This salad is going to rock your world.
In fact, even though we still have about a month of summer to go, I'm going ahead and naming it THE salad of the summer.
It's heavy on flavor, but is light and refreshing. It was the perfect antidote for the heat wave we had a few weeks ago. It takes a little time to pull together, since there is grilling involved, but as I often do on Sunday, I grilled and roasted a bunch of my CSA vegetables, put them in the fridge, and then pulled them out during the week. There is no way that I could construct a salad like this on a week night.
After poring through a dozen recipes for blueberry pancakes, it all comes down to the million dollar question: can you use a stainless steel pan to make pancakes? Every recipe I read called for a nonstick pan. The problem for me is that I don't own a nonstick pan. My husband, Marcus, thinks we will all die slowly of cancer if we use them. This morning I set out to find out if stainless steel pans work (not if we would slowly die of cancer from using nonstick, a debatable topic in my house). My conclusion: yes, you can in fact make pancakes with a stainless steel pan. It all comes down to the fact that stainless steel pans eventually become "nonstick" if they get hot enough. You just have to be patient and wait for the pan to "release" the pancakes from it's hold. Of course, this means you have to use oil, but I think oil is necessary anyway for browned edges that give pancakes flavor and texture. You end up with a crispy shell and soft pillow cake inside.
If you make one pie this summer, this is the one. Blueberry pie is simple and extraordinary at the same time. The crust comes from Cook's Illustrated via Smitten Kitchen and the pie filling comes from Simply Recipes. I made two crusts (for a top and bottom), but then thought better of using the top crust because I didn't want to hide the blueberries. Instead, I used a cookie cutter to create these "fire works" on top of the pie. Have a great weekend!
I have to admit, I had never heard of crème fraîche until a few years ago when I saw a cheftestant using it on Top Chef. Crème what? I immediately looked it up online, using my number-one, trustworthy, foolproof, no-way-this-can-be-wrong source, wikipedia, and found it described as sour cream, but less sour, and thicker, with 28 percent milk fat. Yes, please.
Recently I've heard a few people use the word "honest" to describe food. My first reaction was, what an absurd adjective to describe food! Those copywriters have lost their blueberries. As if food can lie to you. The more I thought about it, though, the more it made sense. Undoubtedly, there is a lot of food out there, all produced by that evil monolith known by some as “Big Food,” that is lying straight to my face. As Food Inc. notes, meat producers proudly brand their pork products with idyllic photos of the family farm, when the pork product really comes from places that would most certainly curb your craving for bacon and eggs.
Back to the blueberries: if there is such a thing as honest food, it's this here jam. I picked the blueberries myself, then made the jam on my own stove. Take that, Big Food.