This is an easy-to-make crust that is flaky and tender and tastes like butter. The butter is pared down to what I consider to be the minimum amount possible. The flour/butter mixture is chilled midway through the process so that when the dough is rolled, the hard butter forms flat sheets, increasing the flakiness of the dough. Some of the usual butter is replaced with sour cream, which has less fat and calories but adds to the tenderness and richness of the crust. A pinch of baking powder adds a degree of lightening.
One of my all-time favorite desserts, raspberry gratins are a cinch to make if you have frozen, unsweetened raspberries on hand, as I always do, and good store-bought cookies. I give two variations: one is made with packaged chocolate chip cookies - who doesn't love the combination of chocolate and raspberries? - and one with buttery shortbread. (I use Mrs. Fields individually wrapped boxed chocolate chip cookies and Walkers Pure Butter Shortbread from the supermarket, although other brands - or even homemade cookies - can be substituted.)
Straight from 19th-century American cookbooks, these big chunks of ripe beefsteak and green tomatoes get bathed in a warm, garlicky, sweet-sour dressing. They stand on their own, top greens, or make a good potato-tomato salad. Bacon fat was favored 150 years ago; olive oil works well today. Out of season, this recipe still works with supermarket tomatoes on the vine.
The Lazy Front Porch Supper menu includes: Pickled Red Onions with Cilantro, Corn and Haricots Verts in Lime Shallot Butter, Heirloom Tomatoes with Bacon, Blue Cheese and Basil, Shellfish Watermelon Ceviche, Grilled Steaks with Red Chile Sauce, and Fresh Fig Tart with Rosemary Cornmeal Crust and Lemon Mascarpone Cream.
This combination of sorrel, smoked salmon, and eggs makes one of the best brunch dishes I've ever eaten. When sorrel leaves are shredded and cooked in butter, they wilt dramatically and quickly turn into a puree, almost as if they melted. Add some cream, and you have a lemony sauce that complements the smoked salmon more keenly than a rich hollandaise. Just remember it takes a lot of sorrel leaves to make a little bit of sauce, so make this dish when you have plenty to harvest or can buy big bunches at the market, usually in the spring or early fall.
When peaches arrive in the market, Lynne likes to whip up a Bellini, the refreshing drink made with fresh peach puree and champagne, said to have originated at Harry's Bar in Venice in the 1930s.
Shellagh Connelly, chef/owner of Mildred Pierce Cafe in St. Paul (and a woman who understands breakfast food down to her soul), created the dish for her breakfast menu. For me, my version illustrates an important point—cream cheese is one of the most underrated ingredients in the market.