Easy Peach Cobbler

I have to say, I wonder about this recipe. Why would a girl from Georgia make a peach cobbler with canned peaches? One can only think because it’s the middle of winter or something, but even then you could get frozen peaches – buy them or freeze them in mid – late summer at the height of peach season. Not sure I get it, but I needed a quick dessert to take to my mother-in-law’s (loveliest person in the world) for dinner when my brother-in-law was in town. The decision to have BBQ seemed to work with this dessert and to be honest, while it was not my ideal peach cobbler, in a pinch, it was not bad.

D&D_2837I have lots of canned peaches and mandarin oranges in the pantry because my eating habits lately are just so weird (thanks chemo). It’s not that I can’t eat, I just don’t feel like it and when I crave something, I have to have it because the craving will not last long – at. all.

Two 15-ounce cans sliced peaches in syrup
8 Tbs butter
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk

Homemade Whipped Cream:
2 cups whipping cream, chilled in the fridge
4 tablespoons sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Drain 1 can of peaches; reserve the syrup from the other. Place the butter in a 9- by 12-inch ovenproof baking dish. Heat the butter in the oven until melted.
In a medium bowl, mix the flour and sugar. Stir in the milk and the reserved syrup. Pour the batter over the melted butter in the baking dish. Arrange the peaches over the batter. Bake for 1 hour. The cobbler is done when the batter rises around the peaches and the crust is thick and golden brown. Serve warm with fresh whipped cream

Homemade Whipped Cream: Chill a large metal mixing bowl and the wire beater attachment in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Pour the chilled cream and sugar into the cold mixing bowl and beat until it forms soft peaks, about 5 minutes. The mixture should hold its shape when dropped from a spoon.

Source: Trisha Yearwood

Saturday April 28 2018

Roasted Asparagus & Prosciutto with Hollandaise

Let’s just see: asparagus – cooked my favorite way – roasted. Proscuiutto, I just don’t even know where to start with that and let’s just gild the damn lily with hollandaise. Hello spring.

And today was a beautiful spring day. Windows open, birds doing their chirpy bird thing. Beautiful light on the crepe myrtles and river birches in the front yard. Yep – just a perfect day. And then I made this – just bonus points.
D&D_1663
1 pound fresh asparagus, pencil thin, but not thinner
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 large slices prosciutto

Hollandaise Sauce:
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice – half a lemon or more if you like, yes
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
big pinch of cayenne pepper
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Break the asparagus when it breaks naturally to get rid of the tough ends. Place on a  single layer on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with  salt and freshly grated black pepper. Roast for 10 minutes, until the stalks are just tender and yummy. Meanwhile, place the prosciutto in a single layer on another sheet pan and roast in the same oven for 5 minutes.

Arrange the asparagus on 3 plates. Place 2 slices of prosciutto on top of each pile, drizzle with hollandaise and serve.

Hollandaise:
Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in the jar of a blender and process on low for 15 seconds. Melt the butter in a small saucepan* until it is sizzling hot. Remove the small clear insert in the top of the blender. With the blender on low, slowly add the hot butter to the egg and lemon mixture and blend for 30 seconds, until the sauce is very thick. Use immediately.

Notes: Will go back to my America’s Test Kitchen Hollandaise. Otherwise, this is pretty perfect if you like asparagus. This hollandaise is easy, but not as thick as I like. I kind of like my hollandaise on the gloppy side. Is gloppy even a word??

Beautiful spring dish – will do this again when the asparagus is calling me. Which it does –  quite often.

*Am finally going to do it – buy a little pot just to melt butter in. Butter in the microwave is just so damn temperamental. It gets on my nerves, wastes butter and makes a big mess of the microwave. It is the little things in the kitchen than can just make one mad.

Source: modified from Ina Garten

Ham & Swiss Pinwheels

Big holiday cooking plans – I am always too ambitious. Always. Not sure why, but I like to bite off way more than I can chew. And so, I have done it again.

That does not mean things do not get made, just maybe not quite when I intended them to, in this case Easter.

