Cherry Mostarda

Cherry mostarda

Cherries are the It fruit right now, and I know you could easily just kick back on a hammock and eat a bowlful of them on a summer’s day, but why not jazz up your life a little and make a mostarda?

Making condiment sauces with seasonal, ripe fruit can a creative way to use up what doesn’t get eaten straight out of the fridge. Fresh fruit mustards taste so much better than the usual mustard or ketchup you can buy and squeeze out of a plastic bottle.

This recipe is a riff on a traditional Italian condiment, mostarda di frutta, a sweet-hot-tangy preserve. Most versions of a mostarda, like Mostarda di Cremona, tend to consist of whole pieces of fruit in a mustard and vinegar-laced sugar syrup, served with meats in northern regions of Italy like Tuscany and Piedmont.

cherry mostarda

My recipe is very much inspired by Madeleine Kamman, the amazing French cooking teacher and food scholar. Her book In Madeleine’s Kitchen includes some recipes for “Italian-style fruit puree mustards”.

Here are some ideas for what to do with your Cherry Mostarda (because believe me, after pitting a few pounds of cherries you will not want to waste a bit!) :

  • Use cherry mostarda in place of Dijon mustard in a salad dressing to make a cherry vinaigrette.
  • Spread a charcoal-grilled burger with mostarda – I seasoned chicken burgers with fennel and fresh rosemary and topped them with goat cheese and mostarda. Yum.
  • Glaze a pork tenderloin or some chicken wings with mostarda.
  • Put some on a ham sandwich.

** Thanks to Ruthie from The Twice Bitten for her idea of another way to enjoy this mostarda – on a cheese board. Yes!

Cherry Mostarda

Ingredients

  1. 1 pound Bing cherries, pitted
  2. 1/3 cup sugar
  3. 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  4. 1/4 cup full-bodied red wine, such as zinfandel or malbec
  5. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  6. 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  7. 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  8. 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Instructions

  1. Combine everything except the Dijon in a small, heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer then lower heat and cook until reduced to a thick puree with the consistency of ketchup, about 1 hour over low heat. Stir in the Dijon off the heat and season if needed.
  2. Crush the cherries with a potato masher or pulse in a blender or food processor if you prefer a smoother texture.
  3. Keep in a covered jar in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.
http://familystylefood.com/2011/06/cherry-mostarda/

Lemon Polenta Cake

lemon-polenta-cake-recipe

had a lot of pots on the fire this week and I was hoping to share some of the contents with you. And I will… but today I want to keep it simple. So here’s a favorite dessert recipe from my file. It’s a rustic Italian cake made with lots of lemon and crunchy stoneground cornmeal – ┬ápolenta.

It’s the sort of peasant-style dessert I love. You could cut it into squares and eat it with your hands like a bite of coffee cake, or sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve alongside a generous pile of whatever summer fruit is the sweetest at the moment.

lemon-polenta-cake-recipe

Lemon Polenta Cake

Serving Size: serves 8 - 10

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup polenta, or coarse-ground cornmeal
  2. 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  3. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 cup sugar
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 2 egg whites
  8. 1/4 cup olive oil
  9. 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  10. 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  11. 2 tablespoons grated fresh lemon zest
  12. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place an oven rack in the center of the oven.
  2. Line the bottom of an 8-inch cake pan or standard loaf pan with lightly oiled parchment paper to fit.
  3. Whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Beat the eggs, egg whites and sugar in a heavy-duty stand mixer until pale and creamy. On low speed, mix in the oil. butter, yogurt, lemon zest and juice.
  5. Stir in the dry ingredients until just blended. Pour the batter into the pan and bake 35 - 40 minutes, or until the top feels firm (not hard) and a toothpick inserted in the center of cake come out clean. Cool completely before serving.
http://familystylefood.com/2011/06/lemon-polenta-cake/

Rhubarb Bellini

rhubard-bellini-recipe

I usually drink my bubbles straight up, but sometimes it’s fun to play around with the basics. A glass of cold, cold Prosecco is soooo nice at the end of a long day, especially a very warm, humid one.

I had a few rhubarb stalks, not enough to bake with, so I made a puree with some sugar and lemon – perfect for a variation on the classic peachy Bellini.

Unless you’re having a party, you’ll most likely have some leftover rhubarb puree (it makes more than enough for a bottle’s worth of Bellini’s), but it’s delicious on scones, toast or gelato.

rhubarb-bellini-cocktail-recipe

Rhubarb Bellini

Serving Size: 8

Ingredients

  1. 2 cups rhubarb, chopped (about 2 large stalks)
  2. 1/2 cup cane sugar
  3. 1/4 cup water
  4. Thinly peeled zest and juice from 1 lemon
  5. Chilled Prosecco

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to a slow bubble and cook until the rhubarb softens to a mushy texture, about 15 minutes.
  2. Puree the rhubarb with an immersion blender, small food processor or by hand with a potato masher until smooth. Refrigerate until cold. Or if you're very thirsty, chill the puree in a bowl of ice water until cold.
  3. Pop open a bottle of cold Prosecco or other sparkling wine. Spoon 1 - 2 tablespoons of the puree into flutes. Pour some Prosecco over, stir to blend and top off with more Prosecco, pouring gradually ( the mixture will bubble madly for a minute).
  4. Salute!
http://familystylefood.com/2011/06/rhubarb-bellini/