Thai Cucumber Salad

1 lb cucumber, cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 small red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Dressing:
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Add salt to the cucumber, mix well and set aside in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.

In the meantime, make the Dressing, by combining all the ingredients in a small sauce pan. Turn on the heat and reduce the Dressing a bit so it’s slightly thickened. Let cool.

Drain the salt water from the cucumber completely. Toss the cucumber, onion, and mix with the Dressing. Top with the peanut and cilantro, serve immediately.

RECIPE NOTES
Thai cucumber salad is best served with Thai chicken sate.

Steamed Eggplant with Lao Gan Ma (Lady Sauce)

1 pound Japanese or Chinese eggplant (450g, about 3 eggplants)
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon Chinese dark vinegar
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1-1 1/2 tablespoons Lao Gan Ma chili sauce (or any chili sauce or chili oil of your choice)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 scallion (minced)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Prepare your steamer. If you’re not sure how to set up a steaming apparatus, check our our post on how to set up a steamer, even without special equipment. Turn the heat on low to pre-heat the water in the steamer.

Cut each eggplant crosswise into 3 equal sections, then cut each section into 8-10 bite sized strips.

Fill a large container with about 2 quarts of water and 1/4 cup white vinegar. Soak the eggplant in the vinegar water for 3 minutes. Then remove the eggplant and squeeze as much liquid out as possible. Arrange them on a heat-proof rimmed dish and carefully lower it into the steamer. Cover and turn the heat on high. Steam the eggplant for 8-10 minutes.

Now make the sauce by combining the Chinese dark vinegar, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and chili sauce.
Remove the eggplant from the steamer (no need to pour out the liquid in the dish), and evenly pour the sauce over the eggplant. Top it with the minced garlic and scallions. Try to keep garlic and scallions close together in a couple tight lines to make the next step easier.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a small saucepan until it starts to smoke lightly, and then carefully pour it over the garlic and scallion. Serve hot or cold. If serving as a cold appetizer, you can make this dish in advance.

Cantonese Eggplant Casserole (with Pork or Chicken)

4 oz. pork (or chicken, thinly sliced; 110g)
2 tablespoons cornstarch (plus 1/2 teaspoon)
1 1/2 pounds eggplant (680g, preferably Chinese/Japanese eggplant)
1 1/2 cups canola oil for frying (350 ml, plus 1 tablespoon)
3 slices ginger (minced)
4 cloves garlic (smashed and chopped)
2 scallions green parts and white parts separated and chopped
1 oz. Chinese salted fish (30g, deboned and minced; may substitute anchovy fillets)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar (look for the yellow bottle labeled, “Chinkiang Vinegar”)
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
4 teaspoons light soy sauce
1/2-3/4 cup water (depending on how hot your stove can get and how quickly the liquid cooks off)

Toss your pork (or chicken) with 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch and set aside. Wash the eggplants and dry them off with a clean kitchen towel. Trim off the ends, and cut the eggplant into 2-inch x 1/2-inch pieces. Add the eggplant pieces to a large zip top bag and toss with 2 tablespoons cornstarch until evenly coated.

Heat 1 1/2 cups canola oil in a small pot (the oil should be about 3/4-inch deep) over medium heat. To test the oil temperature, stick a bamboo or wooden chopstick in the oil. If you see a good deal of bubbles forming around the chopstick, the oil is ready for frying. Fry the eggplant in batches, cooking each batch for about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in your wok over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and the white parts of the scallions. Cook for 30 seconds, and then add the pork (or chicken) and the salted fish (or anchovies). Stir-fry until the meat is cooked through. Now add the eggplant, sugar, vinegar, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, and the green parts of the scallion. Also add 1/2 cup water.

Turn up the heat to high and mix everything together. Because of the cornstarch used to coat the eggplant, the liquid should thicken into a sauce. Add a little more water if necessary to reach the desired sauce consistency. This dish should have some sauce, but shouldn’t be swimming in liquid. Also, remember not to cook the eggplant for too long; it shouldn’t lose its shape. Once the sauce is thickened, serve with steamed rice!

