Congratulations Lel Dinner: Part Two

Dessert!  Earlier in the day I was looking around my kitchen and trying to figure out what to make for a celebratory dessert.  On the counter was a large bowl of recently harvested sweet potatoes from my garden.  A handful of fresh eggs from the hen house and hhmm… custard?… pie?… and then I remembered flan!

When I was little, my mom made a pumpkin flan once for Thanksgiving.  I think I might have begged her to make it again every year for the next few years.  That wonderfully light creamy texture dripping with caramel sauce.  Hands down it is a simple yet elegant treat.  I figured if you can make flan with pumpkin then you can make it with sweet potato.

I spent a few minutes scouring the internet for recipes.  I found a few good sweet potato flan recipes, but none that were sugar free.  So I decided to make my own based roughly on the recipes I had found online.  Another difference I made was to make Dulce De Leche for the caramel sauce.  Most recipes do not ask you to do this, but I have found that Dulce De Leche is about the easiest caramel sauce to make.  I find it way easier than water based caramel sauces.  It also has a very smooth creamy taste.  Normally Dulce De Leche is made with sugar, but I wanted to make it without sugar.  So the recipe below is a sugar free version.  If you want a great recipe and instructions on a sugar based Dulce De Leche.  Check out Alton Brown’s recipe.  You should also be able to find the video clips from the episode of Good Eats if you want to watch the process in action.

Dulce De Leche Recipe:

2 Cups Milk (I used reduced fat because that is what I had in the fridge, but you can use full fat too)

3/4 Cup of Honey (I had more honey than agave so I opted for honey, but you could substitute agave)

1/4 Tsp Baking Soda

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

In a small sauce pan place 2 Cups of Milk, 3/4 Cup of Honey, and Vanilla.

On medium high heat bring the milk up to a simmer.  Add the 1/4 Tsp of Baking Soda and reduce the heat to low.  You will want to keep an eye on this and stir occasionally, however when you see foam appear on the surface do not stir the foam into the sauce.  Use a spoon to skim the foam off the top and discard.

It will take roughly an hour to reduce.  I watch the sauce for color, it should turn a golden amber color like those little caramel square your grandmother always had a jar of,  also occasionally dip a spoon in letting the sauce drip off the back to get a sense of thickness.  You are aiming for something along the lines of warm maple syrup.  Keep in mind that it will thicken up a bit when it cools.  Also the photos I took of my Dulce De Leche are a bit dark.  So don’t base the color of yours by the color below.

Pour the finished Dulce De Leche into a jar and store in the fridge.

And now onto the flan!

Sweet Potato Flan Recipe:

1 1/2 Cups of Sweet Potato ( Roughly 1 large sweet potato or a few small ones)

2/3 Cup of Agave Nectar

1 Cup Half and Half

4 Eggs

1/2 Cups Heavy/Whipping Cream

1/4 Tsp Salt

Preheat oven to 350F.  Wash a few small sweet potatoes or one large one, pierce the skin a couple times with a fork, and place on a baking sheet.  Bake the sweet potatoes for roughly 45 min to an hour.

I made extra because baked sweet potatoes are tasty!  After the sweet potatoes are done roasting, you can let them cool if you want to,  peel and place them in a mixing bowl.  It is time to mash!

After the sweet potatoes are mashed set them aside.  In a separate bowl or the same bowl minus the sweet potatoes add four eggs.

Whisk the eggs thoroughly.  Whisk in the cream, salt, and sweet potato.

This is a good point to prep your baking dish or dishes.  I decided to go with two small baking dishes.  Pour a  1/4 to 1/2 inch layer of the Dulce De Leche on the bottom on your baking dish.  Make sure to reserve 2 TBLS.  Place your baking dish in a larger roasting pan.  Fill the roasting pan with hot water to at least the half way make on the baking dish you will be putting the flan in.

Okay now back to the flan.  In a small sauce pan heat the half and half with 2 TBLS of the Dulce De Leche.  Gradually whisk the heated half and half into the sweet potato mixture.  Strain the whole mixture through a fine mesh strainer back into the small sauce pan.

Stir over medium heat for one minute.  Remove from heat and pour into prepared baking dish.

