I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Slow Cooker Sorghum Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are an absolutely essential part of Thanksgiving. I love a good sweet potato casserole, both the mashed version and a sliced version. I’m fortunate, particularly at the holidays, that I have plenty of oven space to prepare the full Thanksgiving menu, but I know that is not the case for everyone, so here as my space solution, which I think as a brilliant idea. This recipe didn’t start as a Thanksgiving dish for me, but as a hands-off way to cook a big batch of sweet potatoes for a dinner party. And I have made it many times for weeknight dinners because it really is unbelievably easy.

I love the flavor of grassy sorghum with earthy sweet potatoes. The smoked paprika adds a lovely depth and hint of smokiness. The result of slow cooking is similar to roasting on a sheet pan – the edges aren’t as crisp, but there are lovely browned rims with fluffy centers and a lovely seasoned exterior. Make these for Thanksgiving, but I promise you’ll pull the recipe out throughout the year.

Slow Cooker Sorghum Sweet Potatoes
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled
  2. 3 Tablespoons sorghum syrup
  3. 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  4. 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  5. 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  6. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  7. ½ teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut the peeled sweet potatoes into evenly sized cubes, about 1 inches. Spray the crock of a slow cooker with cooking spray then spread the potatoes in the crock.
  2. Whisk the sorghum, vinegar, mustard, paprika salt and pepper together in a small bowl until thoroughly combined, then pour over the sweet potatoes. Stir to coat the sweet potatoes, cover the crock and cook on low for eight hours, which I prefer, or high for 4 hours.
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Spiced Apple Torte

Recipes in my life go around in circles. I used to make a version of this apple dessert when I was just starting out in my first apartment, when a springform pan was considered exotic kitchen kit. I don’t know where I originally found it, but I imagine it might have been in my mom’s extensive file of apple recipes. My mother loves a good file folder, and when the apple tree my dad and I planted in the backyard started to produce fruit, she started filling a folder. I thought I was fancy because I added cinnamon for flair. Somehow, the recipe fell out of my rotation and I had not thought about it in years, but a recent internet search led me in a circuitous route to several recipes for apple sharlotka, a traditional Russian dessert. These recipes reminded me of this classic from my repertoire, so with apple season in full swing, I pulled it out again and updated and modernized it a bit. It was a treat to rediscover an old favorite.

What I love about this dish is that is mostly apple, tart chunks held together by a light, almost custard like filling – making the most of the season’s best fruit. In the spirit of autumn desserts, I’ve added a bouquet of warming spices – veering away from simple cinnamon to the less explored end of the spice rack. Of course, you can just use a dose of cinnamon, or leave out the spices altogether, but I think this combination adds a great hint of mystery and warmth. The cake is lovely on its own, but a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream never goes amiss, or a scoop of ice cream. I recently served it with salted caramel gelato to great effect.

Spiced Apple Torte
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 6 tart green apples, like Granny Smith
  2. 3 eggs
  3. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  4. 1 cup granulated sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  7. ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  8. ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  9. ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  10. ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  11. ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  12. confectioners’ sugar for dusting the top
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, then spray the paper and the pan with cooking spray.
  2. Peel the apples and cut them into small chunks, about the size of dice. Layer the chunks directly in the prepared pan.
  3. Beat the eggs, flour, sugar, vanilla, spices and salt together in the bowl of stand mixer. At first, it may look like dough, but beat for a few minutes until you have a smooth, thick batter. Spread the batter evenly over the top of the apples. Use a spatula to cover all the apples with batter and to encourage it reach down between the apples. Let the pan sit for a few minutes for the batter to distribute, then bake for 50 – 60 minutes until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Cool the cake completely, then remove the springform ring. Sprinkle generously with confectioners’ sugar.
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Cherry Tomato and Sweet Onion Bake

I am always enticed by cherry tomatoes at the farmers market. All the pretty colors and shapes and sizes. They are all just so pretty, though the perfect orbs of a classic Sweet 100 or Tumbling Toms always catch my eye. And, as with much of the bounty of summer produce, I have a tendency to over buy, with no fixed plan for how to use them. And though popping the little tomatoes straight in my mouth, or serving them simply drizzled with a vinaigrette are good options, sometimes I want to try something a little different with a little more intrigue. And adding heat brings out the sweetness in the tomatoes beautifully. And to complement that sweet tang of the melting tomatoes, I love a bed of candied caramelized onions. The bread crumbs add a crispy finish, but also soak up the lovely juices that ooze from the onions and the tomatoes.

