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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Lemon Green Beans with Almond Breadcrumbs

1/2 cup blanched and slivered almonds
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Flaky sea salt
Pepper
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed

Lightly toast almonds in a skillet over medium heat. Let cool, then transfer to a food processor and grind to the consistency of breadcrumbs.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add almonds, breadcrumbs, garlic, and lemon zest and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and golden. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Set aside.

Place lemon juice in a small bowl and slowly whisk in the remaining olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain green beans, return to the pot, and toss with the lemon juice and olive oil vinaigrette.

To serve, arrange green beans on a platter, drizzling with vinaigrette left at the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle almond and breadcrumb mixture on top.

Sour Cream and Balsmic Whipped Sweet Potatoes

3 to 4 pounds sweet potatoes (4 to 5 medium potatoes), baked and peeled
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Mash the still-warm sweet potatoes until smooth in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar, sour cream, vinegar, and salt. Stir to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Make ahead: The sweet potatoes can be baked up to 5 days in advance and stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Peel and mash the potatoes, then reheat over medium-low heat on the stovetop when ready to finish and serve.

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Strawberries with Swedish Cream

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
Sugar or honey to taste
1 tablespoon any liqueur, like Cointreau or amaretto (optional)
1 quart strawberries, washed, hulled, and halved or quartered, if necessary

Whip the sweet cream until it holds soft peaks, then fold it into the sour cream; add sugar to taste and liqueur if you like.

Put the berries in four to six bowls or stemmed glasses and top with the cream. If desired, garnish with a leaf of fresh mint.

No-Bake White Chocolate Cheesecake with Strawberries

CRUST
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (7 ounces)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of fine sea salt

FILLING
7 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons strawberry jam mixed with 1 teaspoon hot water
Quartered strawberries, for garnish

MAKE THE CRUST
In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs with the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until evenly moistened. Press the crumbs over the ?bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan. Freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.

MEANWHILE, MAKE THE FILLING
In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the white chocolate on high power in 10-second intervals until just melted. Let cool slightly.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the cream cheese with the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla bean paste and orange and lemon zests until smooth. Gradually beat in the white chocolate. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl.

Wipe out the bowl of the stand mixer and add the cream to it. Attach the whisk and beat the cream at high speed until firm peaks form. Stir one-third of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture, then fold in the remaining whipped cream until no streaks remain. Spread the cheesecake filling over the chilled crust in an even layer. Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least ?3 hours or overnight.

Unmold the cheesecake. Top with the strawberry jam and garnish with quartered strawberries. Cut the cake into wedges and serve.

MAKE AHEAD
The cheesecake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Top with the jam and strawberries before serving.

No-Bake Ricotta Cheesecake with Strawberries

CRUST
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cups packed graham cracker crumbs (10 to 12 whole crackers)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground ginger
Pinch of cinnamon

FILLING
1 pound fresh ricotta cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground ginger

TOPPINGS
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup honey

MAKE THE CRUST
In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the sugar over moderately low heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes. In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs with the salt, ginger and cinnamon. Stir in the melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the side of a 9-inch fluted tart pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour.

Advertisement
MAKE THE FILLING
In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the ricotta with the cream cheese, agave nectar, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and ginger just until smooth. Using a spatula, spread the filling in the chilled crust. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours.

MEANWHILE, PREPARE THE TOPPINGS
In a medium bowl, toss the strawberries with the sugar and lemon juice. Let stand at room temperature, stirring once or twice, until the berries are juicy and slightly softened, about 30 minutes.

MEANWHILE, PREPARE THE TOPPINGS
Warm the honey over moderately low heat for 10 minutes. Strain the honey into a bowl, discarding the seeds; let cool.

MEANWHILE, PREPARE THE TOPPINGS
Cut the cheesecake into wedges, top with the strawberries and honey and serve.

MAKE AHEAD
The cheesecake can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. The honey can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.

