Arsip Tag: summer

summer squash pizza – smitten kitchen

Stop what you’re doing. Dinner tonight is the very best kind there is: it has five ingredients including the ones to make the pizza dough. It’s seasonal, which means you can use it to decimate your CSA pile-up. And it doesn’t care what else you had in mind; recipes like this exist to disrupt the best-laid meal plans and that’s my favorite thing about them. It is, in fact, pretty much the only thing I want out of any dish, for it, at least for a time to be the thing you have to eat next because now nothing else will do.

i had some pretty ones

I, too, had a plan, something involving these summer squash but with pesto and burrata and maybe some beans or farro? It hadn’t quite come together yet when I death-wished over to Sullivan Street Bakery last week to pick up a sourdough pullman for the blueberry bread and butter pudding and ended up walking out with six things not on my list, as will happen when you go to an amazing bakery: this crazy pastry and five squares of pizza, which made a fantastic and surprisingly light weeknight dinner miles better than anything that delivers (the irony not lost on the person doing the miles and the delivering). The mushroom was funky and delicious; the cauliflower was speckled with heat; the potato pizza was such a perfect match for this one, I was really proud of myself until I remembered that it’s the same recipe (it’s okay, I’m rolling my eyes too); the pomodoro was loved only by me either because I appreciate simple things that need no adornment (my theory) or because I’m a bore (others‘) but the zucchini pizza with heaps and valleys of deer bed-like shreds? Whoa. I had to get to the bottom of it.

shreddingshreddeddraining the shredswrung outpress, stretch, nudge it into shapecheese shreds and squash shredsready to bakesummer squash pizza

I fully expected it to contain a grocery cart full of ingredients, as cheffy creations often do, a minimum of sharp cheese, garlic, maybe anchovies, perhaps oregano and definitely 10 other things, probably hard to get. And then I Googled it and learned that Jim Lahey makes the topping with exactly three things — shredded zucchini, shredded gruyere and a sprinkling of breadcrumbs — which along with the pizza dough (flour, yeast) brings us to five ingredients and now dinner is sorted. I used a mix of summer squash, you can only use zucchini, it doesn’t matter. You can use a storebought or homemade dough, you could bake this topping onto toasts, zucchini melt-style (I almost did), you can add other ingredients (a schmear of black olive paste underneath, an egg on top) but you don’t need to make a pizza you’re going to repeat until the zucchini overpopulation recedes.

summer squash pizza
summer squash pizza


One year ago: Takeout-Style Sesame Noodles with Cucumber
Two years ago: Blueberry Crumb Cake
Three years ago: Charred Corn Crepes
Four years ago: Pink Lemonade Bars
Five years ago: Corn Buttermilk and Chive Popovers
Six years ago: Sweet and Smoky Oven Spareribs
Seven years ago: Cantaloupe Salsa and Plum Kuchen
Eight years ago: Huevos Rancheros and Blueberry Crumb Bars
Nine years ago: Nectarine and Blackberry Galette

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Banana Puddings with Vanilla Bean Wafers and Taco Torte
1.5 Years Ago: Charred Cauliflower Quesadillas
2.5 Years Ago: Fennel and Blood Orange Salad
3.5 Years Ago: Egg Salad with Pickled Celery and Coarse Dijon
4.5 Years Ago: Cheddar Beer and Mustard Pull-Apart Bread

Summer Squash Pizza

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for fingertips
  • 1 recipe pizza dough (below) or about a 2/3 volume of my lazy fitted-to-your-schedule favorite or your favorite, whichever it may be
  • 2 1/2 pounds (about 5 small-medium or 3 large) zucchini or other summer squash, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) coarsely grated gruyere cheese
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
Heat your oven to 500°F with a rack in the center. Brush either 1 13×18-inch rimmed half-sheet pan or 2 9×13-inch quarter-sheet pans (as I do) with olive oil. Divide your dough in half and use oiled fingertips to pull, stretch, nudge and press the dough across the bottom of the pan. The dough will be thin and imperfect; just try to get it even. If holes form, just pinch them together.