Poached Chicken with Ginger Scallion Sauce

For the chicken:
5 chicken drumsticks (or 4 chicken thighs––organic, kosher, or free-range chicken preferred; see note below about using breasts)
3 slices ginger
1 scallion

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 scallions (white and green separated, with the green parts chopped)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup water (the water you cooked the chicken in)
15 grams ginger (about 1 1/2 tablespoons, minced)

In a medium pot, bring about 4 cups water to a boil along with 3 slices ginger and 1 scallion. Lower the chicken into the pot, and bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. The heat level should be just high enough so the water is moving, without any big bubbles or rolling water.
After 10 minutes, turn off the heat, leave the lid on and let the chicken continue cooking in the warm pot for another 15 minutes.

If you use boneless, skinless chicken breast, you can reduce the cooking time to 5 minutes, but still keep the chicken in the pot for 15 minutes after turning off the heat. To test if the chicken is cooked, pierce the thickest part of the chicken to make sure the juices run clear.

Remove the chicken from the pot and place in ice water for 5 minutes to stop the cooking process and firm up the meat. Shred the meat onto a serving plate.
To make the sauce, heat 3 tablespoons oil in a saucepan over medium/low heat, and cook the scallion whites until crisp and lightly brown. Remove and place the scallion whites on top of the shredded chicken. Add 2 tablespoons light soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 cup of the water you used to cook the chicken to the remaining oil in the pan. Stir and bring it to boil. Add in the ginger and chopped scallion greens. Taste for seasoning and add more soy sauce or salt if desired. Bring to a boil again and pour it over the chicken.

Cantonese Steamed Fish with Ginger-Scallion Sauce

2 scallions
2 tablespoons ginger (julienned)
1 small bunch cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce (or seasoned soy sauce)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 medium tilapia, grey sole, flounder or fluke filet
2 tablespoons oil

Julienne the scallion and ginger and set aside. Give the cilantro a rough chop and set that aside as well. Combine the soy sauce, salt, sugar and water into a small bowl and mix well.

Prepare your setup. If you do not have a steamer, what also works is a wok or large saucepan or pot with a cover and small a round metal elevated rack you can put the plate on.

Fill your wok or saucepan with about an inch of water, cover and bring it to a boil. Carefully place your plate with the fish on the rack. Cover and steam for about 10 minutes. You can check it for doneness by using a butter knife. If it easily cuts through to the bottom of the plate, your fish is done!

Turn off the heat. Carefully remove the plate from the pot and drain any remaining water off. At this point, you can also transfer the fish to a nice serving plate. Spread the cilantro and about one third of the scallion (use the green portions), directly onto the steamed fish.

Heat a small saucepan to medium to high heat and add 2 tbsp of canola oil. Add the ginger and let it brown lightly, about a minute. Then add the rest of the scallions. The mixture should be giving a good sizzle right about now…

Next, add your soy mixture to the saucepan and keep the heat on high to keep everything sizzling. Cook until the scallions are wilted – about 30 seconds. Take it off the heat and spoon the entire mixture over the fish. Serve immediately!

Hatch Chili Cornbread

4 long green chiles, such as Hatch or Anaheim
1/4 cup bacon grease or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups finely ground cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk

Roast the chiles under the broiler until blackened on both sides, about 10-12 minutes, turning once. Once blackened, place the chiles in a paper sack or plastic food-storage bag, close it tight and let the chiles steam for 20 minutes. After the chiles have steamed, remove from the bag and rub off the skin. Remove the stems and seeds from both the chiles and chop. You should have about 1 cup.

Preheat oven to 450° F. While the oven is heating, put the bacon grease or oil into a 10-inch cast-iron skillet and place in the oven while the oven preheats.

Meanwhile, mix together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together the eggs and buttermilk and pour into the dry ingredients. Stir until well combined.
Take the cast iron skillet out of then oven, and pour the hot oil into the batter and stir until well combined. Add the Hatch green chiles to the batter and gently stir until evenly distributed.

