Crispy Spiced Cauliflower Steaks

1/2 of 1 cinnamon stick, broken up
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 cloves
Large pinch of ground cayenne
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt, plus additional, as needed
1 1/3 cups brown- or white-rice flour (about 7 1/3 ounces)
2/3 cup tapioca flour (about 3 2/3 ounces)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from 2 limes)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 large lemon), plus additional lemon wedges, for serving
1 tablespoon grated fresh turmeric (or 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric)
2 small heads cauliflower (about 1 pound each), leaves removed, cut from top to core into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 1/2 to 2 cups coconut oil
1 cup Greek yogurt, for serving (optional)
2 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems, for serving (optional)

Line a baking sheet with a wire rack or paper towels, and set aside.

Finely grind cinnamon, coriander, fennel, peppercorns, cumin and cloves in a spice grinder, spice mill or mortar and pestle.Transfer to a bowl, and stir in cayenne and 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk both flours until combined. Whisk in lime and lemon juices, then gradually whisk in enough water until the mixture is the consistency of thin pancake batter (about 1 1/3 cups). There is no gluten in either flour, so don’t worry about overmixing.

Stir in turmeric and the spice mixture. Taste, and adjust salt as needed.

Working with 1 or 2 steaks at a time, push the cauliflower steaks into the batter, turn to coat and allow to marinate for at least 3 minutes.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium high. Add coconut oil to a depth of 1/3-inch, and heat until hot. Carefully drip a few drops of batter into the oil to test that it’s sufficiently hot. The batter should immediately sizzle and expand. Slip the steaks one at a time directly from the batter into the pan. Don’t overcrowd the pan — the steaks should never touch.

Cook until golden brown on the bottom, 8 to 12 minutes, rotating the steaks around the pan after 6 to 8 minutes to ensure even browning. Use a thin metal spatula to carefully flip the steaks. Continue cooking until the second sides are golden-brown and the cores are tender when pierced with a knife, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer steaks to the prepared baking sheet, and allow to drain. Season with salt. Repeat with the remaining steaks and any remaining smaller pieces of cauliflower, adjusting the heat as needed to prevent the steaks from browning too quickly.

Serve hot or reheat in an oven at 400 degrees until hot and crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a shower of chopped cilantro, if desired. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing on top.

Burrata with Peaches and Tomatoes

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 large tomatoes cut into pieces
2 large peaches cut into pieces
6 ounces burrata cheese cut into pieces
3 tablespoons freshly chopped basil

To make the balsamic reduction, pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer, swirling the pan occasionally, until reduced to about half of the original amount, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, place the tomatoes and peaches on a platter or plate.

Top with burrata cheese chunks and basil.

Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the salad and serve.

Fried Green Tomatoes

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups corn meal
4 green tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
Oil, for frying
Buttermilk dressing, for serving

In a large plastic food-storage bag, mix together the flour, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Place the green tomato slices in the bag and shake until well coated.

Beat together the eggs with the buttermilk until well combined. Place the cornmeal on a plate.

Dip the flour-coated green tomatoes into the egg mixture then lightly dredge in the cornmeal. Place the cornmeal-coated tomatoes on a large plate or sheet. Repeat until all are done.

In a large heavy skillet heat 1/2 inch of oil on medium high to 350°F, about 5 minutes. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the temperature by sticking a wooden spoon into the oil. If it bubbles around the spoon, it should be ready for frying. Line a large plate or sheet with paper towels.

Working in batches, slide the tomatoes into the hot oil and cook for 1 minute then turn and cook for another minute or until golden. Remove with a slotted spatula to drain on the paper-lined plate.

Lightly salt the fried green tomatoes, then serve warm with buttermilk dressing.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Tamarind Dressing

2 large heirloom tomatoes
2 cups cherry tomatoes
4 thai chili peppers, red and yellow color
2 tablespoons whole cilantro leaves, fresh
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder, freshly ground + extra if needed
2 teaspoons tamarind concentrate
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
3 teaspoons dark brown sugar or jaggery crushed
1/4 teaspoon toasted coriander powder, freshly ground (see notes above)
100mL cup water
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Maldon sea salt flakes

Thinly slice the heirloom tomatoes and arrange them on a serving platter. Add the cherry tomatoes over them.
Slice the chili peppers lengthwise in half and arrange them over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the cilantro leaves over the tomatoes.