Use a food processor with a grater attachment or the large holes of a box grater to grate the zucchini. In a large bowl, toss together the zucchini and salt. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes (more, if you have the time), until the zucchini has wilted and released its water. Drain the zucchini in a colander and then use your hands to squeeze out as much water as possible, a fistful at a time. Back in the large bowl (wiped out if still wet), toss the zucchini with the gruyere shreds, being sure to break up any clumps of zucchini. Taste the mixture; it should be seasoned enough from the salt, but you can add more, plus ground pepper or pepper flakes if desired.

Spread the zucchini mixture over the dough(s), going all the way to the edges of the pan and piling it a bit thicker at the edges, where it will brown first. Sprinkle messily with the bread crumbs.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the topping is golden. Remove from oven, cut into squares and dig in.

Jim Lahey’s Basic Pizza Dough
This is halved and modified a bit

2 cups minus 1 tablespoon (250 grams) all-purpose or bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons (5 grams) instant or active dry yeast
A heaped 1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
2/3 cups (150 grams) room temperature water

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, yeast and salt. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until well blended, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the dough has more than doubled in volume, about 2 hours. Continue using instructions above.

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strawberry summer sheet cake – smitten kitchen

Eight years ago, I wrote about a strawberry cake I’d been making and tweaking from Martha Stewart since, apparently, 2005 that felt to me like the epitome of early summer. The batter is a simple cake — butter, sugar, flour, eggs, milk. The berries are fresh, hulled and halved. There’s seemingly nothing new or revolutionary but what differentiates it from other summer cakes is the sheer volume of strawberries. There’s a full pound of berries placed on top before you bake the cake, more than easily fit. In the oven, the batter buckles around the berries, turning them into jammy puddles, especially if your strawberries are a touch overripe. The sunken berries dimple the top like a country quilt. The edges of the cake brown and become faintly crisp. If you can bear to wait half to a full day to eat it, and really let those baked berries marry with the cake, you might swear off all other summer desserts.

prepping strawberries

Clearly, I’m a fan. But I hadn’t expected on a site with many other cakes with fresh fruit in them for it to so quickly take off, ultimately joining the small club of recipes on SK with more than 1000 comments.* The only thing that’s never right about it, however, is the size. A cake like this is here to make friends, and eight wedges never last. For years, if anyone asked about making it in a 9×13 pan, I gave my default answer: double it! For most cakes, this absolutely works. But at home, it was never quite right. The cake was too thick and 2 pounds of berries never fit on top, meaning you’ll use less, and if you use less, the cake is, in my opinion, way less spectacular. I’m not sure why it took me until this summer to get it right, but I finally realized that I was scaling it wrong. The 1.5x yield of batter and berries creates the strawberry summer sheet cake I’ve always needed and finally have. I haven’t made it the original way since, and I thought you deserved an update that was more than a footnote, too.

readyone-bowl cakesmooth the batter in the pan

I’ve reduced the batter effort to one bowl. Delightfully, the baking time for the larger size is a little less while the servings jump to 12 to 16 per cake. The most persnickety thing about the whole cake is arranging the berries on top and for this, but a messy, disorganized collage is the only way to go. If you have berries left when you’re done covering every speck of the cake, nudge them closer, even overlapping them by a little edge. Do not leave berries behind. Strawberries are phenomenal right now and the summer is in full, sultry swing. We need this on repeat.

use every strawberry
strawberry summer sheet cake, baked
strawberry summer sheet cake

* Curious what the others are? I was too. Mom’s Apple Cake, Apple Cider Caramels, Best Birthday Cake, Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake, and Best Cocoa Brownies. I apologize in advance for your electricity bill this summer if you find this list too good to pass up.