Pour the batter back into the hot skillet and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and an inserted knifes comes out clean. Serve warm.

Seared Skirt Steak With Blistered Cherry Tomatoes and Polenta

1 1/2 pounds skirt or flank steak
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons), divided
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 cup coarse-ground polenta (corn meal)
1 quart homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
1 quart cherry tomatoes
2 small red chilies such as Fresno or Thai bird, thinly sliced
3 scallions, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon juice from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Chopped chives, scallion greens, or parsley, for garnish

Season steak generously with salt and pepper. Rub with 2 minced cloves garlic and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Set aside at room temperature.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat until butter is foaming. Add 2 minced cloves garlic and cook, stirring, until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Whisking constantly, slowly add polenta in a thin stream. Reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cover and cook, stirring frequently, until polenta is completely tender and creamy, about 40 minutes, adding water as necessary to keep it loose.

When polenta is fully cooked, stir in heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.

Heat remaining tablespoon olive oil in a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet over high heat until lightly smoking. Add steak in a single layer and cook, turning frequently, until well browned on both sides and center of steak registers 110°F for medium-rare or 115°F for medium, 6 to 8 minutes total. 1 minute before steak is done, add tomatoes to pan. Remove steaks and set aside. Add chilies, scallions, and remaining 2 minced cloves garlic to pan. Add 1/4 cup water and scrape up browned bits. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until tomatoes burst and release their juices. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in lemon juice and soy sauce off heat, adding water as necessary to reach a creamy sauce-like consistency.

To serve, transfer polenta to a pre-heated plate. Slice steak thinly against the grain. Transfer to polenta, top with blistered tomatoes and pan sauce, sprinkle with herbs, and serve.

Piri Piri Oil

3 to 4 medium fresh piri piri chiles with seeds
6 to 8 small dried piri piri chiles
1 to 2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons whiskey
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup olive oil, divided

Stem and roughly chop the chiles. Pulse the chiles and garlic in a food processor or use a mortar and pestle to mash them to a paste. You need about 2 tablespoons of chile paste.

Scrape the paste out into a small saucepan, add the whiskey and heat over low heat until warm. Add the lemon zest and juice, vinegar, bay leaf, salt and 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil (you can add extra garlic if you want it more garlicky). Simmer until aromatic, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and lightly whisk in the rest of the oil.

Pour into a sterilized jar and refrigerate for at least a few days for the flavors to mingle. The oil will be hot at first, but you’ll find it will settle and mellow later.

Notes: Fresh piri piri chiles are hard to find, but you can substitute fresh red Fresno chiles, which are widely available. Dried piri piri chiles can be found online at americanspice.com (under “birdseye”) and wholespice.com (under “African birdseye”); you can also substitute dried arbol chiles.

Pica Pau (Portuguese Steak with Olives and Pickled Onions)

Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 12- to 14-ounce beef strip steaks, each about 1 inch thick, trimmed of fat and gristle, patted dry
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
1 jalapeño chili, stemmed and sliced into thin rounds
3/4 cup dry white wine
5 bay leaves
2 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 2 pieces and chilled
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Piri-piri oil, to serve (optional)

In a small bowl, stir together 2 teaspoons each salt and pepper. Season both sides of each steak with the mixture, rubbing it into the meat. Set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together the onion, olives, vinegar and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Let the steaks and onion mixture stand for 30 minutes, stirring the onion mixture once halfway through.

In a nonstick 10-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until barely smoking. Add the steaks and cook without disturbing until well browned on the bottoms, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook until well browned on the second sides and the centers reach 120°F (for medium-rare), another 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large plate.

Pour off and discard the fat from the skillet, then wipe out the pan. Set over medium-high and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the garlic and chili. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine and bay, then bring to a simmer over medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to about 3 tablespoons, 2 to 4 minutes. Off heat, stir in the butter until melted.

Transfer the steaks to a cutting board. Cut each steak lengthwise into 4 strips, then cut each strip crosswise into ½-inch pieces. Return the meat and any accumulated juices to the skillet. Add the parsley and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Drain off and discard the liquid from the onion mixture and transfer to a platter. Pour the steak mixture over the onions, then drizzle with piri-piri oil, if using.

