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Minted Peaches And Raspberries In Rose’

I grew up in a large Italian family, my Grandfather made his own wine from grapes he grew himself and I remember his home vividly, rows and rows of grapes, fruit tree’s and berry bushes. One dessert I remember is so simple but very delicious, fresh tree ripened peaches, macerated in a little sugar with red wine poured over it. Although I was too young to imbibe, I was allowed a little taste and have made this many times as an adult. I took this simple and classic treat and switched it up a bit, muddling fresh mint with sugar and macerating peaches and raspberries, then instead of red wine I used rose’. It’s light, refreshing and delicious and the mint adds a lovely freshness that goes perfectly with the fruit and wine. This is not the type of recipe you have to follow exactly you be the judge of how much fruit and wine to use. Tailor to your taste. Note: I used frozen peaches and raspberries that I flash froze, if using frozen it may have to macerate a little longer so that the fruit thaws a bit. I entered this recipe in the food52 contest for your best recipe using mint.

Serves 2

2 ripe peaches peeled and sliced

1 cup raspberries

2-4 tbs sugar (start with 2 and increase depending on sweetness of fruit)

handful mint leaves torn

12 oz (approximately) rose or pink champagne

Add the sugar and mint to mortar and crush to release the oil from the mint leaves, it will infuse the sugar. Place the peaches and raspberries into a container and pour the sugar and mint over them, toss to combine. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour, tossing again after 30 minutes.

Spoon the fruit with the sweet minty juices into serving bowl or wine glass top with very cold rose, sip the wine and eat the fruit.

Blackberry,Peach Ice Cream With a Hint of Basil

One of my favorite summer fruit pies is the combination of blackberries and peaches. I also really love blackberries with basil and I make a blackberry basil simple syrup that I use for drinks and as a flavoring in many sweet dishes. It’s been really hot here in NYC and my thoughts have turned to ice cream so I took my favorite pie and turned it into a frozen treat. I made a custard base, added some of the blackberry basil syrup before pouring into the ice cream maker and then some sweet ripe peaches that I got at the farmers market. It’s really delicious, you only get a hint of the basil, and I think it adds a depth of flavor to the ice cream that is wonderful. The syrup can be used to drizzle on the ice cream, make a shake or ice cream soda it’s very versatile.

Blackberry Basil Syrup

2 cups blackberries

1  cup + 2 tbs sugar

4 basil leaves

2/3 cup water

Add everything to a saucepan and bring to a boil, continue to boil for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for about 15 minutes. Strain into a bowl pressing the blackberries so all that is left is seeds and a very small amount of pulp. Pour into a jar and refrigerate until cold. Overnight is best. Then you can proceed to clean the strainer removing every seed that is stuck in every tiny little whole.


1 1/2 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 cup whole milk

5 egg yolks

1/3 cup sugar

Place heavy cream and milk into non reactive saucepan and scald. Add egg yolks and sugar to a mixing bowl and whisk until thick and a lovely light yellow color. Add half of the hot liquid into the yolks whisking constantly (tempering the egg yolks) Pour back into the pan with the rest of the milk/cream, turn flame to med/high stir constantly until it becomes thick and coats the back of your spoon. You should be able to run your finger making a line on the back of the spoon that stays intact. If using a thermometer it should be 170 degrees.

Strain into bowl, cover with plastic directly on top of the custard and let it come to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight or until it reaches 40 degree’s or lower.

Making the Ice Cream

Cold custard

3/4 cup blackberry basil syrup

1 cup chopped peaches (peeled)

Mix the blackberry syrup with the custard and pour into ice cream maker, follow manufacturers instructions. When ice cream is the consistency of soft serve add the peaches and continue churning for a few more minutes or until it’s the right consistency.

Spoon into container and place in freezer for at least 2 hours or until it reaches a scoopable consistency.

Asian Inspired Pork Burgers

These pork burgers are inspired by bahn mi, with similar flavors. I topped the burgers with a crisp cucumber, scallion and carrot slaw. The sauce is a little sweet and salty and is used both in the burgers and as a glaze. The slaw goes perfectly with the burger, it’s dressed with rice vinegar, sesame oil, lime zest and some sriracha to give it a kick.