One year ago: Linguine and Clams
Two years ago: Drop Berry Shortcakes and Zucchini Grilled Cheese
Three years ago: Funnel Cake
Four years ago: Herbed Summer Squash Pasta Bake and Chocolate Chunk Granola Bars
Five years ago: Limonada de Coco and Cherry Almond Dutch Baby
Six years ago: Pickled Vegetable Sandwich Slaw
Seven years ago: Chocolate Swirl Buns and Cold Rice Noodles with Peanut Lime Chicken
Eight years ago: Rich Homemade Ricotta and Linguine with Pea Pesto
Nine years ago: Rustic Rhubarb Tarts, Scrambled Egg Toast, Strawberry Brown Butter Bettys and Shaved Asparagus Pizza
Ten years ago: Spanikopita Triangles, Neapolitan Cake, Cheese Straws and Strawberries and Dumplings
Eleven years ago: Fresh Ricotta and Red Onion Pizza, Sweet Cherry Pie, and Zucchini Strand Spaghetti
Twelve years ago: Strawberry Chiffon Shortcake

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Plush Coconut Cakes and Baked Buffalo Wings
1.5 Years Ago: Banana Oat Weekday Pancakes
2.5 Years Ago: Chicken Wonton Soup, Crusty Baked Cauliflower and Farro and Chocolate Dutch Baby
3.5 Years Ago: The Browniest Cookies, Feta Tapenade Tarte Soleil, Chicken Chili and Leek, Ham, Cheese and Egg Bake
4.5 Years Ago: Mushroom Marsala Pasta Bake, Key Lime Pie and Make Your Own Vanilla Extract

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baked farro with summer vegetables – smitten kitchen

Farro cooking times can vary. Written here is for what’s most common in stores near me, semi-pearled. The package should give you an indication of cooking time, which roughly matches the time in the oven, plus another 10 minutes. I.e. a package that says it will take 30 minutes to cook will take 30 to 40 to bake. If yours says 45 or 50 minutes, expect the oven portion to take longer here. If you’re using 5-minute farro, you might find you need less water and, of course, less cooking time. In some cases, the farro needs more water to cook; I give you an indicator in the recipe just in case.

  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Kernels cut from 2 ears of corn (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) zucchini or other summer squash (about 4 medium), quartered lengthwise and sliced thin
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 medium/large roma tomatoes (about 1 pound), diced (about 2 1/3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup white wine (optional)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1 cup (210 grams) uncooked (semi-pearled) farro (see Note)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, diced
  • 2/3 cup (2 ounces) parmesan cheese, finely grated
If you have an ovenproof 11-inch or 4-quart pan with a lid, use it here. If not, use a large (11- to 12-inch) sauté pan for the stove portion and transfer it to a 3- to 4-quart baking dish for the oven part.

On the stove, heat pan to medium-high. Once hot, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Let the oil warm and add corn. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and many grinds of black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Tip corn into a large bowl.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and warm 2 more tablespoons olive oil. Add half of zucchini and 1/4 teaspoon salt, black pepper to taste, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is tender and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add to bowl with corn and repeat with more olive oil, salt, pepper, and second half of zucchini. This is a good time to…

Heat your oven to 375°F.

Reduce heat to medium and add another drizzle of olive oil. Add onion, 1 teaspoon salt, red pepper flakes, and cook until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, and oregano and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes soften and begin to form a sauce, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine, if using, and cook until the wine has reduced and the sauce is fairly thick, about 3 minutes more. Return the corn and zucchini to pan the and cook with the sauce for 2 minutes. Add basil and stir to combine.

Add farro, water, and 1 more teaspoon of salt and stir to combine. If you need to transfer this to an ovenproof dish, do it now. Stir in diced mozzarella and half of parmesan. Sprinkle remaining parmesan on top, and cover with a lid or tightly with foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until farro is cooked. Cooked farro should be tender but a little chewy. If the pan is dry and your farro still seems undercooked, add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup water and return it to the oven until it reaches the right texture.

Transfer dish to your broiler, or to the hottest part of your oven (and crank the heat) and cook until browned and crisp on top, about 3 to 5 minutes under a broiler or 5 to 7 in the oven. Serve warm.

Do ahead: Leftovers will keep for 5 to 7 days in the fridge. Rewarm in a 350-degree oven. This dish should also freeze well.

