Sept. 25, 2016
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The Fork

Happy Fourth of July Weekend!

June 30, 2016, 12:00 am

Ah, the midsummer holiday weekend. Hopefully, you have some time off, and you're in the mood for cooking and eating! How about Sonora dogs? Hot dogs wrapped in bacon and topped with a fiesta of condiments? Here's a beautiful little video that's part of the Localore project from the Association of Independents in Radio.

Have you ever made Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread? It's a genius method for bread that looks and tastes like an artisanal loaf, super crusty with a gorgeous texture. People who've made it become obsessed with it. Here's a loaf I baked a few months back. It's not even the prettiest one I've done—and I'm terrible at making bread! But Lahey, the slow-rise guru from New York's Sullivan Street Bakery, has a pizza crust recipe, too. And that could be perfect for this weekend.

This same technique yields the kind of flavorful, toothsome, gloriously bubbled pizza crust that I love. Here are Lahey’s instructions. That recipe makes four pizzas, which is more than I usually do at home on a Thursday, so if you want to do just two little pizzas, check out this adaptation at King Arthur Flour. The crust is a vast improvement over the basic dough I used for this little pizza—although a drizzle of balsamic glaze is a delicious distraction from a crummy crust.

Pizza on the grill is pretty appealing when the house is warm—and it’s super fun for guests, especially kids. Make a big batch of dough and let everyone design their own toppings. The pizzas cook in just a few minutes, so toppings like onions, bell peppers and sausage should be precooked. If you’ve never made one, Bobby Flay has a how-to here.

However you do it, serve some simple grilled or broiled veggies. Here’s a super enthusiastic endorsement of the toaster oven for things like broiling a dozen spears of asparagus. I have a Breville Mini Smart Oven, and it rules, but the bigger convection model has convection, which is great for things like Brussels sprouts, which definitely benefit from a little hot air circling around them.

And here’s a confession of which I am not ashamed: I have recently fallen in love with that grated Parmesan cheese in the green canister. I'm actually talking about the generic Kroger version. OMG. How mortifying, right? Well, I know a little person whose favorite meal is spaghetti with butter and this “cheese,” and while I hope this is a phase that won’t last (because scurvy), I have to admit: This is not a bad dish. Don’t think of it as Parmesan, don’t compare it to cacio e pepe, just float back to your own childhood and enjoy the mild saltiness of a canned Parmesan shaken over your spaghetti.

This might also be a good weekend to take advantage of all the fresh fruit that’s starting to come into the markets. There are tons of blackberries, raspberries and blueberries out there right now. Tossing them over a pastry cream-filled crust for a classic French fruit tart is a great way to show off beautiful berries. It takes awhile, but it’s not hard. Here’s a step-by-step recipe, with video from Fine Cooking.

You could also make a simple 1-2-3-4 cake and top it with whipped cream and berries. Martha Stewart does a nice version filled with a lemon curd whipped cream.

If you’ve got peaches or plums, you can do Marian Burros’ plum torte, which is, of course, great with plums but also pretty much any fruit you want to throw in there. You can flavor the cake with cardamom or oooh … instead, you could make a chai cream and serve it with grilled plums.

Or maybe you’ve had a long day, and you want someone else to cook for you. You could swing by Modern General (637 Cerrillos Road, next to Vinaigrette) for a seasonal crostata or apricot kolache. The hip store/café owned by the founder of Vinaigrette has a new café menu. It’s full of whole grains, many of which are for sale at the store. Highlights include a bowl of freekeh (roasted wheat) with feta, onion, fennel and olives ($7.50); avocado toast with cilantro, olive oil and lime ($5.25); and a pho-sole bowl with bone broth, chicken and hominy, garnished with sriracha and lime ($7.75).

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