Bake at 350F for roughly an hour or until the center is set.  Remove from the oven and place the flan in the fridge for 4 or 5 hours.  This can be done a day ahead.  Once the flan is completely chilled and you are ready to serve.  run a knife along the very edge of the dish.  Place a plate on top of the baking dish and turn it over.  The flan will slide out on to the plate with the caramel sauce dripping down the sides.


The Joy of Eating Grubs and Other Stories of Sunday Morning

I woke this Sunday morning with a few projects in mind.  First of which was to create a smaller pen inside the main chicken run for the chickiechicks and mama.  I had tried a few times letting them out in the main run, however those little chicks would always find some small hole under the fence( missed during my multiple patch jobs) and escape. Plus they managed to annoy all of the other chickens except their mother.   I decided the best plan would be to make a smaller pen just for mama and chicks for their safety and my headache-free Sunday.

They are getting quite big now and love digging for grubs.  Here they are taking a dust bath with Mama.

Here is a picture of Boof our rooster and father of the chicks.

Here is a picture of Rozilla/Rosanne/formally know as Rosie on the left a Boof on the right.  He is really tiny and she is quite large, hence her nickname of Rozilla( pronounced Row-Zirrah).

And a picture of the last of my original flock Betty the Barred Rock and Rosie the Rhode Island Red aka the Cranky Old Ladies/ Oh No You Don’t, Boof!

That is the whole flock.  Although we are still in need of names for the four chicks.  I also have a feeling more chickens are on the way.  I dreamt last night that I got a mating pair of very fancy looking chickens, a single hen who also looked quite fancy/odd, and an ostrich- speaking of odd.  In the dream, I had to call Lel and ask her permission to get the Ostrich because I wasn’t sure if we had enough space. She is laughing now ” As if I get to tell you no about anything with those chickens”.

On to the next project.  Harvest the garden, dig potatoes and prep the beds for winter.  This was the first year that I have had these garden beds.  So I was unsure exactly what to expect for our overall harvest.  I think I did pretty well considering a few set backs in the way of squash. Curse those vine boring grubs!  This was also the first year that I have attempted sweet potatoes.  I figured if nothing else they would make a great screen from the neighbors and the driveway.  I planted them along the bamboo fence I made at the edge of the garden.

And wow did they work well as a cover!  It was really wonderfully beautiful!  Especially when the vines flowered.  I highly recommend growing them even just for foliage.  Easy to maintain, fast growing, and beautiful.  The one thing that made me skeptical about getting any kind of crop was the fact that this was the first year that these beds had been tilled.  In Georgia, this means that the bed was mostly clay and despite all my amendments and tilling( blood, sweat, and, tears), it was still very hard packed.  I really thought it would just be too compact for the sweet potatoes, but I was very, very happily surprised when I started digging this morning.

Not only did they grow, but they were HUGE!

That is the largest mixing bowl I own.  It is an industrial size metal bowl and it is currently full of sweet potatoes!  What a harvest!  I am so impressed by those sweet potato plants!

I also picked the rest of the peppers and tomatoes.  Which in turn led to Breakfast/Brunch!

  • Fried Green Tomatoes, Poached Eggs, and Bacon:

  • Green Tomato
  • Flour or Corn Meal
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cayenne
  • 3 Eggs
  • 4-6 Pieces of Bacon

This is breakfast for two so if you are making it for one or more than two just adjust.  Okay now the first thing that you want to do is to take the eggs out of the fridge.  This is one of the secrets to poaching eggs, you need them to be room temperaturish.  Next step, pre-heat your oven to 425.  I bake bacon.  I find that it is the easiest and least messy ways to cook it.  If you are a stove top kind of bacon person feel free to do it your way.  On a baking sheet lay the bacon strips out one by one.  When the oven is heated stick the sheet pan with the bacon in the oven.  It doesn’t take that long for the bacon to cook.  Maybe 10 min.  Check it often to make sure you get it to the crispiness that you desire.  While the bacon is cooking slice your green tomato.  Try and get the pieces as thin as possible.

Next you want to take one of the eggs and whisk it with roughly 1 TBLS of milk in a small bowl.

Next in a separate small bowl mix roughly 1 Cup of flour or cornmeal with 1 tsp Salt, 1/4 tsp ground pepper, 1 tsp garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp cayenne.

In a large skillet preferably cast iron melt 1 TBLS of butter on medium high heat.

Once the pan is hot, start by dipping the tomato slices one by one into the flour mixture first, Coat both sides, then dip into the egg mixture.  Next drop them into the skillet.  add only about four at a time or as many as your pan will hold comfortably.

