Monday, May 08, 2006

Kitchen is a buzzin....

Lots to talk about today... let's start off with the sweet side of things.

I mentioned yesterday that we would be pairing some succulent strawberries with black pepper of all things. I choose this recipe for two reasons; the ingredient paring intriged both of us, and it was a dessert for two! Strawberry-Black Pepper Tart for Two starts out by making a simple, yet delicious pastry crust. This crisp, flaky and slightly sweet crust is spiked with the nutty addition of walnut oil that enhances the whole wheat pastry flour. The crust comes together in minutes and I can't wait to use this as a base for many other ideas I have floating around.The filling part of the recipe is a combination of sliced fresh strawberries, sugar, black pepper and flour/cornstarch to thicken the syrupy juices. After rolling out the crust, the strawberries are piled in the center and the sides are folded onto the berries, leaving a deep red center exposed. This tart for two is baked until the center is bubbly and the crust turns a rich golden color. The groovy combination of the sweet berries with the bite from the chunky black pepper was surprisingly pleasing to us. Next time I think I might try a small drizzle of fine quality balsamic before serving (and that might be tomorrow as we really liked this!)

On to tonight's dinner... keeping with a sweet theme for the day, I made Grilled Chicken with Cherry-Chipotle Barbecue Sauce. I highly suggest starting this the night before so the chicken will have plenty of time to be infusedwith this full-flavored marinade. Instead of discarding it, the marinade it is simmered into a thick, smoky and spicy sauce. I didn't happen to see any fresh cherries in the store yet (a bit early still I think?) so I used some frozen dark sweet cherries from Trader Joe's. The heat comes from the small addition of chipotle peppers in adobo (smoked jalapenos) - while it is hot, it is not overwhelmingly spicy. Be sure to watch the chicken as it cooks, because of all the sugars from the marinade, the outside of the chicken can easily burn.

We found some first of the season fresh sweet white corn at the market this weekend and I thought of a recipe I just marked to try. Roasted Corn with Basil-Shallot Vinaigrette begins by mixing the corn kernels and some olive oil, then roasting them in a very hot oven until they begin to take on a golden hue. Right before serving, the corn is dressed with fresh cut basil, red wine vinegar and seasonings. Clean, sweet, simple and a delicious summery treat.

Tip of the day - To ease the cutting of the kernels off the cob, I stuck the cob in the center hole of a bundt pan. As you cut down the cob, the kernels fall in the pan and not all over the floor!


  1. You saw the same TV program I did! That corn trick is pretty cool.

  2. Everything sounds wonderful, Joe.. and that tip at the end is excellent as I bought some of this season's first crop of corn myself and wanted to cut the kernels off and freeze for later use.. perfect :D

  3. Your recipes and pictures always make me so hungry!

    I may have to stop at our local farmers market next week and pick up some fresh strawberries and try out this pie. I love the freeform style crusts! They're so easy and look different everytime you make one.

  4. What a lovely dinner! (How on earth do you and Jeff not weigh 300+ pounds each??) I particularly love the tart, as it sounds so easy to make and looks so delicious. Yum!

  5. The tart is so pretty, I like how you described the crust, sounded like a good one.
    I also liked the idea of the roasted corn in the oven, yummm, I love roasted corn. Isn't summer the best? All the favorite ingredients plus the nice warm weather, couldn't be better!

  6. I see you got the most recent EatingWell, too, Joe. I've been eyeing that tart myself - it looks and sounds delicious!

  7. I bet the Strawberry Tart was fabulous -- Michael Chiarello has a recipe for Pazzo Pazzo, which has strawberries, black papper and balsamic vinegar, and it is insanely good.

  8. Hey, Joe. That tart looks super! I've been pairing strawberries with black pepper for a long time, and it's always fun to have people ask what's in the berries and to hear their reactions when you tell them what it is. By the way, any bites on your house? Hate to see you go. We always look forward to your entries with the great photos.

  9. I tried that corn trick and it was a hassle...kernels everywhere...figures it wouldnt work for me. Im such a goof. :-)

  10. La Vida - Actually, I didn't see this on a TV program as a friend showed me the trick (They probably saw the show you did though!)

    Lis - Thanks! I wish I could freeze some, but I don't know how long we will be here!

    Barbara - Do try it! We loved it!

    Tania - Self control and exercise! It was pretty easy, if you try it let us know!

    Ana - Love the selection of fresh veggies around this time!

    Nic - I'm havin' fun with this one! Lots of fun stuff to try

    Cate - His recipe does sound tasty!

    Harry - Thanks! I'll have to see what else we can find with this combo!

    Rachael - really? Maybe the pan was too shallow! The idea is good, but it still made a mess with juice shooting everywhere!

  11. I was just reading that issue today and eyeing all of those recipes too! How did you like the chicken? Do you think it would be OK under the broiler rather than on the grill?

  12. Cathy - it was tasty! You could probably do the broiler, but make sure it is not too close or it might burn quick!

  13. OOOH that strawberry pepper tart is too good to resist.

    Thanks for sharing.