Monday, August 5, 2013

Flavorful Pairs That Grow Together and Go Together

Last week I was inspired by Amy Cotler’s Savory Corn Pudding and Tomato Salsa post to begin a series of blog posts on seasonal food pairings. If you read this blog regularly, you know that I love to cook and that I prefer to cook with homegrown or locally grown ingredients. It only just occurred to me that many fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are available at the same time in the growing season make perfect pot mates.

These flavorful produce products of August complement one another when paired together in a dish:
  • Blueberries & Peaches
  • Cucumbers & Dill
  • Lemons & Raspberries
  • Tomatoes & Basil
  • Watermelon & Mint
  • Garlic & Summer Squash
Below is the first recipe of the series. Check in regularly; we will be posting the recipes throughout the month on InsideStorey as part of the series. Get out to your garden, and harvest those perfect pairs!

Do you have a favorite flavorful pair that I forgot to mention? I’d love to know — post it below in the comments section, and I’ll post a Storey recipe just for you!

— Kristy Rustay, Digital Production Manager

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Blueberry-Peach Torta
Call it a tart, a torta (in Italian), a croustade, or a cake — I couldn’t resist including this fabulous open-faced, fruit-filled beauty in the book. The recipe is an adaptation of one that graced Gourmet magazine’s cover a summer or two ago, but not quite satisfied with the original, I changed things quite a bit (increasing the sugar, adding the cornmeal, and so on), much to the enjoyment of my dinner guests that summer, who quite happily ate any and all versions. Blueberries are, of course, emblematic of a Maine summer, but perhaps surprisingly, there are also some peach trees in the state, and they produce some small, intensely flavorful fruit.


1¼ cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
¼ cup cornmeal
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into about 8 chunks
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 large ripe peaches (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into thick slices
1 cup blueberries (1/2 pint)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (juice of 1/2 medium lemon)
Powdered sugar

  1. To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, cornmeal, and salt in a food processor. Pulse once or twice to blend. Add the butter, and pulse just until most of the butter is about the size of peas.
  2. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together the egg and vanilla. Drizzle the egg mixture through the feed tube and pulse until the dough clumps and begins to form a ball on top of the blades. (To make by hand, whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl, work in the cold butter with your fingertips, add the egg mixture, and stir with a large fork to make a soft dough.) Turn out onto a board, and knead several times to make a smooth ball.
  3. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and about 1½ inches up the sides of a 9- to 9½-inch springform pan (see Note). Freeze for at least 15 minutes. (The torta shell can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks, wrapped in plastic.) 
  4. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  5. To make the filling, combine the sugar, flour, and cornstarch in a large bowl, and whisk to combine. Add the peaches, blueberries, and lemon juice, and toss to coat the fruit with the sugar mixture. Scrape into the torta shell, and arrange the fruit to make an even layer.
  6. Place a sheet of foil over the torta, and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue to bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the peaches are soft and the blueberry juices are bubbling.
  7. Transfer to a rack to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan, leaving the torta on the pan bottom, and cool completely. (The torta can be made up to 4 hours ahead and held at cool room temperature.) Sieve the powdered sugar over the top before serving.
Note: This dough is very malleable and shapes well. It’s easiest to press into the pan by first flattening the dough into the bottom, then working it evenly up the sides, thinning the bottom in the process. I make a fist with my hand and press with my flattened first finger joints.

Recipe excerpted from Dishing Up® Maine © 2006 by Brooke Dojny. All rights reserved.
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Want another mouthwatering recipe featuring blueberries and peaches? This summer dessert was just posted by Amy Cotler: Tortilla Blintzes with Summer Fruit!
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