Peach Cobbler

QUICK!  You still might have time to make this before peach season is over.  Our local market still had lots and I heard someone say that peaches would likely be around until Thanksgiving.  I didn’t think I’d enjoy this, but I was very, very wrong.  It was amazing!

Trick to peeling the peaches – place them in a bowl and cover them with boiling water.  Drain after 3 minutes and the skins will easily peel off.

Side note: I think I need to iron this tablecloth?  Maybe next time.

Peach Cobbler

Ingredients

5 ripe peaches
¾ cups sugar, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cups butter, softened
1 egg
½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
¾ cups flour
¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch salt

Preparation Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Peel, halve, and pit the peaches. Slice each half into 3 or 4 wedges.  Combine the peaches, ¼ cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large mixing bowl. Let the fruit stand, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, 5 to 7 minutes.

Make the dough: Cream together the butter and remaining ½ cup sugar in a medium mixing bowl with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and lemon zest until the batter is smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary.  Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and stir until just combined.

Transfer the peaches to an 8-inch square-baking pan. Drop the dough in rounded tablespoonfuls over the fruit.

Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the crust is golden, 40 to 50 minutes. Let the cobbler cool slightly and serve it warm – alone or with ice cream.

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Pad Thai

This is one of C’s favorites.  I don’t dread eating it either.
There isn’t too much I dread eating, if I’m honest.

I usually use chicken, but use pork, shrimp – whatever tickles your fancy, as Rose would say.  Also, I omit the tofu because it kind of creeps me out.

I make one and a half times the sauce that the recipe below calls for.  I think it needs it, but do what you want.

Confession: I don’t have a kitchen scale and I get hopelessly confused trying to covert grams ounces to grams or cups to millilitres.  When in doubt: guess.  It hasn’t steered me wrong THAT many times.

Pad Thai

Ingredients

250g wide rice stick noodles
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
170g firm tofu
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
3 garlic cloves, minced
250g large raw shrimp, deveined
1 red pepper, diced
2 cups bean sprouts
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped

Preparation Instructions

In a large bowl, soak noodles in boiling water for 15 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk chicken broth, sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, ketchup and hot pepper flakes; set aside.
Cut chicken into 1/4″ strips.  Cut tofu into 1/2″ cubes.  Set both aside.

In a wok or a large frying pan, heat 1 teaspoon of oil over medium heat.  Cook egg, stirring occasionally, until scrambled and set.  Transfer to a large plate.  Wipe wok, add 1 tablespoon oil, increase heat to medium-high and stir fry the garlic and chicken until the chicken is mostly cooked.  Add the shrimp and continue cooking until they turn bright pink.  Add to the egg.  Heat the rest of the oil, stir in tofu and red pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until tofu begins to brown.  Stir in the noodles for one minute or until they start to soften.  Pour in the sauce; stir fry until the noodles are tender.  Return egg mixture to the pan; add bean sprouts and half the green onions.  Stir until heated through.  Remove to warm serving dish.  Garnish with peanuts and remaining green onions.  Serves 4.

A Book Recommendation for Your Wednesday…

FINALLY!

I just finished reading Bury Your Dead.

It took me a really long time.  NOT because it wasn’t good.  It was excellent.
It took me a long time because I’ve been a little preoccupied with this blog I’ve been writing.  Maybe you’ve read it?

Anyways, it’s the One Book, One Community program pick for the year.  Yeah, I’m a little late to tell you about the events associated with the book.  The author came.  She’s gone.  I would have liked to talk to her, actually – Louise Penny must have had to do an abundance of research to write this book.  Either that or she’s just really, really smart.  It was fascinating.  You should read it.

Also cool – it appears that this book is part of a crime and mystery series that all feature the same main character.

The synopsis is here.

Highly recommended!

Thank you, Harvey for lending it to me!

Super Chocolate Chunk Fudge Brownies

One weekend a few months ago I was dying to bake something – I get this feeling, well, a lot.  I had come across a few brownie recipes and I was going to have a little brownie showdown of sorts – compare a recipe for Whole Wheat Brownies with this recipe.  I had high hopes that both recipes would be good, but that by using whole wheat flour in the one recipe they would be deemed healthy (don’t tell me you don’t think that) and that I could consume the entire pan myself in one sitting and get my daily dose of fibre guilt-free.

I didn’t look at the recipes really closely, but I made my grocery list, bought my ingredients and then decided I would try this recipe first.  It took the two ENTIRE boxes of chocolate that I bought (cost approx. $10).  But, I wasn’t sorry.  These are amazing.  No fibre.  Not healthy.  I think they are the best brownies I’ve ever had.