I prefer evenly round, classic cherry tomatoes for this dish rather than the multicolored and unevenly sized versions. Oregano is a great complement to summer tomatoes, but thyme or marjoram would work just as well. I have eaten this dish on its own as a meal, but it makes a wonderful side dish to grilled meat or a roasted chicken. And though I adore this with fresh summer cherry tomatoes, it can boost the flavor of hothouse cherry tomatoes throughout the year.

Cherry Tomato and Sweet Onion Bake
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  3. one bunch of fresh oregano
  4. kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  5. 1 pound cherry tomatoes
  6. ½ cup dried bread crumbs
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Pour the olive oil into a medium sized oven-safe skillet. Add the onions and cooke over medium heat until they are soft and just beginning to brown. Pour in a ½ cup of water and stir, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid evaporates and the onions area nice soft and glassy and a nice caramelized brown. This should take about 20 minutes. Finely mince about ¼ cup of oregano leaves and add 2 Tablespoons to the onions with a generous pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper and stir to evenly distribute the herbs. Remove the pan from the heat and spread the onions out in an even layer. Spread the cherry tomatoes over the onions in as even a layer as possible (some make stick up into a second layer). Mix the bread crumbs with the remaining oregano and sprinkle evenly over the top of the tomatoes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 20 - 30 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and collapsing and slightly charred in some places and the bread crumbs are browned. I like to turn the broiler on for a few minutes, watching carefully, just to create a nice, browned top.
  3. Let the dish cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
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Curried Corn Soup with Toasted Corn Kernels

Fresh corn and curry are a favorite combination of mine, and for years I have made a quick blender soup using frozen corn and boxed stock. It’s such a treat for me, that I figured I ought to work out a proper recipe using a full complement of the beautiful summer corn I find at the farmers market. And I love this version even more. Softened with leeks, redolent with corn flavor and a healthy dose of curry powder, this beautiful yellow soup is a perfect summer bowl. Just a few ingredients create a remarkably complex and rich flavor.

I love the base of fresh corn stock, and it is easy to make. You could use vegetable broth for a shortcut, but make sure you use one that is light in color so you don’t muddy the final result. The chewy, toasty corn kernels make a wonderful topping, but get as creative as you want. I could see toasted coconut shards or roasted, salted cashews as a nice contrast. You could add a dollop of yogurt as well. This soup freezes really well, so make a big batch (or several) with in-season corn to stock up for the winter. I love this soup warm, but it is lovely served chilled in the heat of summer.

Curried Corn Soup with Toasted Corn Kernels
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 8 ears corn
  2. 2 large or 3 medium leeks
  3. 4 green onions
  4. 2 cloves garlic
  5. 3 teaspoons curry powder
  6. 1 teaspoon salt
  7. ½ teaspoon garam masala
Instructions
  1. Fill a large bowl or the sink with cold water and ice. Bring a large stockpot full of water to a boil. Blanch the corn in the boiling water for 30 seconds and remove it immediately to the ice water bath to stop the cooking. When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off the cobs into a large bowl. Scrap the cobs to release any juices. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and place in the refrigerator.
  2. Cut the corn cobs in half and place in a large stockpot (if you use the pot you blanched in, rinse it well to remove corn silks) and cover with 10 cups of water. Bring the stock to a boil, skim off any scum that rise, reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 1 ½ hours. The liquid should reduce by about half. Pour the stock through a strainer and discard the solids.
  3. Cut the white and pale green parts of the leeks in half, then into thin half-moons. Rinse the pieces thoroughly with cold water to remove any dirt or grits. Rinse out the stockpot and add the olive oil. Cook the leeks, with a little water clinging to them, over medium heat until soft and glossy, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently and do not let the leeks brown. Add the garlic and cook a further minute, then sprinkle over the curry powder, salt and garam masala. Cook, stirring well, for a few minutes until the spices are toasty and fragrant. Measure out 1/2 cup of corn kernels and set aside, then add the rest or the corn and any accumulated liquid to the pot. Stir to combine the leeks and corn, then pour in 4 cups of the corn cob stock and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium low and cover the pot. Simmer the soup for 30 minutes, until the kernels are very soft. Leave the soup to cool a little, then carefully puree it in batches in a blender. Pour each batch through a fine mesh sieve set over a large, pressing the liquid through. Rinse out the pot again, and return the smooth soup to it. At this point, you can refrigerate the soup for up to 2 days.
  4. Toast the reserved in a dry skillet until browned and beginning to make a popping noise. When toasted evenly, transfer to a plate so the kernels don’t continue cooking.
  5. The soup can be served chilled, or warmed through over medium heat. Serve topped with toasted corn.
Notes
  1. Corn stock is a wonderful thing to have around, it pumps up the flavor of a winter chowder made with frozen corn or any vegetable soup. Make big batches and freeze. I keep a Ziploc bag in the freezer and add a striped cob everytime I use corn. When I have about a dozen cobs, I make stock.
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Crispy Pork Schnitzel with Fresh Tomato Dill Sauce