Flip them over and brown them on both sides.

When you remove them from the pan lay them out on a couple paper towels.

While you are cooking the tomatoes you can put on the stove a small skillet with about an inch of water in the bottom.  Add 1 tsp salt and 1 TBLS of white vinegar.  This is the all time secret to poaching eggs. Don’t tell anyone, make them read my blog 🙂  Room temp eggs and a little bit of vinegar in the water.  You want the water in the pan to be at at a slow  boil, but not a  rolling boil.

Add the eggs one at a time.

Use a spoon to spoon some of the hot water over the tops of the eggs while they cook.  When the white around the yolk is solid remove the eggs and plate them.


Allergy Parade

After a trip to the doctor a few weeks ago and a health scare (not related to eating)  I started taking a hard look at my diet.  I generally thought I was doing pretty well.  And for the most part I am.  I look good on paper for the doctors as far as cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight.  I make almost everything I eat from scratch, eat more veggies than most, and I actually like the taste of dark bitter greens.  So it had not even occurred to me that I might not be getting some key nutrients.  That was until I started a food diary.

I had gained roughly 20 pounds in the last year.  Granted I had been my skinniest ever (I had not been eating much do to stress) one year ago, weighing in at 115.  I stopped playing roller derby and gave my body some much needed rest to let my ankles, knees and almost everything else recover and heal.  So couch sitting and occasional walking mixed with a new relationship and my happy self’s tendency to eat (this is actually a good thing) put a few more pound on than I would like.  So after my trip to the docs and a new inhaler (yes I am an asthmatic as well) I started working out again and joined daily burn tracker.  With daily burn tracker pro lite you get emails daily analyzing what you eat.  If you have an iPhone this is a great app. or you can just use it from your computer.  However, I am not here to sell you on the app.  what really impressed me was the emails that showed exactly what percentage of daily nutrients I was getting from the food I was eating.  To my surprise I was way below the recommended levels despite eating a well rounded diet of meat, veggies, fruits, and grains.

I imagine I can’t be the only person out there who is allergic to oil seeds (sesame, sunflower, cottonseed, flax, etc.), Fish (but not shellfish), and Tree Nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc.).  I read all the labels on the multivitamins at the grocery store.  Most of them have either fish oil, flax seed oil, or sunflower seed oil.  So on a trip to the local vitamin shop, Health Unlimited, I asked the very helpful employee for a multivitamin I would not be allergic to.  He suggested Bio-Multi Plus by Biotics Research Corporation  Perfectly safe for anyone out there who can walk hand in hand with me at the allergy parade.

I have been taking the bio-Multi for a couple weeks now and I feel great, except I kept getting the emails telling me that I am not getting enough Omega 3s.  With handy suggestions to eat more things like sesame oil, walnuts, and salmon.  Oh so helpful.  So I was doing some research and could not seem to come up with a solution that would work for me.  I suppose I could take krill oil, but something about that makes me nervous.  Wasn’t there another way to get Omega 3s?

Then I thought back to years ago when I was on a diet aimed at curing asthma and taking Spirulina supplements.  It is a super green so wouldn’t it technically have Omega 3s like dark leafy greens?  The answer is yes!  Although I don’t know why it is not listed as an option by most websites discussing the topic of Omega 3s.  A quick Google search will reveal that it is actually a great source of Omega 3s and has a myriad of other beneficial properties.  However, I had not seen it listed even once while doing a search for foods high in Omega 3s or Omega 3 supplements.  I was so surprised by this gap in the information available on Omega 3s that I thought I should share my findings with the readers of my blog and hopefully other wandering allergy ridden people searching the vast and sometimes barren landscape of the internet.

I hope that this information will be helpful to someone out there.  I will update with progress after a couple weeks to let everyone know how I feel.  Cheers!

Friday September 28th Dinner: Sofia’s Birthday!

Last Friday was Sofia’s Birthday.  Sofia is one of those people with amazing self-discipline.  She exercises daily, almost never drinks, eats only organic, and has not eaten refined sugar in years- sometimes I worry that she is an alien 🙂 She is also a regular to our Friday night dinners, for her, this often means watching the rest of us enjoy red wine and homemade deserts.  I usually try to have something that is sugar-free for her, but that is not always practical. I hate it when she is left out, but for both my birthday and Adrianne’s, I made cake-  angel food cake- which requires sugar.  I didn’t want to risk/experiment with a sugar-free version and end up with a flat chewy angel food for birthday Fridays.

