piece. Form in to a ball. Using a floured hand, press dough down until you have an even 1/2-inch thick piece of dough. Scatter diced peaches over 1/2 of the dough. Dust flour and cinnamon over-top of peaches. Fold the other 1/2 of the dough over the 1/2 with the peaches and press down lightly.

Using a 2-inch cutter, cut rounds from the dough and place on to parchment lined baking sheet, allowing several inches between each biscuit. Take scraps of dough and re-form in to a 1-inch thick piece and cut more. You should get about 6 biscuits. Brush tops of biscuits with a bit of milk or cream. Divide prepared topping mixture evenly on top of biscuits. Sweep away any that falls on the parchment (so it doesn’t burn).

Bake in preheated 425F. oven for 15-17 minutes or until lightly golden and just cooked through. Remove from oven, then remove biscuits from baking sheet on to a cooling rack. Allow to cool slightly, to enjoy warm or cool completely and store in an airtight container.

If you’d like to add the sweet glaze, combine the icing sugar and milk until you have a just pourable consistency. You may need to add more milk. Place a baking sheet under your cooling rack to catch the drips and pour your glaze over-top of the biscuits.

**Make your own buttermilk by adding 2 tsp vinegar or lemon juice to a 3/4 cup milk and allow to stand 5 minutes.

Thai Skirt Steak with Tomatoes (Yam Neua)

1 large shallot, sliced into very thin rings (about 1/3 cup)
3 tablespoons lime juice from 2 limes
4 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, trimmed and cut into 2 to 3 pieces
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups (about 7 ounces) red or yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, plus cilantro sprigs for garnish (optional)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint

In a large bowl, combine the shallots and lime juice and let sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl, combine 2 teaspoons of sugar, the salt, and white pepper.
Pat the steak dry with paper towels, then rub all over with the sugar-salt mixture.

Prepare a grill for very high heat. For a charcoal grill, spread a full chimney of hot coals evenly over half of the grill bed. For a gas grill, set all burners to an even, high flame. Heat the grill until hot, about 5 minutes, then clean and oil the cooking grate.

Meanwhile, add the fish sauce, pepper flakes, and remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar to the shallot-lime juice mixture and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Thinly slice the steak against the grain, then transfer to the bowl along with any accumulated juices.

Add the tomatoes, cilantro, and mint and fold to combine.

Transfer to a platter, garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired, and serve.

Grill the steak (directly over the coals, if using a charcoal grill) until charred all over and cooked to desired doneness, 2 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare (depending on the thickness of the steak). Transfer the steak to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the fish sauce, pepper flakes, and remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar to the shallot-lime juice mixture and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Thinly slice the steak against the grain, then transfer to the bowl along with any accumulated juices.

Add the tomatoes, cilantro, and mint and fold to combine.

Transfer to a platter, garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired, and serve.

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake (Variations with Other Fruits)

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine salt 1/4 tsp less if you using salted butter
6 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 lb strawberries hulled and halved
Confectioners’/icing sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 F. with rack in middle of oven. Grease a 9-inch deep dish pie pan, 9-inch round baking pan or a 10-inch top diameter cast iron skillet. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes. Add the egg, buttermilk and vanilla and mix until blended, about 1 minute. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined.

Remove bowl from mixer and use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl well, mixing in any stray flour. Spoon the batter in to the prepared pan and smooth the top. Arrange the strawberries in a randomly in a single layer on top, with the cut side down.

Bake the cake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325 F. and continue baking for 50-60 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool slightly, then serve warm, with a dusting of confectioners/icing sugar and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if you like.

Notes: Change it up with other fruits as they come in to season.

No buttermilk? Make your own by adding 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice to a scant 1/2 cup regular milk. Let stand for 10 minutes and use in this recipe.

Sichuan Roasted Chili Eggplant (Liang Ban Qie Zi)

1 pound small Asian eggplant
1/2 pound mildly spicy green chilies (er jing tiao, large jalapeno, poblano)
1 tablespoon minced (not pureed) garlic (about 4 medium cloves)
4 tablespoons white rice vinegar
6 tablespoons canola or rapeseed oil
6 tablespoons Chinese light soy sauce
3 tablespoons green Sichuan pepper oil (qing hua jiao or teng jiao oil)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon Maggi seasoning sauce
1 tablespoon chili oil (don’t include flakes)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 green onions, green parts only, thinly sliced
handful cilantro, chopped

Bring water to a boil in a steamer. Cut the eggplant in half horizontally, place in a bowl and carefully place bowl into steamer when water begins to boil. Steam for about 20 minutes. You want the eggplant to be luxuriously soft and creamy. Remove from steamer and let cool, then cut each piece in half vertically and into large bite-size pieces.

While eggplant is steaming, roast the green chilies. This can be done directly over a stovetop fire, in a hot, dry pan or under a broiler. Turn the chilies so that all of the skin gets charred and the chili blackens almost entirely, as larger chilies will need to cook that long to be roasted. Put blackened chilies in a plastic bag and let them sweat for a few minutes so the skin will be easier to remove. When cool, peel the skin off, remove the seeds and dice the chilies into small cubes.

In a bowl or large mixing cup add the garlic and white rice vinegar and let the garlic soak for a few minutes to tame the heat. Then add the other sauce ingredients: oil, soy sauce, Sichuan pepper oil, oyster sauce, Maggi seasoning, chili oil and sugar. Whisk ingredients together until well blended and emulsified. Add diced green chilies to the sauce.

Arrange eggplant pieces in a shallow serving bowl and pour the green chili sauce over them. Garnish with green onion and cilantro. Serve at room temperature.

Sheet Pan Pork Chops with Squash and Potatoes

4 (1-inch-thick) frenched pork loin chops
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
2 medium yellow squash, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 large zucchini, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/2 pound small red potatoes, quartered

Place pork chops in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Whisk lemon juice, oil, garlic, oregano, pepper, and 2 1/2 teaspoons salt; reserve 2 tablespoons marinade. Pour remaining marinade over pork, turning to coat. Chill 1 to 8 hours.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine squash, zucchini, potatoes, and reserved marinade. Spread squash mixture in an even layer on a heavy-duty aluminum foil-lined rimmed sheet pan.

Remove pork from marinade, discarding marinade. Pat dry with paper towels, and place on top of squash mixture.

Bake 25 minutes. Increase temperature to broil, and broil until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 140°F, about 5 minutes. Transfer pork to a serving platter, and cover with foil. Return pan to oven, and broil squash mixture until slightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer squash mixture to a serving bowl; toss with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and serve with pork.