Take a 500mL mason jar or glass jar with a lid. Add all the ingredients from the tamarind to the olive oil. Close the jar tight with its lid and then shake vigorously until it forms an emulsion. Taste the dressing and adjust seasoning if necessary with salt and pepper.
Drizzle enough dressing over the salad and sprinkle with the Maldon sea salt flakes and/or pepper if needed. Serve immediately.

Green Pea Socca

1 cup green pea flour
1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
6 tablespoons olive oil + a little extra to brush
1 cup water, at room temperature
1/2 cup shallots, thinly sliced into rings
1 tablespoon fresh lemon thyme leaves + a little extra for garnish
1 teaspoon lunu miris or harissa
2 tablespoons asiago cheese, shredded

In a medium sized mixing bowl, add all the ingredients from the green pea flour to the black pepper. Dry whisk to combine. Then add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the water. Whisk to combine to form a smooth slurry. There should be no visible lumps in the batter. Taste the batter and adjust the salt if necessary. Wrap the bowl with cling film or a lid and leave in the refrigerator overnight (maximum up to 48hours). (See notes above)

The next day, place a wire rack on the upper-second level of the oven. Preheat to 450F.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12 inch cast iron pan or oven-safe skillet on medium-high heat. When the oil just starts to smoke, add the shallots and sauté until they brown. This will take around 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Fold the harissa, the lemon thyme leaves, and the browned shallots into the refrigerated pea flour batter using a silicone spatula. Coat the same cast-iron skillet with the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil. Pour the batter on the pan and place it in the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown and the bread begins to release from the sides of the pan.

At this point, carefully remove the pan from the oven and brush the surface very lightly with extra olive oil. Sprinkle the asiago cheese over the surface of the socca. Return the pan to the oven and broil for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cheese is starts to melt and just golden brown on the edges.

Remove the pan from the oven and using a silicone spatula remove the socca by sliding the spatula underneath the sides of the bread. Score and cut the socca into wedges (any size you desire) or strips. Garnish with a little extra lemon thyme if desired and serve warm.

Asian Sweet and Sour Meatballs (Pork or Chicken)

12 oz ground pork or ground chicken
1/2- inch piece peeled ginger finely minced
2 cloves garlic finely minced
1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder optional
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 dashes ground white pepper
Pinch of salt
Oil for pan-frying
1/2 small onion quartered

Sweet and Sour Sauce:
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese rice vinegar or Apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Combine the ground pork or chicken with ginger, garlic, five-spice powder (if using), sesame oil, pepper and salt. Stir to combine well. Wet both hands with some water and shape into 24 meatballs. Set aside.

Heat up a wok or skillet with some oil, pan-fry the meatballs until they turn light to golden brown. Drained them on a plate lined with paper towels.

Clean the wok or skillet. Heat it up with a little bit oil. Add the onion and do a few quick stirs. Add the sweet and sour sauce and cook it until it’s thickened, then add the meatballs. Stir to coat well with the sauce. Dish out and serve immediately.

Maple Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

8 slices bacon, diced
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, frozen
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Drain excess fat; transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.

In a large bowl, combine bacon, flour, cheese, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

Grate butter using the large holes of a box grater. Stir into the flour mixture.

In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk and 4 tablespoons maple syrup. Add to the flour mixture and stir using a rubber spatula until a soft dough forms.

Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Cut out 12 rounds using a 2 to 2 1/2-inch biscuit or cookie cutter. Place biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet; place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Remove biscuits from freezer. Place into oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup and butter.

Serve biscuits warm, brushed with the maple-butter mixture.

Flatbread with Apple, Cheddar, and Arugula

Flatbread Dough: (makes four 5×14-inch flatbreads)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup lukewarm water
1 Tbsp. dry active or instant yeast
1 Tbsp. honey
1/4 cup olive oil

Toppings: (for one 5×14-inch flatbread – increase as necessary)
1 cup grated or crumbled aged white cheddar
1/4 cup cooked diced pancetta or bacon
1/4 – 1/3 of a large apple cored and very thinly sliced (no need to peel) or pear
Handful of fresh baby arugula

In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the flour and salt.

In a two-cup glass measure, combine warm water, yeast and honey. Let stand 5-10 minutes.

