Peach Galette

“The art of eating the Perfect Peach: First raise to the mouth and the aroma enchants, anticipation is stirred.  Insert in mouth and bite.  Juices splash and squirt and you involuntarily lean over as the syrup drips down your cheeks and dangles on your chin.  Flavors explode and the nectar dances across the taste buds.  You slowly swallow and the aftertaste lingers and stays.  Smack your lips and suck slightly on your tongue and a different wave of flavor delights.  Memory is created.  You lick your lips and pause before another bite, savoring the moment–slowly.”

This is the introduction to my newest cookbook,  “The Perfect Peach: Recipes and Stories from the Masumoto Family Farm”.  How could you NOT want to read the “rest of the story” after that kind of intro? lol  Seriously, though, this book is full of great family stories and beautiful photographs of delicious peach recipes from beverages to savory dishes to the beloved peach dessert.

The galette is my alternative to a peach pie.  I love how rustic and simple it is.  It’s the perfect ending to a meal…not too sweet, a delicious golden crust and mouth watering summer peaches bursting with flavor! Top off a slice with either a dollop of ice cream or my Kahlúa Whipped Cream! (see Liz’s Tidbits at bottom.)

Enjoy!

 

Peach Galette-1

Peach Galette w/Kahlua Whipped Cream

Peach Galette w/Kahlua Whipped Cream

Peach Galette

adapted from: The Perfect Peach (Recipes and Stories from the Masumoto Family Farm)

Pastry:

  • ¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for working with the dough
  • 6 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • scant ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon beaten egg or heavy cream
  • turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Filling:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour or tapioca flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • scant ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6-8 soft peaches (with give) peeled, halved, pitted and cut into ¼ to ½ inch-thick wedges

Preparation:

To make the pastry, combine the flours, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until blended.  Scatter the butter over the flour mixture and pulse until it looks like coarse sand. (Alternatively, combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl, and work the mixture with a pastry blender until it has a sand-like texture.)  In a small bowl or cup, whisk together the 1 egg and the milk until blended, pour into the food processor or bowl all at once and pulse or gently mix by hand until the dough forms a rough clump.  Do not overwork the dough to avoid toughness.

Lightly flour a work surface.  Transfer the dough to the floured surface, form it into a ball, then flatten into a disk 1 to 1 ½ inches thick.  Don’t knead it! Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 ½ – 2 hours or for up to 1 day.

When the dough is well chilled, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it warm at room temperature for about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, make the filling.  In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, flour and cinnamon, mixing well.  Place the peaches in a bowl, sprinkle the sugar mixture over the top, and toss gently.  (If the peaches are tart, you may want to add a little more sugar.)

Lay a large sheet of parchment paper on a work surface, and dust with flour.  Place the dough on the floured parchment, and roll it out into a round about 11 inches in diameter and ⅛ inch thick.  Transfer the pastry with the parchment to a rimmed  or rimless baking sheet large enough to accommodate the  pastry round comfortably.  Starting 1 – 1½ inches from the edge of the round, arrange the peach wedges in a single layer in concentric circles, continuing until you reach the center of the round.  Fold the outer edges of the pastry over the peaches, creating overlapping folds as you work around the perimeter.  If your peaches are extra juicy, leave the extra juice in the bowl so that the filling does not overflow in the oven.  Brush the pastry border with 1 tablespoon beaten egg and then sprinkle lightly with the turbinado sugar.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling.  If your galette has a lot of juice, you may want to place a second pan on the lowest rack in the oven under the baking sheet to catch any juices that overflow.

Let the galette cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack.  Cut into wedges to serve…can top with either ice cream or my favorite whipped cream (see below!)

Liz’s Tidbits:

Kahlúa Flavored Whipped Cream

1 cup chilled whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 T Kahlúa
Chill bowl and utensils. Whip cream and sugar until soft peaks form.  Add Kahlúa and combine.

Filet Mignon with Brandy Mustard Sauce

I’ve been wanting to get this post done for some time now, so that next time we are craving a filet with a brandy sauce, I won’t have to spend hours finding the recipe!  I’ve tried numerous sauces for filets, and while all were good, this recipe for a brandy sauce was exceptional!  We all agreed it was, by far, the best we’ve ever had!  The definition of filet mignon actually refers to beef, but I decided to use some venison filets from the Axis deer that TBP (Teenage Bottomless Pit) killed last fall.  This dish was AWESOME!  Paired with a nice Cab, it’s definitely a celebratory dish!

