grilled peaches with whipped feta

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A fruit bowl sat on my kitchen counter overflowing with ripe white peaches and I was feeling uninspired at best. Their sweet, sticky smell suggested that if not eaten quickly, it'd be too late. I couldn't risk losing them to the fruit flies. 

So, I reached out to you all looking for ideas. Just a quick ask on Instagram - how are you guys cooking your peaches right now? Your response blew me away -- grilled peaches, roasted peaches, canned peaches, peach pie, peach jam, peach chutney, peach salad, peach kimchi (!) Your eagerness to share your ideas was really awesome. Some of you even took the time to write up your recipes to send to me. I couldn't have been more grateful. I have enough ways to use peaches than I could have ever hoped for, and can't wait to give all of them a try.

Today, I felt most inspired to grill. It is one of my favorite ways to eat peaches, and I feel like I seem to forget about it every summer. So thank you to those of you who reminded me. Most of you who suggested grilling also suggested some sort of dairy -- ricotta, ice cream, greek yogurt, whipped cream -- which seemed perfect (you don't have to twist my arm with dairy). I decided to try a whipped feta, which I thought would pair really nicely with the sweet peaches. It definitely did. 

I hope this recipe inspires you as much as you all inspired me. Happy peach season.

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grilled peaches with whipped feta

 

serves 2

 

for the feta

2 ounces (60g) feta cheese

¼ cup cream

3 tablespoons whole milk

squeeze of lemon juice (about ½ tsp)

salt, if needed

 

2 tablespoons pine nuts

¼ cup hazelnuts

2 peaches, halved + pitted

olive oil 

flaky salt

fennel pollen (optional)

toasted sourdough, for serving (optional)

 

To make the feta: crumble the feta into a blender. Add the cream and milk and blend until just smooth. Spoon the whipped feta into a bowl and season with a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt, if needed. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange the hazelnuts and pine nuts on opposite ends of a sheet pan. Toast until the pine nuts are fragrant and golden, about 4 - 5 minutes. Remove the pine nuts from the sheet pan and return the hazelnuts to the oven until also fragrant, about 5 - 6 minutes longer. Remove and let cool.

Preheat a grill (or grill pan) on medium-high heat. Brush the grill grate and lightly drizzle the halved peaches with olive oil. Once hot, add the peaches, cut-side down to the hot grill and reduce the flame to medium. Grill until lightly charred, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove the peaches and sprinkle with flaky salt.

In a mortar and pestle, crush the pine nuts until coarsely ground (alternatively, you can finely chop with a knife). Roughly chop the hazelnuts. Spoon the whipped feta into two shallow bowls and top with the grilled peaches. Sprinkle with the pine nuts, hazelnuts, and fennel pollen (if desired). Enjoy as is, or serve with toasted sourdough bread for some extra heft. 

pearl barley risotto with wild mushrooms and peas

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After what seemed to be a particularly long winter, the sun has finally emerged here in New York (of course, with a fair share of rainy spring days along with it). Henry and I have been working furiously at our house, trying to get ready to move in next month. It has been a long, trying process - one with many obstacles and countless frustrations. Though, we are finally seeing the promise of a light at the end of the tunnel this spring, which feels fitting amid a season of new beginnings. 

I love this time of year - the weddings, parties, and time spent outside with family and friends; the abundant color at the farmer's markets, marking the end of the grays and browns of a Northeast winter. Everything feels alive and fresh, and the inspiration is endless. 

This Friday marks National Pinot Grigio Day, and in that spirit I've partnered with Cavit Wines to bring you a spring-inspired pearl barley risotto that pairs beautifully with their crisp Pinot Grigio. The risotto is cooked slowly with a simple, homemade vegetable stock (though if in a pinch, store-bought vegetable stock will do), and finished with a bit of cream and mascarpone cheese for richness and heft. The pearl barley adds a subtle nuttiness and is topped with bright, spring greens, peas, and seared mushrooms. It is fit for a dinner party, but it's one-pan preparation makes it a simple enough dinner for a weeknight. Serve it alongside a chilled glass of Cavit Pinot Grigio one of these warm, spring nights and enjoy.

