Archive for June 2011

Of Apricots and Shopping

June 26th, 2011 — 7:44am
Apricot and Blueberry Crisp

Apricot and Blueberry Crisp

I am a food shopper of two varieties. The first is when I see a real bargain, I have no recourse but to buy whatever is on sale and try to use it. The second is as a completely visual shopper, when something looks extraordinarily good I will buy it regardless of the price. Both are quite emotional impulses. I usually have no idea what I am going to prepare with the food that falls into the “bargain” or “beautiful” category.

Around this time every year the fresh apricots hit the stores. I am drawn to them like a bee to lavender. Their yellowish orange color makes me feel happy for some reason. Their delicate flavor can go with just about anything. This year, like many others before, I bought an abundance of them the other day. Not wanting them to just end up on top of my granola again, I decided to look into what I could bake with them. I know it is hard to believe I used the verb “to bake” during the summer.

Apricot and blueberry crisp

Fresh out of the Oven

Apricots are a funny thing. For some reason they usually seem to be paired with something else. My pairing was a pint of fresh blueberries (Texas blueberries, we do grow them down here). With the two main ingredients in hand, and being one of the laziest bakers that ever made a ball of dough, I decided on an apricot and blueberry crisp (or crumble as they are called down south of the Mason Dixon line).

I based my recipe on two resources; my apple crisp recipe, and David Scott Allen’s recent blueberry crisp recipe at Cocoa and Lavender. I decided to take the best of both worlds and make a new recipe. The result was quite good. One of the few desserts I have had in a long time that actually made me pause for a moment and savor all the flavors. The apricots balance out the sweetness of the blueberries. Cutting back on the cinnamon and adding some nutmeg made the flavors really pop. So next time you reach for those apricots, remember, they are really good on top of granola, or perhaps even better in a crisp.

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If You Can’t Take the Heat…

June 18th, 2011 — 10:05am
Baked Tilapia

Baked Tilapia with Quinoa Salad

It has been awfully quiet on the blogging front this month. Let me give you my latest list of excuses; it has been too hot to cook, I have been busy with a new business, I have not been feeling especially creative this month. Since it has been so hot, I have been experimenting with interesting ways to use the grill other than as a grill. The most outlandish was preparing my poulet a la greque (or in this case it was made for some of my latino friends so pollo a la grecia) using the grill as an oven to finish the dish. It turned out great and the kitchen stayed nice and cool with the air conditioner running.

I decided that “baking” some fish using the grill was the next logical step. I do not know about you, but when I grill fish it always turns into a big mess. Especially if you are using something as delicate as tilapia. So using the grill as a way to bake the fish seemed like a logical solution. On top of that there was no way I was going to turn on the oven when the temperature outside was over 100 degrees.

Baked Tilapia

Baked Tilapia on the Grill

I am not sure this constitutes a real recipe. I spread the tilapia out on a baking sheet. I topped it with fresh tomato, olives, and capers, and added some sprigs of fresh dill, some chopped fresh mint and drizzled the whole thing with some olive oil. On to the middle portion of the grill went the fish. And about 20 minutes later we had baked tilapia. It is important that the fish cooks over indirect heat. Otherwise you will end up frying the fish instead of baking it!

So I dodged the oven in the kitchen one more time. And I was able to eat the baked fish I was craving. I served it with a quinoa salad. You can of course bake it in the oven. I would suggest 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. I will not be turning my oven on again until, maybe, October!

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