Add proofed yeast mixture and olive oil to bowl with flour and salt. Stir into a smooth dough, adding a few more tablespoons of flour, if necessary to make a smooth, moist (but not sticky) dough.

Place into a greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Pre-heat oven to 400° F. with racks in upper third and lower third of oven. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove risen dough to a well-floured surface. Cut dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion on a floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Your flatbread can be any size or shape. If making oblong ones, just be sure they aren’t longer than the length of your baking sheet, so it doesn’t hang over the edge. Somewhere around 5-inches wide to 14-inches long works well.

Place two flatbreads side-by-side onto each baking sheet. Let stand at room temperature for 10 – 15 minutes to rest.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 5 minutes, then switch baking sheets top to bottom and front to back.

*If you have some large bubbles, poke them several times with the point of a sharp knife. Bake another 5-7 minutes, until firm and starting to turn golden in spots.

*Don’t over-brown if you intend to re-bake flatbreads with toppings later on, to avoid over-browning when you bake the second time with toppings.

Remove flatbreads to a cooling rack to cool. (If making cheddar-apple flatbreads immediately, leave oven on and set to 400° and keep baking sheets with parchment handy to re-use)

Once flatbread have cooled a bit, top with cheddar and cooked pancetta/bacon. A little freshly ground black pepper, is nice here.

Arrange thinly sliced apples overtop.

Return to parchment-lined baking sheet and pop back in to the oven for 7-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden and apples have softened. Allow to cool slightly, then top with fresh arugula. Cut into triangles for serving.

Apple Cheddar Drop Biscuits

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup shredded extra-old Cheddar cheese
1 cup grated cored peeled apple
2 Tbsp chopped fresh green onion or parsley (optional)
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425° F.

In large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger pieces. Stir in Cheddar, apple and green onions. Using a fork, stir in milk to form a ragged dough.

Drop by 1/4 cup mounds, 1 1/2 inches apart, onto parchment paper–lined rimless baking sheet. Bake in 425° oven until lightly browned, 13 to 15 minutes.

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 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.

Cheddar Bay Biscuits (Red Lobster Biscuits)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

FOR THE TOPPING

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, garlic powder, salt and cayenne pepper, if using.

In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together buttermilk and butter. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist. Gently fold in cheese.

Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, scoop the batter evenly onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
For the topping, whisk together butter, parsley and garlic powder in a small bowl. Working one at a time, brush the tops of the biscuits with the butter mixture.

Serve immediately.

Bacon Cheddar Chive Biscuits

6 slices bacon, diced
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 ounces shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, frozen
1 3/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Drain excess fat; transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.

In a large bowl, combine bacon, flour, cheese, chives, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

Grate butter using the large holes of a box grater. Stir into the flour mixture.

Add buttermilk and stir using a rubber spatula until a soft dough forms.

Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Cut out 10-12 rounds using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit or cookie cutter.

Place biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet; place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Remove biscuits from freezer. Place into oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve warm.

Feta Dill Biscuits

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lemon zest
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup unsalted butter, frozen
1 3/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

In a large bowl, combine flour, feta, parsley, dill, basil, green onions, lemon zest, baking powder, salt, baking soda and pepper.

Grate butter using the large holes of a box grater. Stir into the flour mixture.

Add buttermilk and stir using a rubber spatula until a soft dough forms.
Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Cut out 10-12 rounds using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit or cookie cutter. Place biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet; place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Remove biscuits from freezer. Place into oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve warm.

Basic Crepes

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups whole milk (10 fluid ounces; 280ml)
1 cup flour (5 ounces; 140g)
1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter or vegetable oil (1/2 ounce; 15ml), plus more for cooking
Pinch kosher salt
1 tablespoon (8g) sugar, if making sweet crepes
1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, chervil, or chives (optional; for savory crepes)

For the Batter: Combine eggs, milk, flour, melted butter or oil, salt, and sugar (if using) in a blender. Start blender on low speed and increase to high. Blend until smooth, about 10 seconds. Add herbs (if using) and pulse to combine. (Alternatively, you can combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk vigorously until smooth.)

To Cook: Heat a 10-inch nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron or carbon steel skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Lightly grease with oil or butter, using a paper towel to wipe out the excess.

