by Lil Nickelson
Excuse me for my tardiness readers, but I have been having so much fun this hot summer cooking delicious meals to go and hanging out in various city parks at reunions with my family and friends or listening to music that I’m late with this month’s column. I went to two different styles of barbeques on the fourth of July (suburban and city street) and enjoyed myself totally. I attend Jazzmobile concerts at Grant’s Tomb every Wednesday evening. This past Sunday afternoon I spent at the kick up celebration for HarlemWeek at the Concert under the Stars grooving to a little gospel, Ray Chew and the Crew, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Elizabeth Wuthers, John Legend and Keith Sweat closed the show.
People sitting around me and my friends marveled at our menu choices. I made fried chicken, devil eggs with shrimp, the lightest tortilla chips with a mango salsa that I made that morning. My friend Cherlyn brought some wine and another friend Carolyn bought some red velvet cupcakes, a little Hennessy and assorted beverages. We came prepared to feast and enjoy the festivities.
July and August is when I buy fresh fruits and vegetables in enormous amounts. Right now I have fresh peaches and mangoes sitting out getting softer, watermelon and fresh sweet cherries in the refrigerator, and blueberries and strawberries in the freezer. This weekend I’m looking to purchase some raspberries, blackberries and cantaloupes. I’ve been having fresh avocadoes, beefsteak tomatoes and freshly roasted red peppers in my salads at least four times a week.
I baked some wild sock eye salmon with a spicy seafood seasoning and topped it with the fresh mango salsa. Cherlyn told me she tried some fresh lychees for the first time a few weeks ago and they were amazing. They are an Asian fruit that are sweet and will remind you of grapes and cherries. I recommend you take a trip to Chinatown and buy you some and you will become a fan too.
So my recipes this month center on fruits. Here’s my recipe for Mango Salsa that I eat on baked or grilled fillet of any type of fresh fish, poultry of meat.
Total Time: 15 minutes
2 vine ripened tomatoes (or 1 beefsteak tomato), seeded and diced into ½ inch square chunks
1 small red onion, finely chopped
3-4 Serrano peppers (or 1 jalapeno pepper) seeded and diced
2 just ripe mangoes, cut off seed, chopped into ½ inch square chunks, skin peeled off
1/2 bunch cilantro, washed, dried, de-stemmed, and chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Juice of 1 lime (optional)
Mix everything together in a medium-large bowl and season to taste with salt.
With my next recipe I want to celebrate summer like everyone else and take advantage of cherry’s all-too-short season so I like to make the free form galette, which is a hand-formed flavorful yet unfussy dessert that requires minimal effort yet delivers great flavor. Try it with vanilla ice cream.
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ lbs fresh cherries, pitted
1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur like Disaronno
1 refrigerated pie crust
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon whole milk or half and half
Preheat oven to 375˚. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to roughly an 11-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Mix the pitted cherries with ¼ cup sugar, salt, and liqueur. Spoon the seasoned cherries over the dough and leave a 2-inch border. Drop pieces of butter over the cherries and fold the edges of the dough over, pressing lightly. Whisk the cream or milk and the egg yolk together and lightly brush the edges of the crust. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar and then bake for 40-45 minutes. Ovens will vary, bake until golden. Top each serving with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.