Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Rosemary's Easy Peach Cobbler (Week 35)

After much begging, my friend Rosemary sent me her recipe for her Peach Cobbler.  Rosemary is blessed to have an abundance of Alberta peaches on her Dad's property.  Our peach tree died an unholy death and was replaced with a lackluster apricot (which is why I opted for a CSA basket).  I can count on my parents for figs and veggies.  Stone fruit...NOPE!  Now with the end of my season with Mizuno Farms, I am going to have to start looking else where...arugh......foraging in the fields west of Fresno!

Rosemary tells me this is super easy and was a huge hit.  My next adventure is driving out to her Dad's to get a bag of my own golden treasures!  Thanks doll!


½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon  baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup milk
4 cups fresh peach slices
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Ground cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)

1.        Melt butter in a 13x 9 inch baking dish
2.       Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt;  add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Pour  batter over butter (do not stir).
3.       Bring remaining 1 cup sugar, peaches, and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly;  pour over batter (do not stir).  Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.
4.       Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve cobbler warm or cool.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Roasted Grapes with Goat Cheese (Week 35)

This is for my friend Rosemary who sat with me aboard their boat last weekend scoping this stuff out of my fancy-pants Tupperware!  Being a Kerman girl, you sort of have your fill of grapes (primarily Thompson Seedless).  My husband, who is not a Kerman dude, is enamored with grapes and planted four vines on the side of the house.  He TOLD me that it was for shade opposite our bedroom...HA!  He is UBER protective of his grapes (Crimson, Black Manuka, and Pearlettes).  He is so protective that I had to supplement this recipe with a trip to Whole Foods!


Roasted Balsamic Grapes with Goat Cheese
1/2 pound seedless grapes, separated with only the berries
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 generous splashes of balsamic vinegar
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 log of goat cheese

Preheat oven to 450 and spray a cookie sheet with pan (this is just to be safe).  Toss grapes and onions in olive oil and place on cookie sheet.  Splash with vinegar and bake till grapes are sort of deflated or wrinkled (approximately 20 minutes or so).  Add salt and pepper.  Let cool slightly and pour over a log of goat cheese.  Serve with Raincoast crisps.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Brandied Pluot Tart (Week 34)

Goodbye Kevin and Greg.  Goodbye to my big, fat bag of stone fruit ht has give me much joy these past few months.....I'll be waiting for you again next spring.  I am fairly certain the boys at Mizuno Farms threw in a few extra pounds of fruit for this ole gal and I am flush with pluots!!  If all of you in "Blog-o-sphere" haven't singed up for a CSA basket you MUST get on the list for next year.  I can't recommend them enough!!  Now that I am done with fruit, I must stop in to see Mike and Sandee for my veggie basket :-)

Oh yum yum!

This is a simple (super simple if you have a pre-made pie crust) tart that is sure to please everyone in your group....if not, tell them to head for a Swanson Frozen pie and keep the darn thing to yourself!!

Brandied Pluot Tart

4 ripe pluots, pitted and sliced
1 pie crust
2 Tbsp plum jam
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp brandy
2 tsp instant tapioca (more or less)
Zest of one lemon

Spray tart pan with a nonstick spray.  Press down the crust and up to the fluted edges.  Place sliced pluots in a bowl and mix in the sugar, brandy, jam and stir well coating all of the fruit.  Add in the lemon zest and the tapioca   Mix up again and pour in to the crust.  Spread the fruit around so that it makes an even layer.  Place in a preheated 350 oven and bake for 35 minutes.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Fried Okra Poppers (Week 34)

Okra is not one of those things that I rush to the market thinking "oh God....I am SO craving OKRA".!  In an effort to get outside my "comfort zone" (this trend starting with flying through the air on a zip line a week or so ago), I gathered up some fresh okra at the Vineyard Farmers Market.  This little dish was quite tasty and my hubby actually liked it.  Imagine that?  Okra!

Fried Okra Poppers
4 cups of stale tortilla chips (crushed and ground)
1/4 c all purpose flour
1 large egg
2 ounces of chilled pepper Jack cheese
12 medium okra
2 cups of corn oil

In a food processor finely grind the tortilla chips (you can use crackers too but I like the corn crunch).  In a shallow bowl, whisk together the crumbs, the flour and salt to taste.  In another bowl, beat the egg.  Cut cheese in to twelve 1 1/2 by 1/2 by 1/4 inch pe3ices.

With a sharp knife, slit the lengthwise side of each okra and gently pull slit open to insert cheese.  Chill for 5 minutes.

Working in batches of 4, dip stuffed okra in egg then roll in crumbs then fry till golden.  Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Julia!! My inspiration (Week 33)

"Everything in Moderation....including moderation" -- Julia Child

Oh Julia -- you sounded exactly like my would have been 100 today!  Happy, happy birthday.  I am your "granddaughter by another daughter", so to speak, and watching you move your 6'2" frame gracefully around the kitchen  when I was just a tot was mesmerizing!  Many a time my Mom "experimented" on us with the TV chef's suggestions.  Your's were always among my favorites (I am still somewhat scarred from Graham Kerr's Pisto Manchego).