In the height of tomato season, I am always looking for creative ways to make the most of the bounty. I can, I sauce, I freeze, I dry, I soup. And I use the other ingredients I find at the farmers market as much as I can too. So when I found myself with a few extra tomatoes and the rest of a bunch of dill from canning Dilly Beans, I figured I could make it into something. This sauce is a nice departure from the classic tomato basil combo, with a great fresh note from the celery and lots of spiffy fresh dill. The sauce can be used in any sauce situation, but I found myself with a craving for crispy schnitzel and this sauce makes a perfect pairing.

I think schnitzels are a wonderful summer dinner – the prep takes a little fiddling, but they are super quick to cook and can be made ahead, ready to fry up and serve. You can use the same technique for chicken breasts if you’d like. In summer, I love these with a simple green salad, rather than the more traditional, and to me more cold weather, mashed potatoes or dumplings. If you want to go the potato route, try a vinegary potato salad.

Crispy Pork Schnitzel with Fresh Tomato Dill Sauce
Serves 4
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For the Sauce
  1. 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  2. 1 small onion, finely diced
  3. 2 stalks celery, with a few leaves if possible, finely diced
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. ½ cup white wine
  6. 6 plum tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
  7. ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  8. salt and pepper to taste
For the Schnitzels
  1. 4 thin-cut boneless pork chops
  2. ½ cup all-purpose flour
  3. 1 teaspoon paprika
  4. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  5. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  6. 1 egg
  7. 1 Tablespoon milk
  8. 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  9. 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  10. olive oil for frying
For the Sauce
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high and add the onions and celery. Sauté until the onions are glossy and the celery has softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Pour in the wine, bring to a bubble and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the tomatoes, stir well and bring to bubble again. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft and have released some liquid. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool slightly. Transfer the tomatoes to a blender and blend to a rough, textured sauce. Scrape the sauce back into the pan, add the dill, salt and pepper and stir well. The sauce can be made several hours ahead at this point, covered and refrigerated. When ready to serve, heat through over medium heat, stirring to prevent scorching.
For the Schnitzel
  1. Place the pork chops one at a time in a large zipper bag. Pound them to an even, thin piece about 1/ inch thick. Remove each chop to plate and continue with the next. In one shallow bowl or plate, mix together the flour, paprika, salt and pepper until evenly combined. Beat the egg with the milk in a second shallow bowl, and mix the panko and dill in a third. Dip each schnitzel in the flour, turning to coat evenly, then saking off any excess. Next, dip it evenly in the egg, then in the panko, pressing the crumbs evenly to cover the entire chop. Repeat with the remaining chops, placing them back on the plate as you finish. The chops can be loosely covered with plastic and refrigerated for several hours at this point if you’d like.
  2. Put the oven on a low heat, just to keep the schnitzels warm as you go. Heat about 3 Tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet until shimmering. Add a schnitzel to the oil and let it crisp and brown for about three minutes, then flip it over and cook until crispy and browned on the other side. Remove to a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm while you continue with the remaining pieces. If there is a lot of burned residue in the pan between any chops, wipe it out, heat more oil and continue.
  3. Serve each schnitzel topped with the warmed tomato dill sauce.
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Creamy Butter Bean Casserole

My mother tells me, often now, that when I was a child, I would no more have eaten a butter bean or a field pea than a piece of shoe leather. She marvels every time I serve, write about or just generally express appreciation for the glories I now see in them. But she never turns down a dish that I make. And this one has become a family favorite. I mean, juicy butter beans, creamy sauce, gooey cheesy, a dash of lemon – what’s not to love.

