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By Kate Galassi

Sometimes I get myself into trouble when I make pan-blistered shishito peppers: My eyes can be bigger than my stomach. So over time, I’ve developed a few tricks for making the most of the leftovers.

Start by removing the stems.

Chopped:

  • Chop up a handful of shishitos and pile them on top of a couple of cheeseburgers.
  • Chop shishitos and tomatoes or tomatillos (even better if they’re grilled) with an onion for salsa.

 Pureed:

  • Puree a few peppers with chevre, ricotta or feta with olive oil and lemon juice for a divine sandwich spread.

Whole:

  • Add to a cold grain salad with toasted almonds, cubed pecorino and fresh herbs.
  • Pile whole shishitos and scrambled eggs on to warm corn tortillas for breakfast tacos. 

What’s your favorite way to eat a shishito? Tell us on Twitter or Instagram, using hashtag #quincipleshishitos

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Winter calls for braising sauces for hours. Not so much summer, when we’re trying to keep our time by the stove to a minimum.

Luckily, there are ways to build a complex pasta dish coated in velvety sauce without long stints of heat. This recipe riffs on the idea of carbonara, an Italian classic that relies on eggs for its rich texture. To express the season, we added corn from this week’s Quinciple box to the dish, its sweetness placing the flinty flavor of the pasta in relief. Adding a bit of pasta cooking water to the pan is a common technique, since the starch left in the liquid is a natural thickener that builds the sauce. We doubled down, cooking both the corn and the pasta in the same water, then adding some water to the pasta for a creamy finish. 

It smacks of sophistication, but can be prepared in less than an hour. Eat your heart out, bolognese.

Summer Carbonara

Serves 4

4 ears corn, shucked

2 egg yolks

1 egg

1 teaspoon lemon zest

¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 small red chiles, seeded and diced

1 large clove garlic, minced

6 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, diced

One 12-ounce bag Sfoglini rye reginetti

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup thinly sliced basil

Bring a large saucepot of water to a boil. Add the corn and boil for 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the corn to a plate to cool; reserve the water. When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the cobs and set aside; discard the cobs.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, egg, lemon zest and Parmesan cheese.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, chiles and garlic. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the contents of the skillet to the bowl with the egg mixture and stir to combine. Return the skillet to the stove over medium heat and add the pancetta. Cook until the pancetta is crispy, about 4 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Bring the saucepot of water back to a boil. Add the pasta and cook about 5 minutes or until desired doneness. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the skillet with the pancetta and toss to coat. Then add the pasta-pancetta mixture to the bowl with the egg mixture and toss. Add a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water and the reserved corn kernels and toss to coat. A creamy sauce should form to coat the pasta; add additional cooking water by the tablespoon as needed to get the sauce to the desired consistency. Season with 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste) and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Divide between 4 bowls, top with additional Parmesan cheese (if desired) and the basil. Serve immediately.

Get more recipes and see what’s coming up in next week’s box here

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(Photo left: Nate Poekert | Photo right: Jeanine Donofrio) 

We all have that friend who makes a casual Tuesday night dinner look like a spread out of Kinfolk. We’re sure that her days have a few extra hours than ours, allotted for trimming flowers to make a perfect casual centerpiece or making ice with mint or berries suspended in the cubes. These types of friends are cut from the same cloth as Quinciple subscriber Anna Watson Carl, a food writer and cook who combines thoughtfulness, taste and hospitality into a blog called The Yellow Table.

Anna’s been busy. She just wrapped up a very successful Kickstarter campaign to publish her first cookbook, which focuses on recipes meant for gatherings with friends, and has spent the last few weeks on the road, hosting dinner parties in eight cities, including Austin, Seattle and Los Angeles. We caught up with her to get her tips on successful entertaining.

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Quinciple: The Yellow Table is an actual table, right?

Anna Watson Carl: Yes, it’s my dining table! It actually belonged to my mother first; she bought it in 1975 (which probably explains the bright yellow design). She bought it before she was married, and then brought it with her when she and my dad moved in together. I grew up eating every meal around that table. When I look back on it, that table not only changed my childhood but my whole life. My mother wasn’t a passionate cook, but mealtime was really sacred to her, and that was always very strongly ingrained in me. 