Roast Pork with Mustard, Shallots, and Carrots

1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup whole-grain mustard
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
One 3-pound boneless pork loin roast, trimmed of all fat
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound baby carrots, peeled
16 large shallots, peeled
1/2 cup dry white wine
12 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 1/4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

In a small bowl, whisk the Dijon and whole-grain mustards with the grated lemon zest, thyme and butter. Set 2 tablespoons of the mustard mixture aside. Season the pork with salt and pepper and spread the rest of the mustard mixture all over it. Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours or refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350;. In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, blanch the carrots for 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the carrots to a bowl. Add the shallots to the saucepan and cook for 4 minutes. Drain and halve the shallots lengthwise and add to the carrots. Add the wine, garlic, crushed red pepper, 1/4 cup of the stock and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the vegetables and toss well. Spread the vegetables around the edge of a shallow roasting pan, setting the shallots cut sides down. Leave enough room in the center for the pork.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the pork loin and cook over moderately high heat until browned on 2 sides, about 6 minutes total. Nestle the pork in the vegetables and roast for about 45 minutes. Turn the pan 180 degrees, add 1/2 cup of the stock and roast for about 20 minutes longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 140;

Transfer the pork to a board. Roast the vegetables on the bottom shelf for 15 minutes longer, until very tender; transfer to a bowl and keep warm. Set the roasting pan over moderately high heat, add the remaining 1/2 cup of stock and simmer for about 1 minute, scraping up the browned bits. Add the vinegar and bring to a simmer. Off the heat, whisk in the reserved 2 tablespoons of mustard and season with salt and pepper. Slice the pork and serve with the vegetables and sauce.

Drop Strawberry Shortcakes

SHORTCAKES

2 1/4 cups (295 grams) all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons (40 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
6 tablespoons (85 grams or 3 ounces) unsalted butter, cold, cut into chunks
2 large egg yolks
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (205 ml) heavy cream
3 tablespoons (35 grams) raw or turbinado sugar

TO FINISH

1 pound (455 grams) strawberries or mixed berries, hulled and halved if large
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar, or more to taste
1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice (optional)
1 cup (235 ml) heavy or whipping cream

Make shortcakes: Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, granulated sugar, and salt until thoroughly combined. Add butter and using your fingertips or a pastry blender, break it into small bits, the largest should be no bigger than a small pea.

In a small bowl, whisk yolks with a splash of cream, then pour rest of cream in and whisk to combine. Pour into butter-flour mixture and use a rubber spatula to mix and mash it together into one cohesive dough.

Divide dough into 6 (for large, 3 1/2 to 3 3/4-inch wide and up to 2-inch tall) shortcakes or 8 smaller ones. Do this by pressing the dough somewhat flat into the bottom of the bowl (to form a circle) and using a knife to divide it into pie-like wedges.

Place raw or turbinado sugar in a small bowl. Roll each wedge of shortcake into a ball in your hands and roll it through the raw/turbinado sugar, coating it in all but a small area that you should leave bare. (The sugar underneath the shortcakes will burn, so better to leave it off.)

Place it, bare spot down, on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining wedges of dough. Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly golden all over. Let cool completely on tray or on a cooling rack.

While cooling, prepare fruit and cream: Mix berries, 2 tablespoons sugar (more or less to taste), and lemon juice, if desired, in a bowl and let macerate so that the juices run out.

In a larger bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar to taste, or leave unsweetened, if that’s your preference.

To serve: Carefully split each cooled shortcake with a serrated knife. Spoon berries and their juices over bottom half. Heap generously with whipped cream. Place shortcake “lid” on top. Eat immediately and don’t forget to share.

Do ahead: Shortcakes keep well for a day at room temperature. I prefer to keep them uncovered. I found on the second day, they were a little more firm but not half-bad, but they’re definitely “best” on day one.

Balsamic Vegetable Kebabs

For the Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon fresh juice from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
2 teaspoons DIjon mustard
2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Skewers:

1 large zucchini, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise, and cut into 3/4-inch slices
1 large yellow squash, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise, and cut into 3/4-inch slices
1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch cubes and separated into 3-layer segments
2 medium red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1-inch squares
1 pint grape tomatoes

For the Vinaigrette: Whisk together balsamic vinegar, oil, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, and thyme in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Place all vegetables in a large bowl, add vinaigrette, and toss to coat.

For the Skewers: Skewer vegetables, alternating between zucchini, yellow squash, red onion, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Reserve any remaining vinaigrette in bowl.

Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill skewers, turning, until vegetables are browned around the edges and beginning to soften, 5-8 minutes total. Transfer skewers to platter and spoon on reserved vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

Halloumi and Vegetable Kebabs

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon, plus 1 additional lemon cut into wedges for serving
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound halloumi cheese, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 medium zucchini, cut into into 1/2-inch rounds
2 medium red onions, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 pint grape tomatoes
Wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes prior to use
Tzatziki, for serving (optional)
Pita, warmed, for serving (optional)

Whisk together oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, oregano, and mint in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add cheese, zucchini, onion, and tomatoes, and toss to combine.

