Summer Loves

I get breathy and excited just thinking about my summer loves…my favorite bites of the season.  Here are some that you should be making…now!

I love this Fresh Fruit Custard Tart and so does everyone that I’ve made it for.  I tried to convince you to make it two years ago when I wrote this in my blog. “Speaking of berries, I have to pass this on, while the recipe (Fresh Fruit Custard Tart) is still linked over at the Oregonian’s Food Day.  I enjoy making desserts, but have no discipline or aptitude for fussy ones.  I love winging it when it comes to cooking, and in general, desserts don’t like this, since baking can be more of an exact science than other dishes.  But not so this one!  You’ve just got to make this.  It could not be any easier.  This recipe should be called Liar Tart.  Because you’ll swear to your guests that you’re really not much of a baker, not much of a dessert maker, and they will swear that you are lying!  Or it could be called Domestic Goddess Pie, because that is what you’ll appear to be.  And still not content to just let a recipe be, I added some lemon zest and some lavender to the custard.  (I pulse 1 tsp of lavender with the remaining sugar before dumping into the cuisinart with the sour cream and eggs).

Update: I’ve taken to adding lavender to the crust instead of the custard.  This can easily be made by a child.  Pirrie decorated this one.

Do you have basil?  I love Ina Garten’s Basil Green Goddess dressing.  It’s a dressing, it’s a dip, it’s my favorite accompaniment for slow-roasted salmon with couscous or quinoa.  I cut back on the mayo and sour cream and sub in some plain whole milk yogurt.  I also confess that I’ve never added the anchovy paste.

Got zucchini or other summer squash?  This gratin from 101 Cookbooks is fabulous!

Before going in the baking dish and into the oven, zucchini slices plus potato slices are tossed with toasted buttered breadcrumbs, shredded, gruyere cheese, herb olive oil and lemon zest,

Make some fruit preserves…in 15 minutes!  See my previous posts (and fears) about canning.  This is a simple, no-hassle style of preserves, and it’s so easy and delicious.  Since I’m not interested in a pantry full of jelly, and two small jars at a time is more than enough, this “un-canny” method works well for me.  Using the large open skillet speeds up the jelling so you don’t need pectin.  You also use much less sugar than what most recipes call for (and I use even a tiny bit less than what this recipe calls for).  The most recent batch was a mix of what I had on hand…some blackcap raspberries, some red raspberries, and a random half a peach that someone neglected at breakfast.

Since raspberries and blackberries can have more and tougher seeds, I pushed the jam through a sieve using a ladle, although you don’t have to do this, and it is completely unnecessary with less seedy fruit.

It’s delicious on toast or crepes, and we loved it folded into some fresh whipped cream, which I served alongside two cakes for dessert during a recent Champagne Brunch that raised money for Portland Children’s Museum.

Best Moist Yellow Cake, and Best Ever Flourless Chocolate with whipped cream with mixed berry jam folded in

Am now working on a fresh green pea dip for these sweeties.  So glad I planted them this year.  More soon.  In the meantime, go make something yummy that you love!