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summer ricotta with grilled vegetables – smitten kitchen

Letter of recommendation: Make ricotta this summer. I was originally going to write “Ditch the burrata and make some ricotta this summer,” but neither wish to besmirch burrata nor do I plan to go tomato season without it. Should a burrata tree (it grows on trees, or must based on the frequency in which it appears) spontaneously appear on my terrace, I will be the happiest and most popular girl in all of the Lower East Side this summer. But since like most of us, I’m still buying it at stores where it’s quite expensive, spoils quickly, and is only sometimes spectacular, I’m here to make the argument that homemade ricotta is not only rich, delicious, and a cinch to make, but that in almost all of the places we’re serving burrata, ricotta* would be deliciously welcome too.

summer ricotta grilled vegetables-01summer ricotta grilled vegetables-02summer ricotta grilled vegetables-03summer ricotta grilled vegetables-04summer ricotta grilled vegetables-05summer ricotta grilled vegetables-06summer ricotta grilled vegetables-07summer ricotta grilled vegetables-08

Plus, it’s an incredible potuck addition or host gift, and you get to feel absolutely triumphant in pulling it off. As someone who does not have a, say, covetable summer pad (no pool or big yard for grilling), we spend a lot of time heading to other’s homes for gatherings which means always transporting something good to share, and because it’s, ahem, me, it’s homemade. Enter: ricotta. From a storebought tub, it’s unspectacular. Homemade? Luxurious. It’s blissful spread on toasted bread, drizzled with olive oil, and finished with flaky salt. You could even add a drizzle of honey or balsamic, if either are your thing. But with a few additions — fresh tomatoes or any vegetable in season, thinly sliced and grilled to heap on top, plus grilled bread — it’s even more special, the appetizer (or light lunch) platter of my summer dreams.

summer ricotta grilled vegetables-11
summer ricotta grilled vegetables-12

[* “But doesn’t burrata contain ricotta?” is a valid question and the answer is that it often does, but not when it’s very good. Burrata is a cow milk cheese from Apulia made with a thin outer layer of mozzarella which is filled with stracciatella. Stracciatella in this case are shreds of fresh mozzarella, usually leftover from mozzarella-making, soaked in cream. Good burrata, burrata filled with these creamy shreds, is otherworldly. But very often it’s filled with just ricotta, while delicious, is not nearly as special or worthy of the price tag and you do not always know what you’re getting until you open it. Thank you for coming to my Deb Talk.]



6 months ago: Checkerboard Cookies and Short Rib Onion Soup
1 year ago: Perfect, Forever Cornbread
2 years ago: Beach Bean Salad
3 year ago: Raspberry Crumble Tart Bars
4 years ago: Ice Cream Cake Roll
5 years ago: Strawberry Graham Icebox Cake and Broccoli Rubble Farro Salad
6 years ago: Almond-Rhubarb Picnic Bars
7 years ago: Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake, Fake Shack Burger, and Swirled Berry Yogurt Popsicles
8 years ago: Carrot Salad with Tahini and Crispy Chickpeas
9 years ago: Greek Salad with Lemon and Oregano and Two Classic Sangrias
10 years ago: Vidalia Onion Soup with Wild Rice and Tzatziki Potato Salad
11 years ago: Classic Cobb Salad, Lime Yogurt Cake with Blackberry Sauce and Blue Cheese Scallion Drop Biscuits
12 years ago: Asparagus, Lemon and Goat Cheese Pasta and Raspberry Buttermilk Cake
13 years ago: Martha’s Mac-and-Cheese, Crisp Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies
14 years ago: Cherry Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake
15 years ago: Homemade Oreos and Cellophane Noodle and Roast Pork Salad