Alternatively thread cheese, zucchini, onion, and tomatoes on skewers.

Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill skewers over direct heat until cheese browns and zucchini has slightly softened, 3-5 minutes per side. Remove skewers from the grill to a serving platter. Squeeze lemon wedges over skewers and serve immediately with tzatziki and warm pita.

Strawberry Freezer Jam

1 box of Pomona’s Pectin
4-5 cups pureed or crushed strawberries, about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of strawberries (crush or puree to desired consistency, I like the mixture fairly smooth)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (or honey, see note above)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cups boiling water

Take out the small white packet of calcium powder and measure 1/2 teaspoon into a jar or container with a lid. Pour in 1/2 cup water. Shake well; set aside.
Add the sugar and lemon juice to the strawberries and stir well.
In a blender, combine the boiling water and 1 tablespoon of pectin (in the large white packet). Process until smooth.
Add the warm pectin mixture to the strawberries and mix to combine. The mixture will start to jell and thicken.
Shake the calcium water to recombine and measure out 4 teaspoons; add to the jam. Stir well. (Extra calcium water can be stored in the refrigerator for months.)
Portion the jam into containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal with a lid. Store in the freezer (for up to a year) or in the refrigerator (for several weeks).
NOTES:

This recipe has only been tested and made using Pomona’s Pectin; other brands of pectin will not work the same in this recipe. I’ve never made the jam with all honey (although you can); but half sugar/half honey is delicious. And speaking of sweetener, you can cut the sugar down even more if you like, the minimum being 3/4 cup sugar or 1/2 cup honey.

Following the recipe below, you’ll have leftover pectin and calcium powder, simply fold down the tops of the packet or place in a small bag and store it in the Pomona’s box to use later. It won’t spoil. One box of Pomona’s Pectin will make three batches of the recipe below (so about 8-9 pints of jam, depending on amount of sweetener used). This recipe can be doubled. I use my food processor to puree the strawberries and it makes adding/mixing in the pectin and calcium water simple, too.

Strawberry Ice Cream

30 ounces (1 quart plus a little extra) fresh strawberries, divided (see note above)
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
4 tablespoons 80-proof liquor such as vodka or, preferably, Cointreau
2 cups half and half
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
Scant drops of lemon juice, if needed

Hull and quarter 6 ounces (about 1 cup) strawberries, then slice quarters crosswise into very thin pieces. In a mixing bowl, combine strawberries with 1/2 cup sugar and alcohol and let stand in refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Hull remaining strawberries and purée at high speed in a blender until very smooth, about 30 seconds. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to filter out all seeds and fibers, then measure and reserve 1 1/2 cups purée. Extra purée, if there is any, can be put to another use.

In a clean mixing bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups strawberry purée with half and half, corn syrup, and remaining 3/4 cup sugar until fully combined. Add salt to taste, and, if mixture is too sweet, a few drops of lemon juice.

Chill in refrigerator or ice bath until base is very cold, at least 45°F, then churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. In the last minute of churning, retrieve strawberry mix-ins from the refrigerator, strain off syrup, and add mix-ins to the churn; reserve strawberry syrup for another use (it makes a great daiquiri). Transfer ice cream to airtight container and chill in freezer for at least 4 hours before serving.

Creamy Cucumber and Potato Salad

2 pounds small to medium Red Bliss potatoes (about 12)
Kosher salt
1/3 cup crème fraîche or mayonnaise
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup or 2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup canola oil, plus more for brushing
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1/2 cup chopped parsley plus 1 teaspoon minced parsley
Freshly ground pepper
1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion

In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and simmer over moderately low heat until just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and let cool completely, then cut them in half lengthwise.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the crème fraîche, vinegar, corn syrup, mustard, celery seeds and garlic. Gradually whisk in the 1/4 cup of oil. Stir in the crushed red pepper, oregano and 1 teaspoon of minced parsley and season the dressing with salt and pepper.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Generously brush the potatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the potatoes, cut side down, over moderately high heat, turning once, until lightly charred and hot, 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.

Toss the potatoes with the dressing and season them with salt and pepper. Fold in the cucumber, red onion and the 1/2 cup of chopped parsley and serve.