Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Peach Cobbler

Intention and action are not close acquaintances these days.  I wanted to make peach cobbler for 4th of July.  21 days later….  Can I blame it on my house guest?  No, because he would have helped me make it! 

Peaches are at their peak and what a time to enjoy them!  As with the blackberry cobbler, I like the fruit to be the center of attention.  My apologies are to my family who had to suffer through a very doughy cobbler earlier in the week.  While they dutifully ate both versions, we agreed that tonight’s was much better. 

Side story that has nothing to do with cooking - David played this game with the kids tonight at the dinner table including math and spelling questions and the bonus question was "how much do Daddy and Mommy weigh?"  Elizabeth refused to answer the question.  The boys both guessed my weight as more than David's (and no, I will not tell you the numbers).  Andrew's rationale was "Daddy exercises more and eats better."  No more cobbler for you boys!
Thanks to the farmers in Parker County, California, Georgia, etc. for these juicy, summery treats!

Peach Cobbler
For the cobbler
1.      6 cups of peaches (about 6-7 peaches), cut into bite size pieces
2.      ½ c sugar
3.      2 T lemon  juice
4.      1 T flour
For the crust
1.      1 c flour
2.      1 c sugar
3.      1 egg
4.      6 T butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375.

Cut peaches into bite size chunks.  Yes, you can peel off the skin if you wish or save yourself some time, leave it on and count it towards your fiber intake for the day.  If you want to peel it first, place the peaches in boiling water for a minute, remove and place in ice water to cool, then remove and peel.  In a large bowl, place the diced peaches and add ½ c sugar, lemon juice and 1 T flour.  Stir to mix and let sit for about 5 minutes.  It will create a nice juice.  Pour peaches into an 8x8 pyrex dish. 

In a separate bowl, combine the egg, flour and sugar until it resembles a course meal.  Sprinkle the flour mixture on top (you may not need to use it all).  Pour the melted butter on top.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Let sit for 10 minutes.

Scoop it out and serve in bowls.  Top with ice cream (Blue Bell old-fashioned vanilla is the choice around here) or whipped cream, if you like.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fish Tacos with a Tomatillo Salsa

Oh my gosh!  If you had heard the whining, complaining, and proclamations of boycotting dinner as we pulled into the parking lot of the fish market, you would have advised “woman, run for the hills.”  But moms have a unique ability to tune out their kids and I persevered (plus Rex has crackers on the tables in his restaurant and I knew the kids would be distracted for a few minutes.) 

In yesterday’s Dallas Morning News, there was an article on fish tacos in the Arts & Life section.  It reminded me of a recipe that I have used before so this is a compilation of a spicy salsa verde from Bobby Deen and the fish is prepared similarly to So-Cal Tacos.

By the way, the fish tacos earned a big thumbs up even from the kid who threatened not to get out of car at the fish market and from the dad who doesn’t like “fried” food.  I would say success all around and put a mark in the "W" column for the deaf and undeterred mom.

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Happy Anniversary C&C

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For the fish:
Fish Tacos with a Tomatillo Salsa
1.      1 pound halibut, cut into strips  (other recipes use mahi-mahi or tilapia) 
2.      1/2 cup flour   
3.      2 eggs, beaten  
4.      1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
5.      Oil for frying fish (I used canola)
6.      Corn tortillas
For the tomatillo salsa:
1.      1 1/2 pound tomatillos
2.      1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3.      1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
4.      1/2 cup cilantro leaves
5.      2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped
6.      1/4 teaspoon sugar
7.      Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the fish:
Lightly coat each piece of fish with flour. Dip fish into beaten eggs and shake off excess, then dip in panko and make sure each piece is coated with the breadcrumbs. Put in refrigerator which will help firm up the battered fish.

Take fish out of the refrigerator and heat oil. Fry fish until golden brown and internal temperature is 140 F.

To make the tomatillo salsa:
Remove papery husks from tomatillos and rinse well. Place in a pot of boiling water.  Remove from the water when the tomatillos change colors and soften – 10-20 minutes.

Place tomatillos, lime juice, onions, cilantro, jalapeno peppers and sugar in a food processor or blender and pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To serve:
Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil, sprinkle with a little water to steam and heat in oven at 200 degrees.  This will make tortillas soft and they won’t break as easily.  Once warm, place a piece of fish in the tortilla, top with salsa and guacamole, or your choice of toppings (i.e., cabbage/slaw, cilantro, lime juice, aioli, chipotle crema)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


My Uncle Willy arrived in Dallas with his suitcase, a Tupperware container of spanakopita, strawberry bread and Chappell Hill sausage.  House guests like this are welcome any time!!  A quick bake in the oven and we are enjoying an appetizer on the patio. 

Do you remember my comment about “only good things come from frozen pastry sheets?” (Palmiers, June 23, 2012)  This recipe continues to prove my theory correct (pastry sheets or phyllo dough - it's all flaky goodness to me) and with spinach inside, you can claim that you are eating it for your health.  And if you need more justification, take it from Popeye “…I’m strong to the finich, cause I eats me spinach.”

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Ginny – this recipe is for your next dinner party.  Thanks for the inspiration today!

1.      1 package (10 oz.) frozen spinach
2.      1 cup finely chopped onions
3.      2–3 cloves finely chopped garlic
4.      1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot (optional)
5.      6 oz. feta cheese, finely crumbled
6.      1 teaspoon dried oregano
7.      20 (or so) sheets of frozen phyllo pastry dough (Use Athens brand, if you can find it.      Regardless, the sheets are approximately 9”x 14” and generally come packaged two units to a box, each unit containing approximately 20 sheets.)
8.      ½ cup (you may need slightly more) melted butter
9.      1–2 tablespoons olive oil

Cook spinach according to package instructions.  Drain well, squeezing out excess moisture.  Meanwhile, in hot skillet, heat the olive oil and add onions and garlic (and shallots, if desired).  Sauté until onions are translucent.  Add oregano, spinach and feta cheese and mix all ingredients together.

