Monday, May 23, 2016

Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler
Peach Cobbler


It's just about peach time! Peak time for fresh peaches is usually July in most states, but they're out there as early as May. Choose fruit that yield to slight pressure but aren't mushy and try to avoid hard peaches. All the flavor and sweetness is gained on the tree, not after so no matter what color the skin, you can't really tell until you bite into one. One of the best peaches I ever had came from Newhard Farms in Coplay, PA. Famous for corn, but everything they sell is perfect!

Serve this cobbler warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and watch it  disappear. You can also make this with nectarines, plums or fresh berries for a change of  pace. Canned peaches don't work as well, so try to stick with fresh ripe fruits.


Peach Cobbler

Hands-On Time: 15 minutes
Ready In: 50-55 minutes
Serves: 8

Ingredients:


Filling:

8 large ripe peaches - pitted and sliced, about 6 cups
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter



Topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup to 1/3 cup heavy cream
1 egg - beaten



Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Toss together peaches and 1/4 cup flour. Place in the bottom of a greased, shallow 1 - 1/2 quart baking pan.
3. Mix brown sugar, cardamom, nutmeg and vanilla until well blended.
4. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over peaches in baking dish.
5. Cut 1/4 cup butter in small cubes and dot top of peaches and brown sugar with cubes.
6. Stir together 1 cup flour, baking powder, salt and granulated sugar.
7. Cut second 1/4 cup of butter into small cubes and rub into flour mixture until coarse crumbs form.
8. Add cream to flour and butter and blend until dough forms.
9. Roll out dough on a floured surface to a 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with a 3-inch biscuit cutter and top dough evenly with circles.
10. Brush dough circles with beaten egg.
11. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes until golden and peaches begin bubbling through crust.


Notes:
Dough can be rolled to fit the pan and placed on top completely rather than cutting into circles. Cut slits to vent filling before baking


Friday, May 13, 2016

Turkey Waldorf Salad

Turkey Waldorf Salad
Turkey Waldorf Salad

I remember this stuff as a kid - it was a big deal in the 1970's it seems. I don't recall it with any type of protein, however. I added leftover turkey to mine, but you can surely use chicken or even shrimp!
Leftover turkey is already cooked, so it couldn't be easier to add to soups, stews and sandwiches. Salads are great with cooked turkey and something lighter is nice after a round heavy turkey dinners. Cooked and cubed turkey is a quick add to many salads -- including my favorite, the Turkey Waldorf Salad. I also swapped out raisins for dried cranberries and replaced mayo with protein rich Greek yogurt.

Turkey Waldorf Salad
Serves 4 - 6

Ingredients:

2 cups diced cooked turkey
2 cups diced apples
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/3 Tablespoon Kosher salt or more to taste

Directions:

1. Combine apples with lemon juice.
2. Add remaining ingredients and blend well.
3. Chill until serving time or serve right away. Does not keep well.


Thursday, May 05, 2016

Herbed Cheese Crackers

Herbed Cheese Crackers
Herbed Cheese Crackers

This cheese and herb business isn't over yet. I first made these a really long time ago - like, 20 or so years - and loved them each time. I can't keep them longer than a day around here and they're so worth being shared.

Please do use whatever cheese your heart desires as long as it's hard enough to shred, and choose herbs to your liking, as well. I used Cabot's Tomato and Basil Cheddar with extra basil thrown in and their Extra Sharp Cheddar with dill. I also added smoked paprika to the Tomato Basil crackers. These are SO easy you just won't believe it!

Herbed Cheese Crackers
Herbed Cheese Crackers

Herbed Cheese Crackers
Makes 4 dozen 1-inch crackers

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (half stick)  room temperature butter -unsalted
2 cups finely shredded cheese (8 ounces)
1 cup oat flour* (yes, you can use all-purpose)
1 to 2 Tablespoons fresh herb, minced or chopped very fine
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Add in cayenne pepper, black pepper, smoked paprika etc. to your liking

Directions:

1. Combine butter, herbs, salt and spice together until smooth - I use my KitchenAid with flat beater for this.
2. Add in shredded cheese and blend well.
3. While the mixer is running add in flour 1/4 cup at a time until combined. Add water as needed to make a stiff dough.
4. Pat dough into a flat circle and wrap in plastic. Chill for 1/2 an hour.
5. Roll out dough and cut into shapes about 1-inch in size.
6. Place crackers on a baking sheet lined with Silpat or parchment, about 1/2 an inch apart. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until just beginning to brown at edges.
7. Cool slightly and remove from baking sheets. Store in a cool, dry airtight container for up to a week, if they last that long.

*oat flour is simply rolled (not instant!) oats ground into flour by a processor. Simply put oats into a food processor or blender and pulse until a fine powder-like consistency.


Friday, April 29, 2016

Herby Cheesy Goodness

I've been a gardener for quite some time now (check out my gardening posts!) and that includes growing my own herbs each year, as well.