Note: The dish, eaten with toothpicks, is served as as appetizer or small plate with crusty bread and cold beer as accompaniments. Pickled cauliflower and carrots are often, but not always, included. The bed of vinegar-marinated red onions and olives balance the beef’s richness.

Tomato and Bacon Breakfast Sandwich

3 slices bacon, cut in half crosswise
1 English muffin (store-bought or homemade), split and toasted
1 tablespoon (15ml) homemade or store-bought mayonnaise
2 thick slices very ripe tomato
Kosher salt

Cook bacon in a skillet over medium-low heat, turning occasionally, until completely crisp, about 5 minutes total. Drain on a paper towel–lined plate.

Spread both English muffin halves with mayonnaise. Lay tomato slices on bottom half, season with salt, and top with bacon. Close sandwich and serve.

Mexican Grilled Pork (Cecina Enchilada)

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/4 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 chipotle chilies in adobo, chopped, plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
1/3 cup lime juice
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the oil, cumin, paprika, coriander, sugar and garlic. Microwave on high until the garlic is softened, about 1 minute. Measure out 3 tablespoons of the seasoned oil, including some of the solids, into a large baking dish.

Cut the tenderloin in half crosswise, then cut each piece in half lengthwise. Using a meat pounder, pound each piece to an even ?-inch thickness, then place in the baking dish, turning to coat on all sides with the oil mixture. Cover and refrigerate while you make the sauce and prepare the grill.

Into the remaining oil mixture, whisk 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, the chipotle chilies, adobo sauce, lime juice and cilantro. Set aside.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. For a charcoal grill, ignite a large chimney of coals, let burn until lightly ashed over, then distribute evenly over one side of the grill bed; open the bottom grill vents. For a gas grill, turn all burners to high. Cover and heat the grill for 5 to 10 minutes for charcoal or about 15 minutes for gas, then clean and oil the cooking grate.

Place the pork in a single layer on the grill (on the hot side if using charcoal) and cook until well browned, about 2 minutes. Using tongs, flip each piece and cook for 1 minute. Transfer browned side up to a platter. Stir the sauce to recombine, then drizzle 1 tablespoon over each cutlet. Tent with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with the remaining sauce on the side.

Tip: Don’t grill the second sides of the cutlets for more than about 1 minute or they will overcook. Aim to get charring on only the first sides, then serve the pork charred side up.

Cherry Clafoutis

1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for dusting
5 large eggs
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond flour or almond meal
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
12 ounces sweet cherries, pitted
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 10-inch round gratin dish and dust it with granulated sugar. In a large bowl, whisk the 1 cup of granulated sugar with the eggs and vanilla seeds. Whisk in the all-purpose flour, almond flour and salt until just incorporated. Add the milk and cream and whisk until light and very smooth, about 3 minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared gratin dish and arrange the cherries on top.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the clafoutis is set and golden. Let cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream.

The clafoutis can be wrapped and refrigerated overnight. Serve at room temperature.

Scallops with Blood Orange, Fennel and Pistachios

2 small fennel bulbs—halved, cored and very thinly shaved on a mandoline
2 blood oranges
6 tablespoons fresh blood orange juice
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
10 large sea scallops
1 teaspoon fennel pollen
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons brined capers, drained and patted dry
1/4 cup sliced green olives
1/4 cup unsalted roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped

In a large bowl, soak the fennel in ice water. Peel the blood oranges with a sharp knife, being sure to remove all of the bitter white pith. Working over a bowl, cut in between the membranes to release the sections.

In a medium bowl, whisk the 6 tablespoons of blood orange juice with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Drain the fennel and pat dry. Add it to the dressing and toss to coat. Mound the salad on 10 plates.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 cup of oil until shimmering. Season the scallops with salt and pepper and rub with the fennel pollen. Add the scallops to the skillet and cook over high heat until browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Add the butter and capers to the skillet. Turn the scallops over and cook just until white throughout, 2 minutes longer. Set the scallops on the fennel salad.

