Peach Crumble, Peach Crisp

Our local orchard is called Sunny Slope Farms. I’ve been going there since I first came to the US, and Jeff’s been going since he was a wee kid. They make it so easy to eat in season fruit – they sell high quality apples, peaches and nectarines, in huge plastic sacks for between $US5 and $US10 a bag. They make the argument for buying local for me every season.

Since their peaches came in season a month or two ago, we’ve been bringing home a huge bag once a week, once every couple of weeks, and just gorging on peaches. The last bag took longer than usual to ripen, and when it did, et voila, the last dozen all became overripe at the same time. Jeff suggested a crisp, I wanted a crumble, turns out they’re the same thing.

Ingredients

  • 6 fresh peaches – peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 cup white sugar.
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • Your favourite good vanilla icecream

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190C (375F). Butter an 8″ square (approx. 6 cup baking dish.)
  2. Place the peaches in the bottom of the baking dish.
  3. In a bowl, combine the flour, white and brown sugars, cinnamon and salt. Cut the butter into cubes, and mix with your fingers (or pastry cutter) until the mixture is crumbly.
  4. Sprinkle the crumb mixture in an even layer over the top of the peaches. For a nicely crisp crumb, this should not be too thick. Don’t be afraid to toss some of the crumb mixture if it doesn’t look proportionate to your fruit mix.
  5. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 45 minutes, or until peaches are bubbling and topping is browned and crisp.
  6. Serve with a hearty scoop of your favourite vanilla icecream. Cream works too – but DO Not use that cream in a can – it’ll add water to your dessert and the crispy bits won’t be.

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

INGREDIENTS:
2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup white chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Using an electric mixer, cream butter or margarine and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, mixing well. (Don’t be concerned if the mixture looks a little curdled at this point, it’ll come right again with the dry ingredients.)

Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition.

Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chips.

Using a small scoop, place even scoops onto parchment lined cookie sheets/baking trays. Bake for 6 minutes, then press each cookie down with a fork. Bake a further 4-6 minutes or until golden brown.

(the pressing down with the fork makes these cookies crisper. If you like a doughier style cookie, omit the pressing down, and cook for 10-12 minutes.)

Cool on wire rack.

Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Butternut Pumpkin Soup

In Australia, we don’t call most of the gourds squash, we call then Pumpkin.  So Butternuts are Pumpkin, not squash.  They’re the same vegetable, so this works just as well on this side of the world too.  Many recipes say to boil the pumpkin, but that means you have to peel it first (hard) and also that the depth of flavour is not there – to me the boiling makes the flesh more watery than I like.

Ingredients 

  • 1 butternut pumpkin, cut into large unpeeled chunks.
  • 3 tablespoons butter 
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 stick of celery chopped
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • chopped chives and sour cream to serve

 

Method 

  1. Preheat oven to 350F . Place the pumpkin cut side up, peel side down on a baking tray and roast for 30-60 minutes.  The pumpkin should be roasted until cooked through
  2. Whilst the pumpkin is roasting, add butter to a large pot and saute the vegetables (seasoned with salt and pepper) until the onion is soft. Add the cumin and garlic, and saute for about a minute, being careful not to brown/burn the garlic.  Add the vegetable stock, bring to a simmer for 5-10 minutes.   Blend until smooth – we used a stick blender directly into the pot.
  3. Scoop the pumpkin out of the skin, and  Add the pumpkin to the pot, peel the garlic and then add to the pot. Remove the pot from the heat.
  4. In batches puree the mixture until smooth.  Bring to a slow simmer for about 30 minutes
  5.  Serve with yoghurt and chopped chives.

 

Toasted Pastina Pilaf

Ingredients 

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon tuscan herbs
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 stick celery, finely diced
  • 1 cup pastina, uncooked (1 cup=1/2 of a 12oz box)
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup frozen petit peas
  • salt, pepper to taste

 

Method 

  1. Cook and stir herbs, carrot, onion, celery and salt in hot butter until tender but not browned.
  2. Add pasta, cook and stir until lightly browned.
  3. Stir in chicken broth and parsley, salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Bring to boil, stir through peas. 
  5.  Reduce heat, cover and cook 5 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

 

Cheesy Broccoli & Rice Bake

Jeff and I, on our weekly trip to Pathmark, picked up and then discarded a pre-packaged Cheesy and Broccoli Rice.  The massive amounts of salt and the sundry unpronounceable ingredients all took away from the basic idea of the recipe. So we created this recipe.  American cheese, because it’s not very oily, jasmine rice because that’s what I have on hand, Mrs Dash seasoning because they make their seasonings sans salt.  Less than an hour from starting to eating, including cooking time.Ingredients

  • 2 oz butter
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 4 oz american cheese
  • 1 cup 1% organic milk
  • 1 tblspn Mrs Dash garlic and herb seasoning
  • 1/2 pound frozen broccoli, pulsed until chunky in the food processer
  • 1 cup jasmine rice, uncooked.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
  2. Bring a pot of water to the boil, and cook the jasmine rice for 10-15 minutes – until to the tooth.
  3. While the rice is cooking, prepare the sauce. 
  4.  In a saucepan, melt the butter.  
  5. Add the flour and stir well until combined into a roux.  Lightly cook the roux until blonde, not browned.  
  6. Add the milk, bit by bit until sauce is thickened, but not lumpy.  
  7. Add the cheese – reserve a small handful for garnish – and stir through until melted.  
  8. Set aside in the saucepan.   
  9. When the rice is cooked, drain and put back into that saucepan.  
  10. Stir through the food processor chopped broccoli.   
  11. Then stir through the sauce mixture until all combined. 
  12. Pour into an oven proof dish (I use a standard pie dish) and smooth until even.   Sprinkle with reserved cheese.
  13. Bake for 25-30 minutes until hot and bubbling and the broccoli is done.       

20 minute Pasta for One

INGREDIENTS1 cup farfalle pasta (dry)half a dozen very thin slices of pancetta, diced

1 large  shallot, thinly sliced

5 button mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved

5 semi-dried tomatoes, diced

10 oil cured olives.

METHOD

 As per the pasta instructions, cook the farfalle in boiling water for 10-12 minutes.  Drain, reserving some of the cooking water.

In the same saucepan, toss the pancetta and shallots for a minute, stirring continuously.  (I didn’t use any oil, as the pancetta has enough for this stage.)

Add the mushrooms, stirring continuously.  Cook for about 30 seconds, and then add the grape tomatoes.

Stir, adding a small amount of the reserved pasta water.  This prevents sticking, and brings up the sauce consistency.  Add the olives and dried tomatoes, stirring through, then add the farfalle.

Stir through to mix, and serve.