Though I am always looking for new and interesting ways to cook with these jewels, I tend to lean in the direction of simmering beans and peas with cured pork. But I love the difference here, the sauce that coats the butterbeans is rich and creamy, but really fresh because of the lemon. The crispy bread crumb topping adds a great textural contrast as well. And it can easily be made ahead to serve hot and bubbly at the table. I put lots of fresh butter beans up in the freezer in summer and use them in this dish year round.

Creamy Butter Bean Casserole
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound fresh butter beans
  2. ½ cup butter
  3. ¼ cup flour
  4. 2 cups milk
  5. Zest and juice of one lemon
  6. Salt and pepper
  7. 1 cup grated Swiss cheese
  8. 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  9. 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  10. 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Soak the butter beans in a large bowl of cold water for 30 minutes. Skim off any floaters and pick out any damaged beans. Drain the beans and put into a large saucepan. Cover with fresh water by about ½ an inch, bring to a boil and skim off any foam that rises. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes until the beans are tender, but with a little bite to them. You can cook a bit longer if needed. Drain the beans.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet, then whisk in the flour until smooth and white. Pour in the milk slowly, whisking constantly until smooth. Whisk in the lemon juice, lemon zest, about 1 teaspoon salt and several generous grinds of black pepper. Cook, whisking, until the mixture is smooth and thick. Remove from the heat and gently fold in the cooked butter beans. Taste the beans, and add salt if needed. These beans can take quite a bit of salt. Layer one half of the creamy beans in a greased 8 by 8 inch casserole. Sprinkle over the cheese, the gently spread the remaining beans over the cheese.
  3. Mix the bread crumbs, parsley a dash of salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Add the melted butter and stir with a fork until combined. Spread the breadcrumbs over the top of the casserole.
  4. The beans can be cooled, covered and refrigerated overnight if needed. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350°. Bake the casserole until it is hot through, bubbling around the edges and browned on the top, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.
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Caramelized Corn Pudding

I talk often here about how I come about recipes, and this one has a story with it too. A friend and I were eating at a popular local restaurant and I told her about the amazing creamed corn dish they sometimes make (sadly not on the menu that day). This led to a larger discussion of corn preparations, and she told me her husband couldn’t stop raving about a corn pudding he had at a restaurant on a business trip that had “some kind of sugary topping.” She asked if I had ever heard about this and I told her I hadn’t but it sure did sound good. Low and behold, a few days later I was flipping through my collection of community cookbooks and came across a recipe for “The Best Corn Pudding Ever” that involved sprinkling the top with brown sugar. Well, I just couldn’t wait to give it a try and am I ever glad I did. I served it to my family as part of a full dinner of summer produce and they absolutely raved. They did indeed think it was the best corn pudding ever.

The second time I made this, I admit I accidently let the butter brown a little, but it was a serendipitous mistake, because it added even more depth to the final result. Adding a hint of sugar to the mix brings out the sweetness of good summer corn, and the lightly caramelized top is a revelation, providing a perfect sweet-salty balance.

Caramelized Corn Pudding
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 8 ears fresh corn
  2. ½ cup (1 stick) butter, divided
  3. 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  4. 2 Tablespoons flour
  5. ½ cup heavy cream
  6. 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  7. 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
  9. 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 2 quart baking dish. Cut the kernels from the corn into a large bowl.
  2. Melt 6 Tablespoons of the butter over medium high heat in a deep skillet. When the butter starts to foam and little flecks of brown appear, about 3 minutes, stir in the granulated sugar and stir until smooth and the butter has browned a little more, about 3 minutes, then stir in the flour until smooth. Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the cream until well combined. The mixture may look a little odd or curdled at this point, but don’t worry, it will all come right in the end. Stir in the corn kernels to combine, then add the beaten eggs, baking powder and salt and stir until everything is mixed together. You may see some lumps of the cream mixture, but that’s okay.
  3. Spread the corn in the prepared baking dish, evening out the top. (You can make the dish to this point up to a few hours ahead, keep it loosely covered with a towel on the counter). Bake the corn pudding for 45 minutes, until firm and golden around the edges. Melt the remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter in a measuring jug with a spout (I use the microwave), then stir in the brown sugar until smooth. Drizzle the butter and brown sugar mix over the top of the corn pudding, gently spreading it out with a heat proof spatula or the back of a spoon. Cook for a further 5 minutes and serve immediately.
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Simple Summer Peach Pie