Super Chocolate Chunk Fudge Brownies

Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 oz. white chocolate, chopped

Preparation Instructions

In a saucepan, bring sugar, butter and 2 tablespoons of water to a boil over medium-high heat.  Remove from heat; stir in 4 ounces of the of bittersweet chocolate until melted.  Let cool for 10 minutes.  Whisk in eggs, 1 at a time; whisk in vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the chocolate mixture.  Stir in remaining bittersweet chocolate and white chocolate.  Scrape into parchment paper-lined 9 inch square metal pan, smoothing top.

Bake in a 325F oven until toothpick inserted in the centre coming out with a few moist crumbs clinging, about 30 minutes.  Let cool in pan on a wire rack.  Cut into bars.  Yield: 24 bars.

Lighter Chicken Enchiladas

When we had these last week, C thought they were AMAZING – his words, exactly.  I thought it was pretty good for a quick dinner, but not my most favourite.  Then I had the leftovers for lunch the next day.  They were AMAZING – my words, exactly.

I don’t think they were necessarily better the next day – it probably had something to do with inhaling a bag of candy on the way
home from work before we sat down to dinner.

I am not sure what makes them ‘lighter’ – I’ve never had enchiladas before.  That’s just what the recipe said.

Several things I’d like to say about this recipe.

  • It called for 3 chicken breasts – I feel that to be excessive and I used 1 large one (as a result, I had less filling and I also only used 6 tortillas).
  • If I were making these again, I’d stick with the one piece of chicken and I think I’d throw in some black beans to make the meal heartier.  I think it would be awesome!
  • To save time, I cooked the chicken the night before.
  • I couldn’t find corn tortillas and I used flour.
  • This was pretty spicy.  Chipotles in adobo (smoked, dried jalapenos in sauce) have got kick. For less heat, scrape out ribs and seeds.
  • This served with a green salad – wonderful!

Lighter Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients

Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 or 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 to 2 tablespoons minced canned chipotles in adobo
1 and 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
8 corn tortillas (6-inch)
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

Preparation Instructions

In a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid, bring 1 inch salted water to a boil. Add chicken. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 5 minutes; remove skillet from heat. Let chicken steam, covered, until opaque throughout, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer chicken to a medium bowl; shred with two forks. Set aside.

While chicken is cooking, make sauce:
In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add garlic; cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add flour, cumin, and chipotles in adobo; cook, whisking, 1 minute.  Whisk in broth and 1/2 cup water; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and  cook, whisking occasionally, until sauce has thickened slightly, 5 to 8 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Transfer 1 cup sauce to bowl with chicken; toss to combine.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pour 1/4 cup sauce into bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish; set aside. Stack tortillas, and wrap in a double layer of damp paper towels; microwave until hot, about 1 minute. Fill each tortilla with chicken mixture; roll up tightly,
and arrange, seam side down, in baking dish. Cover with remaining sauce, and top with cheese. Bake until hot and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.  Serves 4.

Smells Like Fall…

Last week on my lunch I went to the mall to get out of the office for a bit and I made a stop and Bath and Body Works.  Holy.  God.  Their new Fall candles are amazing!

If my mother is reading this, I’m going to get a phonecall about how scented candles are full of chemicals, that they aren’t good for you and that I should be burning beeswax.  I do like beeswax candles, but they don’t come in THESE AMAZING SCENTS.  My Top Five (that I may or may not have licked after smelling):

Autumn Apple  Frosted CupcakeMint Chocolate ChipCinnamamon and Clove Buds

Marshmallow Fireside

It was hard to narrow it down to 5.  They have so many new ones!
These are added to my Christmas List.  Yes, I have a list for Christmas ALREADY.

Black Bean Quesadillas

“Knock it off, Napoleon! Just make yourself a dang quesadilla!”
I probably say this, oh, every 5 minutes when it’s quesadilla night at our house.  C loves it.  Not really.
It confuses the Bud because he thinks we’re eating “burgers” – what he calls anything between two layers of carbohydrates.

Quesadillas are one of my favorites – you can put just about anything in them.  Plus, you can dip them in guacamole – do I even need to say more about this?

In my attempts to skip meat a few nights per week, I swapped this recipe for the traditional chicken one I was using.

Also, I honestly and totally FORGOT to even try to take a picture of this – sometimes things are hectic around our house at dinner time.  I swear, I haven’t given up with the pictures – I’ll try and do better.