So now we are celebrating Sofia’s birthday and I wanted her to have a sugar-free cake.  I had never attempted a sugar-free cake before, so I was a little worried it would come out dense, but this recipe seemed to do the trick.  I spent sometime scouring the internet for cake recipes using Agave Nectar instead of refined sugar.  I came up with a couple, but wasn’t completely satisfied with the presentation. Then, I remembered making a Plum Tatin  a while back and thinking how beautiful it was.  So I decided to go with a sugar free peach tatin-peaches because right now in GA the organic peaches are unbelievably sweet and tasty. Game on!

  • Sugar Free Peach Tatin Recipe:

  • 3-4 Organic Peaches
  • Agave Nectar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 ½ cups Organic King Arthur unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 ¼ cup organic milk
  • a Pint of Organic Heavy Whipping Cream

Ok, pre-heat your oven to 375F and get a medium sauce pan filled with water boiling.  I sort of made this whole part up based on what I thought I peach Tatin should/could look like.  I decided to peel the peaches.  The easiest way to do this is to cut the peaches in half, pit them, and then plop them into the pot of boiling water for 30 seconds.  You only want to add about three halves to the pot at a time.  Otherwise the temperature of the water will drop below a boil. After 30 seconds,  immediately move them from the boiling water to an ice water bath (a big bowl full of water and ice).  Oops, I forgot to take pictures of this part.

After you have done this to all the peach halves, pull them one by one out of the ice water bath and peel them.  It is fairly easy, but you can use the back of a paring knife or a butter knife to help when the skin sticks.

  After you have peeled all the peaches, you can begin to slice them.  I found it was easiest to just add them to the cake pan as I sliced.  I don’t actually have a regular cake pan, so I decided to use the spring form bundt type pan that I do have.  You could actually just use a pie pan or what ever kind of cake pan that you do have.  Lightly butter the cake pan and lightly flour it.  Now you can start adding the layers of peaches to the bottom.

    First full layer

Second Layer

Since this was sort of an experiment, I just eyeballed the agave I added.  I would say it was roughly 3 TBLS, but I basically took the bottle of agave nectar with the squeeze top and drizzled a nice layer on top of the peaches.  The peaches are very sweet on their own and don’t really need very much help- if you want to you could slice all the peaches first and toss them in agave and taste to get the sweetness that you want.

Ok, so now that the pan is prepped, we can start working on the cake batter.  I found this cake batter recipe on another blog.  Simply Food Online the title of the post was yummy yummy yellow cake.  The first step is to mix together 2 ½ cups flour, 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt in a small bowl.  In a separate bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for roughly 30 seconds.

Once the butter is beaten slowly add 3/4 Cup of Agave nectar.

After the butter and agave have mixed, add 3 eggs and 1 1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla.  At this point, start adding the flour mixture and the milk alternately.  Slowly add a little flour mixture and then a little milk until all the flour and milk are incorporated (that means  batter-like). IMPORTANT! Do Not Over Mix or you will have a Brick instead of a cake- only funny when it happens to other cooks.  Then stop the mixer.  Spoon the cake batter over the peaches in the cake pan.  Leave a little room at the top for rising.

Now it is time for the oven.  I placed this cake pan on top of a baking sheet in a 375F oven.  Roughly 20-25 minutes, but keep an eye on this.  Poke the cake with a toothpick or a skewer.  If it comes out clean the cake is done.  It should look something like this:

Let the cake cool.  It will pull away from the sides a bit, which actually makes it easier to invert later.

I know this is not the best picture but I was kept busy keeping my guests/helpers away from the cake 🙂  The last step to this cake is to take a plate and place it over the top of the cake pan and then flip the whole thing over.  It will slide out of the cake pan beautifully onto the plate like so.  I also decided to add fresh whipped cream in the center and around the sides for a little added presentation/ moister.  Not that the cake is dry, but I figured whip cream is tasty and would add to the over all experience.  To make the whipped cream, I just whipped a pint of heavy whip cream with a little bit of agave nectar.  Just taste it to see how sweet you want the cream to be.