When I finished college, she gave me the table as a graduation present, because she knew how much I loved it.  It’s traveled with me from Pittsburgh to Nashville to New York. I live in a 6-floor walk-up, so my husband and I had to bribe a few friends with pizza to help us get it up the many flights of stairs.

Q: Who are your ultimate host/hostess icons?

AWC: Well, from a nonprofessional perspective, my mom. She is the epitome of Southern hospitality, and entertains with such grace, though she’s more passionate about design and decorating than food. From a cooking perspective, probably Ina Garten. When I first started to really get into cooking, one of the first books I ever bought was Barefoot Contessa Parties ($20; amazon.com). Her philosophy on how hosts should plan the evening so that they can enjoy the party rather than stressing during it has really stuck with me. For your guests to feel at ease, you have to feel at ease.

Q: Where do you like to shop for your dinner parties?

AWC: I’m always thinking about a few different factors when it comes to shopping, mostly weighing between quality and cost. I’ve loved being a subscriber to Quinciple because it allows me to try out so many different products that I otherwise might not have. And of course, the convenience is a huge draw. Trader Joe’s, on the flip side, is great from a cost perspective, so that’s where I go for most of my staples—things like olive oil, grains and coffee. I supplement with produce at Whole Foods and the greenmarket. For seafood, I love to shop at Eataly—I think they have the best seafood offerings in the city.

Q: What are your top 3 tips for a successful dinner party?

AWC: The first one is obvious: plan ahead. I love having people over spontaneously but it’s so much less stressful when you’ve done some of it in advance. I have learned the hard way so many times where I’m shopping one hour before dinner and guests are arriving before I’ve had time to shower or get ready. It’s not fun.

Second, be realistic with your time. One of the biggest dinner party downfalls is biting off more than you can chew. Your friends come to see you, not to live in the pages of a magazine, so prioritize your time wisely.

Third, I’m a huge proponent of collaborative dinner parties, where every attendee has a role. Not necessarily a potluck, but more like playing to the skills of your guests: if one guest loves wine, let them pick up the bottles for the evening. Let your friend with great music taste put together a playlist, and task your friend with the awesome handwriting to make place cards. It’s not just a help to you, but a way to highlight the gifts and talents of your guests.

Let Quinciple inspire your next dinner party; click here to see what’s in next week’s box.

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Shishito peppers are nature’s perfect finger food; they’re bite-size, full of flavor without being overly filling, and their stems act as a built-in handle to keep your hands from getting greasy. All they need is a little heat and salt.

Here are three methods for creating the ultimate snack, rated from easiest to most involved.

The Sauté

This is by far the simplest method, and the one on which we most frequently rely. The key is to give the peppers enough room to get plenty of skin-to-pan contact, which will yield blistered perfection.

Equipment needed: cast-iron skillet, olive oil, flaky salt

Pros: quick and easy

How to do it: Set a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. In a bowl, drizzle the shishitos with olive oil and toss to coat. When the skillet is hot, add the shishitos, spreading them out so that they don’t overlap; you may have to work in batches. Let the shishitos cook without stirring for about 1 minute (they may start to pop and sizzle). Shake the skillet every 15 to 20 seconds to agitate the peppers for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the peppers are turning brown and the skins are blistered and taut. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle generously with flaky salt.

The Fry

Full disclosure: deep-frying is a pain. But if you have the time, the results are worth it. By giving your peppers a dip in hot oil, they achieve the perfect contrast of taut, flavorful skin and silky flesh.

Pros: Amazing flavor

Cons: Messy

Equipment needed: large heavy-bottomed saucepan, deep-fry thermometer, vegetable oil, salt

How to do it: Fill a saucepan about 3 inches full of oil and set over medium heat. When the oil reaches 375° on a deep-fry thermometer, add the shishitos, taking care not to crowd the pan (you may have to work in batches). Fry the peppers for 3 to 4 minutes, then use a wire mesh sieve to remove the peppers and transfer them to a paper-towel lined plate. Drizzle with high-quality olive oil and sprinkle with flaky salt.

The Char

This is a great method to use if you’re already planning to grill. The peppers are too small to set over grill grates, so a heavy-duty wire grilling basket like this one is the way to go.

