Stone Fruit in Red Wine

Stone Fruit in Red Wine // Notwithoutsalt.com

Summer has been busy with all the right things. Beach bonfires, grilled hamburgers, three week adventures across the pond, island excursions, attempting to establish a bit of a garden, sticky marshmallow coated fingers, red tinged sun kissed skin and very few hours in front of the computer or standing at the stove. 

I always say this about whatever season we’re in; this is my favorite season to cook. Summer requires very little cooking, it’s more about the assembling. Which is perfect when you’d rather be reading a book or attempting not to fall off your new paddle board. Lately we’ve been eating big slices of melon in hues of oranges, reds and pinks with a flurry of vanilla salt dusted over top. To accompany whatever happens to be on the grill for the evening I’ve made a bean salad (last week alone I made it three times) with just a few cans of beans (in whatever varieties you prefer), a bit of celery and/or fennel for crunch, cherry tomatoes if you have them, a piquant vinaigrette with a hint of sweet and more handfuls of herbs than you think reasonable.

And for dessert the simplest of things; stone fruit (really any kind will do) with a bit of sugar or honey, soaked in red wine.

Stone Fruit in Red Wine // Notwithoutsalt.com

Stone Fruit in Red Wine // Notwithoutsalt.com

I’ve served, many times, fruit in white wine – sparkling or sweet but it wasn’t until our recent trip to Italy that I experienced fruit in red wine. I was delighted, down right giddy actually when one bite led to all of us at the table eating directly from the serving dish. We all marveled at the simplicity of two ingredients transforming into something entirely different; complex and decadent. This dish surpassed the one next to it – pears stuffed with quince jam and wrapped in puff pastry – that we had spent quite a bit of time making during our cooking class. The red wine soaked peaches (in this case) were a delightful surprise to the menu and coming home they keep showing up again and again.

My first go of it I overcomplicated what should be kept simple. There’s no need to simmer the wine with cinnamon stick and star anise with a bit of sugar – although you can do that. My preferred method now is to simply add a few pieces of what ever stone fruit you happen to have – nectarines, peaches, plums, cherries – sprinkle on a bit of sugar or drizzle of honey, top with wine (I’ve not met a variety that didn’t match the fruit and sugar nicely) then let it sit in the fridge for maybe 30 minutes if you’ve got that sort of time. 

Serve it to start a meal or end one. If I’m feeling a bit of an over-achiever I may serve a plate of crisp Italian cookies like biscotti alongside. They are perfect for soaking up those last few sips of wine. 

Stone Fruit in Red Wine // Notwithoutsalt.com

Stone Fruit in Red Wine

Serves 4

1 nectarine, peach (or a couple plums, handful of cherries), sliced into 1/4-inch pieces

2 tablespoons sugar

red wine

There’s really no need for a recipe here, a method perhaps.

Tuck a few slices of stone fruit into a wine glass or coupe. Sprinkle on sugar or a drizzle of honey in its place.

Top with red wine. Enough to cover the fruit.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until the wine has soaked through the fruit. Less or more time is fine too.

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Middle Eastern “Nachos” with Spiced Chickpeas

Middle Eastern "Nachos" // Notwithoutsalt.com

Anything goes with summer cooking. Well, let’s be honest anything goes with anytime cooking but in the summertime it’s easier to get away with simple, quick cooking because the ingredients need so little fussing. In fact the problem lies in the over fussing.

This is the sort of recipe that highlights the ease of summer by using some of its finest ingredients in a recipe that are like nachos and totally not. I like to play around with the whole nacho concept while my kids roll their eyes when they see their cheese chips covered in radish slices and pickled red onions. To them nachos are chips and melted cheese but until they start cooking dinner they get frilly cilantro, cucumber and chickpeas on their nachos.

Even I, the nacho impurest, am not sure I can call these nachos for their lack of an abundance of cheese. Perhaps it’s more like a dip that only requires one platter. Or, as my friend Sam just pointed out it’s almost reminiscent of the Middle Eastern dish, Fattoush. In lieu of pita we have delicious hearty and seedy Way Better Chips that while more nutritious than others satisfy that crisp, salty indulgence that we so love in a chip with a deeper punch of flavor as they use the best possible ingredients. Regardless of how we categorize them it’s a simple dish that I would call dinner or better yet serve to a crowd while we’re sipping on something cold and waiting for the grill to warm up.

Middle Eastern "Nachos" // Notwithoutsalt.com Middle Eastern "Nachos" // Notwithoutsalt.com Middle Eastern "Nachos" // Notwithoutsalt.com Middle Eastern "Nachos" // Notwithoutsalt.com

If you’re one to plan ahead you can easily mix up the chickpeas a few days prior to enjoying but even without preplanning this entire recipe could be made in under ten minutes. Time me.

Use this recipe as a guide and add to it or take away however you see fit. If you like more spice throw in a bit more of the chile paste or stir in dry chile powder if you don’t have paste on hand. Perhaps your family is a bigger fan of piquant olives than mine? Then toss those on top too. And if cilantro isn’t a favorite herb (I do know this one tends to be rather divisive) than I’d use a mix of basil, parsley, mint, chives and even dill. The point here is that it is highly adaptable and such a great starting point for a no-fuss summer favorite.

Middle Eastern "Nachos" // Notwithoutsalt.com

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*This is post is proudly sponsored by Way Better Snacks who strives to make great tasting snacks that we can feel better about eating and feeding to our friends and family. Their secret is in the sprouting which not only boosts the flavor but makes their snacks better for us too. Find out more about their process and check out all the delicious flavors at gowaybetter.com

Middle Eastern “Nachos” with Spiced Chickpeas

Serves 4 to 6

 

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup whole milk Greek yogurt

1/2 tablespoon chile paste (Sambal Oelek is what I use)

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Salt

2 5.5 ounce bags of Way Better Snacks Chips (Blue Corn and Sweet Chili make a fine pair)

1/2 cucumber, roughly chopped

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup cilantro (a little mint is lovely in there too)

1/2 cup crumbled feta

 

In a bowl combine the chickpeas, yogurt, chile paste, cumin, coriander, and a pinch of salt. Stir it all together then taste and adjust the seasonings as you see fit.

Spread the chips onto a platter and top with the chickpea mixture. Sprinkle on the cucumbers, tomatoes, cilantro, and feta cheese. Serve right away.

 

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