Black Bean Quesadillas

Ingredients

1 tablespoon oil
2 peppers, cut into strips (any colors you like)
1 onion, cut into strips
1 can black beans (19 ounces), rinsed
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
4-6 large whole wheat flour tortillas
Guacamole, sour cream and salsa for serving

Preparation Instructions

Heat oil in a frying or saucepan over medium-high. Add peppers and onions and saute until soft and browned.  Add black beans and seasonings, stir until heated through.  Move the pepper and black bean mixture to a bowl and reduce the heat to medium.  Assemble quesadillas by covering half of a tortilla with the pepper and black bean mixture and shredded cheese and then fold.  Heat in the same pan, over medium heat, flipping once, until the shell browns and the cheese is melted.  Transfer to an over preheated to 200 degrees while you assemble and heat all quesadillas, then using a pizza cutter cut each into three.  Yield: 4 servings

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

When I made these a few weeks ago, C had one right out of the oven and turned to the Bud and said: “I knew I married your mother for a reason; I’ve finally found it.”
Is that a compliment?  I’m confused.

Then he proceeded to eat 5 more and I made the ‘fat face’ at him – where I blow up my cheeks.  It’s a face that we do to each other when we’re being gluttonous.  He does it to me WAY more often than I do it to him.   And it’s warranted.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Picture taken from: http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/desserts/white-chocolate-chip-macadamia-cookies/

Ingredients

2 and ¾ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoons salt
1 cup butter, softened
¾ cups sugar
¾ cups brown sugar
1-¼ teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 and ½ cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Mix flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Cream butter and both sugars until smooth.  Add vanilla and eggs and mix until smooth and fluffy. Stir in flour mixture until combined, then add your chips and nuts. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls onto a cookie sheet and bake 8 minutes or until bottoms are golden. The tops might still look slightly doughy but let sit on the sheet then remove to cooling racks. Do not over bake! They will set more as they cool. Yield: 4 dozen

Photography

So, I always thought that if you had a good quality camera that taking pictures was not hard.

I was very, very wrong.
I cannot take a decent picture for the life of me.
I have a new-found respect for anyone who can take a good photo.

Mind you, I have a few things working against me:

  • I think the lighting in my kitchen is all wrong
  • I have no talent
  • I’m usually rushed and trying to take the picture as quickly as possible because I have hungry boys to feed
  • I don’t have the camera’s user manual because I borrowed the camera from my sister.  I have looked it up online, but I don’t have the time or the motivation to read it
  • I feel that everything I make would photograph 10x better if it were placed on DENBY
  • I have no talent

Although, when I’m working with a subject like this, I think I do alright.

I’m not saying it’s brilliant but it’s an improvement over anything else I’ve posted.

Sigh.

I’m not giving up…yet.

I was away at my husband’s family’s annual ‘Chick’s Weekend’ In Niagara on the Lake this past weekend…so I didn’t cook or bake.  But, DON’T WORRY!  I still consumed a lot of calories. A. LOT.
I might have to use some old favorite recipes on here this week…

Chicken Hash

This was approved by the boys and will be added to my weeknight ‘Go To’ list.  I prepped most of the ingredients the day before and that made this an easy meal to get on the table.

The picture I took for this was so embarrassing I couldn’t even post it.  IMAGINE IT.  God.
Actually, the picture just made it look disgusting, which is absolutely wasn’t.  Try it yourself.

Chicken Hash

Ingredients

4 slices bacon, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup frozen corn kernals
1/2 cup frozen peas
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of butter
4 eggs

Preparation Instructions

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat for 5 to  6 minutes or until crisp.  Pour fat off, reserving 3 tablespoons in skillet.

Add onion and garlic to skillet; cook, stirring occaisionally for 2 minutes or until tender and fragrant.  Add chicken, potatoes and oil to the skillet and stir to coat well.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes longer or until the potatoes are cooked through.  Sit in peas and corn, cooking uncovered for 5 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Divde among 4 plates and keep warm.

In the same skillet, melt butter over medium heat; cook eggs until whites are set but yolks are still runny.  Place one egg over each serving of hash, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Makes 4 servings.

Notes:

  • I used bacon that I had cooked the day before and therefore didn’t have bacon grease.  I heated olive oil in a skillet and moved onto the next step. (Bacon grease would have added awesome flavor though.)
  • I bet you could use frozen hashbrowns to speed this up
  • If using pre-cooked or frozen hasbrown potaotes, I wouldn’t throw them in until the chicken is almost cooked through
  • You could serve it on toast if you want to make it extra filling
  • This would be good with ham in the place of chicken
  • It was easy and delicious
  • That is all