Archive for the ‘Peaches’ Category

Pasta with Melon? You Bet!

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

melon pastaweb

My friend Michael Collins accompanied me to my most recent TV appearance. Michael and his partner Tony, an artist, were the owners and hosts at one of my family’s favorite western Massachusetts eateries, the Green Emporium in Colrain.

That restaurant closed a couple of years ago, but they are hoping to reopen in a new location, and they want to keep Michael’s work as a chef in the public eye. So he made the main course for our gig on Mass Appeal, and I put together the dessert.

His dish was absolutely fabulous. I would never have thought of pairing fresh local melon (or any melon, for that matter) with pasta, but the sweetness of the melon with the acid of Michael’s tomato sauce really worked. (The cream didn’t hurt, either.)

Michael’s recipe appears below (thank you, Michael, for sharing it), along with the video of his segment. I’m afraid my face disappears behind my hat somewhere in the middle of the segment, but he looked fine, and that’s all that matters.

But before we get to the recipe, I want to announce that we have a winner for the Yummy Yammy salsa giveaway—Peter from Connecticut. Thanks to all of you who left comments on my last post.

On to Michael’s triumph……

Tinky Michael Cweb

Michael’s Pasta with Melon and Tomatoes

Ingredients:

1 local cantaloupe, peeled and seeded
butter and olive oil as needed for sautéing
the juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pint heavy cream
approximately 4 cups marinara sauce, pureed
grated Parmigiano Reggiano, fresh basil, and freshly ground pepper for garnish

Instructions:

Cut the melon into 1-inch chunks. Sauté it very briefly in butter and olive oil. Add the lemon juice, the salt, the pepper, and the cream. Stir in marinara sauce until the whole concoction is a pretty pink, more or less the color of the melon. (You’ll probably want about 3 cups here.)

Cook for a few minutes to reduce the sauce slightly. Serve over the pasta of your choice. Garnish with cheese and basil, and grind pepper over all. Have the extra marinara sauce warm at the table in case it’s wanted. Serves 4 to 6.

Here’s the video:

And here’s the clip of my dessert, a peach cobbler. The recipe appears elsewhere on this blog.

Re-Learning about Whipped Cream

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
Not my most together creation--although it tasted pretty darn fine.

Not my most together creation–although it tasted pretty darn fine.

I learn something every time I appear on television. I like to think of this as a good thing—but I would like to minimize the learning EVENTUALLY and become completely organized on camera.

Unfortunately, during my most recent appearance on Mass Appeal I forgot what my mother taught me about the fragile nature of whipped cream.

We were making an ice box cake, a mid-20th-century creation that relies on refrigeration for its basic structure. This particular cake was made of Graham crackers, peaches, a few berries, and … whipped cream.

Whipped cream, as my mother always told me, MUST be whipped cold. And it must be handled gently.

Unfortunately (mistake number one), I left the cream I was whipping on the air sitting in the studio lights a little too long. It didn’t whip.

I brought a pre-made cake from home. Unfortunately, I messed that up as well!

First, I decided to move it onto a pretty cake plate when I arrived at the studio. It collapsed and had to be re-glued together. (Apparently, ice box cakes shouldn’t be moved.)

Next, I left it, too, in the lights a little too long. When we arrived at its moment of cutting, it didn’t slice so much as fall apart.

The good news is that I can show you photographs of another ice box cake I made the week before at home that came out very nicely.

ice box cakeweb

The evening after the broadcast, my nephew Michael, my neighbor Alice, and I spooned leftover messy ice box cake into bowls with additional peaches. This made a trifle-like dessert that was FABULOUS.

One of these days I’ll manage to do a little better on the air. Meanwhile, of course, I still had fun. (I always have fun.) And hosts Seth Stutman and Ashley Kohl were forgiving.

The video link appears after the recipe below. So that you don’t think I’m a total klutz, I also include the link to our previous segment, in which we made BLTs with no major mishaps.

Enjoy peach season! And remember, when life gives you messy cake, you can always make trifle.

Assembling the Cake

Assembling the Cake

Peach Ice Box Cake

Ingredients:

3 cups peeled peach slices (2 to 3 peaches, depending on size)
1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
the juice of 1/2 lemon
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons fruit liqueur (I used framboise, a raspberry liqueur, or blueberry cordial)
Graham crackers as needed (I used a little more than 1 sleeve of crackers)
blueberries or raspberries as needed for topping

Instructions:

In a nonreactive bowl toss together the peach slices, sugar, and lemon juice. Set aside for 2 hours.

Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks, stirring in the sugar and liqueur at the last minute.

