My Communal Table

Summer Peaches and Apricots

My son and I have a beautiful peaceful habit on Sunday mornings. When we wake up we break the fast by gobbling down whatever seasonal fruit we have on hand. I make the important first cup of coffee and heat up Gabriel’s apple juice with lemon slice. I read the newspaper and Gabriel watches the TV he has been long denied all week.

An hour or two later, we have our second course of the morning. It usually consists of eggs, bacon, and crispy bread. Sometimes its pancakes or a frittata. This tides us over until the late afternoon when I make our Sunday dinner, hopefully with more of the tribe around our table as well.

On this particular morning I had apricots and peaches on hand. I have grilled fruit before, but never for breakfast. I had always made it for a dessert, but heck, why not? When I announced that I was going to grill the peaches and then cover them with warm honey. I received a big hooray. Gabriel has several food allergies (dairy being one of them), but it does not stop me from slathering my grilled fruit with greek yogurt, then the warm honey. Amazingly simply, but huge flavor. It was great way to start the day.

Grilling stone fruit is a no brainer. Whether it is plum, peaches, or apricots.

1. I just heat up my grill pan with just a little butter over medium high heat.
2. Place flat side down for just only 2-3 minutes.
3. Zap honey in the micro for about 30 seconds just to get it warmed up

Serve with greek yogurt for a touch of tangy cream and slather with warm honey on top. You will lick your plate. I have also put blue cheese on the top of the fruit with honey on top and it taste amazing. It makes a great first course as well as a dessert, depending on your mood.

This bowl of fruit was demolished in about 5 minutes on that sunny Sunday morning. We have nectarines for next week.


Feta Souffle with Blood Orange and Mint Hollandaise with Salmon Caviar

Food 52 is a food community blog that has come to mean inexplicable things to me over the few months that I have been traipsing through it. Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs started the blog with the idea that home cooks are practical and inventive, which lead to great recipes. Both are successful cookbook authors themselves and you might recognize Amanda from her cameo in “Julie and Julia”.

Every week, they post a challenge to the food community by category. (Ex. Best baked pasta dish, etc.) Lots of recipes are entered and then two finalists are chosen and the community votes on the winner. The winner will get their recipe published in their cookbook at the end of the 52 weeks. Thus, the name of the blog. Meanwhile, there are all these fabulous cooks spending time cooking for their families and serving fresh, unprocessed food.

I am so inspired by the fabulous cooks that I have met in this community. The exchange of ideas is thrilling, but what really is exciting is the way each recipe tells a story about the interesting family that contributes to this venue. I say, family, not cook of the family, because it seems like whole families have become involved in the process. I know that Gabriel, my almost 6 year old, is my big inspiration and hopes I win with every recipe that I enter. True cooking is a family affair.

So, this weeks challenge was a little different. Amanda and Merrill asked us to create a recipe using feta cheese, blood oranges, and mint. It came with instructions to think outside the box. Well, I decided that I would just see if something came to me and I was not going to spend much time brooding over it.

I literally was swimming my laps at the community pool, when the souffle idea hit me and Feta Souffle with Blood Orange and Mint Hollandaise topped with Salmon Caviar was born. I really had no idea how it would taste when I was finished, but in the end, I was quite pleased.

I love souffles. Not as hard as one would think to make. They are eye-catching with a rich flavor with a moist, tender consistency. My Gramma Beuker would make a souffle for my mother and her best friend, Carol, when they would come home for lunch during the school week. I was always so impressed with that idea.

The hollandaise sauce looks like it will taste sweet, but it is rich and subtle with the mint hitting you at the last taste. Frankly, the caviar really makes it that much better. This recipe serves four for lunch or six for a first course. It would be perfect before a fish course. Okay, I say four for lunch or should I really say two for a hearty lunch. My friend, Richard, and I sat down to eat and before we knew it, it was all gone. We were scrapping the sides of the souffle dish to get the very last morsel.

Well, I hope you try a souffle. I will keep entering recipes and hey, perhaps mine might actually be picked as a finalist. I will definitely let you know if it does.

Pancakes from your pantry.
July 9, 2009, 4:41 am
Filed under: Breakfast, Vegan | Tags: , ,

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I love pancakes, but how many times do you wake up on that Sunday morning and realize that you are missing that one fresh ingredient that is needed for those much loved pancakes.

I started experimenting with vegan recipes because my son has severe food allergies and can not have most baked goods. I just wouldn’t settle. I wanted that perfect pancake that I could serve to my son and everyone else. It would be a success if no one knew that it was vegan. I found it.

Now do not get me wrong. I am an unapologetic carnivore, but you will see quite a few vegan recipes. First, it fits many of my sons dietary restrictions. Second, it is better for the enviromentĀ  that we eat less meat. Third, it is healthier for us. Drats!

Vegan Pancakes

1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

3 T. sugar (I ususally use beet juice sugar. Much lower glycemic level)

1 T. baking powder

1/4 t. salt

1/8t. nutmeg

3 t. Egg Replacer (I get this powder at Whole Foods)

1 1/2 cup soy milk

1/2 t. vanilla ( if your soy has vanilla flavor, omit)

Mix dry ingredients first and then whisk in liguids. You are now ready for your griddle. I usually use soy butter and pure maple syrup. And your berries, bananas… whatever you want added before the first flip.

I also use this recipe for waffles. I make extra and freeze them to pop in the toaster for a mid week breakfast.