  Makes 4-6 depending on size
The Slaw:
2 kirby cucumbers julienned
1 medium carrot julienned
2 scallion chopped the light and dark parts
The Dressing:
3 tbs rice wine vinegar
1 tbs sesame oil
zest of half a lime
1/2 tsp sugar
splash of sriracha or your favorite hot sauce
Place the prepared vegetables in a bowl, whisk all the ingredients together for the dressing and pour over the vegetables, toss to combine, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
The sauce/glaze 
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons sesame oil
Whisk all ingredients together and set aside.
The Burgers:
1 lb ground pork
2 scallions chopped white and dark green parts
3 tbs of the sauce
Several turns of the pepper mill (you judge how much pepper you like)
soft buns ( I used brioche)
melted butter for the buns
Mix the pork, scallions, pepper and sauce together. I did not season with salt. the sauce added enough salt for my taste. Shape into patties and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Heat grill pan on stove top or fire up the barbie. Brush one side of the pattie  with the sauce and place on hot grill, brush the other side. Grill to desired doneness, I found it took about 3-4 minutes per side.
Brush the buns with the melted butter and grill, place pork burger on bun and top with the slaw. Enjoy!

Stuffed Avocado With Poached Egg

The food52 contest is all about avocado’s. My entry is very simple and makes a fantastic breakfast or brunch but can really be eaten anytime of day. I stuffed the avocado halves with sauteed grape tomatoes and shallots, topped with breadcrumbs and heated in the broiler for about a minute and then topped it with a poached egg. It’s delicious, loaded with flavor and you can make this your own by adding whatever you like.

Serves 2

1 ripe avocado halved

1/2 cup  grape or cherry tomatoes halved

1 lobe of the shallot chopped

1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs

olive oil for pan

salt and pepper to taste

2 large eggs poached or fried

1/2 lime (for the avocado)

  1. Add olive oil to saute pan and add the chopped shallot, when it has softened add the tomatoes and saute just until the tomatoes start to soften and give off a little of their juices, season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and add the bread crumbs.saute until they have absorbed the oil and are lightly browned. Remove from pan
  2. Turn oven to broil, place rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with foil. Cut your avocado in half, squeeze the lime on both halves, sprinkle each with a pinch of sea salt. Fill the cavity with the tomato and shallots, top with bread crumbs and place in oven for approximately a minute just so it’s warmed and the crumbs are golden brown.
  3. Top with a poached or fried egg and enjoy

Featured Restaurant-Pilar Cuban Eatery, Brooklyn Small Business


Living in Brooklyn is great, and one of the most wonderful things about the neighborhood are the small businesses that have opened. They are part of the fabric of the neighborhood that makes it interesting, friendly and in the case of restaurants and food shops, delicious. One of the restaurants is Pilar, a Cuban restaurant at 393 Classon Ave in Clinton Hill. The Chef/owner is Ricardo Barreras and his wife Lizbeth Moreno, he moved here from Miami and opened this wonderful little bistro. I am a big fan of Cuban food and a real sucker for a good Cuban sandwich and I was not disappointed, it’s really everything a Cuban sandwich should be, thin Cuban bread encasing tender perfectly spiced pork, ham, swiss cheese and pickles pressed and grilled to perfection.While waiting for my food I watched the parade of great dishes going past me and I wanted to order everything. Rice, black beans, plantains and egg (YUM), hand made empandadas, stewed vegetables and rice. Everything cooked to order, homemade and utterly delicious.

Posted outside

i hope to feature local small business from time to time here, in my opinion it’s a great opportunity to spread the word and hopefully send business their way. I have great respect for these entrepreneurs. Ricardo and his wife take great pride in their work, they love what they do and thats evident from the moment you walk into their restaurant. I ordered a Cuban sandwich and 2 Empanadas, spinach and picadillo (ground meat, sofrito, cheese,potato) Ricardo told me he makes his own chorizo and gave me a sample (Delicious!!) I found a great NYT review of Pilar

NYT photo of Cuban Sandwich

Empanadas Spinach and Picadillo

If you live in Brooklyn or are just visiting drop by Pilar and enjoy some truly delicious and authentic Cuban food. You will love it as much as I did, and they deliver!!