Equipment needed: grill, charcoal, heavy-duty mesh basket, olive oil, salt

Pros: smoky flavor, intensely blistered skins

Cons: labor-intensive

How to do it: Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill. In a bowl, toss the peppers with olive oil, then transfer them to the wire basket. Hold the basket a few inches over the flames, shaking to agitate, for about 7 minutes, until the peppers are blistered and darkened in spots. Transfer to a platter and season generously with flaky salt.

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The phrase “farm to bar” hasn’t caught on as quickly as “farm to table,” but rest assured: the very best cocktails start with top-notch fresh ingredients. The juices, syrups and garnishes are just as important as the booze itself, so we’re constantly appraising our crisper drawers and fruit baskets for cocktail inspiration.

Jeffrey Morgenthaler, bar genius behind Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon, is an eloquent mouthpiece for this movement, and his new cocktail tome, The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique ($21; amazon.com), is full of amazing practices for upping your cocktail game. Want to know whether lemons yield more juice when they’re cold versus at room temperature? Consult Morgenthaler. Should you use the same technique to make a rhubarb syrup that you use to make a raspberry syrup? This book has the answer (spoiler: no).

There’s no shortage of recipes that we’re anxious to try, but with a surplus of cherries from this week’s box, we decided to start with the book’s take on Brandied Cherries, perfect for garnishing an Aviation or a Manhattan.

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Brandied Cherries

Recipe adapted from Jeffrey Morgenthaler, The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique, Chronicle Books (2014)

Yield: Five 1-quart ball jars

5 pounds ripe, firm sweet cherries

½ cup whole juniper berries

½ cup whole allspice berries

6 cinnamon sticks, lightly crushed

3 whole star anise

5 cups sugar

8 ounces fresh lemon juice, strained

3 cups water

20 ounces brandy

12 ounces white rum

8 ounces bourbon

 

Clear away anything that you don’t want to get splattered with cherry juice. It sprays and it stains, even when you’re careful, so wear an old T-shirt. Pull off the stems and punch out the pits with a cherry pitter. (A trick that some cooks use is to put their hands and the pitter inside a very large plastic bag as they pit. The bag will corral much of the juice.)

Heat the oven to 200°. Place five 1 quart canning jars right side up on a baking sheet and put in the oven for 20 minutes; you can turn off the heat and leave them in the oven until ready to use. In a saucepan, simmer the lids in water to cover for 2 minutes and lay them out on paper towels to drain.

Dump the juniper berries, allspice berries, cinnamon sticks and star anise in the center of a double layer of cheesecloth and tie into a secure bundle. Fill a large stockpot about one-third full of water and bring to a boil. This will be your water bath for canning the cherries.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar, lemon juice, and the 3 cups water in another large stockpot, at least 10 quarts. Bring to a simmer, stirring just until the sugar is dissolved. Add the spice bundle, and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the cherries, stopping when the pot is about half full; you’ll be adding another 5 cups of liquid and you’ll need to be able to stir the cherries without them spilling out. (You might need to cook the cherries in two or three batches.)

Using the slotted spoon, stir and fold the cherries onto themselves so that they are all soaked in the syrup and are getting thoroughly warmed. You don’t want to actually cook the cherries, just let them absorb the syrup. Return the liquid to a simmer; pour in the brandy, rum and bourbon; and stir to mix. When the liquid is heated through, take the pot off the heat. (Be sure not to boil the liquid because you don’t want to cook off too much alcohol.)

Using a wide-mouth funnel or jar filler and a slotted spoon, pack each canning jar with cherries, filling it to the top. Give the jar a good tap on the counter to settle the fruit so there are minimal air gaps. Ladle the hot syrup into the jars up to about ½ inch from the rim. Place the flat part of the lid on the jar, and screw the band on lightly.

Add the next batch of cherries to the hot syrup remaining in the pot and heat the cherries through. Transfer to jars, top with syrup, and seal the jars.

When all the jars are filled and the lids are on, put the jars into the boiling water bath in batches, as many as will fit without crowding. The water should cover the jars by about 1 inch, so top off with more boiling water if necessary. Boil for 5 minutes, and then retrieve the jars. Set them on the counter to cool and let the seals form properly. You’ll hear a nice pop as the vacuum forms and the lid is sucked down. Tighten the rings of all the jars that have sealed properly. You can store these at room temperature, away from heat and light, for up to 1 year.

