Roasted Corn and Shishito Pepper Pizza

Roasted Corn and Shishito Pepper Pizza

Another summer, another year to roast the heck out of shishito peppers. 

Since my first introduction to these funny little peppers, I can't help but roast pints of them when they are in season. Usually I opt for some variation of this super simple method, and this year is no exception—they are best simply charred with a little bit of sea salt. 

So why not top them on pizza? 1 in 10 of these peppers has a bit of a fire, although for the most recent basket I bought it was more like 1 in 3. As a person who is still working on being comfortable with spicy foods, I'll eat them like chips until I get a particularly spicy one. Luckily, the fire from shishito peppers quickly fades away. This spice lends a similar kick to topping your pizza with crushed red pepper flakes but with more of a fresh pepper taste.

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Almond Granita

Almond Granita

A few months ago I was watching Chef's Table: Pastry, and was pulled in by the episode featuring Corrado Assenza—a Sicilian chef who specializes in cannoli, gelato and granita.  

Prior to watching this episode, I had never heard of the Sicilian tradition of eating granita for breakfast. There are debates on whether or not lemon or almond was the best flavor but I was drawn in by the idea of eating something cold and refreshing like granita in the morning. 

It's traditionally served with brioche and espresso which sounded like the perfect summer morning breakfast. Since I don't drink espresso, I completely nixed that part of it. I do like brioche but had some difficulties when I tried making it by hand so I'm not sharing that recipe. It's been a while since I've made bread and I've never attempted brioche. Perhaps I'll try it again in the near future. 

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Plum Upside-Down Cake

Plum Upside-Down Cake

Stone fruit upside-down cakes and I don't always get along.

There was one really spectacular one I made three summers ago and since then, I haven't made one as tasty as that one except for this winter Mandarinquat Upside-Down Cake. Or perhaps I should say, I've been afraid to make one again in fear of it being exceptionally soggy or having a really gnarly top. Trying to get an upside-down cake to both look beautiful and to be baked just right is a challenge that is quite difficult to achieve. 

Although I prefer fresh cherries over cooked cherries, I prefer cooked plums over fresh plums. Sometimes the skin on plums can be too sour or bitter and I much prefer the sweetness and texture of peaches, nectarines or apricots. So plums get deemed as fruit that I will bake with or use as smoothie options.

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Chinese-Style Eggplant

Chinese-Style Eggplant

Besides the association with a certain type of suggestive emoji meaning, I think eggplant is a rather underrated vegetable. 

It is such a beautiful purple when raw but can turn kind of bleh and brown when cooked. Personally, I think it should be cooked thoroughly so you don't end up with bitter or chewy eggplant, but I have found my desire for it to be soft and silky and almost falling apart off-putting to others. I can just hear my sister Kristen saying "Ewwww".  

So perhaps I have turned you even more away from eggplant, but cooking it this way with a savory, garlicky sauce is one of my favorite ways to eat it. When it comes to eggplant size and shape, I prefer small-medium Japanese or Chinese eggplants for this kind of dish. The small globe-shaped Indian eggplants tend to have a skin that is too thick with not enough flesh. The large Italian eggplants are the opposite and have too many seeds. This is a Chinese dish so it makes sense to choose the eggplant best suited for it!

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Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad

This salad is a celebration of two things—heirloom tomatoes and homemade croutons.

Davis is in the heart of tomato growing country, so for the whole month of August you'll see what I call "tomato turns" or what happens when tomato trucks take a turn onto or off of the freeway too fast and tomatoes fall out. There is a particular section on the ramp on 113 North that is notorious for being covered in very sad smashed tomatoes. That's how I know we're in the thick of tomato season and that they should be gobbled up until they are no longer in season.

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Strawberry Cream Cheese Scones II

Strawberry Cream Cheese Scones II

If you've been around here a while, you'll know that I posted about these scones two years and some months ago

And... I haven't made them since then. Not because they are horrible but because I get on these waves of making new foods that are often using up other foods that I forget about some really great recipes I have already written about. This recipe is still solid but the photos needed a major refresh. I'm at the point now where I can tell how my food styling and photography has changed as I've started to develop my style. I'm still figuring that out but I think these photos are 100% better than the ones I took two and a half years ago. You can find the original recipe here

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Summer Fruit Cobbler

Summer Fruit Cobbler

Summer—It's here to stay until at least October by Sacramento Valley standards.

I am slowly accepting that the 80ºF we got on 4th of July was a miracle and that the 90º-112ºF is here to stay for the next few months. With my black car's AC not working, it's been extra fun, I mean extra training. Today, I went to Costco and was very, very concerned that the butter I got was going to melt by the time I got home (I forgot my freezer bag) but thankfully it survived. I also barely survived and basked in the glory of my apartment's AC before finding energy to get food. One day I'll look back on this and either think I was crazy for not getting my car fixed sooner or pat myself on the back for enduring the Valley heat in a black car with no AC. Thankfully my commute to and from work is only 15 minutes and I have become more experienced in figuring out how the rising sun will affect shadows over the course of a day. It's good photography practice. 

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Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

I'm continuing my newfound appreciation of cake with some cupcakes!

After making this Mint Chocolate Chip Checkered Cake a few weeks ago, it lead me to think about making a Neapolitan Checkered Cake which lead me to wonder how to make a strawberry flavored cake. Sometimes the paths that lead me to things of inspiration are very, very random. 

To celebrate strawberry season even more, I did some research and stumbled upon Sally's recipe which seemed to encompass all of the baking ideals I hold dear. This means no artificial flavored anything. All of the strawberry flavor comes purely from the fruit itself. The cake batter contains a strawberry puree and the frosting incorporates freeze dried strawberries. 

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