Ideas, advice, and what to make now from the Chowhound community and CHOW editors.
You can have iced tea at the ready anytime by making some homemade concentrate, suggests opinionatedchef. She steeps eight tea bags in four cups of hot water (or around 1/3 cup loose leaves in two to four cups of water) long enough to get a strong brew, then stores the concentrate in the fridge. Diluted, this concentrate will make several pitchers of iced tea. opinionatedchef also takes small containers of the concentrate when traveling and adds water and sweetener while on the road.
Board Link: 9/09: ICED TEA Your Beverage of Choice? Space and Time Saving Technique
Country-style pork ribs can be cooked using a variety of methods. While they take a long time to cook, once they’re done, they will be super tender.
Uncle Bob massages the ribs with a dry rub and bakes them at 225°F on a rack over a pan until he can pinch off a piece easily. Add sauce and bake 10 to 15 minutes more, or serve sauce on the side. gourdeaux agrees, saying, “There is enough fat in these things that they can simply be baked and will come out tender as all get out.”
meowzebub says the large amount of fat on ribs calls for braising. “Slow moist cooking melts much of the fat and the meat becomes luscious,” meowzebub says. He likes a braising liquid strong on citrus.
blue room cooks them on a bed of sauerkraut, apple, onion, and brown sugar. MARISKANY does them in a slow cooker with sliced onions, barbecue sauce, and crushed tomatoes.
Board Link: Pork shoulder country rib style (bone in)--how to make them delectable?
Panzanella, the Tuscan salad of stale bread, tomatoes, and herbs dressed with oil and vinegar, is ideal for the waning tomato season and a good platform for improvisation.
free sample addict aka Tracy L uses this Joanne Weir recipe, with the addition of 2 tablespoons of capers and 2 cloves of garlic.
rainey likes to use stale ciabatta, which soaks up the tomato juices and vinaigrette well. She adds thinly sliced fennel, chopped fennel greens, and red or yellow bell peppers, and lets it rest 6 to 8 hours, so the flavors really blend and mellow. chowser makes a caprese version with bocconcini, grape tomatoes, and basil. And CHOW’s panzanella recipe has cucumbers and a lemon vinaigrette.
Board Link: Your favorite panzanella recipe (tuscan bread salad)?
You can use just about any kind of bread or cake as the base for bread pudding, say hounds. A combination of breads is good, too, according to gourdeaux.
Challah, brioche, and supermarket French bread are all good, neutral choices. Many hounds love croissant bread pudding. Cakes and sweet breakfast breads work well, too, but it’s a good idea to reduce the sugar in the custard mixture to avoid ending up with too much sweetness. Chowhounds have successfully made bread pudding with pumpkin bread, gingerbread, pound cake, unglazed cinnamon rolls, fruit Danishes, raised or cake doughnuts, and at the holidays, Italian panettone.
Try CHOW’s Croissant and Armagnac Bread Pudding
Board Link: Ultimate Bread Pudding Medium..
Join fellow Chowhounds for the ninth Chowing with the Hounds Picnic October 3, 2009, in Berkeley’s Tilden Park. Come share delicious home-cooked goodies with fellow hounds and enjoy a tasting of 20 kinds of fruit. See the following link for details and registration information.
Icebox pies, with fillings that are chilled instead of baked, are perfect for warm weather.
amy_wong makes mango cream pie by combining whipped cream, softened cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mango purée, pouring this mixture into a crumb crust coated with a thin layer of white chocolate, then chilling; she gets the best results by using Alphonso mango pulp from an Indian grocery store.
jsaimd says this lime mousse cake in a gingersnap crust is a big hit, and alkapal thinks this lemon icebox pie is just right for late summer.
amy_wong also likes the chocolate peanut butter mousse tart from The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, which she says “is easy to make and delicious at the same time.”
And check out CHOW’s Banoconut Cream Pie.