Last chance to sign up for next week’s box! Click here to see what’s inside.

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Kate’s Gooseberry Jam

I first encountered the spiny branches of a gooseberry bush in northern Germany. I was apprenticing on an organic potato farm for part of the summer, and one day, when there was no fieldwork to be done,  I was sent to the garden to pick gooseberries for jam.

Picking berries can be romantic, but not when they are gooseberries. The German word for gooseberry is stachelbeere, which means spikeberry. And spikes there are indeed. But the berries are a just reward for braving the nasty thorns; incredibly flavorful with a wonderful pronounced tartness, they’re perfect for jam. Gooseberry jam can be hard to find in stores, so it’s one of my favorites to make at home.

To start, put a small plate in the freezer (you’ll need this later to test if the jam has reached the proper consistency). To make one jar of jam, you’ll want two half-pints of gooseberries. Red or green will do. Wash the berries and trim off the tops and tails (stem and flower ends). Cut them half. You’ll have about 1 to 1¼ cups of berries, packed very tightly.

Put them in a small saucepan over medium-low heat with a couple of tablespoons of water. Bring to a simmer and let them soften for about five minutes. Add ½ cup sugar. I like my jam a bit tart, so if you’re inclined towards a sweeter jam, add an extra 2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar. Simmer the jam for about 20 to 25 minutes. To see if the jam is done, drizzle a small amount on the plate from the freezer. Tilt the plate; if the jam drips down quickly, it needs more time for the natural pectin to set. If it stays mostly in place, the jam is ready. Transfer to a clean, dry  mason jar and seal with a lid. Once cool, store in the fridge and use within two months.

Gooseberries are in season for the next few weeks. In New York, they are easy to find at the Union Square Greenmarket. Locust Grove Fruit Farm and Phillips Farms have green and red varieties.

-Kate Galassi, Quinciple Co-Founder

Corn, mushrooms, shishito peppers and more in next week’s box; order yours now!

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(Photo: Liz West/Flickr)

Most fruits that come to market this time of year have done all the work for you: colorful and sweet, they require only that you shuttle them from the plate to your mouth. Currants, however, are an exception. They are impressively tart—as the brilliant cookbook author Nigel Slater stated, “it is a flavor that must be sweetened if it is not to pucker the lips as tight as a cat’s bottom.”

Good news for those of us that like to fuss around in the kitchen. Currants are the perfect candidate for jams, compotes or pies.

But to go a bit further with this summertime treat, we tapped Ryan Tate, executive chef of the just-opened Blenheim restaurant in New York’s West Village. He gave us two unconventional applications for currants, which turn its sour character into something quite lovely.

Currant Juice Vinaigrette:

At Blenheim, Tate uses black currant juice as the acidic component in a stunning maroon vinaigrette of beet juice, black olive brine and red wine vinegar. We’ll be using it to dress our next roasted beet salad with burrata. 

If you don’t want to make your own juice, you can find black currant juice in specialty food stores.

Currant Leaf Tea:

Tate adds dried currant bush leaves to tea, since the leaves are beneficial to kidney and liver function. At the restaurant, he dries the leaves in a dehydrator, but a lengthy bout in the sun or in the oven set on the lowest possible temperature would do the trick as well. Tate’s caveat: Currant leaves have a slightly uric flavor, so make sure to mix them with some other herb, such as mint or lemon verbena for a more enjoyable pot of tea. 

Currant leaves aren’t generally sold in stores; if you don’t have ready access to a currant bush, try asking a farmer at the farmers’ market. 

Check out what’s in next week’s box

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It’s now the height of picnic season, when we ditch the formality of proper plates and silverware for the casual beauty of a meal enjoyed “on location.”

Whether you’re supping on the sand at the beach or spreading your blanket on the great lawn of your nearest park, the key to a successful picnic is all about planning ahead.

We’ve put together a list of essentials for unbeatable outdoor eating.