Sofia was so happy about this cake.  It was really an excellent birthday!  She even got a couple of slices ( Lel cried, but it was Sofia’s birthday, after all) to take home at the end of the night. 🙂

Friday Dinner: Pizza

Friday Night Dinner 9/21/12: Pizza

Last Friday we opened up the circle of regulars and invited a few more.  Unsure exactly how many to expect, I planned a relatively easy feast.  Chicken/Turkey meat balls, Homemade Tomato Sauce (for those two recipes check last weeks blog post),  Pasta  (Gluten free and Regular), a large salad,  Fresh mozzarella- tomato-basil pizza, and Caramelized Onion-Roasted Garlic- Goat Cheese pizza.

Pizza Dough Recipe:

Not wanting to repeat myself, I am not going to add the entire dough recipe again.  I normally use my basic bread recipe as pizza dough.  You can find information on how to make this dough in Friday Night Dinner Turkey Meatballs

The only difference you need to make, is that after the dough rises the second time, instead of punching it down and forming it into a loaf, you will punch it down and divide it into 3 parts.  I made 2 large pizzas and 1 small loaf of bread from this amount of dough.  If you don’t want to make this much food, you can either cut the  dough recipe or simply freeze the dough that you don’t use.  It lasts for quite a while in the freezer-then the next time you want to make pizza you can simply pull the dough out and let it thaw.  It works very well!

  • Caramelized Onion Roasted Garlic Goat Cheese Pizza Recipe:

  • Pizza Dough (look at Friday Dinner Bread for recipe)
  • 2 Head of Garlic Whole
  • 2 Large Sweet or Yellow Onions
  • 6 oz Goat Cheese
  • 1 Cup Plus of Olive Oil
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Slice tomatoes
  • Fresh Basil
  • Fresh Oregano

The first step to making this pizza is roasting the garlic.  So turn your oven on to around 350F.  Grab your two heads of garlic and just peel the outer layers of the skin off.  Do Not take the bulbs off the head and Do Not peel them completely.  Now just cut the very top of the head off from each bulb.  I usually do one cut on the very top and then go around the edges with a small knife cutting each outer bulb individually.

It should look like this when you are finished.  Now take a small piece of tin foil, place the head in the center, and pull the edges up slightly.

Now pour a TBLS of olive oil over the top of the head and wrap the whole thing up.

Pop that bundle into the oven for roughly 30 min.  You want to watch this pretty closely because the garlic can go from roasted perfection to burnt pretty quickly in the last stages of cooking.  When you smell that beautiful aroma of roasting garlic just make sure to peek in every so often. Pull the bundle open slightly and look at the tops of the garlic.  If it is a toasty golden brown it is probably done.

Poke bulb with a fork.  If the inside of the bulb feels soft pull the whole bundle out of the oven.  close the top back up and let it sit and cool.  You can do this  up to a day ahead if you want to, but watch out for snackers in your refridgerator!

The next thing you want to work on (you can be working on this while the garlic is roasting) is caramelizing the onions.  Cut the very top and the bottom off of your onions.  Peel them and slice them in half.  Now quarter them and thinly slice.

Place the sliced onions into a medium sauce pan.

Pour 1 Cup of Olive Oil over the top of the onions.  Sprinkle roughly a tsp. of Kosher Salt over the top and cover.

Over medium to high heat cook the onions, stirring occasionally at first. When the onions start to brown, make sure to stir them very often so that they do not burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.  Adjust the heat as well to keep the onions from burning.  When the onions look golden brown like this:

Turn the heat off and remove from the burner.  Have a mesh strainer positioned over a bowl ready.

Pour the contents of the pan into the strainer.  Push down slightly on the Onions with the back of a spoon.  You don’t want to smash the onions so don’t push to hard.  Your goal here is to squeeze a little of the the olive oil out of them.

Reserve that beautiful caramelized onion olive oil for later.  We will be using it.  This step can also be done a day ahead.  The next thing you want to work on is the roasted garlic and herb goat cheese.

If you are doing all these steps at once, make sure to take the goat cheese out before you start and let it come to room temp.  In a small bowl place the goat cheese, roasted garlic, finely chopped basil (roughly a TBLS), and finely chopped oregano (roughly a 1/2 TBLS), a Tsp of Kosher Salt, and a few turns from a pepper mill.  With a spoon start smashing the garlic and mixing everything into the goat cheese.

