Kitchen Creations

Monday, April 30, 2012

Loves me some peaches!

At the end of last summer my boys and I picked about a thousand pounds (that's not really much of an exaggeration) of peaches with our great friends Anna & Teresa.  We still have quite a frew frozen peaches from that picking extravaganza.  They call to me, often.  They are sweet and juicy and beg to be eaten.  Consequently, when I came across a recipe for "Peaches and Cream Coffee Cake" on the "Tidy Mom" food blog, I knew I must make it.  There is not a single word in that title that doesn't entice me.  I altered it because the original recipe calls for canned peach pie filling.  I had fresh/frozen peaches that I wasn't about to substitute for canned!!  I added a bit of flour to my peaches to thicken them to pie filling consistency and that worked perfectly. I also adore the flavor of ginger with peaches and so added some ginger to my peaches as well. This recipe did not disappoint on any level - simple ingredients, easy to put together, pretty and above all TASTY!!! 

Enjoy some peachy goodness tonight with your family and friends!!

Peaches n' Cream Coffee Cake
Peachy Goodness!!!
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup milk (original recipe called ro heavy whipping cream but I subbed 1% milk)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2-1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cups peaches
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger (more if you love ginger - I used 1/2 tsp because we really love it)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. flour or cornstarch (depending on what you like to thicken your pie filling with)
  • for icing
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-5 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream (or milk)

  • Method:
    • Preheat oven to 350°
    • Mix flour, salt & baking powder together and add in sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter (will be crumbly).  Take out 1 cup and save for topping.

    • Mix egg yolks with milk and add to remainder of flour mixture. Mix until very smooth.
    • Gently fold in egg whites.
    • Pour into greased springform pan - also can make in a 9X13 glass pan (bake at 375 for 45 minutes, but the springform pan is MUCH prettier!!)
    • Mix peaches with ginger and 1-2 Tbsp. flour or cornstarch
    • Spread peaches evenly over top of batter.
    • Sprinkle with crumb mixture.
    • Bake for 55-65 minutes. Until lightly brown on top.
    • Allow to cool for five minutes then remove from pan.
    • Drizzle with vanilla icing.
    For the Icing:
    1. Melt butter in microwave, then add vanilla.
    2. Slowly stir in powdered sugar. (will be clumpy)
    3. Add 3 tablespoons of cream (or milk) stir until creamy and smooth. Add more cream 1 tablespoon at a time until right consistency (runny enough to drizzle over cake).

    Sunday, April 29, 2012

    Sweet & Spicy!

    My friend Stacy and I are always looking for new great ideas for dinner that involve vegetarian fare (well for her more vegan).  I came across these on that most addictive site, Pinterest.  I can't remember if I pinned them first or she did.  It doesn't really matter.  We both made them the same week.  I tweaked a few things because I'm a texture freak.  If it doesn't feel good in my mouth, it doesn't get beyond that point.  It seemed like a fantastic idea to saute the corn in spices first, but I found it made it a bit chewy and I like my corn full and bursting.  Additionally, Stacy and I both discovered that the sweet potato mixture is so creamy and flavorful that the shredded cheese on top in the original recipe isn't necessary at all.  To each her own, but in the following recipe I'll be giving the method I most prefer.  These make a great main dish for those who are into eating a plant strong diet.  I paired them with fresh fruit and a salad and all 3 of my guys were satisfied, even the bottomless pit that is my older son.

    Grab some sweet potatoes and get stuffing!!!

    Stuffed Mexican Sweet Potatoes 
    *Adapted from "Pinch Of Yum" food blog by Stacy & Gretchen

  • 3-4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 can corn, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1-2 canned chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce, minced or pureed
  • 1 ounce light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt (+ more to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 6 tablespoons shredded cheese (Pepperjack, Cheddar, Colby Jack) - Optional!

  • Method:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the sweet potatoes for 45-60 minutes.
    2. While sweet potatoes are baking, combine corn with a sprinkle of salt and cumin (feel free to add any other Mexican seasoning in the amounts that work for you) in a medium bowl.  
    3. Saute the onion in the butter over medium heat until soft and translucent. Set aside.
    4. Remove sweet potatoes from the oven when fork-tender. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Cut the sweet potatoes in half. Scrape out the insides of the sweet potatoes out, leaving the skins intact. (as much as possible).  Leaving some of the sweet potato in the skin helps keep the skins whole.
    5. Mix the sweet potato that you've scooped out of the sweet potatoes with the cream cheese, sour cream, chipotle peppers, and salt. You can use a mixer or just a spoon, depending on how soft the potatoes are. When well-mixed, gently stir in the black beans, roasted corn, sauteed onions, and cilantro.
      I could eat this all by itself!!
    6. Scoop the filling into the skins and top each with 1 tablespoon shredded cheese. Broil for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. 
    Before the oven


