Tag Archives: summer

peach and ricotta pizza

peach_pizza

The other day, after visiting the farmer’s market, I ended up with a bag full of peaches and no clear idea of what to do with them. Last year, we grilled and ate them with burrata, so we knew they were delicious with soft mild cheese. Brittany suggested that we put them on a pizza, so, we did. I decided to use ricotta, thyme and olive oil to keep it simple and let the peaches shine. Turns out it was a great call and a really nice, light, summer recipe.

I didn’t bother making my own dough this time but usually prefer to. You can often purchase dough from your favorite local pizzeria. This time we used the pre-made Fresh n Easy brand and I have to say – its not bad.

The biggest factor in making pizza at home is heat. Conventional ovens just aren’t hot enough to do the trick. To compensate, I use a piece of seasoned metal called a “pizza steel.” This is heated at 500º F for 1 hour. You can, of course, use a pizza stone. While this is happening, I leave the dough out on a lightly flowered surface and cover it with a damp paper towel. A pizza peel is also helpful for getting the pizza in and out of the oven. Sprinkle the pizza peel with semolina flour and and place hand stretched dough on it. Brush the rim of the pizza with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Next, using your fingers, spread a thin layer of ricotta cheese on the surface of the pizza. Then, lay thinly sliced peach on top of the ricotta and bake in oven for 6 to 10 minutes. The outer crust should begin bubbling and browning. If not, turn up the heat to broil for another minute to brown up the edges but be careful not to burn it. Finally, remove the pizza from the oven, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle it with fresh thyme and sea salt. I’m sure the addition of a balsamic reduction or honey drizzle would be excellent too but I loved letting the peaches do the talking. What a perfect way to use up the last of the season s peaches!

quivira

What I drank…
I chose a bottle of Quivira grenache, which, we purchased on our recent trip to Sonoma, CA. Probably not the best choice as it overpowered the delicate nature of this particular pizza. I think a pinot grigio would have paired much better, but hey, sometimes you have to deal with what’s on hand!

cantaloupe gazpacho with pancetta

cantaloupe_gazpacho

This has become one of my favorite recipes of the summer. It’s ridiculously quick and simple and it can be modified to cater to your guests or menu. If you’ve got a vegan in the group, simply leave off the pancetta and creme fraiche.  This chilled soup is healthy, delicious, refreshing and holds up on its own! However, I believe it is elevated with the addition of the pancetta and creme fraiche. It’s sort of a riff on melon with prosciutto. Additionally, it can be made spicy by adding cayenne or slightly smokey by adding smoked paprika. Experiment with it and tell me what you like.

Cantaloupe Gazpacho
1 cantaloupe (flesh only)
1 small cucumber (peeled)
1/3 cup of water
1/4 small red onion diced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
white pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
sprinkle of cayenne pepper or smoked paprika

Optional Ingredients
creme fraiche
1/4 cup diced and fried pancetta

Using a blender liquify the first 5 ingredients until you have a smooth consistency. Then slowly add the olive oil while the blender is still running. Adjust with salt and white pepper. You can blend in a couple of dashes of cayenne if you want a spicier version of this soup. Chill soup in blender until ready to serve. Simply blend it again for a few seconds when you are ready. Ladle soup into bowls and top with pancetta, creme fraiche and cayenne or smoked paprika. Should serve about 6 people.

woodenhead

What I drank…
I enjoyed my soup with a glass of 2012 Woodenhead French Colombard that we picked up on our recent trip up north. I love crisp dry whites with a dish like this!

champagne cocktail with st. germain and muddled strawberries

stgermain

It’s hot out, strawberries are cheap, delicious and in season. I’m not feeling like whisky or a heavy cocktail right now. I want something cold and refreshing. I got a whole tray of fresh organic strawberries from the farmer’s market for $5!  All I need is a sparkling wine and St. Germain elderflower liqueur and I’ve got the makings for a winner.

In a collins glass add 3-4 strawberries and muddle into puree. Add ice to the glass and 1 ounce of St. Germain. Finally, top with a dry sparkler such as Brut Champagne, Dry Sparkling Wine, or Brut Rosé. If you are using Champagne give me a call. Garnish with a mint sprig. Voila! It’s that easy!