Monthly Archives: July 2012

Cherry Pie Crumble Bars

It’s often said that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Well, here’s a new one for you: when the grocery store offers you cherries at $1.99/lb, buy a LOT of cherries. If you are part of my family, this means roughly 7 lbs of cherries. We’re in cherry heaven over here. Between Rainier cherries (my favorites) to the more common Bing variety, we’ve been eating cherries pretty much nonstop for the past few weeks.

Which means that, ultimately, one needs to come up with a way to use some of these cherries–especially when one has plans for a picnic on Roosevelt Island. Having never been much of a jam/preserve person, I quickly crossed that possibility off my list. What I really wanted to make was a pie. Pies, however, are difficult to transport, especially on the unforgiving and overcrowded D.C. Metro. Solution? Pie bars! I’ve been eying this recipe for a couple of weeks and, with my sudden bounty of cherries, the time was right to take a crack at this recipe.

The bars come together pretty quickly. I’m sure they’d come together even more quickly if you’ve been blessed with a cherry pitter. I, however, am not so fortunate (yay law student budget!). It’s pretty simple to halve the cherries and gently squeeze out the pit, but it is time-consuming, so leave yourself ample time to do that. The result, however, is well worth the cherry-stained fingers (and shirts and aprons). You get incredibly juicy cherries, sandwiched between two layers of flaky shortbread with just a hint of cinnamon and (in my version) of Chambord. Drooling yet? I thought so.

So here’s to cherry season and to picnics! Now go forth and make some pie. Happy eating!

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Chai-Spiced Sugar Cookies

When I moved home for the summer, I brought back a ton of pantry staples. Spices, vinegars, baking supplies, tea–it was as though a mini mart moved into my mother’s house. One of the things that came back with me was my supply of Trader Joe’s Spicy Chai Latte Powder. Being Indian, I naturally have a thing for chai. It’s in my blood. So when I was looking for a new, non-chocolately (is that a word?) baked good to try, I thought it might be nice to find a way to use some of my stock.

I came across this recipe for  chai-spiced cookies and had to give it a try. The result is a soft cookie, reminiscent of snickerdoodles but with a stronger spicy kick. The original recipe calls for a few traditional spices and flavors, but I took the easy route and used ¼ cup of the chai latte powder. These were a big hit at the office and, according to my colleagues, taste great dunked in coffee. Happy eating!

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Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

I love going to the farmers market. It’s always wonderful seeing the assortment of vegetables and fruits that change throughout the season and often vary from week to week. If I had my way, I’d be able to stroll through a different market every day of the week. While that’s theoretically feasible, those little things called “work,” “school,” and–my least favorite–“budget” make it practically impossible. So when I get the time to go, I tend to indulge.

These were so pretty–had to pick some up for my mom!

One of my favorite things to eat is a zucchini blossom. Incredibly delicate with a mild zucchini flavor, these flowers capture the best of summer. I was first introduced to them through my host family in Italy, and I now spend my summer trips to the farmers market crossing my fingers that they are in stock.

Zucchini Blossoms

If you do find some, be sure to make them the day of. They have an incredibly short shelf life. Preparing zucchini blossoms is also pretty easy. Simply make a slit in one side of the blossom, remove the stamen, and wipe the inside and the outside with a damp paper towel. At that point, you are ready to stuff them with whatever you want, batter them, and pan fry ’em up!

Here’s hoping that there are still zucchini blossoms at your farmers market. Happy eating!

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