    Saturday, April 28, 2012

    Heavenly Blueberries

    I've taken a bit of a vacation from blogging; not by design, just by necessity.  The end of the school year sees an increase in referrals for speech and language services and that means testing and paperwork galore.  I haven't been able to find moments to blog but I have CREATED moments to bake.  It's my stress relief and a necessity when the end of the school year rolls around.  Luckily I have a great excuse, my small group Bible study.  I HAVE to provide yummy treats for them each week.  Not because they make me, but because I need to.  It provides the perfect reason to drop everything and bake.  A few weeks ago my younger son joined me in the kitchen to create some of the tastiest treats yet. Living in the Yakima valley for the past almost 2 years, we've discovered a treasure trove of fresh fruit, ours for the picking, literally.  We have taken full advantage of all opportunities and with the help of my canning equipment and a large garage freezer; we've been able to enjoy the "fruits of our picking labor" all year round.  For this recipe I grabbed some of the amazing blueberries we picked last summer. (I have since decided that almost any berry would be great in this recipe.) We went blueberry picking with some great friends and my obsessive compulsive side reared its head.  I could not pull myself away as long as there was a single berry left on a bush.  My husband had to intervene.  I dreamt of picking berries that night.  I digress.  The original recipe comes from The Smitten Kitchen food blog.  I really didn't change much since it is such a simple, straight forward recipe that there was no need.  In fact, my 4 year old kitchen helper did much of the work.  (He is, however, a trained professional, enrolled for the past 5 months in his pre-school's cooking class.)  Don't let the simplicity fool you though.  It looks and tastes completely AMAZING!!!  I made a second dessert on top of this one.  There was one small piece left by the end of the night.  There were only 9 people at small group!!!  If that isn't a testimony to the sheer deliciousness of these bars, nothing is. 

    Grab some berries and getting cracking on this pan of deliciousness.

    Blueberry Crumb Bars  
    3/4 cup white sugar (I cut this down from 1 cup - hey, every little bit helps right?)
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    Zest and juice of one lemon  (thinking of trying lime next time)
    1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
    1 egg
    4 cups fresh blueberries
    1/4 cup white sugar  (also cut this in half because I knew these blueberries were sweet already)
    4 teaspoons cornstarch

    1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
    2. In a medium bowl, stir together 3/4 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and lemon zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.
    My happy little helper!

    Grinning Fiendishly

    Working hard

    3. In another bowl, stir together remaining 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust.
    He has to get is perfectly even.
    4.  Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.
    Seriously cute kitchen elf
    Up close look before the oven.
     Makes me want to eat it now!

    5. Bake in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. (It took a full hour in my oven to reach desired color.)

    Click here for printable recipe

    Sunday, April 8, 2012

    Close your eyes, take a bite and say "Wow"!

    This blog is about the dinner I made for tonight, Resurrection Sunday. I like to do things that are unexpected, out of the norm, sometimes.  Soooo.... no ham, no potatoes, no traditional foods.  I made a a lasagna with roasted sweet potatoes and butternut squash. One word, A-MAZE-ING!  I literally closed my eyes while I chewed. It enhanced the experience by about tenfold!  It's creamy, bursting with flavor, with some texture to chew provided by the noodles and the oh-so-wonderful crusty cheese atop this wonderment.  Fair warning, this is NOT one of my healthier dishes, in fact I'd call it down right indulgent.  Its saving grace is the good amount of orange vegetables in it.  I cling tightly to that fact right there.  I clung to it though each and every delectable bite tonight.  This WILL become one of my all time, top comfort foods.  But, back to business.  The original recipe comes from the food blog "How Sweet It Is" and it called for a few things I didn't have, which absolutely forced me to improvise and make it more my own. I think I'll improvise even more next time, substituting fresh basil for the sage because fresh basil is one of my all time food best friends.  I love it and I think it would make this dish just one notch closer to perfect and in my taste it is very nearly there already!!! 

    So, sometime soon, spend some time making this delightfully delicious dish and then sit down, close your eyes, take a bite and..... I bet you say "wow"!!!

    Roasted Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Lasagna 
    9 whole wheat lasagna noodle sheets
    1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 3 cups cubed)
    2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 1 1/2 cups cubed)
    4 ounces cream cheese
    4 ounces sour cream
    4 ounces cottage cheese  - or in place of the cream cheese, sour cream & cottage cheese, you can use 12 ounces of mascarpone cheese but I didn' t have this, thus the improvised list of substitutes
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1 shallot, thinly sliced
    3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
    1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    1/2 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon pepper
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    1 Tbsp. ground sage OR 15-20 fresh basil leaves!! (Original recipe calls for sage leaves, but I had ground sage from our sage plant from last year and used that instead.)
    olive oil for drizzling

    1.)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2.)  Cook pasta noodles according to package directions or use "no boil" noodles.
    2.)  Peel and cube butternut squash and sweet potatoes.  Place them on baking sheet.  Drizzle olive oil over the tops.  I used my handy dandy oil spritzer from Pampered Chef and it made this a snap.  Then sprinkle with the nutmeg and 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
    I love these colors!