Defrost one package of phyllo dough, according to package instructions.  Cover a flat surface with a generous amount of wax paper.  One sheet at a time, brush a sheet with melted butter.  Place a second sheet on top of the first sheet.  Butter the second sheet.  Repeat again with a third sheet of dough.  After you have “assembled” the three stacked sheets, all well-buttered, cut length-wise into three strips (making them approximately 3”x 14” each).

Place about 1 tablespoon of spinach/cheese mixture at one end of each strip.  Fold the end over the filling at a right angle.  Continue to form a triangle, end over end.  (Consult with a Boy Scout if you need to know how to do this “flag fold”.)  When the triangle is finished, brush the entire exterior with more melted butter, and set aside.

Continue the process of 3 sheets, individually buttered, cut in thirds, filled with filling, and flag-folded until all sheets of dough are used.  Then place all on a flat cookie sheet, bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Serve warm.

Note: When phyllo dough is removed from its packaging, you will need to keep a lightly moistened dish towel over the contents until you are ready to use the next sheet.  If there are tears or holes in the sheets, or the sheets are crinkled, do not despair.  Just continue buttering and “stacking” the sheets.  Magically, all “mistakes” disappear in the baking!  (Actually, crinkling will give more texture and airiness to the finished product.)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Corn and Tomato Salad

Corn, corn everywhere.  Recently I have noticed corn fields on I-35 and the North Dallas Tollway; the Scarecrow in a production of The Wizard of Oz in Fort Worth; Tom Thumb ads.  I know you can purchase most foods throughout the year because it is growing weather somewhere in the world year round (kind of like it’s 5 o’clock somewhere…  but I digress.)  Corn tastes better and sweeter in the summer.  There is only one issue in our house – the kids are in various stages of losing their front teeth.  I will not be deterred especially since corn is 6 for $1 at Tom Thumb this week. 

There are a lot of variations of corn salad so add in ingredients or a dressing that you prefer.  Other options that I found include black bean, avocado, sweet onion, blue cheese, red bell pepper, arugula and dressings with olive oil + lime + cilantro or lemon + olive oil. 

The recipe below made a delicious side to our brisket.  Maybe it was just the presence of the dinner guests, especially our latest addition (not mine!), that made all the food taste especially good…

Corn and Tomato Salad
1.      5 ears of corn, shucked
2.      1 small or ½ cup red onion, small-diced  
3.      1 container cherry tomatoes, quartered
4.      3 T apple cider vinegar
5.      3 T olive oil
6.      ½ teaspoon kosher salt
7.      ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8.      ½ cup fresh basil leaves, julienned, or dried basil flakes

Shuck the corn and place corn in a large pot of water (straight from the faucet temperature).  Cook the corn until the water starts to boil.  Remove from the boiling water.  (If you like a grilled, smokey flavor, you could also place on the grill for a few minutes on each side to sear the corn).  When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob. 

Place the corn kernels in a large bowl and add the red onions and tomatoes.  Add the ingredients for the dressing (#4-8) .  Stir and enjoy cold or at room temperature.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Potato, Bacon and Cheese Omelet

I am both enamored and baffled.  What is the difference between an omelet, a frittata, a quiche and an egg casserole?  The ingredients are the same.  Even my taquito at Whataburger has these ingredients too (that just gave you a little more insight into my soul).  I like this oven baked omelet because I don’t have to flip anything or guess if my stove is low-medium or medium-high.  Short version, the kids like “egg pie” (aka, quiche) so here is one that earned a “Mom, this is blog-worthy” declaration this morning.  Seems appropriate as this is post #100!

Warning: as I type, I am watching a show on the Travel channel called “State Fair Foods.”  Travis made me.  I can’t wait to see what foods from the Texas State Fair are featured and which ones I have to try at home.

Potato, Bacon and Cheese Omelet
1.      ¼ lb (or 4 slices) of thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into slivers
2.      1 T unsalted butter
3.      ½ - 1 C (or 1 baseball size) Yukon gold potato, cut into bite size pieces
4.      ½ C chopped yellow onion or onion powder
5.      6 large eggs
6.      2 T milk
7.      1 t salt
8.      ½ t ground black pepper
9.      4 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, plus extra for topping

Preheat the oven to 350.  Place a ceramic pie pan in the oven.

Cut the bacon crosswise into ½ inch slivers.  Cook the bacon in a sauté pan over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes.  Stir occasionally until browned.  Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate to soak up the fat.  Wipe the fat from the pan.  Melt the butter in the pan and add in the potato and onion.  Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes until everything starts to brown and become tender.

In a bowl, beat together ingredients #5-8 with a fork.  Add the cheddar and stir.  Remove the pie pan from the oven and melt about 1 T of unsalted butter.  Swirl around the butter to grease the bottom of the dish.  When the potato is cooked, transfer it into the preheated ceramic pie pan, add the bacon, and then pour the egg mixture on top.  Cook for 15-20 minutes until the eggs are cooked in the middle.  Remove the dish from the oven.  If you wish, sprinkle with more cheddar cheese, return to the oven for a minute to melt the cheese, remove and serve hot.

Try it and see if it gains “blog worthy” status in your house too!

Happy 4th of July!