Find a decorative plate. Put a little whipped cream on the bottom of the plate, underneath the spot on which you will place the crackers. Put a layer of Graham crackers on top of the cream. Follow this with a layer of whipped cream, a layer of peach slices, and another cracker layer.

You should end up with four layers of Graham crackers with three layers of whipped cream and peaches in between. Save enough whipped cream to cover the top of the final layer of crackers as well as the sides of the cake. (You MAY use a whole 2 cups of cream, but this seems excessive to me.)

Loosely cover your cake so that it is protected but isn’t exposed to odors from the rest of the refrigerator, and chill the cake for at least 6 hours. (Overnight is best.) When you are ready to serve it, place fresh berries on top.

Serves 6.

And now for the sad but yummy video:

And here is the video about the BLTs, which definitely looked better.

Celebrating the March on Washington

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Today in honor of the March on Washington’s 50th anniversary I cooked a couple of appropriate recipes on the television program “Mass Appeal.” I post the videos below.

You may see the full recipes elsewhere on this very blog. I originally made the black-eyed peas to remember the television program “Amos and Andy.”

And the pound cake, which may be made with blueberries as well as peaches, appears here.

Happy viewing!


End of Season Peach Cobbler

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Peach season is winding down in our corner of Massachusetts. I’ll miss it, but apples are on their way!

I have made this cobbler a couple of times in the past few weeks with juicy local peaches. Once I used peaches alone (the photo at the top of this post, courtesy of my friend Lisa Johnson); once, half blueberries and half peaches (the photo at the bottom).

The dessert is simple to make. It’s even simpler if you make the fruit base the night before and throw things together to bake while you’re eating your main course.

If you love ginger with your peaches, substitute a little of it for the cinnamon. Or just add ginger along with the cinnamon. I love ginger but not necessarily in peaches so I left it out.

The Cobbler

Ingredients:

for the fruit base:

1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups chopped peaches (or half peaches and half blueberries or raspberries)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter, diced

for the cobbler crust:

1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

for the topping:

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish.

Begin by making the base. Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a smallish nonreactive pot. Stir in the fruit and lemon juice.

Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil, stirring gently, for 1 minute. Remove the fruit from the heat and stir in the cinnamon.

Spread the fruit n the prepared pan. Dot the top with butter.

To make the crust whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter, but don’t overdo the process. You should still have tiny pieces of butter in the mixture.

Whisk together the milk, egg, and vanilla. Add them to the dry ingredients, and mix just until moist. Drop the resulting mixture onto the peaches, and spread it around to cover the fruit. Sprinkle brown sugar over all in little clumps.

Bake until lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Serves 8.

Summer Fruit Key-Lime Pie

Friday, August 10th, 2012

I have mentioned before how much I love key-lime juice and key-lime pie. I love being able to buy key-lime juice from Nellie & Joe’s just about anywhere. (No, Nellie and Joe didn’t pay me or give me anything to say that. It’s the plain truth.)

I had a request for key-lime pie a couple of weeks ago. I also had a whole bunch of lovely fresh fruit in the house, including gorgeous tiny blueberries and the first peaches of the season. So I decided to add a little local fruit to my key-lime creation.

The result was an incredibly easy to make (and easy to eat) melding of north and south, sweet and tart.

My camera is broken, but luckily one of my guests, Alison Seaton, brought along her IPhone and took a photo of the pie before it disappeared completely.

The Pie

Ingredients:

for the fruit layer:

2 cups mixed fruit (peaches and blueberries … or peaches and blueberries and raspberries!)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons key-lime juice
1/1-2 teaspoons cornstarch

for the key-lime layer:

1/2 cup key-lime juice
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks

for assembly:

1 uncooked 8- or 9-inch graham cracker crust (I made this from scratch, but store bought will do in a pinch)

for presentation:

whipped cream to taste (optional but good)

Instructions:

This recipe is best prepared several hours in advance.

Combine the fruit, sugar, and 2 tablespoons key-lime juice in a nonreactive saucepan. If you have time, let them sit for half an hour or so. Otherwise, forge ahead!

Stir in the cornstarch. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, and boil, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set it aside to cool. When it is at room temperature, cover and refrigerate the fruit mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl whisk together the ingredients for the key-lime layer. Pour them into the pie crust.

Bake the pie for 20 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and let it cool to room temperature; then cover it and place it in the freezer.

About an hour before you are ready to serve your pie, pour the fruit layer on top of the key-lime layer and put the whole thing in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it.

Serve with whipped cream as desired. Serves 6.