Hello! Your friendly neighborhood New York Times Cooking newsletter editor here. Melissa Clark will be back soon, and, in the meantime, let me tell you about my love for galettes.
Nowhere is the “Instagram vs. reality” meme more real than in the baking world. As much as I love to bake, I always prepare for a little twang of heartbreak, knowing that my cake or cookies will never look as lovely as they do in the recipe’s picture. (I’m remembering a lattice-top pie that, put generously, looked like one of those lopsided potholders I used to make on those weaving thingies as a kid.) Not so with galettes. They welcome your asymmetry, your jagged edges, your uneven pleats and rough folds. Galettes look better for some juicy spills and singed edges. Galettes ask only that you tumble seasonal fruit onto a sheet of pie dough and slide it into the oven. For that, I am a galette gal.
And because it’s prime peach season, I will be making Yotam Ottolenghi’s new peach and chile galette with pistachio frangipane. It’s admittedly a bit of a production, but no part of it is difficult: pulsing the dough together in a food processor; using that same processor to whirl up a pistachio-cardamom paste; brushing the finished galette with a guajillo-laced sugar syrup. If you have any August birthdays to celebrate, this is a surefire stunner, and one that doesn’t require any artistic flair to look amazing.
More peaches! Summer’s queen stone fruit goes savory in Melissa’s skillet meatballs with peaches, basil and lime. This is both a reader and Cooking team favorite: “It’s saucy, punchy and pretty enough for entertaining,” my colleague Becky Hughes said. “Per Melissa’s suggestion, I usually serve the meatballs right in the skillet alongside coconut rice and a big salad.” I’ll do the same, as Becky never steers me wrong. (She has great suggestions for actually good hotel restaurants in New York City and deliciously wacky martinis.)
It’s also eggplant season, which means I’m making Hetty Lui McKinnon’s vegan dan dan noodles with eggplant. Hetty is a wizard with vegetables, and here she uses soft, caramelized eggplant to give body to a luscious, nutty sauce. As Hetty notes, you can use smooth peanut or almond butter instead of tahini, and you can swap egg noodles for the wheat noodles (though the dish will no longer be vegan).
On the subject of summer abundance: My grocery-store basil plant is in overdrive. It’s a nice problem to have, but I think my freezer has met its pesto limit. Time, then, for this green goddess dressing, a recipe by Jessica Battilana and adapted by Samin Nosrat. I’ll use it as salad dressing, dip and base layer for my tomato toasts.
For dessert, a perfect whiskey sour. A pour of brown liquor over clinking ice cubes is always a nice end to an August evening, and even better when punctuated with a happy maraschino cherry.
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Thanks for reading all the way through! (Hi, Mom.) I’ll see you again on Wednesday!