D&D_28281 puff pastry sheet, thawed
1 egg, room temperature
12 thin-sliced sweet ham
12 slices Swiss cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Thaw puff pastry sheets (about 40 minutes) until softened. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheet with parchment.

Roll pastry sheet out into 10 x 13 inch rectangle. Brush with egg; top with ham, then cheese slices, leaving a 1/2-inch border on the longer side. Roll the dough, starting with the long side, tightly around the filling; pinch seam together.

Cut each roll, seam-side down, using a serrated knife, into 12 slices (about 1 inch thick); arrange pinwheels on baking sheet. Combine remaining ingredients in saucepan on medium; cook 1–2 minutes, stirring occasionally until hot.

Spoon mixture evenly over pinwheels and bake 20–25 minutes or until golden. Let cool 5 minutes. Serve.

Source: The Publix

I kind of didn’t do much of this. I made the pinwheels, but not the sauce. That said, I put some Dijon mustard on the puff pastry and that made it pretty special.

Next time I might make the sauce, but ….

 

Hot Pepper Vinegar

When I was growing up we always had homemade hot pepper vinegar. I know you can buy it at the store, but what’s the fun in that. In our case, my mom grew serrano peppers for hers. It was hot – no doubt about that, but we (meaning me and Fred), liked it that way. Fred would put it on things and you could see the sweat break out on his forehead from across the kitchen table – he and I sat at opposite ends of the table. It was always funny to me.

D&D_2792Collards, or any greens really, would not be right without good hot pepper vinegar. So as soon as some good looking skinny hot peppers show up at Bailey’s – well, there I am. I used finger hot peppers this time.

My mom made a simple version by just heating the vinegar and pouring it over the sliced peppers, but I’ve learned a few tricks I like from making pickles, so here is what I did this time.

Brine:
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs sugar
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
8 finger hots – Bailey’s

Heat brine (everything but peppers) until sugar dissolves. Pour over sliced peppers. Let cool and then refrigerate. Easy Peasy.

All this said, about three weeks ago, I purchased my own serrano pepper plant just to make this like my mom did. Now if the temperatures would only be normal for us for April. I mean honestly, it’s the second week in April and we’ve run the heater a little tonight. I just don’t get it – and I feel for people who live further north than us – which is pretty much everybody.

These peppers are called finger hots, but I’m not sure whose fingers they are supposed to be. I can only think witch fingers because the are green, skinny, wrinkly, and pointy at the end. And yes, they are hot. Yum.

UPDATE: 30 April – I have three serranos on my little plant and am over the moon excited. That’s kind of sad.

 

Lemon Love Cake

This is a recipe I never, um, ever, thought I might make. It uses two things that I just cannot abide by. Cake mix and pudding mix. Ugh. Dear lord the chemical smell just about sent me over the edge.

That said, I had seen Valerie Bertinelli make this kind of cake some many times, in so many iterations, that I just had to give it a go out of pure curiosity sake. So why not a lemon cake for Easter.

D&D_2787Easter to me is lemons or carrot cake and a few bits of chocolate, oh, and wait, some tiny jelly bird eggs – yes, I stock up for the whole year. You just don’t want to get into the details of what happens when you eat WAY too many jelly bird eggs.

Unsalted butter, for greasing
All-purpose flour, for dusting
One 16.5-ounce package lemon cake mix
1 lemon, zested and juiced
>One 32-ounce container part-skim ricotta
Two 8-ounce containers mascarpone
4 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
One 3.4-ounce package lemon instant pudding mix

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with baking spray.

Prepare the cake mix according to package directions, then add 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and set aside.

Beat the ricotta, lemon zest and 4 ounces of the mascarpone with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until smooth. Add the sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until just combined. Gently spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the cake batter.

Bake until the cake layer has risen to the top (the ricotta and cake layers switch places) and a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat the remaining 12 ounces mascarpone with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the milk, beating until smooth. Add the pudding mix and beat until smooth. Let stand until thickened, about 5 minutes. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake.

Notes: I was a glutton for punishment and did all this by hand. It worked out, but I really need a nice hand mixer for when I don’t want to get the stand mixer into a mess.

Also, this recipe made me purchase things, I, um, never buy. 1) Cake Mix, 2) Jello Pudding Mix. But the idea seemed so good I could not quite help myself.