Herbs are one of the easiest things to grow, outside, inside, in pots, in the ground. Many are really rather hearty and do well no matter what. You just need to give it a try. You can start with a tiny little pot that has soil and seeds already inside - just add water and sun and watch them grow. You can buy a small pot, add some soil and seeds, find a sunny windowsill and wait for beautiful little green things to pop up. Once you have herbs grown, you'll be so happy you did it. There's nothing like fresh herbs for flavoring dishes.

Check out Gardener's Supply for lots of ideas and tools for growing your own garden, even if it's only a windowsill garden of herbs. They have what you need!

Now, once you have those herbs, here are three delicious and easy recipes for you to use them in, each pairing with a delicious Cabot cheese!

The first is cheesy herb-y rolls perfect for an appetizer or to serve with a meal. These are so easy you won't believe it!


Pesto Cheese Rolls
Pesto Cheese Rolls

Pesto Cheese Rolls
Makes 24

Ingredients:

2 sheets puff pastry - thawed
4 Tablespoons prepared pesto*
1/2 cup shredded Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar
2 Tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and very lightly grease two 9-inch round baking pans.
2. Unfold pastry and spread 2 Tablespoons pesto on each sheet.
3. Sprinkle each pastry sheet with 1/4 cup of cheese.
4. Roll up tightly from the long end and cut each log into 12 even pieces.
5. Arrange rolls in prepared pans and top with Parmesan cheese.
6, Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and puffy.


Pesto Cheese Rolls
Pesto Cheese Rolls


*Homemade Pesto:

Pesto
Makes about 1 cup

Printable Recipe

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (you can also use a combination of your favorite herbs)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts, walnuts or almonds
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
salt as needed

Place basil leaves in small batches in food processor and blend until well chopped (do about 3/4 cup at a time). Add about 1/3 the nuts and garlic, blend again.
Add about 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese; blend while slowly adding about 1/3 of the olive oil, stopping to scrape down sides of container.
Process basil pesto until it forms a thick smooth paste. Repeat until all ingredients are used, mix all batches together well. Basil pesto keeps in refrigerator one week, or freeze for a few months.




Zucchini-Cheese Squares
Zucchini-Cheese Squares


Zucchini-Cheese Squares
Makes 36 Appetizers

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons olive oil
5 medium green onions - sliced thinly
1 clove garlic-minced
2 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
6 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon Kosher salt,
1/4 t pepper
1 Tablespoon each fresh basil and oregano - finely chopped
3 cups shredded Cabot Seriously Sharp cheddar or other flavor

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and zucchini;
cook until all liquid is evaporated and zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes.
2. In a bowl, mix eggs and remaining ingredients and add zucchini mixture.
3. Spread into a greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Bake in a 325° oven for 30 minutes or until set when touched in center.
4. Let cool for at least 15 minutes and cut into small squares.




Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers
Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers
Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers
Makes 24 mini peppers

Ingredients:


24 mini peppers
8 ounces Cabot cream cheese 
2 cups finely shredded Cabot Garlic and Herb Cheddar

1/2 cup Cabot sour cream
1 Tablespoon each finely chopped fresh basil and flat leaf parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:


1. Cut peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Set aside.
2. Set cream cheese in a bowl and allow to soften at room temperature.
3. Add cheese, herbs, salt and pepper and sour cream to cream cheese. Blend well.
4. Spoon or pipe cheese into pepper halves. Garnish with whole herbs if desired and serve immediately or chill, covered,  several hours until serving time.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Chicken Panko Romano

Chicken Panko Romano
Chicken Panko Romano

Panko is a Japanese bread crumb that provides a crunchy coating like no other. Combined with Romano cheese, the result is divine. A thick and hearty tomato sauce offsets the crunch and makes this a perfect meal for company or special dinners at home.

Chicken Panko Romano

Hands-On Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 30 - 40 minutes
Makes 8 filets


Ingredients:

4 large chicken breasts - boneless and skinless
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
4 Tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups Panko
1/2 cup finely shredded Romano cheese
2 cups of your favorite primavera sauce - homemade is best!
salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying

Directions:

1. Clean chicken breasts of all visible fat and cut each in half horizontally, making 2 filets from each breast.
2. Combine Panko and Romano cheese in a bowl. Put flour into another bowl and mix the egg and water in yet another bowl until well blended.
3.Coat each piece of chicken in flour - shaking off excess, and then in egg wash and lastly in Panko and Romano coating. Make sure there are no bare spots on each breast. Set aside or refrigerate up to 1 hour before frying.
4. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat and add several tablespoons of oil to the pan. When the oil 'shimmers', it is ready for the chicken. Oil that is not hot enough will absorb into the chicken and oil that is too hot will smoke.
5. Fry each coated filet in the heated oil until golden brown, turning once during cooking - 5 minutes on each side.
7. Drain well on paper toweling and serve immediately with warm sauce.

You can also bake these on a rack on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced and crumb coating is golden brown.