I don’t have a picture of the finished product (it smelled too good to stop and take photos), but here’s some really pretty pictures I captured of the cactus in bloom at the ranch. :)

Cactus

Cactus

Cactus

Filet Mignon with Brandy Mustard Sauce

Serves 4

Slightly adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 4 6-ounce filets mignons
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for brushing
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 10 ounces sliced mushrooms (button, crimini or stemmed shiitake; about 4 ½ cups)
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • ½ cup brandy
  • ½ cup low-salt beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives

Preparation:

Brush steaks with oil, and prepare them your favorite way.  You can grill them on a medium-hot charcoal grill, on a gas grill set to high, or in your favorite screaming hot cast iron skillet, finished in a 450° oven.  Cook to desired doneness, 5-6 minutes per side for medium-rare.  Transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron skillet.  Add mushrooms and shallots to skillet and stir until mushrooms are tender and browned in spots and shallots are tender, 4–5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; stir in brandy (caution: mixture may ignite). Return skillet to heat, add broth, Dijon mustard, and thyme leaves; stir to blend.

Add cream; simmer until mushroom sauce is slightly thickened, 4-5 minutes.  Season sauce to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne. Spoon sauce onto plates, top each with a filet and garnish with chives.

 

Blueberry & Kale Grain Salad

It’s a hot summer here in Texas, and what better way to beat the heat than with a cool salad?  I’m always on the lookout for delicious and healthy summer salads.  Not only is this one delicious, but it has healthy written all over it!  Sweet juicy blueberries are the star, and combined with feta, snap peas and pecans, you’re rewarded with that crunchy, sweet & salty combo.  Kale and wheat berries round out the dose of healthy!

I

Blueberry & Kale Grain Salad

Blueberry & Kale Grain Salad

Blueberry & Kale Grain Salad

Southern Living Magazine

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup wheat berries (farro, quinoa, or wild rice can be substituted)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg fresh sugar snap peas
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped kale
  • ½ cup Red Wine Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup chopped toasted pecans
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta

Preparation:

Bring wheat berries, salt and 4 cups water to a boil in saucepan.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 1 hour.

Meanwhile, cook snap peas in boiling salted water to cover 2 minutes or until crisp-tender, then drain.  Plunge into ice water, drain and pat dry.  Slice in half.  Drain wheat berries, and rinse under cold water until cool.

Toss together kale, wheat berries, and ¼ cup vinaigrette in large bowl.  Let stand 30 minutes. Stir in blueberries, pecans, and sugar snap peas.  Add salt & pepper if desired and sprinkle with feta.  Serve with remaining ¼ cup vinaigrette.

Red Wine Vinaigrette (makes about 1 cup):

  • ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ large shallot, minced
  • ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons coarse-grained Dijon mustard

Stir together red wine vinegar and minced shallot; let stand 10 minutes.  Whisk in olive oil and remaining ingredients.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate in airtight container up to 1 week.

Liz’s Tidbits:

The Vinaigrette recipe makes more than you will use for this salad.  Keep the rest in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Cranberry Turtle Bars

And the Oscar goes to…

Cranberry Turtle Bars!

If the Oscars had a “Cult Favorite” category, these Cranberry Turtle Bars would definitely take the award!  Since Gourmet Magazine originally published this recipe back in 2001, these beautiful little bars have gained a cult-like following.  They were voted “THE” favorite cookie from 2001! (see The Gourmet Cookie Book-The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941-2009)  Fresh cranberries mixed into a freshly made caramel along with chopped pecans and layered on top of a delicious buttery shortbread crust.  If that isn’t enough, the whole thing is drizzled with chocolate to make it a decadent,  unexpectedly delicious combination of flavors.  They are beautiful and pretty freaking AMAZING!

P1050874

Drizzle with chocolate, cool, then cut into bars

P1050872

Cranberry Turtle Bar

Cranberry Turtle Bars

Makes 3 dozen bars (more for me, because I cut into smaller bars)

Slightly adapted from “The Gourmet Cookie Book-The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941-2009

Ingredients For Base:

  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ Cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ sticks (¾ Cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

For Topping:

  • 2 sticks (1 Cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 ⅔ Cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ Cup light corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ Cup fresh or frozen cranberries (I used fresh and chopped in food processor)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 Cups pecans (12 oz), coarsely chopped

For Decoration:

  • 2 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), very finely chopped

Special Equipment:

  • A candy thermometer

 Make Base:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a 9 x 13 inch pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the 2 short sides.  Butter all 4 sides, but not the bottom.