Pie speaks so of summer to me, particularly ones bursting with the best of summer fruit. And when it easy to make, like this one, it is a real bonus. I pulled the original version of this recipe from a community cookbook years ago when I had some peaches sitting on the counter. Like most of the best of summer produce, I buy peaches in bulk when they are at their peak, some to eat but mostly to make jams and preserves. When I buy by the quart or the basket, I always end up with a few more than I need for a canning. The first time I made this, I chose it because it uses ingredients I always have on hand. Now I buy peaches just to make the pie. I have often thought of this as a peaches and cream pie, but there is no cream, and though it has a creamy filling, it isn’t really a custard pie either. Just a simple summer peach pie.

I leave the peels on the peaches, because I think it adds extra flavor and color and helps keep the peach slices intact (and because it is easiest), but you can peel them if you prefer. And get creative with filling – use almond extract instead of vanilla, or scrape in the seeds of a vanilla bean. Add some cinnamon or cardamom, or a little fresh ginger. Some orange or lemon zest would work nicely as well.

Simple Summer Peach Pie
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. Pastry for on 9-inch pie, homemade or store bought ready rolled
  2. 3 large or four small peaches
  3. 3 eggs
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 1 cup granulated sugar
  6. 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a pie plate with the pastry and set aside.
  2. Slice the peaches into thin slices and layer in the pie crust. Fill the crust with peach slices right up to the top.
  3. Beat the eggs and vanilla in a bowl, then beat in the sugar until well combined. Stir in the melted butter, then pour over the peaches in the crust. It may not look like enough filling, but it will all come right in the end. Try to pour some over the surface of every exposed peach slice. Bake the pie for 45 minutes to an hour, until the center is firm with just a little bit of a wiggle. If the crust starts to brown more than you’d like, loosely cover the pie foil.
  4. Cool the pie completely, then refrigerate until chilled through.
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Lady Peas and Lacy Cakes

I have stated many times before, I love field peas and go on mad buying frenzies when they are in season at the farmers market. I put many of the peas up in the freezer, but my standard weekend summer supper is field peas, fresh corn and tomatoes. It’s easy to set a pot of peas simmering on the back of the stove while I get on with my obsessive summer canning. And it the end of a day of making jar after jar of jams, relishes and pickles, it’s nice to have a comforting supper waiting without much extra work. Some days, though, I am looking to jazz things up a bit, to add a little extra to my standard field pea pot. And I think cornbread is a wonderful way to do that, so I tend to fiddle around with the ingredients I have on hand.

Lady peas are at the top of my field pea love list, not least because of the sweet and pretty name. My go to is butter braised lady peas, served with pillowy buttermilk hoecakes. This recipe is a riff on that basic formula, and I’ll be honest, it came to me because I like the silliness of the name lady peas and lacy cakes. The lady peas here are served with a lightly creamy, but not at all heavy, sauce, this one inspired by my Southern Girl Butter Beans. Lacy cakes are a traditional cornbread preparation, in which the cornmeal batter is sizzled in hot oil to produce lacy edges and an open bubbly crumb. They are the perfect foil for delicate lady peas. So here’s to a new twist to summer supper.