Now that you have the goat cheese mixed, and the caramelized onions ready, you can start building the pizza.  Heat your oven to 425F.  On a large baking tray covered in parchment paper stretch out your pizza dough.

Remember that Olive Oil that we reserved from the Onions?

Spoon a few TBLS onto the dough and spread with the back of the spoon.  Covering the entire surface of the pizza.

Put the pizza in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes.  You basically just want to toast or brown the dough. It should look a little like this when it is done:

Sprinkle fresh grated parmesan over the entire pizza.

Pop the pizza back in the oven for a few minutes or until the Parmesan has melted.  Once the parm has melted pull the pizza out of the oven and spread the goat cheese.

Now spread the caramelized onions.

Next add a layer of fresh basil.

Now for the thinly sliced tomatoes.  If I can get them from the garden, I like to use a mixture of red and green tomatoes.  It adds something both to the flavor and to the presentation.

Last layer is a sprinkle of grated Parmesan.

Into the oven at 425F for 20-30 minutes.

  • Fresh Mozzarella Tomato Basil Pizza Recipe:

  • Pizza dough
  • Thinly sliced tomatoes
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Fresh Basil
  • Caramelized Onion Oil
  • Grated Parmesan

This is a simple pizza, yet despite its simplicity it has always been one of my favorites.  Basically, you want to stretch out the dough on your baking sheet (the same way I explained above.)  Use some of the caramelized onion olive oil or- if you don’t have that- just plain olive oil.  Spoon the oil onto the dough and spread it evenly.   After the pizza looks nice and golden brown, pull it out of the oven and sprinkle it with grated Parmesan.  Put the pizza back in the oven to melt the cheese.  Pull it out of the oven when the cheese is melted. (basically the same as the pizza described above)

Okay so now this is where it gets a little different.  First layer the basil onto the pizza.  Then lay the tomatoes out, like so:

  Now add a layer of thinly slice fresh mozzarella and finish it off with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan.

A sprinkle of Kosher salt and a few turns from the pepper mill to finish it off and you are ready to put this pizza in the oven.  Roughly 30 min at 425F, however like most recipes keep an eye and your nose open to tell when it is ready to pull out of the oven.

Unfortunately, my ravenous guests were so eager for a bite that I completely forgot to take any after pictures.  I was a bit worried I had made too much food, but after a wonderful evening I found that I didn’t even have any food to put away.  No leftovers and many happy faces are always telltale signs of a great dinner 🙂

Gluten Free Peach Cobbler

Observing from atop the refridgerator.  Pookha and Ballou. Cheering/critiquing my technique.

Yesterday, Lel bought some beautiful organic peaches, that were on sale, at the local market.  Returning home she requested/begged for peach cobbler.  Last winter, I made this cobbler for the first time with apples and it has been one of Lel’s favorites ever since.  This cobbler can be made with just about any type of fruit you would consider baking in a pie.  In the past, I have made this with apples, cherries, and berries. I suggest playing around with what ever you have on hand or whatever fruit is your favorite.  This cobbler makes a wonderful breakfast with a few spoon fulls of plain yogurt and it is so easy to make you can even whip it up that morning.

  • Gluten Free Cobbler Recipe:

  • -4-6 Peaches (apples, cherries, blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, etc.)
  • -Sugar, Honey, or Agave
  • -Lemon
  • -Orange
  • -Oatmeal
  • -Butter

Preheat your oven to 350F.  Wash and Slice the Peaches and place them in a large mixing bowl.

Squeeze a lemon and half an orange.

Add roughly the juice from one lemon and the juice from half an orange to the peaches.

Now it’s time to sweeten the peaches.  For this cobbler, I used a little bit of sugar (1 Tbls) and a little bit of honey ( 3 Tbls )  depending on the fruit, you may need to change the amount of sweeter you use.  I have made this completely sugar-free before by using a blend of agave nectar and honey.  The best way to tell how much sweetener to add is to just test it.  Add a little and then taste a piece of the fruit.  Peaches are naturally very sweet (organic) and don’t need much extra help.  However, berries or tart apples will need a little extra.  You will also want to add whatever kind of spices you might want to use at this point.  Peaches are great with a tsp. of vanilla and a touch of orange or lemon zest.  Apples are wonderful with 3/4 tsp. of ground Cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. of ground Ginger.  You can really play around with this recipe to suit your tastes.