Board Link: Need ideas for icebox pies
Tuna steaks are great seared in a hot pan or grilled, and take well to Asian and Mediterranean flavors.
Hounds like tuna steaks seared with Japanese flavorings. CDouglas presses nori fumi furikake (a mixture of sesame seeds, salt, sugar, and seaweed) onto tuna steaks and sears them, then serves with a dipping sauce of shoyu and fresh wasabi. DMW coats the steaks generously with salt, pepper, and sesame seeds, then sears and serves with a wasabi and rice wine dressing.
toveggiegirl likes tuna with tomato-basil sauce, and says these tuna kebabs with ginger-chile marinade are “pretty amazing.”
KiltedCook brushes his tuna steaks with a lime-mayo mix and pats on panko before searing, and hotoynoodle likes them with citrus aioli or black olive tapenade.
Board Link: Treatments for tuna steaks
Fresh-tasting, creamy dips are always good paired with vegetables for dunking. Amuse Bouches makes an avocado dip by whirring avocado, plain yogurt, salt, and either lime juice and cilantro or lemon juice and basil in a food processor until smooth. lrostron suggests classic green goddess dressing.
atomic mixes a cup of sour cream with a small jar of roasted red peppers and a handful of sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and basil to taste; quelle4 likes this easy sun-dried tomato cream cheese herb spread.
Megiac thinks Ina Garten’s smoked salmon spread is great with veggies, and LaLa suggests Martha Stewart’s buttermilk dip.
For something different, try CHOW’s Cobb Salad Dip with celery sticks or romaine leaves.
Board Link: Unique Dip for Veggies/Crudite
The mania for late-summer figs continues, with Chowhounds offering more ideas for sweet and savory ways to use these versatile fruits.
Fresh figs are especially delicious paired with salty fresh cheeses like goat, Gorgonzola, and feta, and with cured pork. Many hounds like them halved, topped with goat cheese, and drizzled with honey or wrapped in prosciutto and briefly grilled. JasmineG tops pizza with figs and feta, and adds prosciutto as soon as it comes out of the oven. Basilette serves warm figs with feta and basil for a sweet-savory dessert.
“Fig tarts are the food of gods,” enthuses carswell. Quartered figs are amazing in this brown butter custard tart, says ginqueen (just substitute figs for the apples in the recipe). amazinc makes a “scrumptious” fig upside-down cake by substituting figs for pineapple in a standard recipe, and mnosyne loves fig-honey gelato.
Fresh figs are “great in certain sandwiches when you want to add an element of sweetness,” says Miss Needle. rworange is a fan of adding figs to grilled cheese sandwiches, especially when they’re made with a smoked cheese, which lends a bacon-y note.
And check out CHOW’s Chicken with Goat Cheese and Figs.
Board Links: Fresh Fig recipes
what to do w/fresh figs besides gobbling?
It’s the apex of tomato season, and a perfect time for simple cooked preparations that maximize their flavor.
Ellen sprinkles halved, seeded, cored tomatoes with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and pepper and roasts them at 450°F for 45 minutes, then stirs and roasts for another 45 minutes. These can be eaten as is on pasta or bread, Ellen says, or puréed to make soup. You can add thickly sliced onions and whole garlic cloves; eggplant and red peppers are also good additions. “There is no wrong way to do this,” she adds.
souschef likes tomatoes “peeled, seeded, chopped, and put into a pan with butter, diced garlic, salt, and pepper. Then cooked till all you have left is the concentrated essence of the tomato. Great stirred into risotto or pasta.” 4Snisl says thick slices of tomato topped with Parmesan and bread crumbs make a topping for macaroni and cheese that’s “achingly good.”
Nyleve raves about paella with tomatoes. She took it to a potluck, “and people were licking out the pan,” she says, before adding, “you should really make this.”
Summer tomatoes star in CHOW’s Heirloom Tomato–Basil Pasta with Olives and Feta.
Board Links: Your Favorite Fresh Tomato Recipes
Don’t forget tomato paella