ROASTED POTATOES WITH GARLIC AND ROSEMARY

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For the last couple of years, my parents have rented a house in the Berkshires, located about three hours west of Boston, for us to stay in over the July 4th holiday. This summer, however, they decided to get a place on the Cape. The property, surrounded by trees but walking distance to the beach, was the perfect retreat. Eric and I slept at our house, just a few miles away and on a lake. It was the best of both worlds. They could do their beach time in the morning and then we would all go swimming or boating in the lake in the afternoon. My nieces loved it... I loved it. Eric and I have been working so hard to get the place in order that we've had little time to enjoy ourselves. This forced us to slow down a bit and, by the end of the week, I was reminded why I love being down there and the memories we can create.

During our stay, many of our meals consisted of three things: fish, vegetables, and corn; all prepared on the grill. It's so simple and, yet, it embodies what I love about summer; mainly, cooking and eating outdoors. It's no-fuss preparation (just olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs), is a plus. Besides corn, I'm all about roasted potatoes. Paired with rosemary and a couple heads of garlic (maybe the real star of this dish), and you have yourself the perfect side to go with any grilled protein. 

ROASTED POTATOES WITH GARLIC AND ROSEMARY

SERVINGS
Serves 6, as a side

INGREDIENTS
2 lbs baby potatoes, halved
2 heads garlic
2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
Olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Remove the outer layer of skin from the garlic, but leave the peel on each clove. Place baby potatoes, garlic, and rosemary into a bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil and toss with a spoon to make sure they're evenly coated. Season with salt and ground pepper.

3. Spread potatoes and garlic out evenly on prepared baking sheet.

4. Roast in oven, flipping halfway through, until crispy and brown, approximately 50 minutes. Remove from oven, transfer to a serving bowl, and season to taste. 

WHITE PEACH AND CANDIED GINGER MUFFINS

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Not long ago, I was invited on a tour of America's Test Kitchen and they gave everyone a recipe card for some truly scrumptious fig and chocolate chip muffins. The batter is thick; borderline scone dough. Once baked, they have a crusty exterior, but remain light, almost cake-like, on the inside. So, I was prepared to share a rhubarb variation everyone today. Alas, when I went to the store to purchase more rhubarb, they were out. Looking around frantically, my eyes locked on a tower of white peaches. Now, if I'm craving stone fruit, I'm going for cherries or apricots. Point being, it's not often that I see peaches and say "Yes! I must cook with those!" But something came over me and I realized that what I really needed in my muffins were peaches. And candied ginger. And almonds. Ok, there were a lot of things. But, hey, sometimes you know when these things will work. And, if I may say, they do. They really do.

WHITE PEACH AND CANDIED GINGER MUFFINS

NOTES
A few things: 1. I suggest using firmer peaches, as they're easier to chop, plus it prevents the mixture from getting too mushy when you cook them. 2. If you're like me and didn't look to see if you had unsalted butter before you started cooking, you can use salted butter and just omit the salt from the recipe. I did this and they came out tasting great.

SOURCE
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen

SERVINGS
Makes 12 muffins

INGREDIENTS
2 1/2 cups chopped white peaches (use firmer peaches)
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup chopped candied ginger

DIRECTIONS
1. In a pot, toss peaches with 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the peach starts to break down and juices are released, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. 

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Flour and grease a 12 cup muffin tin. 

3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, remaining granulated sugar, light brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. 

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, butter, and eggs. Add the vanilla extract and almond extract and whisk until combined. 

5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and, using a wooden spoon, mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Stir in sliced almonds and candied ginger. 

6. Spoon half of the muffin batter into the prepared muffin tin and then spoon 1 teaspoon of the cooked peaches into the center of each. Top with remaining batter. 

7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. Transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container for 2 days.