Blend flour, brown sugar and salt in a food processor, then add butter and pulse until mixture begins to form small (roughly pea-size) lumps.  Sprinkle into baking pan, then press down firmly all over with a metal spatula to form an even layer.  Bake in middle of oven until golden and firm to the touch, 15 to 17 minutes, then cool in pan on a rack.

Make Topping:

Melt butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat and stir in sugar, corn syrup and salt.  Boil over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until caramel registers 245°F on thermometer, about 8 minutes.  Carefully stir in cranberries, then boil until caramel returns to 245°F.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, then stir in pecans until well coated.  Working quickly, spread caramel topping over base, using a fork to distribute nuts and berries evenly.  Cool completely.

Cut and Decorate Bars:

Lift bars in foil from pan and transfer to a cutting board.  Cut into 6 crosswise strips, then 6 lengthwise strips (to form 36 bars).  Melt half of chocolate in top of double boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth.  Remove bowl from heat and add remaining chocolate, stirring until smooth.  Transfer chocolate to a small heavy-duty sealable plastic bag. Seal bag and snip off a tiny piece of 1 corner to form a small hole, then pipe chocolate decoratively over bars. Let stand at room temperature until chocolate sets, about 1 hour.

Liz’s Tidbits:

  • The original recipe notes that if you use frozen cranberries, do not thaw.
  • Once you add the cranberries to the caramel, the temperature will drop substantially.  Make sure you bring the temp back up to 245° before taking off the heat.
  • Use a small offset metal spatula to spread the cranberry mixture.
  • Rather than cutting them first, decorate the bars and let the chocolate set before cutting.
  • The bars keep in an airtight container (use wax paper between the layers) for up to 1 week.

Chicken Enchilada Soup-great for the slow cooker!

I’ve been seeing lots of slow cooker recipes come across my computer screen lately, and it got me to thinking that maybe my slow cooker could use some updating replacing!  I feel certain mine was given to me as a wedding gift, so that puts it in the ancient category!   With all the new technology, I figured there HAD to better ones out there, so with the help of Google and America’s Test Kitchen, I did a bit of research to find “the best” slow cooker on the market today.  If you’re interested in seeing which one now sits on my kitchen counter, click here.  After a quick trip to Bed Bath & Beyond, I’m now the proud owner of a brand spankin’ new slow cooker.  :)

For some reason, I’ve always associated slow cookers with “bland” food, and since no one in my family is a fan of bland, maybe that’s why I didn’t use mine much.  But when BFFE (Best Friend from El Paso), Lisa, raved about this Chicken Enchilada Soup, I figured it was time to initiate my new piece of equipment!   While you can make this soup on the stovetop in about an hour and a half, you can also put it in the slow cooker and be WOWED when you get home from work and walk in the door! The house smells wonderful, and dinner is ready!  Bland, it is NOT! This soup is chock full of flavor and won the approval of both my guys!

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Courtesy of Lisa Elbjorn

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small green or red bell pepper, diced ( I used half green and half red)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (11 oz) Ro-tel diced tomatoes and green chiles (can use the HOT-habanero can for more heat!)
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ¼ pounds boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup corn
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½  teaspoon Mexican oregano (crushed between fingertips)
  • sour cream, shredded cheese,  and diced avocado for garnish

Preparation:

In medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onions, peppers and garlic, and season with salt & pepper.  Cook until softened, stirring often, about 10 minutes.

To your slow cooker, add the Ro-tel, chicken broth, chicken, corn, black beans, chile powder, cumin, oregano, 1 teaspoon coarse salt (or ½ teaspoon fine salt) and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Mix in the cooked onions, peppers and garlic. Cook on high 3-4 hours or low for 5-6.  Remove chicken breasts to a cutting board and shred into bite-sized pieces, adding back to pot when done.

Serve garnished with shredded cheese (I used Monterrey Jack, but cheddar would be good, too), diced avocado and a dollop of sour cream.

ENJOY!

