Sunday, August 23, 2015

Peach Pie With Oatmeal Crumble Topping

Peach Pie With Oatmeal Crumble - 1

An alternate title for this recipe could be Can't Make Up My Mind Peach Pie. Because, you see, my boys started school last week, which means the calendar is pushing September. And it's closer to the time of year Southern weather isn't so thick you can fill a water gun without turning on the hose. So while the delicious farmers-market North Carolina peaches my dad dropped off were calling my name—I wasn't all that interested in a mid-summer double-crust peach pie. I wanted a bit of crunch. I wanted cinnamon. I demanded a taste of fall (a whole month before it's scheduled to arrive). Enter this Peach Pie With Oatmeal Crumble Topping, a crumble you might typically see on an apple pie in the fall. (I seem to have had this affliction before. Life is cyclical, so they say.)

Peach Pie With Oatmeal Crumble - 4

I found the no-roll easy crust recipe on Pinterest. I admit I never saw Maw Maw make a pie crust this way. Hers were always light, flaky, and rolled by hand. But when you're short on time and you have ridiculously warm hands (the better to pat baby butts to sleep) that melt butter in a second, it's a lifesaver. It reminds me of the crust I use to make my Broccoli, Sour Cream, and Bacon Quiche, but it's easier. But I go a step further. Instead of pie weights, I prick the crust all over with a fork to keep it from bubbling, and then  I bake it to prevent sogginess once the fruit is poured in. This is a trick called blind baking, but I didn't know that until I was older. I just knew it as something Mama and Maw Maw always did when baking pies.

Peach Pie With Oatmeal Crumble  - 2

This pie doesn't need to be served warm to be enjoyed. It's just as good for breakfast on Monday—at room temperature—as it is warm from the oven at Sunday dinner. And it doesn't need ice cream, but a big ol' scoop of that never hurt anybody, now did it? So serve it warm. Serve it with ice cream. And serve it with a spoon, like I always do. Because when the crust is gone and the fruit is slurped, a spoon will come in handy for scooping up every bit of that sweet, left-behind peach-pie nectar that tastes like summer—with a good dose of fall thrown in.

Peach Pie With Oatmeal Crumble - 3

Peach Pie With Oatmeal Crumble Topping
Makes 8 servings.
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For pie:
1 pie crust
6 small to medium ripe peaches
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp all-purpose flour

For crumble topping:
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp oatmeal
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp cold unsalted butter

1. Heat oven to 400 F.
2. Make the pie crust. Once crust is pressed into pie plate, prick it all over with fork, and bake it for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, peel and slice peaches. Place in strainer set over a bowl. Pour 1/4 cup sugar over fruit, gently stir, and let sit 30 minutes.
4. Make crumble topping. In medium bowl, combine all ingredients except butter. Add butter, and using a fork or pastry blender, combine until crumbly. Refrigerate until ready to use.
5. Pour peach juice out of bowl and save for another use. Then pour peaches back into bowl, and gently stir in remaining sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Sprinkle 2 tbsp flour over bottom of crust. Pour fruit into crust, and top with crumble mixture.
6. Bake pie for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F and bake another 30 minutes, or until fruit is bubbling. If crust or fruit tips are becoming too brown, top with piece of foil until end of baking. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes to let fruit set before serving.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Best Apple Pie (You'll Ever Have)

The Best Apple Pie (You'll Ever Have)

Imagine with me a world where he or she has been missing for awhile. How do they re-arrive? Well, musical artists come roaring back to the stage with an update to their style, creating a self-applied relevancy to their music. Athletes come running back onto the field with an urgency, taking it upon themselves to put their team at the pinnacle of success. Sometimes they reach that high note. (See: Madonna) Sometimes they fumble. (See: Favre) And sometimes it remains to be seen. (See: Confabulation in the Kitchen)

The Best Apple Pie (You'll Ever Have)

I could bring to the table a recipe of invention and individuality, in which I showcase the Next Big Thing. Or I could sneak in without letting the screen door slam and leave on your counter a pie that will tickle your taste buds and maybe take you back to that place you've been missing, be it your grandmother's kitchen or your parents' patio. To be honest, that's all I really want. I want to be a back-door friend, one who doesn't have to knock. I want to be a dependable friend, one who brings you apple pie when you're happy or when you're sad. Mostly I want to be that friend who shares recipes with you over a cup of coffee, recipes that you can count on to nourish your family and not break the bank. That's what I was before, I hope. Won't you invite me in for another chat?

The Best Apple Pie (You'll Ever Have)

I've made this pie many times over the last, oh, 15 years or so. It's my favorite apple pie recipe because it tastes like what you've always loved when it comes to apple pie, but it's a bit more special. It's good for family. It's good for company. It's just good, and there isn't really anything I'd change about it. It's messy. It's sweet. It's lovely. So to give credit where credit is due: Go check out Kendra's Apple Pie!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Green Beans

Sweet and Spicy Green Beans

First, let's all take a moment to let my mom have a good, long laugh. You see, I hate green beans, truth be told. Well, what I actually hate is Southern green beans, especially the kind canned at home. They really aren't green after canning. And they hardly taste like beans. They're mush. Yes. I'm 5 years old (still). My parents always made me eat one spoon full of beans at dinner, so I'd shove every single one onto my fork and take one big bite, choking them down and whining about it all the while.