After the peaches are all mixed up and look something like this, spread them out in a baking dish.

Now it is time to make the topping.  In a mixing bowl, put roughly 2 Cups of Rolled Oats.  Grind up a 3-4 Tbls of rolled oats in a blender or cut them up by hand using a large kitchen knife.  You are looking for the general consistency of flour.  If you have some gluten free flour on hand you can use that instead of grinding up the oats.  I am allergic to the store brands of gluten free flours (I  know we would fit right in at the allergy parade) so I make my own by grinding oats or rice up in the blender
(I suppose that is for another post).  For the cobbler, you only need a couple of Tbls of flour to hold the whole thing together.  Now add the 2-3 Tbls of oat flour to the bowl and also add 2 Tbls of your preferred sweetener to the bowl.  Cut a half a stick of butter into chunks and add that to the bowl.  Now with your hands, squish the whole thing together (mmmm.squishy).  If you need to add more butter, cut the other half of the stick into chunks and add them as you need.

You want the end product to look something like this-little bunches of oats stuck together and crumbly.

Spread the topping evenly on the peaches.  Bake in a 350F oven for 30-45 min. or until the top is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly.

Breakfast is served!

Well I hope that you will enjoy this cobbler as much as we do! Cheers!  I am off to the Tractor Supply to pick up a few things for the furry and feathered.

Apple Pie

Our neighbors across the road are having their annual BBQ.  Unfortunately, Lel and I had already made plans prior to being invited.  However, since this is the first year that we have been invited (and as a gesture of good neighborliness)  we thought we should at least contribute a dish of some kind.  My fruit bowl just happened to be full of beautiful organic apples, so I figured Apple Pie would be an easy and tasty treat to contribute.

I made this pie with what happened to be in our pantry at the time so it differs a bit from how I would traditionally make apple pie filling, but it was just as tasty and actually contains less sugar.

  • Apple Pie Recipe:

  • 6 to 8 Apples (I just happened to have some organic gala apples I think, but usually I will mix in some granny smith as well)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 orange
  • Roughly 1/2 Cup of White Sugar
  • 3 Tbls Honey
  • 2 Tbls Maple Syrup
  • Ginger
  • Cinamon
  • Pie Crust

Wash, peel, and slice the apples into wedges.

Squeeze some lemons. I used the juice from two lemons, but they were very small lemons-so the juice from one large one would do (roughly 1 to 2 Tbls).  Add the juice from half an orange.

Add the lemon and orange juice to the bowl of apples.  Toss the apples to evenly coat them with the juice.  Now  add the sugar and spice.

My spice rack!

I tend to eye ball things, but I would say that I add roughly a 1/2 tsp of ground Cinnamon and a 1/4 tsp of ground Ginger.  Sprinkle the spices around on top of the apples.  Now you will also want to add the sugar, honey, and maple syrup to the bowl of apples.  Mix the whole thing up and let the apples sit as you prep the pie pan.

  • Pie Crust Recipe:

  • 2 1/2 Cups Organic All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 Sticks of Butter (cold)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Tbls White Vinegar
  • 2-3 Tbls Ice Cold Water

In a large mixing bowl, measure out the flour and salt.  Mix the flour and the salt together.  In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg and 1 Tbls of white vinegar.  In another small bowl, add some ice and about a cup of water.  Now remove the sticks of butter from the fridge, cut them (the sticks of butter} into chunks and add it to the flour.

With a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour.

It will look something like this when you are finished.  Now add the egg and vinegar mixture.  Mix this together a little, then start adding a 1 Tbls of water at a time until the dough comes together.  When the dough is starting to stick together, knead it into a ball or disk.

Wrap the dough disks in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30-45 min.
When the dough is chilled roll it out on a lightly floured surface.

Pinch the edges up.

Now add the apples to fill the pie crust.  I have become very fond of using cookie cutters to cut shapes to make the tops of fruit pies.  It is quick and easy and looks great. Everyone loves it and doesn’t have to know that I find that it is easier than actually rolling out a flat pie top:)  I have stars on hand.

The stars are shiny, because after I finished it off, I brushed a little egg wash on.  Pop this baby in the oven for about 35-40 minutes or until toasty light brown on the crust and bubbly on the inside.

We dropped the pie off.  I guess it was a hit, because the neighbors even felt the need to drop by personally and thank us 🙂