Here's a book that was made for summer: The Coastal Table. In it are seasonal recipes and beautiful photos from the farms and shores of southern Massachusetts. I met author Karen Covey at the Eat Boutique holiday market in Boston last December, where we were promoting our respective books. In a show of local author solidarity and a mutual appreciation of local foods, we each bought a copy of the other's book. I'd been holding off on cooking from it until the good, fresh produce of summer arrived, and, what do you know, here it is!
The school garden is full of edible nasturtium blossoms in bright, sunshiny colors right now. I love using these beautiful flowers in salads or as a garnish, but I've never used them in any other capacity. That's why I decided to start with the recipe for roasted fish with nasturtium butter. This unusual compound butter has delicate bursts of lemon, salt, and the fresh, peppery taste of nasturtiums, which taste a bit like radishes. And if you know anything about radishes, then you know how well they go with butter and salt. This compound butter is a nice way to add a little flavor and color to a simple piece of fish, roasted or grilled. When the butter melts, little ribbony flecks of flower petals are scattered all over the top of the fish like confetti. Hooray summer!
I'm excited to cook more recipes from this book as the season progresses. The beach plum mojito looks divine, as does the chilled sweet corn soup with lobster. I also have my eye on her baked eggs and bacon jam. Since I think this is a book you guys will like, Union Park Press has offered to give away one copy of The Coastal Table to one lucky reader. To be entered to win, add a comment to this post telling me what you like to do with nasturtiums, or what kinds of other edible flowers you find uses for, or just tell me what you're looking forward to eating this summer, flowers be damned. This raffle will close Thursday 7/10 at 10 p.m. EST. Good luck!
Roasted Cod with Lemon Nasturtium Butter
The flavors here are simple and delicate, so make sure your fish is exceedingly fresh. Same with your butter. If you don't have access to nasturtiums, you can substitute a tablespoon or two of your favorite fresh herbs, like Italian parsley, tarragon, and chives, well chopped.
12 nasturtium flower petals 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature Zest from 1 lemon Kosher or sea salt, to taste Freshly ground black pepper, to taste (4) 4-ounce pieces of cod, haddock, or halibut, each about 1-1/2-inches thick
Swirl the flowers in a large bowl of cold water and gently swirl them around to release any dirt. Remove the flowers from the water and place them on a clean tea towel or paper towel until completely dry.
Place the softened butter, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Finely chop the nasturtium petals and add them to the bowl. Gently mix until everything is well combined, with visible flecks of flowers throughout. Transfer the butter mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and roll into a log, twisting up both ends to enclose. Refrigerate the butter until firm, at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the fish in a large baking dish and add about 2 tablespoons of water to the dish. Roast uncovered until the fish is opaque and cooked through, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the butter from the refrigerator and cut 4 slices from the log.
Transfer the fish to a plate lined with paper towels to remove any excess moisture, then transfer to a serving platter or individual plates. Set a slice of butter on top of each piece of fish. Serve warm.
Reserve the remaining butter well-wrapped for another use (like spread on good French bread with sliced radishes).
The issue was sitting on a table with a bunch of other magazines in the waiting room, and I thought to myself, that pie looks familiar. I didn't know the editors decided to put it on the cover. I had to resist waving the magazine in everyone's face as I walked by (Pie! Wanna see my pie??). Instead, I made a nuisance out of myself by co-opting a corner of the room so I could take photos of each page of my article multiple times. Orthodontic lighting is not flattering, as it turns out (nor is orthodontic carpeting.)
The piece is about no-bake, make-ahead, retro summer desserts to keep you calm, cool, and collected. It includes three recipes. The pie is adapted from the chocolate mousse recipe in my book WINTERSWEET. It's the best chocolate mousse pie ever and cannot be confined to a single season, hence its appearance here as a summer dessert. There's also a recipe for peach almond icebox cake and a blackberry-lime frozen terrine with pockets of dulce de leche tucked inside. I love the bracing tartness against the sweet caramel. It's my new favorite frozen treat.
Fine Cooking subscribers should see a copy in their mailboxes shortly, if not already. The rest of us will have to wait another month or so before it hits newsstands. It's the August/September issue. Keep an eye out!
I was cleaning out the 8YO's backpack last week when I came across a big stack of handmade cards. Being a nosy mother, I started flipping through them and discovered that they were for me—for helping his second grade class plant pumpkins in the garden the week before. Another stack of cards came home the next day from a class of first graders that had planted sunflowers with me.
The cards were so sweet and earnestly rendered. I loved reading them and seeing what made the strongest impression on each child based on what they decided to draw. Here are some of my favorites:
Watering the pumpkin seeds.
Anticipation of the fall harvest. (It's a rather ambitious forecast—I'd better get busy planting some insurance pumpkins!)
I may have forgotten to mention that pumpkins don't grow pre-carved.
Some kids were fascinated by the wildlife in and around the garden. Others loved tasting the snap peas, mint leaves, and lemon balm.
I had so much fun with these kids: their great questions, observations, and enthusiasm. I should be thanking them!
So on behalf of everyone's favorite garden cyclops, thanks kids!
Here's wishing everyone a happy (and fruitful) summer!