Pan Sautéed Redfish with Corn, Tomato & Avocado Relish

Redfish just might be my favorite fish.  My boys are all about salmon, and I like that as well, but there’s just something about a nice piece of redfish that I love.  Also known as Red Drum, it’s very similar to Black Drum and Grouper.  It’s a moist fish, mild in flavor and flaky.  If I’m grilling it, I’ll get it “on the half shell”, meaning the skin and scales are left on (great for protecting the fish from the grill).  For sautéing in the skillet like I did with this dish,  I’ll ask for skinned filets. Chuck, at Groomers, is a master when it comes to cutting and filleting fish!

I recently made up a batch of Emeril Lagasse’s “Essence” spice mix, so I decided to give it a try on my fish.  Not knowing just how spicy it would be, I thought a cool avocado, corn and tomato relish might work to tame the spices a bit. I seasoned the redfish liberally with the “essence”, sautéed it in a skillet, then presented it stacked with the relish. It worked! The fish had a nice spice to it, and the relish worked beautifully to cool things down. It was absolutely delicious and definitely a dish I will add to my repertoire!

Blackened Redfish with Corn, Tomato & Avocado Relish

 Redfish with Corn, Tomato & Avocado Relish

Pan Sautéed Redfish with Corn, Tomato & Avocado Relish

Serves 4

Fish:

  • 4 redfish filets (6-8 ounces each)
  • Emeril’s Essence (recipe follows) or your favorite seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Relish:

  • 1 ear fresh corn, cooked and cut from the cob
  • 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, firm and diced
  • ¼ cup red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste

Emeril’s Essence

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Store in airtight container.

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients for relish in large bowl. Season with salt & pepper, and set aside.

Pat fish dry with paper towel, and brush olive oil on both sides.  Season with Emeril’s Essence or seasoning of your choice.   Heat a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat until hot.  Place fish in skillet and cook 3-4 minutes or until nicely browned.  Turn fish over and cook another 3 minutes or until flakey (will depend on thickness of filet).  Fish will continue to cook once off the heat, so be careful not to overcook.

To plate, you can either top the filets with the relish, or present it like I did but cutting the fish into pieces and layering with the relish.  Bon Appétit!

Liz’s Tidbits:

Feel free to use any fish you’d like for this recipe.  The relish is delicious, and will pair nicely with any fish. Just remember the rule of thumb for cooking fish…10 minutes per inch of thickness.  Obviously a 1-inch thick piece of salmon will take longer to cook than a – ½-inch thick piece of talapia.

Try and find a ripe but firm avocado.  You want the dice to stand up to the rest of the ingredients and not become “mushy” when combined.

Fresh corn really makes a difference in the relish, but if you don’t have it, frozen corn will work just fine.

Fresh Peach & Blackberry Cake

Peaches are one of my favorite summertime fruits, and with the fresh peach crop now gone until next summer, I’m really happy I took the time to freeze some just for making this wonderful dessert.

When I first made this cake, I followed the directions as written and used a 9 inch square baking pan.  It was delicious, but reminded me more of a cobbler than a cake. The next time I baked it, I used a springform pan to see if there would be a difference. To my surprise, the cake rose much higher and was more like a coffee cake.  Both were delicious, but I thought the springform pan made a prettier cake. I added some blackberries to the top and it was a huge hit.

It’s a delicious breakfast item with a cup of coffee, or equally as tasty as a dessert with either ice cream or my Kahlúa Whipped Cream:

Kahlúa Flavored Whipped Cream

1 cup chilled whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 T Kahlua
 Chill bowl and utensils. Whip cream and sugar until soft peaks form.  Add Kahlúa and combine.
IMG_1924

First layer of batter with half the peaches

Fresh Peach & Blackberry Cake

Fresh Peach & Blackberry Cake

Fresh Peach and Blackberry Cake

adapted from Ina Garten

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4-5 large, ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray springform pan with baking spray.

In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and 1 cup of the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, add eggs, one at a time, then sour cream and vanilla, and mix until batter is smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon.

Spread half of batter evenly in the pan. Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture. Spread the remaining batter on top, arrange the remaining peaches and berries (if using), and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and pecans.

Bake cake for 60 – 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Liz’s Tidbits:

Ina’s recipe called for peaches only, but I had some beautiful organic blackberries on hand and added them to the top.  Blueberries would be another great option!  I used pecans, but if you prefer walnuts or another nut, by all means, use them or none at all!

I’ve also used non-fat Greek Yogurt in place of the sour cream with great results!  Also, depending on the sweetness of your peaches, if desired, you could decrease the amount of sugar used.

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