Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Peachy Keen

I recently made a blueberry/peach cobbler that is posted on Smitten Kitchen. 

Peach Blueberry Cornmeal Cobbler

For the fruit
1 1/2 (about 4 cups) pounds peaches, pitted and cut into slices*
1 pint (about 2 cups) blueberries, rinsed and dried
2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the biscuit topping
3/4 cup (3 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup fine stone-ground cornmeal (yellow or white)
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).Toss peaches with blueberries, sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt in the bottom of a 2-quart ovenproof dish.

Make the biscuit dough: Stir together the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into the dry mixture with your fingertips, a fork or a pastry blender. Stir in buttermilk with a rubber spatula until a wet, tacky dough comes together.

Plop spoonfuls of the biscuit dough over the filling; don’t worry about covering entire surface. Bake until the cobbler’s syrup is bubbly and the biscuit tops are browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool slightly and scoop it into bowls. Top with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, of if you’re having an accidental run-in with this cobbler before noon, plain yogurt.



Monday, August 16, 2010

Plum Crazy

AKA let's make a tart. 

I found a really interesting recipe in the Washington Post food section last week.  Tomatoes.  Peaches.  Plums.  A farmer's market bounty.  All in a deep dish pie dish.  Off we go!

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/recipes/2010/08/11/tomato-peach-plum-crisp/  From Betsy Garside of Washington.


1 pound (about 3 medium) ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into thin wedges (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 pounds (2 of each) mixed peaches and red plums, peaches peeled and both fruits thinly sliced (about 3 cups
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
7 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup pecan halves
5 tablespoons chilled salted butter, cut into half-inch pieces


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Have a deep-dish pie plate at hand.

Combine the tomatoes and stone fruit in a large bowl. Add the sugar and cornstarch; toss to coat evenly. Pour the mixture into the pie plate.

Combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and pecans in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 3 or 4 times, until the nuts are finely chopped. Add the chilled butter, and pulse about 5 times, just until the butter is chopped. (If you start to see clumps, stop. You're headed for cookie dough.)

Spread the topping evenly over the fruit. Transfer the pie plate to a baking sheet wide enough to catch drips.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the topping is lightly browned and the fruit is bubbling.

Serve warm or at room temperature.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Would an Aubergine by any other name taste as sweet?

Eggplant...  aubergine...  melanzane...  I prefer aubergine.  It's a beautiful word and it rolls off the tongue.  Aubergine sounds sophisticated.  Colorful.  Stylish.  The word eggplant is a harsh thud - earthy and farm-fresh - and does not hint of vivid colors. 

This blog post has a dual purpose.  One:  I have conquered yet another recipe.  Two (and I hope will improve my posts from now on):  I have learned a little bit about food styling thanks to an old friend Kavey and a delightful new blog I found through Kavey's site called Culinary Travels, written by Georgina.  You can find Kavey and Georgina's links in my "food and wine porn" link list.

As luck would have it, Kavey's latest blog post was about a seminar she attended on food styling and photography.  Georgina had a similar recent post with detailed tips about food photography as well.  Armed with some ideas, I took some photos this evening with my Canon 30D and 35mm F1.4L lens.  A lens with a max aperture of F1.4 can have some really tight DOF shots which makes for some interesting effects.  You can also hand hold a shot with that size of aperture - no flash!

After all that, I could not decide which shot I preferred to highlight for this post.  I narrowed it down to two shots on different plates.  If you are so inclined, feel free to vote on which you like better.  Muchas Gracias!


Here is the recipe I made tonight.  Incredibly easy, delicious, and yes, crispy.  I found it here:



2 small eggplants  (I only used one)
1/2 c. fine dry bread crumbs
2 eggs
4 tablespoons freshly minced parsley  (omitted)
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning (I used a McCormick's spice blend of garlic, onion, and a few other herbs in place of all spices listed here)
1/4 tsp. ea. celery seed, paprika (optional)
1/4 tsp. ea. garlic and onion powder
salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, whole  (I used the pre-chopped-and-steeping-in-olive-oil garlic in a glass bottle).
3 tablespoons olive oil (you need more than this!)

Wash and slice eggplant and sprinkle generously with salt. Allow to sit out for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
Set out 2 shallow dishes or trays.

Into the first tray, measure bread crumbs, parsley, celery seed, 1/2 of the cheese, paprika, garlic and onion powder.
In the second tray, beat the 2 eggs well with a fork. Add the chopped parsley and the other half of the cheese.
Heat a pan with 1/4 inch olive oil. Add the garlic in whole pieces; as the oil toasts the garlic, mash it into the oil with the tines of a fork to flavor the oil; remove before browning. Meanwhile, dip the eggplant into the egg mixture, turn to coat both sides; dip and coat both sides in the bread crumb mixtures. Fry in hot olive oil over medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes or until golden on both sides and eggplant is tender in center. If eggplant is later to be baked in a casserole, fry only until edges are browned as cooking will be finished in the oven.

Serve as is, seasoned to taste with salt and pepper, or bake in a casserole dish for 30 minutes at 375°F topped with grated Parmesan, mozzarella and pasta sauce.  (I left out the pasta sauce for this last step).

Here is the other photo:


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Diane's Divine Ginger Cake

I am off to a party.  A big party.  With good friends and lots of food and a pool and everything.  A pig roast (smoked first - and Adam has his own smoker) with all the summer finger-licking sides you can imagine.  Home made Sangria.  Goodies Galore.  It's good to be friends with foodies!  Adam and Colleen's parties are becoming famous - word is getting out.  This time 70 people accepted.  I hope Adam starts his own catering business one day. 

So for this party I'm making a dessert.  There were many good options when I queried my friends about their favorites.  In fact I made one last night (Lime Posset - and you can bet that is going to grace one of my dinner parties this fall - see post below). 

The ginger cake tickled my fancy because of the unique ingredients.  There is even black pepper in the batter and of course fresh chopped ginger.  I think lemon curd would be fabulous on top.  I understand from Diane any fresh fruit with real whipped cream does the trick.

Below is Diane's recipe.  I am waiting for it to come out of the oven as I type.  It will still be warm when I arrive.  Which might mean digging into it sooner rather than later!

* 2 cups all-purpose flour

* 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 3/4 cup molasses
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 3/4 cup vegetable oil
* 3/4 cup water
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
* 3 ounces fresh ginger, peeled, grated, and finely chopped (from a 4-inch piece)
* 2 large eggs, at room temperature


1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with butter and flour; set aside.

2. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, cloves, and pepper in a medium bowl to break up any lumps and aerate; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together molasses, sugar, and oil. (I find it's best to measure in the oil, then use the same measuring cup for the molasses -- it will slide right out because of the slight residue left by the oil)

3. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan, stir in baking soda, and remove from heat and add ginger, then mix into molasses mixture.

4. Gradually stir dry ingredients into batter. Add eggs and continue mixing until everything is thoroughly combined. Transfer batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly.

5. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool for at least 30 minutes before removing the cake from the pan.

Here are some photos.  To see the whole photo, please click on them. 


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