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pearl barley risotto with wild mushrooms and peas

This risotto is a true spring meal. The subtle nuttiness of the pearl barley is cooked slowly in an aromatic vegetable broth until tender and finished with a bit of cream and mascarpone for richness. It is topped with bright, spring greens and peas and seared wild mushrooms. The stock can be made ahead, and any leftovers can be frozen for another use. Store-bought stock will do, although I encourage you to make it yourself if you have the time - it really only requires a few minutes of chopping the leftovers of your vegetable drawer, and otherwise just bubbles away on its own. Its beautiful, delicate flavor only enhances the risotto. 

 

serves 2 - 4

 

for the broth:

1 tablespoon olive oil 

5 carrots, peeled + cut into medium chunks

4 stalks of celery, cut into medium chunks

1 onion, peeled + cut into medium chunks

4 garlic cloves, crushed + peeled

mushroom trimmings (optional)

½ teaspoon black peppercorns

2 bay leaves

handful fresh parsley with stems

handful thyme sprigs

 

Add the olive oil to stock pot over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, mushroom trimmings (if using), peppercorns, and bay leaves and sauté until just starting to soften, but not brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the parsley and thyme sprigs and 2 ½ quarts of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, and reduce to a simmer.

Simmer, uncovered, until broth is flavorful, about 1 - 1 ½ hours. Remove from heat, strain, and discard solids. 

 

for the risotto:

4 cups vegetable broth (recipe above)

3 cups water

4 tablespoons olive oil 

2 cups mixed wild mushrooms, trimmed 

coarse salt

½ yellow onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 cup (185g) pearl barley

½ cup dry white wine

¼ cup fresh English peas

¼ cup shaved parmesan, plus more for serving

¼ cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese

zest of 1 lemon

freshly cracked black pepper

 

for serving:

mixed greens (I used watercress and purple frill)

olive oil 

coarse salt

hazelnuts, toasted + chopped

 

To make the risotto: Add the broth and water to a large saucepan and keep warm over low heat. 

In a large cast iron skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Once hot, add the mushrooms and sauté, moving only once or twice, until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and remove from the heat. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate, and set aside.

Return the pan to medium heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the chopped onion and season generously with salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened and just beginning to brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the barley and stir to combine. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until toasted, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer, stirring frequently, until almost completely evaporated. Add ½ cup of the warm stock mixture and cook, again stirring frequently, until almost completely evaporated. Continue in this fashion, adding broth ½ cup at a time, until the barley is tender and only ½ cup of broth remains (this should take about 50 minutes - 1 hour). Stir in the peas, mushrooms, and remaining ½ cup of broth and simmer until peas are just tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the parmesan, heavy cream, and mascarpone and allow to bubble for about 1 minute longer. (The risotto should be loose, but not soupy. Add more water if you wish to thin it, or let it simmer for a few minutes longer if you find it to be too loose). Stir in the lemon zest, freshly cracked black pepper, and season with salt to taste, to finish. 

To serve, dress the mixed greens lightly with olive oil and season with salt. Spoon the risotto into shallow bowls and top each with a handful of greens, chopped hazelnuts, and parmesan shavings.  Enjoy immediately.

 

This post was sponsored by Cavit, but as always, all opinions are my own. 

blueberry sugar doughnuts

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Hi friends! It has been a while. 

I'm here to share a delicious breakfast treat just in time for Mother's Day - fluffy, sugared, blueberry-filled doughnuts. If you've never made yeasted doughnuts, have no fear. They take some patience, but in fact are quite simple. And, is there really a better present for mom than a quiet morning in bed with coffee and a basket of warm, homemade doughnuts? I think not.

These are filled with Bonne Maman Wild Blueberry Preserves - which captures the deliciousness of ripened sweet blueberries and provides the perfect filling for a pillowy, soft dough. A vanilla-specked whipped mascarpone serves as a decadent dipping sauce, but is by no means essential, as the doughnuts are delicious without.

In addition to their delicious preserves, Bonne Maman is hosting a sweepstakes that I'm thrilled to share with you. There are some great prizes, including a 12-piece Le Creuset cookware set (I take back a basket of doughnuts being the best gift for mom - I think a Le Creuset cookware set would be pretty high on her list too). Better yet, there will be over 1,000 winners, so your chances are pretty great. 