Cook the capers, basting them with the fat in the pan, until browned and crisp, 2 minutes. Scatter the capers, olives, pistachios and orange sections all around and serve.

Japanese Potato Salad

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, about 3 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
Kosher salt
2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced crosswise
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
6 tablespoons homemade or store-bought Japanese mayonnaise, such as Kewpie
1/2 teaspoon Japanese hot mustard
1 small carrot, quartered and thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 scallion, white and light green parts only, chopped

Place potatoes in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Season generously with salt, set over high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and transfer to a large bowl. Let cool.

Meanwhile, place cucumbers in a bowl and sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix well, then let stand for 10 minutes. Drain any accumulated water, then gently squeeze cucumbers with paper towels to blot up any excess liquid.

In a small bowl, stir together rice vinegar, mayonnaise, and hot mustard until well mixed.

Mash potatoes with a masher or a large fork, allowing some small lumps to remain. Add cucumbers, carrots, onions, eggs, scallions, and mayonnaise mixture. Mix well and season with salt. Serve right away. The salad can be refrigerated up to 1 day.

Chicken, Corn, and Poblano Soup

For the soup:
2 poblano chiles or substitute cubanelle or sweet green peppers
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion diced
2 cloves garlic chopped
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups corn cut from fresh corn or frozen
2 – 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken shredded from rotisserie chicken or see Notes below
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Chipotle sour cream:
1 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp chipotle chile in adobo sauce finely chopped
1 Tbsp lime juice freshly squeezed
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For Garnish:
1 avocado pitted, peeled and cubed
Chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven broiler with a rack about 5 inches from the element.

Cut the poblano chiles in half lengthwise and remove the stem and seeds. Place cut side down, on a baking sheet and broil until the skin blackens and blisters, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the oven. Cover baking try loosely with aluminum foil and let stand for 10 minutes. Using the edge of a knife, peel away and discard the skin from the peppers, then cut them into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.

In a large pot on the stovetop, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for an additional 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the corn and cook for 5 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, puree about half of the soup, leaving some of the corn kernels whole. *If you don’t have an immersion blender, remove soup to a blender or food processor and blend in small batches. Return to the pot and stir to combine.

Stir in the cooked, shredded chicken and diced poblano chillies. Taste, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm over low heat while you prepare the chipotle sour cream.

To make the chipotle sour cream, stir together the sour cream, chipotle chile and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and add more chipotle, if you like, to taste.
To serve the soup, divide the soup among 4 to 6 bowls. Top each serving with a dollop of the chipotle sour cream and diced avocado. Sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro.

Maple Glazed Peaches with Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp fine salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk cold (*or see notes to make your own buttermilk)
8 Tbsp unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly, plus more for brushing biscuits after baking

For glazed peaches:
3 medium peaches cut in half and removed from stone
3-4 Tbsp butter cut into cubes
1/3-1/2 cup maple syrup **or see notes for substitution option
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves or pinch dried thyme, optional
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Pinch salt
For serving:
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Zest from 1/2 lemon
Crème Frâiche or Thick Yogurt

Preheat oven to 475F with rack in centre of oven.
Make the biscuits: (Can be made several hours ahead) In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and melted and cooled butter, stirring until the butter forms small clumps.
Add the buttermilk mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until just combined and the batter pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Using a 1/4 cup scoop or measuring cup, scoop out dollops of batter and drop onto a baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.

Bake in preheated oven until tops are golden and crisp, about 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven and brush tops with a bit of melted butter. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool 5 minutes before serving. (If making ahead, cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature. Reheat in microwave briefly or pop into a 350F oven for 5 minutes or so.
For the peaches: Preheat a large skillet on the stove-top over medium high heat. Add the butter. When the butter starts to foam, add a few thyme leaves, if using and cook for one minute. Add the halved peaches, cut side down, and cook until bottom starts to colour. Once the peaches are coloured a bit, add the maple syrup and cook for about 30 second more. Add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt, then flip the peaches over. Let the syrup simmer until it is reduced by about half. Turn off the heat under the pan.

