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Well, it has definitely been a Monday. It’s been an edgy one for sure, and as I start tucking in for the night, I am more than a little glad to put this day to rest. That’s going to be a bit easier because I am doing a little later-in-the-day celebrating of National Scotch Day.

I dig a good cocktail but I’m not very well-versed at actually mixing them. It happens that my husband is a master at it. I’m lucky. And that goes for today, too, thorns and all.
Cheers and good night, sweet dreams, and happy late-night tippling, should you be celebrating with a Scotch and soda as well!

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Heaven may be at least partially made of ice cream. I mean it, this is a hope of mine. And if I lead a really good life, perhaps it will include this sour cream ice cream. I don’t know why I don’t see this flavor more, because it is so rich, pleasantly tangy, and altogether “summer”. Pair it up with any stone fruit or berry, and you may think you’ve already gone to heaven.

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Sour Cream Ice Cream with Blueberry Compote

ice cream:

2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
6 egg yolks
2 c. sour cream
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Place the cream in a medium pot and heat to just under a boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Combine both sugars and egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk together thoroughly. Slowly pour the cream into the yolk mixture, whisking continuously.
Pour the mixture back into the pot and return to medium heat. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat immediately. Pour the ice cream base into a clean bowl and set on top of another bowl filled with ice. Stir occasionally until completely chilled.
Freeze according to your ice cream machine’s instructions.

Blueberry Compote

1/4 c. water
1/4 c. sugar
4 c. fresh blueberries
zest and juice of 1/2 a lime

Place the first three ingredients in a medium pot set over medium heat. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium low. Stir occasionally. Once the blueberries begin to soften, squish a few against the side of the pot . Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Spoon onto sour cream ice cream and eat with reckless abandon.
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Okay, is there anything more summery than corn fritters? The sweet corn in the market right now is amazing- plump, crunchy, sooo sweet. There is so much to enjoy about it all on its own, but to this corn I am adding a bunch of crab, jalapenos, Old Bay, and cayenne, and I’m serving them up with a not modest amount of avocado dip. Because, avocados. This could be the official dish of summer and California. I’ll admit, things start feeling a little rich after the fourteenth or fifteenth one. Cold beer or a well-chilled glass of lemonade can help.
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After a year of pondering the whys behind all of our official food holidays, I have decided that on days like today I am just glad to have an excuse to add these to the table. Whoever came up with National Corn Fritter Day, be it a council or a marketing agency or some guy who really digs fried food, I thank you wholeheartedly. Not that I needed that much of an excuse, but I’m glad I had one.

Spicy Corn and Crab Fritters with Avocado Dip

For the fritters:

3 c. of fresh sweet corn (3 ears)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 egg
3/4 cup 2% milk
4 oz. lump crab meat
1 green onion, green part removed, chopped
Peanut oil, enough to make fill a medium pot 3″ deep

Remove the corn from the cob. Pour the olive oil into a pan set over medium-high heat and saute the corn and jalapeno, stirring often. Once the corn is cooked to crisp-tender, remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and spices. Make a well in the center, pour in the egg and milk, and whisk until a smooth batter forms. Add the corn, crab meat and green onion and fold carefully so as not to break down the lumps of crab.

In a medium pot, heat the oil to 365F. Carefully drop ping pong ball-sized spoonfuls into the oil. Be cautious not to overcrowd the pot. Turn each fritter over after about three minutes, or once the submerged side becomes deep golden in color.
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Remove the fritters from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt.

For the dip:

4 small (or two large) ripe avocados
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup sour cream
2-4 tsp fresh lemon juice
Pinch salt
A dash of Tabasco sauce

Place all of the ingredients in bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth.

Eat with reckless abandon.
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Tart aux Prunes et Amande, or Plum Tart with Almond Cream.
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Lemon Short Dough

1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 cube unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 egg, beaten
zest of 1/2 lemon

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Blend the sugar and butter on low speed until a smooth paste forms. Add the egg and vanilla. Add the flour, salt, and lemon zest and continue to mix on low speed just until the dough comes together. Remove from the bowl, form into a disc, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Allow the dough to chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before using.

Press the chilled dough into a 9″ tart pan. Chill again, just until firm. Line the pan with parchment paper and fill with pie weights (or dried beans, which is what I prefer to use). Bake until the edge begins to turn light brown and the middle is half-baked. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Carefully remove the pie weights and paper.

Almond Cream

2/3 c. blanched almonds
1/2 cube (4 oz.) unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp brandy

Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until a fine powder forms. Add the butter and sugar and continue to pulse until you get a smooth paste. Add the egg, yolk, and brandy and pulse again until fully combined.

Pour the almond cream into the cooled tart shell. Cut six or seven medium-sized plums in half and remove the pits. Place each half cut side up into the cream, pressing them in gently so that they do not shift on the way into the oven. Top with sliced almonds and bake until the filling is golden, about 40-45 minutes.

Allow to cool a little, then top with more toasted almond slices and powdered sugar.

Cheers and vive la France!
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