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Friday, September 4, 2015

Peach Crisp

I've been working on a good basic crisp recipe.  This version turned out really good.  I like peaches to taste like peaches (no lemon) and the spices to be added to a crisp topping. I've  always loved a scoop of ice cream with warm fruit desserts.  But I'm trying to leave it off once in a while.  Notice that empty space in the bowl where the ice cream would be.  And notice that cold fresh glass of skim milk that took its place. It was delicious!  I wouldn't even want ice cream with this recipe.  That cold milk was just the refreshing drink that was perfect between bites of hot fruity peach crisp.  I baked it to the maximum time to get the topping crisp.  This is half of the usual amount of crisp because I'm trying to have fewer leftovers.  It made about 4 servings.



Preheat oven to 350 degrees,
Makes about 4 servings


2 lb. fresh peaches, peeled and cut up
2 Tblsp. granulated sugar
1 Tblsp. all-purpose flour


1/4 cup and 2 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 cup and 2 Tblsp. Old-fashioned oats
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg (I use freshly-grated nutmeg)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 1-1/2 quart baking dish.
To make the filling:  peel peaches and cut them into wedges. Then cut the wedges in half.
Mix the peaches with the 2 tblsp. sugar and 1 tblsp. flour. Put them into the buttered baking dish.

To make the topping:  Mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, salt and spices.  Mix in the butter with a pastry cutter, fork or your fingers until butter is evenly mixed in.  Chop the chopped hazelnuts until smaller. (I had a bag of prechopped hazelnuts but wanted them smaller.)
Mix the nuts into the dry ingredients.  Put the topping evenly over the fruit and slide into oven.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes until crust is browned and peaches are bubbling.
This is really delicious  and juicy when warm-and so easy to prepare. I love the bites of hazelnut in the topping.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Peach and Blackberry Galette

Peaches are still plentiful.   This week I tried peaches and blackberries in a rustic tart. My husband loved this combination of sweet peaches and the bit of tang from blackberries. The amount of sugar used in the fillings depends on the sweetness of the fruit.  Some recipes call for the addition of flour to the fruit. This does not contain any and I didn't feel it needed it. The short bake time helps keep the juices in the fruits. You don't have to overlap the dough quite as much as I did.  .

My very favorite way to eat this is hot with vanilla ice cream melting over every bite.

 I tried a slice at room temperature with vanilla glaze over it-- delicious with a hot sweet cup of tea!

Peach and Blackberry Galette


3 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
1-1/2 cups fresh blackberries
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar (or more-depending on sweetness of fruit)
1 teaspoon cinnamon, optional


1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled
1/4 to 1/3 cup cold water

1 egg, beaten

Granulated sugar for sprinkling

To make the crust, combine the dry ingredients.  Cut in butter as for a pie crust until particles are in coarse crumbs no larger than small peas. Sprinkle the cold water over the mixture, stirring it in with a fork.  Add more water as needed until the dough holds together when pressed together.  Avoid overworking the dough. Lightly form into a thick disk.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator about an hour.

To make the filling, mix the dry ingredients together.  Mix them lightly with the prepared fruit and refrigerate until needed.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about a 12 to 14-inch circle.  Scoop the fruit, without its juice, onto the center of the dough.   Spread the fruit to about 3 inches from the outer edge of the dough.  Fold the dough up over the outer edge of the fruit all around.  Add a couple spoonfuls of the fruit's juice over the fruit.  Brush the top of the dough with the beaten egg. Sprinkle lightly with sugar over the crust.  Bake 25 to 35 minutes until lightly browned. Test peach with fork to check for tenderness.  Serve warm with ice cream or drizzle with a vanilla glaze.

vanilla glaze:  1 cup powdered sugar, 1 Tblsp. half and half or light cream, 1/4 tsp. vanilla
                         Mix together until smooth. Drizzle over galette

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Roasted Peaches

I've been away for a while.  Peach season seems like a good time to come back.  We live near an orchard so we can get fresh-from-the-tree peaches.  I can't resist bringing home more than we can eat fresh so I want to do something with them.  I'm not in the mood for cobbler or pie today.  I want something lighter.  I remember that I baked peaches many years ago with just some cornflakes, sugar and butter in the center.  I don't have the exact recipe I used but this is close enough.

