Monthly Archives: September 2009

Grilled Peaches with Toasted Almonds

Grilled Peaches with Toasted Almonds and Vanilla Ice Cream

Grilled Peaches with Toasted Almonds and Vanilla Ice Cream

I know, it’s late in the season to do a post about peaches, but I swear, local peaches are still on sale here at Paradise Market, so I didn’t hesitate when the dinner party menu I was using from the Williams-Sonoma Dinner Parties book included this Grilled Peaches dish for dessert. Once again, I adapted the recipe and made it my own.

The method I used for each step of this recipe differed greatly from the one outlined in the Dinner Parties book, because I’m lazy and I like to keep the cleanup as simple as possible. Therefore, instead of using the oven and a cookie sheet to toast the almonds, I just toasted them in a sautée pan and rather than using my gas grill outside to grill the peaches, once again, I whipped out my All-clad non-stick grill pan. During the party, I had just grilled the Halibut, so I actually had to wash the pan between the main course and the dessert course before I could fire it back up, but because it’s a non-stick pan, washing it was a breeze and it was ready for another round of action in no time.

I have to say, the guests at the party went unexpectedly wild about this dessert. None of us were prepared for the peaches to cook all the way through in such a short amount of time, so we all took our first bite a bit tenatively. The peaches only grill for about 6-7 minutes, but they come out soft, warm and sweet – all they way through. Guests also commented enthusiastically about the contrast among textures with the crunch of the almonds, the creamy chill of the ice cream and the warm, soft texture of the peaches. A splash of Balsamic Vinegar lent tang and flavor. One guest, Steve, likes to make a Balsamic reduction for grilled fruit, because then it’s an amazingly sweet addition. See the links to other blogs at the bottom of this post to find out more about how to do that. For me, the Balsamic vinegar was a last minute thought, and I was just glad to have splashed it in.

Brush the peach halves with olive oil for grilling

Brush the peach halves with olive oil for grilling

Grilled Peaches with Toasted Almonds
 
The perfect ending to a summer dinner party.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • 3 large, ripe, yellow peaches, halved and pitted
  • Extra virgin olive oil for brushing on peaches
  • Vanilla ice cream
Instructions
  1. Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add almonds and toast, watching carefully so they don't burn. If the pan has truly had time to heat up, it takes about 2 minutes on the first side and then 1 minute after flipping them. Set almonds aside.
  2. Brush both sides of each peach half lightly with extra virgin olive oil. Place peach halves in the pan, round side down and grill for about 3 minutes. Check one to see if grill marks have appeared. Turn them over and grill on the other side until grill marks appear, about 4 more minutes.
  3. If peaches are large, place one half on each plate. For medium sized peaches, you could plate with two halves. Sprinkle with almonds and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Grilled Peaches recipes from around the Food Blogosphere

Grilled White Peaches Recipe w/honey balsamic glaze & homemade Crème Fraîche from White On Rice Couple

Grilled Peaches & Cream from bell’alimento

Grilled Peaches with Mascarpone and Balsamic Syrup from Closet Cooking

Fig & Gorgonzola Crostini with a Honey Drizzle

Fig & Gorgonzola Crostini with Honey Drizzle

Fig & Gorgonzola Crostini with Honey Drizzle

In my most recent post, I wrote about hosting a dinner party on Sunday night and using an entire menu from the Williams-Sonoma Dinner Parties book. In this installment, I bring you Fig & Gorgonzola Crostini with a Honey Drizzle. I changed the recipe slightly, so the one you see here is my own, but I was inspired by the Gorgonzola Bruschetta with Figs recipe in the book.

This hors d’oeuvre was particularly convenient because I could toast the baguette slices ahead of time, chop the figs ahead of time and assemble the crostini before the guests arrived. I felt very little stress.

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Heirloom Tomato Orzo Salad

Orzo Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil

Orzo Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil

Recently I decided to host a dinner party on Sunday night, hoping to stretch out the weekend a bit and squelch the Sunday night blues. It totally worked.

For inspiration, I turned to a book that has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of months: Williams-Sonoma Dinner Parties: Inspired Recipes and Party Ideas for Entertaining. I even found a menu that I wanted to cook from start to finish. I’m glad I decided to go all the way because it turned out to be the kind of menu that allows the cook/host to have fun at her own party, but it didn’t include a pot roast or a casserole. Au contraire. This menu was light, healthy, elegant AND easy. The main course was a Halibut fillet with herbed butter and that was served with this light, end-of-summer, orzo salad.

What I liked best about serving this salad with the fish is that it could be prepared ahead of time and served at room temperature, so I didn’t have to worry about making it at the last minute or reheating it at just the right time. Stay tuned for more recipes from this Sunday Night Dinner Party.

Heirloom Tomato and Basil Orzo Salad
(Adapted from the Williams-Sonoma Dinner Parties cookbook)
Serves 8

Ingredients

1 box (1 lb) of orzo
dash of salt for boiling water
1 Tbsp olive oil to coat orzo when finished cooking (to keep from sticking)
1 1/2 lbs Heirloom Tomatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes (choose a variety of colors)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Method

1. Boil the orzo according to package instructions for an Al Dente texture, about 9 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl and toss with olive oil. Once the pasta cools a bit, you can cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until its ready to mix in with the rest of the ingredients (up to several hours ahead of time).

2. Chop tomatoes and the basil and mix together in a large bowl.

3. In a small jar, mix the olive oil, white wine vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Close lid and shake until emulsified.

Final preparation: About 1 hour before the party, gently fold the orzo, tomato/basil and vinaigrette together and spoon into a serving bowl. Cover with a paper towel while salad reaches room temperature. Toss again before serving and garnish with fresh Basil leaves.

Orzo Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil

Orzo Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil

Other Orzo Salad Recipes from Around the Web:

Orzo Salad and The Influential Power of Simple Food from Week of Menus

Miss Mary’s Orzo Salad from Erin Cooks

Orzo Salad (this one’s got Feta, people) from Dlyn

Spinach and Tomato Orzo from Southern Grace Gourmet

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