Saturday, August 28, 2010

Texan Peach Cobbler

Like I mentioned before, Zak's grandparents brought us a box of peaches, and we decided that peach cobbler was absolutely necessary to make with them. Zak loves my fruit cobbler, but he asked if I wouldn't mind making a cobbler with a more buttery and heavy dough. So I looked forever online until I found a recipe that sounded good and wasn't obscenely loaded with butter. This is called Texan Peach Cobbler and I'll have to take the chef's word for it, but we both enjoy it this a lot. The next time I make it, I'll add maybe half as much lemon, because it did overpower the peach at times.

4 c. peaches, ripe, peeled & sliced
2 Tbl. brown sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice, fresh squeezed (I would suggest a 1/2 tsp.)
1 tsp. lemon zest (again, 1/2 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. vanilla (I think I would add maybe 1 tsp. next time)

6 Tbl. butter
1 1/4 c. flour
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cinnamon (maybe up to 1/4 tsp. would be fine)
1 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbl. turbinado (sugar in the raw)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine filling ingredients in a bowl, toss and set aside.
3. Place butter in 8" square baking dish.
4. Place in oven for 5 minutes or until butter is completely melted.
5. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
6. Add milk and vanilla to flour mixture, stir until just combined.
7. Spoon batter over butter, spreading evenly (DO NOT STIR IN).
8. Spoon peach mixture over batter, gently pressing peaches into the batter.
9. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes--make sure to have a baking pan underneath, as it will probably bubble and overflow.
10. Sprinkle top with turbinado sugar and baking for an additional 10 minutes or until top is golden.

Peach Gelato

Zak's grandparents stopped by a week or so ago and brought us a big box of softball-sized, juicy peaches (as well as some plums, a mouth-watering cantaloupe, and a huge watermelon). We both adore peaches (I have delicious memories of my grandpa making peach frappes when I was a kid, and then there was my aunt's peach cobbler, and and and...) and were thrilled to have so many of them. We ate plenty of them for breakfast (with strawberries and blueberries, mmm) and smoothies (so good), but what I wanted to try the most was a gelato-type dessert. Zak really wanted to make peach ice cream, as we liked our peach frozen yogurt, but weren't too thrilled with some parts of it. But I told him to trust me, because gelato is the number 1 dessert food of all-time, in the category of frozen desserts. He wasn't sure about it, but once again, he has learned never to doubt my culinary expertise, haha.

This recipe is so easy and simple, and what is best about it is that it captures the essence of the peaches. As opposed to an ice cream, where the cream is most of the flavor, the gelato showcases the flavor of the peaches. It is absolutely delicious, and while it may not be 100% traditional gelato, it's certainly good enough for me in Moscow, Idaho. Enjoy!

(P.S. Thank you, Grandpa & Grandpa Brown for bringing us all that yummy fruit!)

3 lbs. peaches, pitted & peeled (I used about 4 cups, since I had no idea how many pounds it was, seemed to work out fine)
1/4 c. sugar (or more)
1/2 c. vanilla yogurt [other variants include mascarpone or creme fraiche, I want to try them both]

1. Cut the peaches into very small pieces-the smaller they are cut, the faster they will freeze.
2. Arrange peach pieces in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet and freeze solid, about 2 hours.
3. Place frozen peaches in food processor with sugar, and grind briefly.
4. Add the yogurt (or other ingredient) and pulse until the mixture is smooth (we added some of the leftover peach juice and some vanilla as well).
5. Empty mixture into a small container and freeze again, about 20 to 30 minutes. The texture should be soft, but not too soft.

A small problem with this is that it freezes very solid, and then takes awhile to thaw. We had it in the fridge for about 3 hours after keeping it in the freezer all night, and it was perfect.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Homemade Cheeseburger Macaroni Hamburger Helper

I don't recall having Hamburger Helper for dinner growing up, so I will cite my first memory of having it within the last year, when Zak had me buy a few boxes of it. I didn't mind it, and it's certainly easy to make after a long day at work or school, so we would have it now and then. Yesterday I got a craving for it, but decided to see if I could find a comparable recipe and make it without the box and its packages flavors. So I went to (previously recipezaar, I'm not fond of their new site) and found a few recipes I'd like to try. The one below is what I made last night and was pretty tasty. I may add a bit of sour cream to get it creamier and/or some more spices.

1/2 - 1 lb. lean ground beef
1 c. hot water (boiled first then measured)
2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. elbow macaroni
1 c. cheese

'Sauce Packet'
1 Tbl. cornstarch
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. onion powder (1 tsp. minced onion & 1/2 tsp. garlic powder is a good substitute)
1 tsp. garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar

1. Brown ground beef in large skillet, drain.
2. Add hot water, milk, pasta & 'sauce packet' ingredients.
3. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat & simmer 12 minutes or until pasta is tender.
4. In the last few minutes, add cheese, stir & recover.
5. When pasta is tender and cheese melted, remove from heat.
6. Let stand about 5 minutes, sauce will thicken.
7. Top with additional cheese if desired.

with the flash on, doesn't look as appetizing as it really is

without flash

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Granola Bar - take 2

Here is the recipe for the second granola bar recipe I tried. I'm not sure if I like this one more, or the first recipe. They are both pretty tasty. This one smelled sooo yummy while it was cooking, but I think next time I'll cook it at a lower temperature and/or less time, because the edges got a little burned.

2 c. granola cereal (I just used the granola I used in the first recipe, I don't know if it matters if it's 'cereal' or not)
4 egg whites
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. walnuts
1/4 c. cranberries
1/4 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. ground flax seeds
1 Tbl. cinnamon

1. Mix all ingredients together and press into 8"x8" baking pan.
2. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees (or until golden brown, don't over-brown).