Bake Together-Creamy Blackberry,Raspberry,Basil Galette

I am excited about this months Bake Together, Abby’s challenge this month is pie, Very Berry Mini Pies to be exact. As always we follow the basic premise of the recipe but are given the freedom to make it our own. My submission is one of my favorite spring/summer combinations, blackberry and basil. I make gelato, simple syrup and what ever I can from this flavorful combination.I decided to make small galette’s (free form tarts) and fill with blackberries and raspberries folded into a mascarpone basil cream. The crust is my go to pie crust from Julia Child and instead of vegetable shortening I use leaf lard. These sweet little galettes are creamy, loaded with berries and really delicious. Thanks Abby for another great challenge.

The Dough:

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1 tsp salt

6 oz cold unsalted butter (I used cultured) cut into pieces

4 tbs cold leaf lard or shortening cut into pieces

1/2 cup ice cold water

Add the flour and salt to food processor and pulse twice. Add the butter, lard or shortening and pulse until it resembles crumbs, pour into mixing bowl and add the water. Gently mix to combine. Divide into two discs, cover in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.


2 pints blackberries

1 pint raspberries (red or black)

4 basil leaves rolled and cut chiffonade

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup mascarpone

1/3 cup sugar

2 tbs flour

pinch of salt

zest of 1 lemon

Add the mascarpone, egg yolk, basil, sugar,lemon zest, flour  and salt to mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the berries and fold in. Refrigerate until ready to use

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Divide the dough into 8 pieces. On floured surface roll a piece of the dough into a round that is approximately 7-8 inches in diameter. Spoon some of the blackberry mixture into the middle of the round and bring the sides up leaving a little of the berries exposed. Continue until you have 8 galettes’s. Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

When the galette’s are chilled, bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven, brush with warmed apricot jam (optional) and let cool on a rack until ready to serve.

Coco-Lime Slushy

Coco-Lime Slushy

Next to the the Lemon,Lime, Campari Sorbet this is my second favorite summer drink. It’s cold and refreshing, creamy and delicious. I made this drink with more lime than pineapple and used unsweetened coconut milk and lime simple syrup so that I can control the sweetness. I also did not use crushed ice I find it waters it down so instead I froze the coconut lime mixture in an ice cube tray. The cubes are solid but easy to break up in the blender. The result is a slushy coconut lime and pineapple drink that is so refreshing. You can add as much rum as you like or make it virgin, it’s equally as delicious. One other cool thing about this drink is that because the drink base is frozen in ice cube trays you can make 1 or more and leave the rest in the freezer for use later on. Remove the cubes place in freezer bag and store in the freezer.

Lime Simple Syrup:

1 Lime peel removed (Use the peeled lime for the drink base)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

  1. In saucepan add sugar and water, bring to a boil let boil for approximately 2 minutes until sugar is completely dissolved take off heat, add lime peel. Cover and let sit until cool. Remove the lime peel. Store in jar in refrigerator. You can easily double this to make more simple syrup.

The Slush:

1 13.5 oz can unsweetened coconut milk

1 Lime peeled and all of the pith removed and quartered (Use the lime you used for the simple syrup)

4-6 tablespoons lime simple syrup (Make it as sweet as you like)

2 -3 ounces Pineapple juice (unsweetened) Start with two and if you need a little more liquid to break up cubes in blender add another ounce.

1 ounce Rum (Add more if you like it stronger)

  1. To your food processor add the quartered lime and coconut milk. Process until lime is pulverized. Strain into measuring cup.Add 4-6 tbs of the lime simple syrup. (Adjust the sweetness to suite your taste. Pour into ice cube tray and freeze.
  2. When coconut lime is frozen remove from ice cube tray, place in blender (depending on the proficiency of your blender you may want to break up the cubes) add pineapple juice and rum and blend until the cubes are broken up and it’s a slushy consistency. Pour and serve. Garnish with lime and pineapple.

Ready to Freeze