Dec 19, 2014

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Falling Away From Summer

by Arianna Johnson

Summer is my favorite season and for many reasons. The beach, the heat, my tan skin, and really fresh food. When autumn rolls around, I get slightly depressed. To me, it is the preeminence to the cold, snow, and winter. However, I do like fall for its brightly colored leaves and the stone fruit; also known as peaches, plums, nectarines, and apricots. I have always loved peaches; especially going out to Davis Peach Farm to get their white peaches. They are so juicy and sweet, and it does not matter that you are going to be a sticky mess by the time you get to the pit. My mom is more of a nectarine fan, because she does not like the peach’s fuzzy skin. Also, I like that these fruits remind me of how amazing the summer was. They are the remainder of the beautiful weather and warmth.

Stone fruit is actually very versatile. It can be sweet, like in a peach cobbler, or savory, like apricots in a salad. However, I used peaches in a more savory way. I had found a recipe for chicken quesadillas with sliced peaches in them. To me, that was a little strange, so I thought, “What about grilled peach salsa?” I put that idea to the test, and it turned out wonderfully! The salty chicken and the spicy cheese was a great contrast against the sweet peaches. It was a delicious end of summer dish and here it is…

Chicken Quesadillas with Grilled Peach Salsa

Serves 4

  • ¼ cup canola oil,
  • divided 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 8-inch whole wheat tortillas
  • 2 limes
  • 1 Tbsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 2 cups Pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 firm peaches
  • ½ cup cilantro, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sour cream, for garnish

Preheat the grill or grill pan. In a zip-lock bag place chicken, spices, oil, and the zest and juice of one lime. Season with salt and pepper. Cut peaches in half and cut out pits. Place chicken on the grill and cook through, about 10 minutes. Let rest for about 10 minutes. Place peaches flesh down on grill and char until marks appear, about 8 minutes. Place a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Slice chicken and shred cheese. Place a tortilla on the skillet and layer with cheese, chicken, cilantro, more cheese, and the top tortilla. Cook until brown, about 5 minutes on each side or until cheese is melted. Peel skin off of peaches and cut into small pieces. Place in a bowl with the juice of the other lime, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper. Place quesadilla on a plate and cut into quarters. Garnish with the salsa and a dollop of sour cream.

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A Summer’s Internship

by Arianna Johnson

This summer, I was lucky enough to have an internship at Dan’s Papers in the Hamptons. To be perfectly honest, I could not have asked for a better, more exciting experience. But I have to say, my favorite part about this internship was the fact that I got to go on food reviews; pretty much I got a lot of tasty, expensive food for free and wrote about it. With all of the food I consumed, there was one dish that really sticks out in my mind: Corn Chowder from COPA Tapas Bar in Bridgehampton, right down to road from Dan’s office.

COPA is a Spanish inspired tapas restaurant that serves mostly small dishes, as well as bigger entrees. When I went there, I was treated very well and the chef, Dominic, even came out and spoke to me about each dish. He brought me out flashed fried green peppers with sea salt, cockles with chorizo in white wine and garlic, a huge pan of seafood paella – which consisted of lobster, shrimp, and mussels – and more. I was surprised the manager did not have to roll me out of the restaurant. The most scrumptious part of this entire meal, however, was the corn chowder with lobster.

At first, I was very hesitant about this dish because from what I have seen of corn chowder it is yellow goop that resembles baby snot, but this was the exact opposite. Chef Dominic called this soup “Spain meets the Hamptons” because even though they are a tapas bar, they also need to please their customers with certain staple dishes that they are accustomed to. The presentation of this dish was just beautiful. The bowl that the chef placed in front of me was filled with large lobster chunks, pieces of crispy potatoes and corn, and bacon bits. Then he poured the corn broth out of a tea pot all over the top until all of the chunks were swimming. He also explained to me how it was prepared. After he shaved off all of the corn kernels from the cob, he took his knife and scraped the empty cob to squeeze out all of the corn “milk.” Then he still used the corn cobs in the stock for the soup. To finish it all off, he adds a splash of cream to give it a nice “mouth feel.”

Once I put the first spoonful in my mouth, I was in heaven. The corn flavor was so prevalent, but the broth was just so creamy; I could not believe how good it was. Then in the background was a smokiness, which came from the bits of bacon and the fat he cooked the corn kernels and potatoes in; and the lobster was just the decadent cherry on top. Needless to say, I ate the entire bowl happily.

When my internship is over, my goal is to recreate this dish. Right now, corn is at its peak and absolutely delicious. So, even if you are not as ambitious as me when it comes to cooking, just grab a few cobs, boil them up, and slather butter all over them.

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