Sweet and Spicy Green Beans

But I'm not 5 any more. (I bet you already knew that.) And now that I can cook for myself I do actually eat beans. I roast and sprinkle them with kosher salt. I saute them in garlic and olive oil and sprinkle them with toasted almonds. And I pile them on my plate at the Chinese buffet ... the exact reason I was attracted to this recipe. I don't know what's in the sauce at the buffet, but I do know what's in this sauce, and it's good stuff. These beans are perfect with chicken and rice, but they'd sit beautifully beside roast pork or a nice juicy steak, too. And if you're not into the whole meat thing just add some carrots and red pepper and serve over rice. Perfection.

Sweet and Spicy Green Beans

Where am I getting fresh green beans in the middle of winter? My freezer. My dad grew these beans over the summer, and I have just a couple of bags left now. What a treat to have something wholesome, fresh, and bright green when the world outside is cold, gray, and damp. When summer rolls around I highly recommend you pick beans at your neighbors' house (they keep begging you to pick some off their ever-producing vines, anyway, right?) or head to the farmers market and get some beans to freeze for yourself. A foodsaver is worth its weight in gold, I tell you what.

Sweet and Spicy Green Beans
Adapted from Allrecipes
Makes 4 servings

If you decide to add vegetables to your beans to make a vegetarian meal you might want to double - or even triple - your amount of sauce.

3/4 pound fresh or frozen green beans
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili sauce
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons olive oil

1. Bring large pot of water to a boil. Steam beans 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, combine garlic, soy sauce, chili sauce and honey.
3. Heat olive oil in saute pan over medium-high heat. Add beans and saute, stirring, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour sauce over beans and cook another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring, until liquid is mostly cooked away. Serve hot.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

(Chocolate) Marshmallow Surprise Cookies

Marshmallow Surprise! Cookies

Are you like me? Do you dislike surprises? I've never had a surprise birthday party. (In fact, I won't even go out to eat on my birthday for fear of a surprise serenade.) I found out the gender of both my babies as soon as possible. And - even though I think this would actually be fun - I've never just climbed in the car and said, "Let's go!" without having a plan in mind.

It's not that I'm a party pooper. And it's not that I'm scared of the unknown. It's that I like to plan. I like to know what to expect. And I like to fine-tune the details. So while these cookies weren't a surprise to me they were a surprise to the friends and family I fed them to.

So, okay. Even I can admit that biting into a chewy, chocolate cookie and discovering a fluffy, sugary marshmallow is hiding under all of that smooth, creamy frosting isn't such a bad surprise. It's even one I could appreciate. And since these cookies disappeared before I could eat my fair share I'll be glad to welcome a surprise visitor at my door with a fresh batch - just for me!

Marshmallow Surprise Cookies

(Chocolate) Marshmallow Surprise Cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes 20 to 24 cookies

Remember when I said I like to fine-tune the details? These cookies let me do that. There are obviously a few steps involved: making the dough, chilling the dough, browning the marshmallows, letting the cookies cool, making the frosting.... I think you get my drift. So all that being said, don't start these at 7 on a Wednesday night. Because while your co-workers may appreciate them the next day, you'll wish you had left this fun task to a lazy Saturday afternoon, instead! (But don't let that scare you away. These are very delicious cookies!)

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 large marshmallows, cut in half

Recipe for frosting (Looking for a shortcut? Canned frosting will work in a pinch, but you won't be able to stack the cookies unless you use a frosting that hardens a bit.)

1. In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat until well mixed. Add dry ingredients, and or up to overnight.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
5. Remove dough from fridge. Drop tablespoons of dough onto sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until cookies spread a bit and are firm to the touch.
6. Remove cookie sheets, and top each cookie with half a marshmallow. Return cookies to oven and bake about 2 minutes more, just until marshmallows start to melt.
7. Remove cookie sheets, place cookies on wire racks, and let them cookies cool completely. When they're completely cool - and they must be so that your frosting doesn't melt - spread top of cookies with chocolate frosting, being sure to completely cover marshmallows.
8. Store in an airtight container, and remember not to stack your cookies unless the frosting you use allows you to do so.

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Thursday, January 05, 2012

Mashed Potato Pancakes

Mashed Potato Pancakes

Ah, New Year's resolutions. Do you make them? Good for you. In a word for me? No. I'm not much of a goal-setter, truth be told. What am I? I'm an all good things come to those who wait kind of gal. I'm a think-it-through-er most of the time, but the older I get I'm also a just-go-for-it ... er. Apparently I'm also a maker up of words. And that being said, with two kids, and a job, and this wonderful yet hectic thing called life I'm quickly becoming a make-it-up-as-I-go-along ... er. (There I go again!)

Yeah, so I'm making things up as I go along. Just like this post. Let's be honest. This post doesn't have much point, except to tell you that I am quickly becoming a complete waste-not-want-not cook-er. (Just kidding. But parallel structure and all that jazz, right?) I'm a cook who brought home a rotisserie chicken one night (legs for Brad, wings for me) and turned the leftovers into chicken salad the next day. A cook who turned that chicken carcass into chicken broth (after said carcass took a stint in the deep-freeze). A cook who brought carrots and celery home from the wings joint, and turned them into a base for soup the next day (using said broth). A cook who peeled too many potatoes for that soup and turned them into mashed potatoes the next day. And I'm a cook who used those leftover mashed potatoes to make mashed-potato pancakes for a lazy Sunday brunch.

What kind of cook are you?

Mashed Potato Pancakes

There's really no recipe to share, here. I just did what I watched my grandmother do time after time. Take cold mashed potatoes - they have to be really cold and solid - and turn them into patties. Size doesn't matter, but do try to make them all the same thickness so they cook at the same time. Dust patties with all-purpose flour. And fry them in a few tablespoons of whatever fat you have on hand. Olive oil, bacon grease, chicken fat ... it will work! Et bon appetit pour vous!

How do you use leftovers?

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