A cross between a pancake and a custard, there may not be an easier summer dessert than a clafoutis, the French dessert that’s perfect for cherries. The light, eggy custard is just sweet enough to offset cherries’ tartness, or if you have some sweet ones, it’s not going to make the dish overly sweet — or you can leave it off altogether.
It’s perfect for lazy cooks — you just whisk everything together, pour it into the skillet, add the cherries, and bake. The only problem comes into play later, when it’s out of the oven.
I mean, if eating too much clafoutis ALL AT ONCE is a problem. Nope. No problem here.
Note: This post was supported by a generous batch of cherries from the Northwest Cherry Growers.
2 tablespoons butter + more for greasing the skillet
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
½ cup sugar
½ cup flour
8 ounces cherries, pitted and halved
powdered sugar, for serving
Melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over low heat or in a microwave. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 325°F and grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet with a bit more butter.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, flour and melted butter. It’s okay if there are a few lumps. Pour this into the greased cast-iron skillet and scatter the strawberries around. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until set — it’ll puff up but then fall when you take it out of the oven, but that’s okay. Let cool slightly before serving with powdered sugar on top.
This is what dinner looks like when it’s 100 degrees outside, or nearly. This is the third time this month I’ve made gazpacho — really four times, if you count the gazpacho that I made for my class at Central Market in Plano recently.
This is my most basic gazpacho recipe, the one I make without looking at a recipe. Like most soups, it’s pretty adaptable. I’ve made this without garlic and onion and used shallots instead if that’s what I have on hand, and if I have none of the above, it’ll work out, too. Tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper — those you must have. Plus what makes this soup really satisfying is what goes on top. It’s not fun without.
You will notice that I have a chopped egg on top of my gazpacho, which I’m only mentioning in case this seems odd to you; if you’ve had gazpacho in Spain, then you already know this is normal, plus it totally works. I usually put diced cucumber on top, too, but I forgot to save some back when I put the cucumber in the blender. Croutons are always a good idea, but I’ve made this plenty of times completely breadless, using only almonds in the soup to give it some body, and then chopping up some on top, too. Crunch is important in soups, hot or cold.
I love gazpacho because it cools me down with the first spoonful. I also love it because it’s easy to make and it reminds me of Spain. There is nothing not to love about gazpacho. I have no idea why there’s not gazpacho coming out of the faucets in Texas in the summertime. We need gazpacho.
Makes 4 servings
2 pounds tomatoes
½ red onion
1 clove of garlic
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded (about 1/4 cup chopped reserved for serving)
¼ cup raw almonds, plus more for serving
4 slices stale bread, divided
¼ cup olive oil + 2 tablespoons more for croutons
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
sea salt and pepper
Put a large pot of water into boil. Make an X on the bottom of your tomatoes and when the water boils, drop them into the water and set your timer for 30 seconds. Remove the tomatoes, peel off the skin, and put these in the blender. Add the onion, garlic clove, cucumber, almonds, 2 slices of bread, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste for seasonings. Chill for 3 to 4 hours.
Meanwhile, make your hardboiled eggs. Put your eggs in a saucepan, cover them with water, and put the pot onto boil. When it boils, reduce the heat to a simmer and set your timer for 10 minutes. Pour off the water and rinse with cold water. When the eggs cool, you may keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to serve your soup.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice the bread into 1/2-inch cubes, toss them with olive oil and a little sea salt and pepper and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. You can also make these in advance and keep in a plastic bag.
Before serving, be sure to taste your soup. The flavors will change slightly in the fridge, so you may need to adjust the seasonings. Pour it into bowls. Chop the eggs and add to the soup, along with some of the chopped cucumber and croutons. Drizzle with olive oil.
Do you ever look up at the end of the day on a Sunday and go, where the hell did the weekend go? The last week, the month?
That’s how it’s been for me lately, and please note that I AM NOT COMPLAINING I AM SO FILLED WITH GRATITUDE, but merely making an observation, and the point is sometimes you just don’t have time to do anything but make sure you’ve got enough coffee to keep you going. Between the phone calls and the going to the vet and the writing up this and that and trying to not to eat too many carbs (oh who am I kidding?), you look in the fridge and your fingernails are jammed with dirt because you finally got the herbs that you bought two weeks ago into pots and of course your beautiful French spade and other gardening tools are who the hell knows where, so hands, turns out can scoop out dirt just fine. So going even to the grocery store would require an effort that you no longer have.