Lady Peas and Lacy Cakes
Serves 6
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For the Peas
  1. 1 pound fresh lady peas
  2. 3 strips bacon
  3. 1 small shallot or ¼ of an onion
  4. 3 garlic cloves
  5. 3 -4 stems of fresh thyme
  6. 2 bay leaves
  7. 2 Tablespoons butter
  8. 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  9. salt and pepper to taste
For the Lacy Cakes
  1. 1 egg
  2. 3 cups whole buttermilk
  3. 2 cups yellow cornmeal
  4. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. vegetable oil
For the Peas
  1. Place the lady peas, bacon, onion half, garlic clove and seasoning in a heavy saucepan.  Add water just to cover the beans. Bring to a boil and skim off any scum that rises. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook until the beans are tender, about an hour. When the beans are done, strain the beans, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Remove and discard the bacon, thyme stems, bay leafs, onion (which may have fallen into pieces – fish them all out) and garlic cloves if you can find them.
  2. Now make the sauce.  Wipe out the pot and melt the butter in it.  Sprinkle over the flour and stir until smooth.  Slowly pour in the cooking liquid, whisking until the sauce is smooth and thickened.  Add lots of pepper to taste.  Add the beans and stir to coat with the sauce.  Warm the beans through.  Season with salt to taste.
For the Lacy Cakes
  1. Beat the egg and buttermilk together in a large mixing bowl. Add the cornmeal, baking soda and salt and stir until thoroughly combined. Let the batter rest at room temperature for 15 minutes, then give it a good stir. Generously grease a shallow skillet or griddle pan with vegetable oil. You want more than just a light coating, but we are not deep frying here, so just a little pool of oil. When the oil is shimmering, scoop a ¼ cup of batter into the hot oil and spread into a circle from the center of the cake. Cook until golden brown on one side, about three minutes, then flip over and cook until crisp on the other side. Remove to a wire rack or a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with the remaining batter. Add more oil as needed. The cakes can be kept warm in a low oven.
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Blueberry Buttermilk Bread Pudding with Lemon Caramel Sauce

I have to say, this recipe involves a lot of words I like. Juicy fresh summer blueberries, rich buttermilk and caramel. Bread pudding has always been a favorite of mine and this fresh summer version bursting with berries is a great way to make the most of the farmers market fruit. Buttermilk adds a nice tang to the luscious custard. Top the whole with a silky caramel sauce freshened up with lemon juice for a lovely dessert, or brunch dish.

This recipe started life as a way to use up a basket of blueberries and an unused loaf of bread, but the idea was so solid that I set to work on a formal recipe. I added buttermilk because, well, I love buttermilk and always have some around. Challah is an airy, soft, eggy pairing for this summery version. I found a traditional caramel sauce a bit heavy for the fresh fruit, so lightened it up with a nice hint of fresh lemon. And, obviously, the sauce is delicious over ice cream or any variety of sweets.

Blueberry Buttermilk Bread Pudding with Lemon Caramel Sauce
Serves 6
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For the Caramel Sauce
  1. 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  2. 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  3. 1 cup boiling water
  4. Zest and juice of one lemon
  5. 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  6. Pinch of sea salt
For the Bread Pudding
  1. 1 pound loaf challah
  2. 2 cups fresh blueberries
  3. 3 whole large eggs
  4. 2 egg yolks
  5. ¾ cups packed light brown sugar
  6. 3 cups buttermilk
  7. 1 cup heavy cream
  8. zest and juice of one lemon
  9. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  10. ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
For the Caramel Sauce
  1. Whisk the brown sugar and flour together in a medium saucepan, then pour over the boiling water and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat, and when it just begins to bubble, stir in the lemon zest and juice, then add the butter, whisking until melted. Bring to a low boil and cook for five minutes, watching carefully and stirring occasionally. The sauce will be just a little thicker than maple syrup. Stir in a pinch of salt. Remove from the heat. The sauce can be made a few hours ahead and served at room temperature or served warm.
For the Bread Pudding
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Cut the challah into 1 inch cubes and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Don’t brown the bread, just let it crisp up slightly.
  2. Spray a 13 by 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread half of the bread cubes in a solid layer in the dish. You don’t want too much of the dish showing through, so use a little more than half of the bread if needed. Sprinkle over half of the blueberries, then repeat with the remaining bread and berries.
  3. Beat the eggs lightly in a large bowl, then whisk in the brown sugar. Add the buttermilk, cream, lemon zest and juice, vanilla and nutmeg and whisk until smooth. Pour the custard evenly over the bread in the dish. Press the bread cubes down into the custard to saturate. Leave to soak in for at least half an hour, but you can cover and refrigerated for several hours.
  4. When ready to serve, cook the bread pudding at 350 until set, golden and firm, about 30 minutes. Let rest for a few minutes, then serve drizzled with the caramel sauce.
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