Cardamom & Peach Cheesecake

This is that time of year where I get antsy about food. Its spring-time–the birds are chirping, the sun is out, and it feels like summer is just around the corner. So where’s the spring-time produce?! I know its too soon for the kinds of things I’m craving, and this is exactly why its always a good idea to preserve a bit of the season–to abate such cravings until nature has a chance to catch up. So today’s dessert: a sweet, creamy, cardamom perfumed cheesecake, topped with cardamom-scented peach preserves.

I’ll be honest: I’d forgotten about these peach preserves. They were buried in the back of my pantry, but when I found them, I needed to finally dig in (peach season is one of the things I’m anxiously awaiting, after all). They were simple to make (many months ago), and I remember from sampling a… click to read more…

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Lamb Steak over Israeli Cous Cous with Cranberry Sherry Mint Sauce

When I found myself with a cut of lamb known for having an incredibly tender texture (the top round roast–it comes from the upper hind leg), for some reason, steak was on my mind rather than the usual roast. I’d never had lamb steak before, so I thought that this could be a fun change–I’d just give them a quick, buttery pan sear (since its not grilling weather at the moment) and top it off with a simple sauce. Being autumn and all, cranberry seemed like a great thing to focus on sauce-wise–and like pork, lamb with fruit always makes me happy.

Lamb Steak over Israeli Cous Cous with Cranberry Sherry Mint Sauce

The lamb was indeed very tender. The resulting steaks had a crisp, buttery, exterior with a juicy and just-a-little-pink interior (random aside: why aren’t lamb steaks more common?!)–very tasty. The cranberry sauce I made to go with this was very similar in style to click to read more…

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Pickled Chili Peppers

While I tend to go all out with dinner, my weekday lunches tend to be fairly simple. I usually roast either a turkey or a chicken on the weekend, shred the meat, and portion it out appropriately for sandwiches. To keep this from being boring, I make small changes to each, whether it be the cheeses, sauces, or toppings–anything to trick myself into thinking I’m not eating the same thing everyday. There’s one thing that is constant though on every such variation of this sandwich though: pickled peppers. I used to think the jarred stuff from the grocery store was fine, but after seeing how simple home-made pickled peppers appeared, I couldn’t help but try it. Now, I can’t have enough of them. These are simply amazing.

Pickled Chili Peppers

Before summer is over and you can’t find good, fresh peppers, you seriously need to try these. Note, this… click to read more…

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Peach and Pecan Tart

Before peach season entirely draws to a close, I felt I needed to have at least one peach pie in some shape or form. As we start to enter autumn and pecan season, this pie seemed like a natural bridge for my cravings (and entirely in line with other favorite pies of mine).

Peach and Pecan Tart

There are three major elements to this pie: the crust, the peach filling, and the pecan topping. I fell in love with each and the trio was a great mix. The crust was a pâte sablée (sweet pie dough) made with ground almonds for an assertive, sweet, but nutty flavor and a crisp, crumbly bite. The filling has the sweetness of peaches, accentuated by the tartness and added creaminess of quark (if you’ve never heard of it, it is a kind of cheese. I would compare it to a mix of cream cheese and sour cream as… click to read more…

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Grilled Beer Bratwurst with Tangy Apple Slaw

While I try to have a lot of variety in my cooking, there’s still a ton I haven’t tried. For some reason, German food has been stuck in this category for a long time and I’ve been meaning to remedy this for…just as long a time. Finally though, after hearing mention of beer brats at work, I couldn’t take it any more and decided to try to dress up this comfort food to be more than what most view it as: a glorified hot dog (so don’t go putting bratwurst in hotdog buns! Its better than that!).

Grilled Beer Brats with Tangy Apple Slaw

This is a simple meal to prepare, and its really big on flavor. The brats are parboiled in a mixture of beer, shallots, and spices (think the sweet but savory, clean flavors of juniper and caraway) before they get crisped up with the smoky flavor of the grill, leaving the beer mixture to reduce to a thick sauce. These are served alongside… click to read more…

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Cardamom Peach Preserves

Just like I get the strong urge to braise everything in the winter, I find myself wanting to preserve everything I encounter during the summer. After enjoying many a peach (and I must confess, I think I prefer Carolina peaches over Georgia peaches…), I vaguely recalled a recipe for peach preserves I had encountered and knew I had to make some for myself while I could still find some amazing local peaches.

Cardamom Peach Preserves

My first inclination when it comes to preserves is always jelly or jam, so I thought I’d try to not do that, instead opting for larger chunks of fruit and a looser syrup. Also, while the best preserves tend to be simple (e.g. just fruit + sugar), some pairings are a match made in heaven, and peach + cardamom is such a match. They both offer such… click to read more…

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