I hope all of you mamas out there have an extra special day. Sending love to all of mine - my mama, my stepmom, and my mom-in-law.

blueberry sugar doughnuts

These sweet pillows of goodness are light as air and ever so slightly crisp on the outside. Bonne Maman Wild Blueberry Preserves serves as the perfect filling, and pairs beautifully with the bright lemon zest that dots the dough. Serve these doughnuts for your next weekend breakfast, or special occasion, alongside a vanilla mascarpone dipping sauce, and you'll have some happy eaters on your hands.

makes about 6 to 8 doughnuts

 

for the dough:

⅔ cup whole milk, warmed to 105 to 115°F

1 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast

4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, melted and cooled

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons (25 g) sugar

½ teaspoon salt

zest of 1 lemon

2 ¼ cups (270 g) bread flour, plus more for dusting

vegetable oil, for frying

 

for finishing the doughnuts:

½ cup bonne maman wild blueberry preserves

½ cup granulated sugar

 

for the vanilla mascarpone sauce:

½ cup mascarpone cheese

5 tablespoons whole milk

1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar

seeds from ½ vanilla bean

 

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the milk and the yeast. Stir gently to combine and allow to sit until foamy, about 10 to 15 minutes.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg, sugar, salt, and lemon zest. Add to the foamy yeast and milk mixture and stir to combine. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour until incorporated. Once the mixture forms a dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and beat until the dough is smooth and only slightly sticky, about 5 - 7 minutes. (If you find your dough to be too sticky, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time and beat until incorporated).

Lightly oil a large bowl with some of the vegetable oil and add the ball of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size. 

Once risen, gently punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll into an approximate 10 to 12-inch circle, so that the dough is about ½-inch-thick. Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter (or upside-down glass), cut 6 to 8 circles from the dough, discarding any scraps. Place the circles on a lightly-floured, large baking sheet, spaced at least 2-inches apart and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour, or until slightly puffed. 

Meanwhile, spoon the bonne maman preserves into a pastry bag fitted with a small tip and pour the sugar onto a plate or shallow bowl. Set both aside. 

In a dutch oven fitted with a candy thermometer, add about 3 inches of vegetable oil and heat to 350°F. Working in batches of 2 to 3 at a time, gently add the doughnuts to the oil and cook, flipping once halfway through, for about 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until golden and cooked through. Transfer the doughnuts to a wire rack set over a baking sheet and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. 

Once the doughnuts have cooled slightly, roll them in the sugar, one at a time, until completely coated. Using the tip of your pastry bag, poke a hole into the side of each doughnut and gently squeeze in about a tablespoon of the preserves. This process takes a bit of patience -- if you find yourself having trouble, you can use a knife to help create a pocket before filling, or simply cut the doughnuts in half and spread the preserves onto one cut half and sandwich them back together.

To make the vanilla mascarpone sauce, whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. If you find the sauce to be too thick, add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.

Serve the doughnuts warm with vanilla mascarpone sauce on the side for dipping. 

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This post was sponsored by Bonne Maman, but as always, all opinions are my own. 

blueberry bourbon sour

Blueberries make me think of summer — hot, sticky days spent at my Grandparents’ house in Cape Cod, picking plump berries from the blueberry bushes that lined their walkway. Finding the bluest, sweetest ones before the birds was always a challenge, but the effort was worth it. Even the slightly underripe berries, with the tinge of green that lingered by their stem, were a welcomed, tart treat.

Though blueberries are not in season in the Northeast over the winter months, I find them to be such a festive berry to use over the holidays -- and thankfully they are easy to find in the freezer and fresh from South America all winter long. Their seasonal versatility ensures that they always have a spot at the table — whether in a sauce for a roasted pork loin or folded into buttery pastry dough and baked into a galette. 

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In the spirit of the upcoming holidays, I’m sharing a recipe for a blueberry cocktail — one that’s festive enough to be worthy of a spot at your next party, but also simple enough to enjoy over a cozy night in. It has all the tartness of a traditional sour, with a subtle sweetness from blueberries and warming notes of bourbon and dark brown sugar. I really encourage you to give it a try, even if you aren’t the biggest bourbon fan. 

This post is sponsored by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, but as always, all opinions are my own. You can find my recipe on their website, here. Enjoy!

 

And for another blueberry-inspired cocktail, give this blueberry bellini a try!