Paper Plate Update

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These balsa wood trays are sturdier than the typical paper plate, with shallow sides to keep your potato salad from slipping. They collapse to fit into your picnic basket, and are compostable for environment-friendly clean up. (20 for $25; food52.com

Double Duty Mason Jars

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These heavy-duty glass jars make great containers for toting salads or delicate snacks like fruit. Then give them a rinse and use them as glasses for water or wine. (6 for $10; acehardware.com)

Essential Oil Bug Spray

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We’re not big fans of spraying chemicals around anything that goes in or on our bodies. That said, pesky mosquitos are a real threat this time of year; rather than relying on DEET-based sprays, consider making your own insect repellent with all natural essential oils. Here’s our basic recipe:

In a 4-ounce spray bottle combine:

2 ounces distilled water

1 ounce vodka

10 drops lavender essential oil

20 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil

10 drops citronella essential oil

10 drops peppermint essential oil

10 drops lemongrass essential oil

 Shake well before using. Apply every two hours. 

(Find essential oils online at Mountain Rose Herbs; mountainroseherbs.com)

Colonial-Era Gatorade

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Before the advent of neon-colored sugar-spiked sports drinks, there was switchel, a potent mixture of vinegar, a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup, and ginger. We like to pack this Brooklyn-made version on outdoor excursions for its restorative rehydration powers. (16 ounces for $9; mouth.com)

In Case of Emergency

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A picnic with friends is a great excuse to unplug, but if technological needs can’t be ignored, it’s nice to have this flashlight, which doubles as a spare charge for your cell phone.  ($53; williams-sonoma.com)

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Haven’t used your parsley from this week’s box? Fear not. 

Parsley is like the flyover state of the herb world, overlooked in favor of summer darlings like basil. But don’t write it off completely: parsley is a workhorse that can uplift practically any dish it comes across. The key is to capture its flavor at the height of freshness.

To get the most out of your bunch of green, follow these storage tips.

  • Wash the parsley and let it dry completely. Repeat: completely.
  • Run a paper towel quickly under running water so that it is just barely damp. Wrap the towel around the ends of the stems, making sure not to cover any of the leaves.
  • Wrap the parsley with plastic wrap so that it is completely covered; alternatively, place the bunch in a Ziploc bag, removing as much air as possible before sealing.
  • Store in the fridge until ready to use. 

If you have parsley to spare with no time to cook, there is a way to save it for a rainy day: the freezer.

In general, we don’t love to freeze herbs, as they tend to lose their luster. By submerging the leaves in oil, however, they are protected from freezer burn and sealed in an air-tight environment. We freeze them in an ice cube tray so that they’re conveniently portioned for future cooking projects. 

Parsley-Oil Ice Cubes

Great as an addition to soups, stews, or pastas

  • Wash the parsley and let dry completely. Did we mention that it should be dry?
  • Pick the leaves and divide between the cells of an ice cube tray; discard the stems. Fill each cell with olive oil, so that the leaves are submerged completely.
  • Transfer to the freezer until needed.
  • To use, add one cube to a skillet over medium heat and let melt, then add to desired dish towards the end of the cooking process.

Have you subscribed for next week’s box? See what’s inside.

We’re stoked to be working with Kaizen Trading Company (an offshoot of the Momofuku Culinary Lab). They made a special batch of their tasty chickpea hozon® for us (think miso paste made with chickpeas instead of soy beans). It’s spiced with gochu karu, a traditional Korean pepper. It’s one of our new favorite condiments. It makes an amazing marinade for chicken. And whisked into a salad dressing with rice vinegar it is divine. The awesome team at Kaizen came up with this phenomenal recipe. The hozon goes into a special sauce used to finish off cheeseburgers made with ground beef from Fleisher’s and 2-year cheddar from Widmer’s Cheese. We’ll be delivering this box next week, just in time for 4th of July. You can sign up to get the box here.

We’re stoked to be working with Kaizen Trading Company (an offshoot of the Momofuku Culinary Lab). They made a special batch of their tasty chickpea hozon® for us (think miso paste made with chickpeas instead of soy beans). It’s spiced with gochu karu, a traditional Korean pepper. It’s one of our new favorite condiments. It makes an amazing marinade for chicken. And whisked into a salad dressing with rice vinegar it is divine. The awesome team at Kaizen came up with this phenomenal recipe. The hozon goes into a special sauce used to finish off cheeseburgers made with ground beef from Fleisher’s and 2-year cheddar from Widmer’s Cheese. We’ll be delivering this box next week, just in time for 4th of July. You can sign up to get the box here.