To serve: You can serve directly from the larger skillet you cooked the peaches in or transfer to smaller skillets or plates, topping with biscuits, thyme sprigs and a dollop of crème frâiche or yogurt, and spooning reduced syrup over-top. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs and a bit of lemon zest. *I find it best to allow the peaches and syrup to cool to a bit before serving, for best flavour and to keep the creme fraiche or yogurt from melting too much.

Fresh Peach Ricotta Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
3 large eggs at room temperature
2 cup white sugar
1 cup ricotta cheese full-fat recommended
3 large peaches peeled or not, as you like
For topping:
Flaked almonds
Brown sugar
Pinch salt

Garnish:
Icing/Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350F with rack in the centre of the oven. Grease a 9 or 10-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Set aside. *A 9-inch springform is the best option, if you have that size.

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

Prepare the peaches by peeling, if desired, then cutting 2 of the peaches into cubes and then cut the 3rd peach into slices. Set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs with the white sugar until light in colour and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the ricotta and mix in. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined.

Using a spatula, gently fold in the 2 cubed peaches until combined well with the batter. Spoon the batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Arrange the sliced peaches on the top of the batter. Scatter some flaked almonds on top, then sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar and and pinch of salt.

Bake in preheated oven as follows: for a 9-inch springform pan, bake for 75-80 minutes. For a 10-inch springform, baking time will be shorter, about 60-65 minutes. In all cases, cake should have pulled away from the sides of the pan and the top should be evenly golden. You can test centre with a skewer to be sure it is cooked in the middle.

Allow cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the outside and carefully remove the outside ring from the springform pan. Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan base.

Mango Salad With Zesty Lime Vinaigrette

Mango salad:
3 mangoes ripe, Alphonso recommended, peeled and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
1/4 red onion thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped

Mango Salad Dressing:
Zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup lime juice freshly squeezed (about 2 limes)
2 tsp white sugar
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil or other neutral tasting oil
Freshly ground pepper

Combine all the ingredients for the Mango Salad in a large bowl. Toss to combine. *If making ahead, cover and refrigerate at this point, before adding the salad dressing.

Prepare the Mango Salad Dressing by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisking well to combine. Cover and refrigerate if making ahead or use immediately by drizzling over the salad and tossing to combine.

Heirloom Tomatoes and Red Onion

1 small or 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
1 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes (about 3 medium tomatoes)
1/4 cup packed fresh herbs, such as basil, cilantro, dill, parsley, or a combination, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the onion in small bowl and cover with cold water. Let stand while you prepare the rest of the ingredients, about 10 minutes.

Core the tomatoes and slice into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons. Place in a large bowl. Add the herbs, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Drain the onions and add to the bowl. Toss to combine and let stand for at least 10 or up to 30 minutes before serving. Taste and season with more salt, pepper, vinegar, or oil as needed.

Ultimate Zucchini Bread

2 cups (13 ounces or 370 grams) grated, packed zucchini, not wrung out, grated on the large holes of a box grater
2 large eggs
2/3 cup (160 ml) of a neutral oil (I use safflower), olive oil, or melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup (95 grams) packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (25 grams) raw or turbinado sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 6-cup or 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.

Place grated zucchini in a large bowl and add oil, eggs, sugars, vanilla, and salt. Use a fork to mix until combined.

Sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and baking powder over surface of batter and mix until combined — and then, for extra security that the ingredients are well-dispersed, give it 10 extra stirs.

Add flour and mix until just combined.

Pour into prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the raw or turbinado sugar — don’t skimp.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick or tester inserted into the middle cake but also into the top of the cake, closer to the dome, comes out batter-free.

Let cool completely in the pan. Leave in pan, unwrapped, overnight or 24 hours, until removing (carefully, so not to ruin flaky lid) and serving in slices.

Zucchini bread keeps for 4 to 5 days at room temperature. Wrap only the cut end of the cake in foil, and return it to the baking pan, leaving the top exposed so that it stays crunchy.