summer ricotta grilled vegetables-09

Summer Ricotta with Grilled Vegetables

As shown, this feeds four people for appetizers, but it’s easily doubled or tripled. This is not authentic ricotta, which isn’t made with milk or cream, but with the whey byproduct from cheesemaking. This is a slightly updated version of my 2011 Rich Homemade Ricotta; I use less cream these days but love the extra softness and luxury that even a smaller amount provides. Shown here are a mix of the vegetables that looked good at the market on Monday — some spring red onions, small summer squash, and fresh peas in their pods — but almost any vegetable you like will work grilled or roasted here.
  • 4 cups (910 grams) whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (55 grams) heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • To Serve
  • 1 pound (455 grams) mixed summer vegetables, thinly sliced
  • 8 slices from a large sourdough loaf
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, halved
Make the ricotta: Line a fine-mesh or other tiny-holed strainer with a layer or two of cheesecloth and set it over a large bowl with enough clearance that the bottom of the strainer won’t touch the bowl once it has 4 cups of liquid in it, or the cheese won’t drain. In a heavy medium-large saucepan, heat the milk, cream, and salt over medium-high heat until just below a simmer — it will look like it’s foaming and register just below 200°F. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in lemon juice. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then pour it through the cheesecloth. Drain for 10 minutes, or until it’s a nice soft ricotta consistency, and up to 10 minutes longer if needed. [The amount of time it takes to drain has to do with the size of your cheesecloth holes.] Transfer ricotta to a bowl to serve. Drizzle with olive oil, and finish with salt and pepper.

Grill the bread and vegetables: Brush or drizzle your vegetables and bread with olive oil. I grill my vegetables, even small ones, directly on my grill grates at fairly high heat but I know there are baskets that might lead to fewer falling in, I’m just stubborn. Grill the vegetables, bread, and lemon halves until they’re lightly charred underneath (depending on how robust your grill is, this could take 2 to 6 minutes), then flip the vegetables and bread and cook on the second side. Season with the vegetables with salt and pepper and transfer everything to a serving platter.

Serve: Right before serving, drizzle everything with additional olive oil, squeeze at least one lemon half over the vegetables (leave the second half on the platter), and season with additional salt and pepper. You could also drizzle some balsamic vinegar over, or keep it on the side.

Do ahead: Leftover ricotta is not a thing that exists, but it theoretically keeps for 3 days in the fridge.

A few items I’m using here: Reusable cheesecloth, which I even run through the washing machine, this glass pot, this little burner, and this oval platter.

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summer pea salad with unexpected dressing – smitten kitchen

  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, warmed
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds fresh summer peas, such as sugar snaps, snow peas, shelling peas, and/or favas
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smooth dijon mustard (optional)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Red pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds (I’m using marcona), roughly chopped
  • 2 to 3 ounces sliced or crumbled ricotta salata cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
Make the dressing: Chop the raisins into rough bits and place in a bowl with shallots. Pour vinegar over and stir to combine. Let sit, cool, and infuse while you prepare the remaining parts of the salad.

[Note: It is completely up to you whether you wish to cook sugar snaps and/or snow peas; both are delicious raw. For this salad, I cook the sugar snaps for 30 seconds to 1 minute but leave the snow peas raw.]

Cook your peas: Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. If using favas or shelling peas, remove them from and discard their pods. Cook favas in the water for 3 minutes; shelling peas for 1 minute, and sugar snaps and/or snow peas for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Scoop each out immediately with a slotted spoon and drop in the ice bath. If you choose to not cook your sugar snaps or snow peas, skip the pot and put them directly in ice water for 10 minutes for the best juicy crunch.

One peas are fully cold, drain and pat dry on a large towel. If you’ve used favas, they have one final step of preparation: You’ll need to make a small slit with a sharp paring knife in the outer light green pod so that the inner dark green enjoyable part of the fava can slip out.

Finish the dressing: Add dijon, if using, 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt (about 1/2 teaspoon Diamond kosher), freshly ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes to dressing and whisk to combine, tasting for seasoning and adjusting as needed. If you’d like it less kicky, add remaining tablespoon olive oil.

Assemble and finish: Transfer peas to a bowl and toss with dressing to taste; you may not need it all. Add more seasoning, if needed. Add almonds, cheese, and mint and toss once again. Eat right away.

Do ahead: Vegetables and dressing can be prepared and kept cool, separately, up to a day in advance. Mix only before serving.

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