Hold the pan’s handle in one hand and pour in 3 to 4 tablespoons (45 to 60ml) batter, swirling and tilting pan immediately to spread batter in a thin, even layer over bottom of pan.

Let cook until top looks dry, about 20 seconds. Using a thin metal or nylon spatula, lift one edge of crepe. Grab that edge with the fingers of both hands and flip crepe. Cook on second side for 10 seconds, then transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining batter. Fill crepes as desired (such as with butter, sugar, and lemon juice; with butter and jam; with ham, cheese, and eggs; or with spinach and feta) and serve. Crepes can also be made ahead and stored, unfilled and wrapped in plastic, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a nonstick pan to serve.

Pasticcini di Mandor (Italian Soft Almond Cookies)

Makes 12-16 biscuits

350g ground almonds
150–200g icing sugar, plus more for dusting
Zest of 1-2 unwaxed lemons
2 medium eggs

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.

In a large bowl, mix together the ground almonds, icing sugar, lemon zest and eggs to form a soft, slightly sticky dough.

Dust your hands with icing sugar, and scoop out a walnut-sized ball of dough. Then gently roll it between your palms. You can also roll it on the work surface as long as it is dusted with icing sugar. Repeat. Put the balls on the baking tray and make an indentation in the centre of each.

As they bake, the biscuits will crack gently. For soft and marzipan-like biscuits bake for 11-12 minutes, for a firmer, chewier biscuit 14-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. They will keep in an airtight tin for a month.

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.

Shortbread 10 Ways

2 cups/250 grams all-purpose flour
2/3 cup/150 grams granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
2 sticks/1 cup/226 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch chunks

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Pulse together flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse to fine crumbs. Pulse a few more times until some of the crumbs start to come together, but don’t overprocess; the dough should be somewhat crumbly. (You can also mix the dough in a bowl using two knives or a pastry cutter.)

Press dough into an even layer in an ungreased 8- or 9-inch-square baking pan, or a 9-inch pie pan. Prick dough all over with a fork. Bake until golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes for the 9-inch square or pie pan, 45 to 50 minutes for the 8-inch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cut into squares, bars or wedges while still warm.

Here are nine variations for the master shortbread recipe above.

Scottish Shortbread: Use 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup white rice flour.

Tender Shortbread: Substitute confectioners’ sugar for the granulated sugar, and 1/3 cup cornstarch for 1/3 cup of flour.

Vanilla Bean Shortbread: Split a vanilla bean in half lengthwise and use the back of a knife to scrape out the pulp. Pulse the pulp into the flour-sugar mixture before adding butter. Or add up to 1 teaspoon vanilla extract with the butter.

Citrus Shortbread: Add 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon, lime or orange zest with the flour. Add up to 1 teaspoon orange blossom water with the butter if desired. These are classic with poppy seeds.

Nut Shortbread: Grind 1/2 cup toasted nuts in the food processor with the flour before combining with remaining ingredients.

Spice or Seed Shortbread: Add up to 1 teaspoon spices, like ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg or cardamom, or seeds like caraway or anise. Or add up to 3 tablespoons poppy or sesame seeds.

Brown or Maple Sugar Shortbread: Substitute 1/3 cup light or dark brown sugar or maple sugar for the granulated. This yields a slightly softer shortbread.

Cornmeal or Whole Wheat Shortbread: Substitute up to 1/2 cup cornmeal or whole wheat flour for 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour. Season with spices, seeds, citrus or rosemary if desired.

Buckwheat Shortbread: Substitute up to 1/3 cup buckwheat flour for 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour.

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.

Grilled Squash Ribbons and Prosciutto

1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped mint
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 medium zucchini, very thinly sliced lengthwise on a mandoline
2 medium yellow squash, very thinly sliced lengthwise on a mandoline
6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. In a small bowl, combine the lime zest and juice with the mint, garlic and the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Alternately thread the zucchini, yellow squash and prosciutto onto 4 pairs of 12-inch bamboo skewers. Lightly brush the vegetables and prosciutto with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.

Grill the skewers over high heat until the zucchini and yellow squash are lightly charred, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Serve with the mint dressing on the side.

NOTES
Variation This dish is also excellent as a room-temperature pasta salad. Boil the pasta of your choice until al dente, then toss with olive oil and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, coarsely chop the grilled zucchini, yellow squash and prosciutto and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the pasta and mint dressing and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve.