Double crumble because crumble is the best! As a kid, my mother would make a simple Banana Rhubarb Crumble and I’d fish around for crumble when she wasn’t looking and gently reject the rest of the pudding. Fortunately, I’ve grown up as has my taste.
Strawberries and rhubarb are such a happy marriage of sweet and tangy. And warm banana thrown into the mix? Heaven!
I like to serve this with crème fraîche but of course some whipped cream or ice cream would also do finely.
Given the double crumble sitch here, this is a quite a filling dessert.
2 cups of rhubarb cut into about 1 inch chunks
2 cups of strawberries, hulled (tops cut off) sliced in half
2 cups of sliced bananas
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar (1 for the fruit and 1/2 reserved for the crumble topping)
For the topping:
1 cup of quick rolled oats
1/2 cup of soft butter
1 cup of white flour
1/2 cup of brown sugar
Turn the oven on to 350F
First, mix all the fruit into a bowl and add in the brown sugar. Combine well.
In another mixing bowl, add the ingredients for the topping. Using your hands, mix up the butter so that it all turns “crumbly.” If it doesn’t seem damp enough, you can add a very small amount of water and see if that does the trick.
Add about 1/3 of the topping mix into the fruit mix and combine well.
Now add the fruit into a baking dish. I’ve used both deep dishes as well as more shallow and wider ones .. both work finely but I always use something that I can serve at the table. Commonly known in the stores as “oven-to-table baker.”
Cover the fruit with the crumble evenly.
Pop the dish into the oven for about 45 minutes.
Serve with ice cream, crème fraîche or whipped cream. Or even natural Greek yogurt would be tasty too.
This is such a simple recipe and takes very little work. But what’s really key here is to ensure you get the most fresh soft shell crab you can get your hands on. (Oh. And the biggest, fresh soft shell crab you can get your hands on). In NYC, Agata & Valentina is your source.
When we had these for dinner last week, I served the crabs with a couple of different dips/sauces (aioli and a dill dip) .. but Marc and Alex concluded the crab was just dandy on its own. The crab does tend to be rich. I served them on a little bed of sautéed pea shoots but, really, that was more for looks than much else. Tasty, fresh pea shoots can be a pain to find. You could serve the crab on a bed of sautéed spinach and be a very happy camper. The veggie you choose is *not* included in the recipe below.
You’re going to want to allow at least an hour for the crabs to soak in the coconut milk. This will make sure they’re very plump.
2 soft shell crabs
1 tin of unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups of Panko breadcrumbs
6 cloves of garlic grated
4 cups of vegetable oil
Feeds 2 people as a main course. You’ll likely want a salad or some veggies with them.
Soak the crabs in the coconut milk in a bowl for at least an hour in the fridge.
When you’re ready to cook the crabs, you’re going to want to prepare to dip them in the goods - the eggs and breadcrumbs - before you fry them.
On one plate, pour out the Panko breadcrumbs. In a shallow bowl, mix up the eggs, and add the grated garlic to the eggs too.
Pour the vegetable oil into a deep frying pan. You’re going to likely only have room to fry one crab at a time (don’t try to squish them both in the pan at the same time). Turn the vegetable oil onto high.
While the vegetable oil is heating up (Don’t stray very far from it! Keep a keen eye on the oil.), dip one of the crabs in the eggy-garlic mix and then from there, dip it carefully into the Panko. This latter step tends to be a little messy.
You’ll want to be very certain that the oil is good and hot (otherwise you’ll have soggy creasy crabs which will be disappointing). Throw in a little bit of eggy Panko mix into the oil .. it should sizzle enthusiastically. Once it does, the crab is ready to be fried.
Using tongs (easiest!), place the crab carefully into the oil. Fry each side for about 2 mins. While this crab is frying, get the second one ready with the eggy mix and bread crumbs.
Once crab #1 is finished frying, pull it out of the oil and rest it on a plate and get to work on crab #2.
Once crab #2 is done cooking you’re ready to serve your meal.
I make so much butter from scratch, that I’m constantly trying to figure out what to do with the leftover buttermilk. Of course, you can just buy buttermilk from the market for this recipe.
Neila is a family friend of ours, and a fantastic artist. During the summers, she would join us for a night or two up at Angora Lake, and make me photobooks so I could remember those trips. She also made a damn tasty blue cheese dressing as it turns out. I found this recipe in my godmother’s desk. I like to make it really garlicky. It’s tasty on sandwiches too. Or dip veggies into it.
1/2 cup of buttermilk
1/2 cup of mayo (if you have sour cream, you could do a 1/4 mayo, 1/4 sour cream)
1/2 cup of blue cheese - (Roquefort tastes good too)
2 cloves of grated garlic
squeeze of half a lemon
salt and pepper
If you don’t want the dressing too chunky, throw it in a food processor for just a moment.
Making cakes does not come naturally to me .. they require such precision and I tend to *not be so precise in the kitchen .. typically because i’m entertaining and talking and cooking all at the same time.
But a cake made with sour cream is quite simple and fairly hard to screw up (famous last words!). While the cake is very moist, it’s plain and simple and it does well with a fresh fruit salad served with it. This one is soaked in pink champagne .. it’s an apertif and dessert in one dish!
I used Violette Liqueur because I had the tail-end of a bottle on the shelf. You likely won’t have that liqueur lying around and, certainly, there’s no need to make a special trip to find it. This will work just as well with Sherry.
Make sure you have a 9 inch spring-release cake tin before you get started on this.
This feeds 8 - 10 people.
1 1/2 cups of sugar
3/4 cup of sour cream
a knob of room temperature butter
1/2 cup of canola oil
1 1/2 cups of plain flour (you’ll use some of this for dusting the cake tin)
4 tablespoons Violette Liqueur or Sherry (or some other liqueur you’re a fan of!)
2 teaspoons of baking powder
a spring-release cake tin .. one that is 9 inches (standard).
Any kind of berries will really work well for this.
2 cups of sliced strawberries
1 cup of blueberries
1 cup of raspberries
2 cups of pineapple
2 cups of pink sparkling wine
1/2 cup of sugar
Turn on the oven to 350F.
Combine evenly the sugar and sour cream together, and then trickle in the canola oil. Add the eggs one-by-one stirring enthusiastically so the mix doesn’t get clumpy and remains evenly distributed.
Butter the cake tin lightly and then take a few teaspoons of the flour and dust the cake tin with it.
In another bowl mix the flour and the baking powder. Important to make sure the baking powder isn’t lumpy so mix well. (If your baking powder is lumpy, you can add it to the flour via a small sieve.)
Slowly mix in the flour mix into the batter, stirring well. Then add the liqueur.
Now pour the batter into the cake tin.
Bake for 50 - 55 mins. You should be able to poke a sharp knife into the center of the cake and have no wet batter on it as you pull out the knife.
While the cake bakes, make the fruit salad. Mix up all the fruit, sugar and sparkling wine and let the fruit sit.
Remove the cake from the oven, let cool for 15 mins (you can make this the day prior), slice into portions and put on plate. Put the fruit salad next to the cake on the plate, and spoon over some of the liquid from the fruit salad onto the cake.
All of these lemony recipes have been passed down in my family. Enjoy!
Kiki’s Lemon Squares
These are my favorite sweet I’ve made in ages. And they’re perfect for Easter. Yummy! Virginia suggested adding lavender salt on top - great idea. Tart, salty and sweet. The perfect combination in a perso… errr, I mean, in a lemon square.
1 3/4 cups flour
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of sugar (confectioners if you have it)
1 cup of melted butter
Mix the above ingredients and bake in a 9” x 13” pan for 25 mins at 350F til lightly browned.
4 tablespoons of flour
juice of 4 lemons
2 cups of sugar
the rind of 2 lemons
Mix these remaining ingredients and pour on the pastry. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes. Cool before cutting or you’ll be in a right gooey mess.
This recipe is in the recipe binder my mother gave me after college. Her notes say that my godmother Barbara gave her the recipe from the May 1967 issue of Sunset. I’ve changed it a wee bit eliminating the canned mandarin oranges. No need for canned fruit!
This could be done with limes or oranges too. Tasty.
You need a 9” cake spring pan.
Crush the shortbread cookies and mix in half of a stick of melted butter. Line the bottom of the spring pan with this mix so that it’ll be a solid base to the torte. Bake it for 8 minutes at 325F.
Beat the egg yolks until they are light, and then beat in the sugar until the mix is thick and lemony colored. Stir in the lemon juice and the grated peel. Place the mix over a pan of hot boiling water, stirring until thickened into custardy consistency. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Beat the egg whites until they are foamy and making peaks. Fold them into the cool custard you’ve set aside.
Whip the heavy cream and then fold that into the custard mix. Turn it all into the spring pan, over the shortbread mix. Cover and freeze.
Pull out of the freezer and put into the fridge about half an hour before serving so that it thaws a bit and is easier to slice. (Do this as you’re serving the main course).