You burnt things, dropped things on the floor, wrestled with fish and threw a were the cook's cook and your joy shined through.  You inspired me then and you inspire me now......

"I think every woman should own a blow torch" -- Julia Child
"The only time to eat diet food is when you are waiting for the steak to cook" -- Julia Child
"How can a nation be called great if its bread tastes like Kleenex" -- Julia Child

Happy Birthday my dear, you live on in my kitchen, 
in my heart and on my waistline!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Local .... On the road (Scott's Valley Week 32)

While I am blessed with a beautiful kitchen, complete with fancy sleek German appliances and a million dollar view from the stove, today's entry is not cooked it rather uncorked!

After doing some work-related business in the morning, the hubby and I ventured down the hill in the afternoon to the Scott's Valley Wine & Art Festival. The weather was wonderful and this weekend-long event was "perfect": Beer for my Hubby since it was quite warm and fabulous shopping for me. I even picked up a tie-dye shirt to sooth my inner flower child.  While shopping at Karen's Tie Dye (a vendor that I have seen several times at our Vintage Daze Festival at Fresno State), we ran in to another shopper who was admiring my bracelet.  One thing led to another and she started jabbering away in Polish with my Husband:  New friend!!  Such a fun event and .....WOW....great wine.

We found two that went with our view and the truffle infused Italian cheese we picked up at the Scott's Valley Market (note: they have a delightful cheese department, complete with tastings!).

Choice one was the Bargetto 2010 Reserve Pinot Noir. Fabulous wine with an abundance of warmth and character. Bargetto has always been one of my coastal favorites.  This started back in the '70's during our family vacations in Aptos when my folks used to drag my sister and I to wineries (as you can see.....I had LITTLE choice in directions and inclinations!).  My hats are off to the staff many years ago who put up with two surly little monsters.

Choice two was the 2009 Chardonnay from Bruzzone (must be a "B" thing going on here). Crisp but with a honeysuckle nose. This particular wine was a huge surprise since it is a family owned winery....small and off the beaten path.

Time to grab that glass and enjoy sunset!
Big thanks to our hosts, Howard and Anita, for giving us such a wonderful place to play!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"I get by with a little help from my friends...." (Week 31)

Where would we all be without the help of ourfriends?  The same is true for me....and my food blog!  Months ago, Iput the call out to a few of my followers to weigh in on what's fresh andlocal intheir area.  Of my 14 followers (and countless others who lookin from time to time), I had only one contribution (Thanks Robyn) but it wasfrom my beautiful San Joaquin Valley.  This isn't a problem at all (I am ahuge fan of our produce) but I was hoping for something a tad moreexotic.

My, my......I am happy to pass along a "share" from oneof my dear friends who lives in Alaska.  It has been years since we haveshared a meal but I do recall she ROCKS in the kitchen.  She also provided the Chili Verde recipe from a few months back but it was low on local produce.  Today, I am truly getttin' by with the help of my friends....Katrina just moved to a new residence in Alaska.  Her prior home had the curse of the black thumb and she didn't have the good fortune she has in her new abode.  This good fortune has resulted in a bumper cropof rhubarb.
Rhubarb CustardBars

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, 1 stick, room temperature

1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp flour
4 eggs beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
4-5 cups rhubarb
1 c. sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray.
Crust: blend flour & sugar together, then cut in the butter with a fork orpastry blender. Press crust into a 9x13 inch baking pan that has been sprayedwith a cooking spray. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Preparefilling while crust is baking.

Filling: in a large mixing bowl blend sugar and flour, then add eggs, vanillaand rhubarb and blend well. Sprinkle almonds on top Pour mixture overpartially baked crust and continue baking for 30-35 minutes. Serve warm orcooled.  If you like top with powdered sugar.  (It serves like alemon bar.) Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Kat's Rhubarb Vinaigrette

2 c chopped rhubarb
1/3 c honey
1/3 c water
Heat above in sauce pan. Boil for 2 minutesthen purée. While hot add
1 minced shallot Add 1/4 - 1/3 c balsamic vinegar (taste).  Add saltand pepper.
Let mixture cool. Whisk in 1/2 c EVOO. We had over fresh greens andstrawberries

....and more help from my friends.....I finallyreceived my new business cards and the first folks I gave them to were my everfaithful suppliers of wonderful organic produce, Mike and Sandi Smith fromSmith Family Organic Farms (look them up on Facebook too).  I loaded up on figs (sweet as sugar so I consumedhalf - yes half - the basket in the car ride back to my office) and GeodeSquash.  The recipes for these bad boys to follow in the next post. I hear they are delicious on the grill and topped with blue cheese androsemary.  YUMMMMM.

Summer Savory Kebab

1 Geode Squash, cut in disks
2 small Thai eggplants, cut in half disk shapes
1 La Brea French Demi Baguette
1 long sprig of rosemary
1/4 c. Roquefort cheese crumbles
2 or 3 fresh figs
Salt, pepper and garlic powder

Cut the ends of the bread off first. Skewer one end then layer and repeat squash, fig, eggplant and bread slice- repeat and finish with the last end piece. Drizzle with olive oil and dust with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Thread rosemary up the skewer. Place on grill and brown as evenly as possible. Top with cheese and serve.