There, in the too-short fridge, where I must bend down to peek in and see what I’ve got, I find not inspiration and beauty, but what’s left of other recipes that I’ve already made, the unwanted bits and last remains that I completely forgot about until I reach this desperate, I do not want to go to the store point in my day, and then I remember, too, that it is GARBAGE DAY. The day to make everything that’s no longer needed go away. A time to clean up, get rid of what I don’t want or can’t eat anymore. So I can reboot, tidy up, out with the old and in with the new, and get ready for another week. Or month. Or something. What day is it again?
As it happens, I am in luck, dirty nails and all. I am lucky because I had an impulse to buy endive the other day, and on that same day, I bought hearts of palm. I pulled the endive out of the crisper and determined that it was okay to eat. I had a couple of eggs left in the carton. I had a balsamic vinaigrette already made, and then I knew that I could make a rendition of a salad that I first had in Biarritz many years ago, a chunky, crispy salad monster with no green lettuce at all, but everything else — endive, tomatoes, eggs, hearts of palm, plus a sunset over the mad waves of the Atlantic on top of it all.
I chopped up some kalamata olives and threw them in, too, because I always have them on hand and I don’t think there’s much that they don’t go with or improve. I had a tiny and I do mean tiny bit of Gorgonzola left so I put that into the bowl. The eggs took 10 minutes. I decided I would go ahead and heat up a flatbread in the fridge just in case. In case I had no will power, I guess. It half-burned in my hot as a furnace new oven and I ate it, anyway.
The best salad, the best anything I’ve made in awhile.
It is always like this. Every time I get to this point of complete exhaustion, too tired to make anything or go to the store, I figure out something to make with what I’ve got, even if I don’t have much of anything at all, and it turns out, it always turns out, that I make something that I couldn’t have thought of if I hadn’t gotten to this point.
Garbage Day Salad
Serves 1 or 2
3 small endive, cut into 1/2-inch slices
a handful cherry tomatoes, chopped
about 8 Kalamata olives, halved
3 hearts of palm, sliced
chopped fresh herbs (I used basil and mint)
bits of leftover cheese (I used Gorgonzola)
Balsamic vinaigrette, recipe follows
Put the eggs in a saucepan and cover with water. Put on the stove to boil. When it boils, reduce to a simmer, and set your timer for 10 minutes. Rinse the eggs under cold water. Peel and chop them. Put them in a salad bowl.
Add everything else to the eggs in the bowl. If you’ve got some leftover bread, you can make some croutons and throw them in, or if you’d like to add toasted nuts and seeds, that’ll give you some additional crunch and protein. I was far too lazy at this point, so I didn’t add anything more. I spooned a little Balsamic Vinaigrette on top of it all and tossed. It was fine. It was more than fine. I ate it all.
Makes 1 cup
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped shallot
sea salt and pepper
¾ cup olive oil
Put the balsamic vinegar, mustard, shallot, and a little sea salt and pepper in a jam jar. Give it a good shake, then let it rest for 15 minutes. Add the olive oil, shake again, and taste. Will keep in the fridge for a week.
I’ve always loved the idea of Rice Krispie treats much more than the thing itself. The cloyingly sweet, sticky marshmallow binding always put me off. Other than the crunch, I didn’t understand the big love.
So when I saw a Ellie Krieger recipe in the Washington Post recently for a marshmallow-less version, I thought I’d give it a try…then immediately started tinkering around until I came up with something a little bit different.
There’s no downside to these, other than they’re best kept in the fridge (or freezer, which is my choice) because the chocolate will melt otherwise and it’ll be a big mess, but I see this is a good thing, because if they’re hidden in the icebox and not just staring at me like cookies do from the jar on the countertop, I’m less apt to eat all of them up in a couple of days. As if.
Better Than Rice Krispie Treats
Adapted from a recipe by Ellie Krieger
1 cup semi or bittersweet chocolate chips (Guittard’s 63% extra-dark)
5 cups organic puffed brown rice cereal
½ cup honey
1 cup almond butter (I used crunchy because it’s the best)
¼ cup cocoa powder (I used Guittard’s cocoa rouge)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1.Line a 9-inch by 9-inch pan with parchment paper.
2. Put the chocolate chips and the brown rice cereal in a large bowl. Set this aside.
3. Melt the rest of the ingredients — the honey, almond butter, cocoa powder, and sea salt — over very low heat on the stovetop. Pour this into the bowl and mix until all of the brown rice cereal is well coated. Put this into your pan, using a spatula to press it down and all of the way into the corners. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for an hour. Slice into bars, then wrap each one individually and keep in the fridge or the freezer.