I have both the fortune and misfortune to live in a country where the weather is pretty much unpleasant for at least half the year. As a result, I'm surrounded by people who are completely devoted to and consumed by all things Summer and sun, and are all about taking advantage of everything the warm weather has to offer.
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes packed in juice, drained, 3 cups juice reserved (I used San Marzanos)
1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large shallots, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Pinch ground allspice
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups chicken stock, homemade or canned low-sodium
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons brandy or dry sherry (I used marsala)
Salt and cayenne pepper
1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. With fingers, carefully open whole tomatoes over strainer set in bowl and push out seeds, allowing juices to fall through strainer into bowl. I had help for this part. ;)
2. Heat butter over medium heat in large saucepan until foaming. Add shallots, tomato paste and allspice. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds. Gradually add chicken stock, whisking constantly to combine; stir in reserved tomato juice and roasted tomatoes. Cover, increase heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to blend flavors, about 10 minutes.
3. Blend with the pulverizer of your choice (for me: immersion blender....no extra pots to clean!). Add cream and warm over low heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in brandy and season with salt and cayenne. Serve immediately. I didn't find that extra salt was really needed, but to each his/her own.
stolen and slightly modified from Epicurious.com
makes 6 servings
2 cups Pinot Gris or Viognier
1 cup dry red wine
2 whole star anise
1/4 cup plus 1 1/4 teaspoons sugar, divided
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
5 fresh thyme sprigs plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme, divided
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
2 1 1/4-pound pork tenderloins (I used 1 centre-cut loin roast, about 2.5 lbs)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
Chopped fresh chives
1. Combine first 5 ingredients and 1/4 cup sugar in heavy large saucepan; bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat; simmer until plums are tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer plums to platter. Strain wine mixture.
2. Return strained liquid to same saucepan. Add broth, thyme sprigs, and shallot. Boil until mixture is reduced to 1 cup, about 25 minutes. Strain sauce; stir in 1 1/4 teaspoons sugar and chopped thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush pork with 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle with thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper.
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for pan
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder plus additional for dusting pan and cake (I confess to not knowing whether my cocoa is dutch process or not...it was Fry's...I think it is)
1 cup boiling-hot water
1 1/2 tablespoons instant-espresso powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 lb Medjool dates (12 to 14), pitted and coarsely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
2 cups spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
Special equipment: a 9-inch springform pan
1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter springform pan, then lightly dust with cocoa powder, knocking out excess. I actually lined the bottom of my pan with parchment, just to be doubly sure, AND I baked it on a lined baking pan (I always do this because I do not trust liquidy substances in springform pans....learn from my mistakes)
2. Stir together boiling-hot water, espresso powder, vanilla, and baking soda in a bowl, then add dates, mashing lightly with a fork, and steep until liquid cools to room temperature, about 10 minutes.
3. Whisk together spelt flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in another bowl. I'm told it's important to spoon spelt lightly into the measuring cup...so that's what I did.