Sweet Cherry Pie

When I saw Deb’s sweet cherry pie, I was in love. I wondered how I could have possibly forgotten about cherry pie–I mean is that a classic or what?

Everybody loves pie, and almost everybody loves cherries, and all together, you’ve got a treat that will be gobbled up in no time. With a delicious, flaky, buttery crust, and that seductively dark, juicy cherry filling, there’s a reason this pie is a classic. There’s one surprising ingredient in the mix though: black pepper! Ironically, you won’t be able to detect it much in the finished pie, however it serves to give the cherries an even sweeter, flavorful intensity than they would have on their own (sort of like balsamic and strawberries).

  • 1 pie crust
  • ~4 cups Bing cherries
  • 4 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup sugar

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Pork Steak with Dijon Apple Sauce

If I had to pick one fruit/vegetable that represents autumn in my mind, I’d go with the apple. Maybe its the apple picking my family and I did every season when I was younger, maybe it was all of the apple pies–I don’t know, but fall is apple time for me. So rather than the usual ciders and sweets, I thought it would be fun to enjoy a savory apple dish today: Pork Steak with Dijon Apple Sauce.

This was an easy and quick dish to prepare that was amazingly delicious. The pork was juicy and bursting with flavor as that shoulder steak is a really tasty, fatty (as in flavorful!) cut of meat. The sauce I prepared to pair with this has a nod towards South Carolina styled barbecue sauces: something based around vinegar and mustard. The sauce… click to read more…


Rosemary-Scented Mascarpone Fig Tart

I love figs. Absolutely love them. It kills me not to have a fig tree and so I happily empty my pockets each week during fig season to pick up a few of these bizarre looking treasures. Its funny though–I hardly ever cook/bake much with figs because they never seem to be around very long. I’m trying to work on that this year in the name of self control, for you, my dear readers. The pains I suffer for you–I don’t gorge myself on figs like the fig glutton that I am. Today’s proof: a Rosemary-Scented Mascarpone Fig Tart.

This delicious dessert was inspired by the very artistic stylings of the Zen Man. I started from my base graham cracker crust recipe, but tweaked it to highlight rosemary rather than the cinnamon that I include… click to read more…


Phyllo Tomato Goat Cheese Tart

As the summer’s bounty of great, fresh tomatoes slows down, you need to squeeze in as many great tomato recipes as you can before its back to canned tomatoes. This dish is a great summery dinner/starter when you have something akin to a pizza craving that’s a bit lighter and different from the norm. So rather than bothering with a full on pizza dough and tomato sauce, instead, give a Phyllo Tomato Goat Cheese Tart a try.

Instead of pizza dough, I used a base composed of several sheets of phyllo dough for something crisp and crunchy rather than doughy. Then, instead of a tomato sauce, I chose to enjoy those sweet, bite-sized campari tomatoes, sliced thin and layered all over the tart. Underneath it all is a mushroom duxelle, basil, thyme, and goat cheese crumbles, which all together, was light, fresh, and very tasty. The flavors blended quite nicely–you get the earthiness of the mushrooms, the sweet of… click to read more…


Port & Melon Tapioca Pudding with Poached Figs

I had ideas for this dessert, but the end result is nothing like them. I started out aiming for a melon mousse, but it just wasn’t happening. Then, I started drooling over a honeydew sago soup, but it was too late for me to go in that direction. So I thought this was a very tasty nod to both ideas with a sexy looking twist. So what is it? A crenshaw melon (a cousin of the cantaloupe), pureed with a bit of Port and mint, transformed into a creamy, tapioca pudding, and topped off with a Port & spice poached fig.

First off, if you’ve never tried a crenshaw melon (this was my first time trying it), you could very easily substitute a cantaloupe and probably be none the wiser. I wanted to do something light and refreshing with this velvetty melon, and while my immediate response to just about any… click to read more…


Salt Encrusted Yellowtail Snapper

I’m never too excited about baking fish–fish in the oven usually means a smelly kitchen in my mind. Then there’s this concept of salt crusting fish. Maybe you’ve heard of it before–you start with a whole fish, cover it all over with a thick layer of salt (yes, its a lot of salt), and bake it. The way it works is the salt forms a hard crust while the fish cooks inside (stuffed with various aromatics), retaining a tremendous deal of moisture and yielding incredibly tender, delicious fish that quite simply highlights the inherent flavors of great fresh fish. I thought I’d give this a shot and made Salt Encrusted Yellowtail Snapper.

Now you might have gathered from my tone that I approached this dish with a bit of skepticism and hesitation. If you’ve never had it, reviewing the ingredient list certainly doesn’t suggest anything super exciting–if anything, it almost sounds bland and boring. Not to mention this tremendous… click to read more…

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