Raspberry Crumble Bars

Raspberry Crumble Bars
From magazines to Instagram, all I see lately are pictures of pie. It seems like just about everybody is celebrating the fruit surplus by making from-scratch dough in hopes of the perfect crust. While I do like a slice now and then, our family is not big on pie. I only make one if we are going to a gathering with a crowd.

Last weekend I was craving a classic fruity summer dessert. Pie would have been perfect, but I knew I would end up consuming the bulk of it myself. I decided to bake raspberry crumble bars with a chewy base and crumbly top thanks to cornmeal. I even froze most of the bars, so we could enjoy them at our own pace.
Raspberry Crumble Bars
Raspberry Crumble Bars
Adapted from Everyday Food April 2011

Makes 16 bars

3/4 cup almonds
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
12 ounces fresh raspberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment leaving a 1-inch overhang on 2 sides.

Pulse the almonds into a food processor until finely ground. (You should have about 1 cup.) In a large bowl, combine the ground almonds, cornmeal, flour, sugar and salt. Stir in the butter.

Press two-thirds of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan to form a crust. Place the raspberries on top in a single layer and sprinkle with the remaining dough.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is golden brown. Cool completely before removing from the pan and cutting into 16 squares.

Store in an airtight container. Bars can be frozen up to 1 month.

Farro Salad with Fava Beans and Corn

Farro Salad with Fava Beans and Corn
Fava beans are a lot of work. That’s why I only use them in a recipe once or twice a year, and they aren’t the easiest veggie to find unless precooked & vacuum-packed. Of course I wanted them fresh tucked safely in their double pods. Shopping on a non-farmers market day, I trekked to three stores to find them.

Once I got home the work began removing them from their pods, cooking them and eventually peeling off their pale green skins. With all that out of the way, I made a farro salad with fava beans and corn tossed in a lemon vinaigrette. I finished things off with pecorino, walnuts and lots of chives.
Farro Salad with Fava Beans and Corn
Farro Salad with Fava Beans and Corn 

Serves 4-6
For vinaigrette
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

For farro
1 cup farro
2 cups water
1-1/2 pounds fava beans, in their pods
2 ears corn, shucked
3 tablespoons chopped chives
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 ounce shaved, pecorino
1 handful baby arugula and spinach
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, mustard, shallots, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until fully combined

In a medium saucepan, combine the farro and water. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and cover. Let stand for 15 minutes. In a mesh strainer, rinse the farro in cold water. Transfer to a large bowl.

Remove the fava beans from their pods. In a large saucepan, cook the fava beans in boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes until tender. Transfer them to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Once the fava beans have cooled, remove their skins.

Bring salted water to a boil in a large saucepan. Cook the corn for a few minutes until the kernels turn bright, golden yellow. Let the corn cool before cutting the kernels from the cobs.

Add the fava beans, corn and chives to the farro and stir in the vinaigrette. Toss in the walnuts, pecorino and baby arugula & spinach and season with salt and pepper.

Sour Cherry Soda

Sour Cherry Soda
I cut diet soda out of my life a few years ago. Even though my single can a day could hardly be considered a habit, I knew I needed to be drinking water. I went cold turkey doing my best to never look back. When I occassionally find myself missing a bubbly beverage, I satisfy my craving with sparkling water.

Instead of using a pound of tart cherries for a pie, I made cherry syrup perfect for an ice cream topping or a flavoring for fizzy water when strained. Only a couple spoonfuls and my plain drink took on a lovely ruby red hue. This homemade sour cherry soda was sweet and refreshing on a sticky summer afternoon.
Sour Cherry Soda
Sour Cherry Soda 

Makes about 1/2-2/3 cup syrup

1 pound sour cherries
Juice 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
Sparkling water for serving

Pit the cherries and place them in a large saucepan along with the lemon juice, sugar and water. Bring the mixture a boil and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes until it thickens into a syrupy consistency. Cool to room temperature before chilling in the refrigerator.

Strain the mixture and save the cherries for another use. Depending on your flavor preference, add the syrup to sparkling water.

Grilled Lamb Kofta

Grilled Lamb Kofta
In my dream world I would subscribe to every single food publication, and I would have  time to flip through each page devouring the recipes and photos. The reality of working and motherhood makes spending an entire afternoon with a stack of magazines impossible. I’ve cut back to just my favorites, and I am still a month or two behind.

I packed a few magazines in my carry-on bag during a recent trip. With a toddler in tow, it was wishful thinking, but he dozed for 20 minutes or so. With an unplanned moment to myself, I flipped open a magazine. A recipe for grilled lamb kofta caught my eye. These kebabs turned out perfectly grilled and full of flavor. They were even better than I expected!
Grilled Lamb Kofta
Grilled Lamb Kofta
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living July 2015

Serves 4-6

1 pound ground lamb
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for brushing
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Pita bread, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion and hummus for serving

In a large bowl, use a fork to mix together the lamb, onions, parsley, olive oil, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Shape the meat by the 1/4-cup-full into 3-inch long ovals and place on an oiled sheet pan. Chill for 2 hours or up to 1 day.

Heat a gas or charcoal grill on medium high heat. Brush the grates of the grill with olive oil.

Thread the meat onto skewers. Grill the kebabs for 6 to 8 minutes until the meat has grill marks and is cooked through. Serve with pita bread, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions and hummus.

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