Source: Valerie Bertinelli

While I have to say this smelled a little chemically being mixed up – it certainly didn’t taste like that.

There were only 4 of us for Easter and this cake is huge, um, and dense. So I sent the vast majority of it to the Boy’s work. I understand that one of the bartenders hid it from pretty much everyone else. I think the best thing about this cake is it makes it own “cheesecake” layer on the bottom – hence – dense, but yummy. Might need to make one of these for the next pot luck at work – might be a new favorite.

I do love to take baked goods to the restaurants that we frequent. I also do make a special effort to get treats back to the kitchen. So many people forget about the back of the house.

Mustard-Swiss Crackers

This is a new recipe for me and a new idea as well. I have so very many cookbooks, but just for convenience sake, I usually use recipes I’ve saved on my cute little red drive from off the interweb.

Well that stops now. I am going through so rather old cookbooks to start “cooking the books.” I won’t do it all at one time, just as I feel like it, but this is my first foray into the idea.  I already know what I have next in line – spoilers, but since I had swiss in the house and all kinds of mustard and I have an unnatural thing for crackers, I decided to start here. My changes, due to not wanting to go to the Publix,  are noted below.

D&D_28248 Tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
8 ozs Swiss cheese, coarsely grated (2 1/4 cups)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbs Dijon mustard – used Gulden’s and added Dijon to the next grocery list
2 tsp dry mustard (Coleman’s)
1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds – didn’t use
1 tsp salt

In the bowl of the food processor, blend butter and cheese until almost smooth. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until combined. Divide dough between two sheets of waxed paper and role into an 8 inch log. Wrap tightly in wax paper and then foil; freeze until firm, 1 1/2 – 2 hours.*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment. Cut logs into 1/4 inch slices and arrange 1 inch apart. Bake, turning half way through until edges are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Source: The Best American Recipes: 2004-2005

Cook the Book 2018

*Refrigerate overnight – totally worked as it most of the time does.

Dough 7 April

Baked 10 April – smells a lot like mustard, but the taste is wanting. Needs some heat and I think the Swiss just gets lost in the end. So we shall try this again – maybe adding a pinch of cayenne

They bake up beautifully though, so worth another try (very soon) with some flavor adjustments. Maybe the Dijon mustard will make a change too.  Sprinkle of some salt on the top. Not sure – so many ways that this can go.

Love things you can prep and leave in the fridge and bake a few days later. Makes baking in the evening after work so much easier. You feel like you’ve accomplished something on a Wednesday or whatever.

 

Reuben Dip in a Bread Bowl

I am adjusting this recipe to fit with the things that work with the “Best Reuben Sandwich” from America’s Test Kitchen. Like making your own “dressing” which includes the mayo, sour cream, and chili sauce. Also using Boar’s Head sauerkraut and draining some sweet relish – though I will not go so far as to chop up my own sweet gerkins. Makes no sense. D&D_1861

I had to order the bread bowl from the Publix a day ahead of time, so consider that in your planning. I think a Rye boule would work equally well if you are so inclined.

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup chili sauce
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup drained sauerkraut -Boar’s Head
3 tablespoons sweet relish, drained very well
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup diced cooked corned beef – Boar’s Head from the deli @ the Publix
salt and pepper
1 large (1#) pumpernickel boule, top sliced off and center hollowed out

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, chili sauce, cream cheese, sauerkraut, and relish into a large mixing bowl and stir together until completely combined. Fold in cheeses and corned beef until fully combined. Season with salt and pepper and stir together. Scoop mixture and place into the hollowed bread bowl and place onto a baking sheet.

Place dip in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until dip is hot and baked through. Serve immediately with bread bowl by making slices of the bread into the dip – really good. Yep.

Source: Spoon Fork Bacon with some America’s Test Kitchen influence.

15 April 2017 – For Easter this year. Used my super amazing tomato knife* to slice through the bread to make bites and it worked really well.

* Victorinox 125th anniversary limited edition 4 1/2″ tomato knife. Sharpest damn thing ever – mind your fingers. So not kidding.