You can serve as is or toss some fruit on top so it looks all pretty-like. I put on some slices of dried lemons.
Meyer Lemon Cream Fluff
Unearthed from my godmother’s desk, I found this handwritten recipe. I suspect she came up with this as a result of having a meyer lemon tree in her back yard in Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Meyers are smaller, juicier and sweeter than your typical sour-puss, waxy lemon.
This recipe is great served as is, or you can make it and freeze it .. and it’s a heavenly fluffy icy treat.
1/2 cup of meyer lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
1 tablespoon meyer lemon peel grated/zested (do this BEFORE you squeeze the lemons, much easier!)
1/2 c fine sugar
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup of heavy cream
Mix the 1/4 cup of sugar, lemon juice and peel in a NON-reactive pan. Add egg yolks and heat. Don’t boil! Once heated all the way through and thickened slightly, put into the fridge to cool. You can do this a day in advance.
Whip the heavy cream.
I tend to do this part last —> Beat the egg whites slowly adding 1/4 cup of sugar until the eggs form glossy peaks. You can’t let beaten egg whites sit around as they’ll begin to separate.
Fold the egg whites into the lemon mixture, and then fold in the whipped cream. Place gently into decorative glasses or compotes. You can do this an hour or so in advance, chill and then serve. Any longer than an hour and the whites begin to separate a bit.
Crispy on the outside. Oozy cheese in the inside. Who doesn’t love a little crispy oozy bite?
There’s a few steps to putting this appetizer together but they’re well worth it, and you can rest assured that they’ll very quickly become history.
1/4 cup of fresh Parmesan cheese grated
1 cup of Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 lb of mozzarella cut into 1/2 -1 inch cubes
canola oil or peanut oil for the frying
salt and pepper
Basil Crème Fraîche
1 cup of crème farce
Handful of fresh basil
2 chopped or finely grated garlic cloves
Turn on the oven to 350F.
Slice the eggplants lengthwise in half. Coat the sliced now- open part in oil and put down directly onto a baking sheet (skin-side up). Bake for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile make the crème fraîche mixture. Chop the basil and garlic and mix into the crème fraîche. Done. Set aside.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool and then scoop out the flesh of the eggplant into a bowl. Mash the flesh with a fork so that it’s not too chunky.
Add the cheese to the bowl, one egg and half of the panko breadcrumbs. Salt and pepper the mixture to your taste.
Crack the remainder egg and put it into a saucer.
Pour the rest of the breadcrumbs onto a plate.
Your next move is to shape the eggplant mixture into little balls about the size of a golf ball .. keeping them smaller ensures they’re not so unruly to deep fry.
Stuff the balls (gently!) with the mozzarella slice. Roll the stuffed balls (gently!) in the egg and then the panko breadcrumbs and reserve them on a plate.
Set aside another plate with a handful of paper towels. You’re going to put the cooked balls here as you remove them from the hot oil.
Now pour the oil into a frying pan and fill so it’s about 1 - 1/2 inches high. Heat it. I never use a thermometer but instead just test with what I’m going to fry. Test with a bit of the eggplant mixture .. it should sizzle enthusiastically when the oil is hot enough.
Using a slotted spoon, drop the eggplant balls a few at a time into the hot oil until they are golden brown all over. Don’t crowd them in the pan as they’ll fall apart and not cook very well.
Serve the balls warm with the crème fraîche.
I ate so much grilled fish in Senegal right on the beach (having been speared) this past month. Delicious! And really so easy to prepare.
Here some big, fat trout on the grill. I stuffed them with a mix of chopped parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and dill. And then grilled the fish for an indefinite period. Indefinite as it ranged from about 10 minutes to 20 mins. In Senegal they leave the fish on forever .. it gets dry there but they have so many sauces and side-dishes that one doesn’t notice.
Given how tasty this is, I always make spare. My garden has been exploding with fresh herbs and kale so I was particularly liberal with adding those to the dish today. If you want to make this vegan, just eliminate the feta and add more herbs for color.
3 cans of chickpeas, rinsed
1 bunch of Italian parsley chopped very finely
1/2 cup of crumbled feta (you can skip this if you’re going vegan)
1/3 cup of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, grated or chopped very finely
juice of one lemon
zest of half the lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Put the chickpeas in a big bowl and then add the parsley and feta.
Mix the vinaigrette up: the garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, and olive oil.
Pour the vinaigrette over the chickpeas and toss.
Salt and pepper as you see fit.