    3.)  Bake the squash and sweet potatoes for a total of 1 hour, turning every 15 minutes to get a nice roasted look on all sides.
    4.)  While the sweet potatoes and squash bake, slice the shallots and mince the garlic. 
    5.)  Heat a medium skillet, add butter then shallots and garlic.  You want to brown the butter but not burn it.  Stir quickly every 30 seconds or so and let the  shallots and garlic saute in the butter for about 2-3 minutes.  Then remove from heat.
    6.)  Stir together your sour cream, cream cheese and cottage cheese.  Add 3/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese.
    This stuff smells and tastes incredible!!
    7.)  Stir in the shallot, garlic, butter mixture until smooth.
    That's some yummy goodness folks!
    8.)  When potatoes are done, mash them either with a fork or mixer - depending on what texture you prefer, just mash them enough that they spread easily over the noodles.
    9.)  Now it's time to layer.  Spray an 8X8 pan with oil.  Put down 1 layer of noodles.  Cover the noodles with 1/2 of the sweet potato/squash mixture and spread out evenly.  Top with 1/2 of the cheese mixture, 1/3 of Tb. of ground sage/sage leaves/basil leaves (which ever you choose) and then 1/2 of the mozzarella and remaining Parmesan.  Add another layer of noodles, the rest of the sweet potato/squash mixture, the rest of the cheese mixture, sage/basil, and another 1/3 of the mozzarella and remaining Parmesan.  Finally put on one last layer of noodles and then cover with the remaining 1/3 mozzarella and Parmesan. top with sage or basil.
    Layers through the glass pan.

    10.)  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.
    Before diving into it!


    Click here for printable recipe

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    Trying something new

    So, in an effort to look for some great vegetarian recipes, I've hit on quite a few really tasty looking Indian food recipes.  I love the combination of spices and vegetables in each of these.  The flavor really does just explode in your mouth.  I've also been searching out recipes that add something new.  I like to introduce my boys to new vegetables and fruits.  My older son is easy, he'll try anything and be polite about it.  My younger son, compete opposite.  He's not shy about making a face and spitting it back out.  We have a rule in our house called the "No thank you bite", courtesy of our friends Kristen and Andy.  You MUST take one bite to see if you like it and then if you don't you may say a polite, "No thank you".  However, sometimes it turns into a "Yes please" bite!  It's cut down on many a struggle with my youngest.  It simply goes without saying that you will have to try everything on your plate.  Other research has shown that between 20-30 exposures to certain flavors or foods help you develop a taste for them.  That's another point in favor of the "No thank you." bite!  I digress.  The new food I was introducing in this recipe was okra.  My husband helped me with the hype on this one by bringing in his botanical expertise.   Okra is part of the mallow family.  Some mallows grow in marshy areas.  Are you catching the draw here?  Inside mallow plants there is a slimy substance.  This slimy substance is taken from those mallows that grow in marshy areas and whipped.  The result........ anyone guess it yet?   That's right, MARSHMALLOW!  Well at that point my kids were on board, hugely.  Warning, okra tastes nothing like that fluffy, white stuff, but surprisingly my boys devoured it and asked for more. 

    So, without further ado, I'll introduce you to our meal featuring the cousin of the marshmallow!

    Vegetable Kashmiri   
    (recipe from Complete Vegetarian published by Hermes House)
    2 tsp. cumin seeds
    8 black peppercorns
    2 cardamom pods
    1 Tbsp. cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
    3 Tbsp. oil
    1 fresh green chili, chopped (I used a poblano)
    1 medium onion, sliced
    1 inch piece of fresh ginger root, grated
    1 tsp. chili powder
    1/2 tsp. salt
    2 large potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes (I recommend Yukon gold, they add a rich flavor)
    1 medium head of cauliflower cut into florets
    8 oz of okra (I could not find fresh so I used the next best thing, frozen)
    2/3 cup plain yogurt
    2/3 cup vegetable stock
    1/4 cup toasted flaked almonds
    Sprigs of fresh cilantro for garnish

    1.)  Grind the cumin seeds, peppercorns and cardamom. 
    I ground my spices in a small food processor.

    2.)  Add the freshly ground spices to the cinnamon and nutmeg.
    3.)  Heat oil in a large pan and saute the chili,onion and ginger for two minutes on medium-high.
    Does it get any better than sauteed peppers, onions & spices?

    4.)  Add the chili power, salt and ground spice mixture.  Cook for 2-3 minutes over gentle heat. Stir constantly to keep spices from sticking.
    5.)  Stir in the potatoes, cover and cook for 10 minutes over low, stir occasionally.
    6.)  Add the cauliflower and okra.  Cook for 5 minutes.

    Frozen Okra on the top
    7.)  Add the yogurt and stock.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
    8.)  Garnish with toasted almonds (this really makes the dish) and cilantro.
    Don't skip these!  They add tons of crunch & flavor!

    Click here for printable recipe