Roasted Peaches

Three peaches
1/2 cup crushed cornflakes
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 deg. Grease a baking dish. Gather your ingredients.

Lightly crush the cornflakes. I learned this trick from my mother-in-law for crushing crackers, nuts, or cornflakes. Put them in a baggie and use a rolling pin.

Mix together the cornflake crumbs, brown sugar and cinnamon. Put the peeled peach halves in the baking dish and scoop  about 3 tablespoons of the crumb mixture on each half. If the peaches are really sweet, you may use less.  Add more if they are tart.  Dot with butter.

Bake about 40 minutes until the peaches are softened and the top is lightly browned.
These peaches were firm, with a fresh bit of tang to them.  Delicious hot with vanilla ice cream!
I had some plum sauce I heated and drizzled on top.  (I had previously cooked some plums with sugar to make a sauce.)

Yummm!!! Just the fresh peach dessert I was looking for!!! Plum sauce good but totally unnecessary.  The fresh hot peach with crunchy sweet topping  and melting vanilla ice cream are all you need!

I also love these peaches as an ingredient in a bowl of hot oatmeal or as a healthy snack with cottage cheese.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Christmas 2012

Since I retired last year  I had time this Christmas to slow down a little.   I took a day to gather greens and holly to  make a wreath. It wasn't totally even but the fragrance of white pine and balsam made me high.
I have to make one every Christmas now.  New tradition.  I didn't know holly berries stayed nice so long.

 I filled a basket with the same greens, slate and jingle bells.
I gave some pine to our moose

On Christmas Eve my hubby took me back in the woods to a spot where crowfoot grows. We gathered lichen for the amaryllis and crowfoot for the antler candleholder.

and I managed to get some Christmas stockings made.
We had all our kids and grandchildren in before Christmas--which was really good since we ended up getting snow on Christmas!  Christmas eve we managed to put together a 7-fishes dinner.  We started with dilled herring on good bread, smoked trout spread on crackers, and lobster bisque. Next we fried some haddock and scallops and added coconut shrimp and a caesar salad with anchovies.
We had our Italian dinner on Christmas Day (Beef Braciole) complete with Christmas crackers and Christmas snow.  
It was a wonderful Christmas--our first with our new granddaughter and two little grandsons--three little ones now!!! And the snow allowed a lot of time to just relax by the Christmas tree and dream.

It was a wonderful Christmas, special gifts and special, special people.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tiny Stuffed Peppers

I bought a bag of those cute little sweet peppers that show up at the grocery store sometimes now.

I used my standard recipe for stuffed peppers:

1 bag small sweet peppers, cut in half and seeded
1 lb. ground beef
½ cup chopped onion
1 1b. can diced tomatoes (if it seems thin, add a little tomato sauce)
½ cup rice
½ cup water
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (4 ozs.)
Salt, pepper

Sprinkle a little salt on the peppers. Brown the ground beef and onion.  Sprinkle with a little salt. Add tomatoes, rice, water, and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes. Taste.  Add a little more salt and pepper, if needed.  Stir in the cheese and stuff the peppers. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees about 20 minutes. (When I use green peppers, I bake about 30 minutes.)

To serve, I sprinkled a combination of chopped parsley, chives and dill on top.  Those herbs really made the peppers flavorful.

This was really good with a salad.  Since these peppers are small and more delicate than the large green peppers I usually use, ground turkey might work well in place of the beef. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Curry Chicken Soup and Rosemary Almonds

Continuing my healthy lunches and snacks for work, I made a Curry Chicken Soup and Rosemary Almonds today.  I've cooked oatmeal with golden raisins and dried cherries for breakfast for the week--each morning they'll go in the microwave and just get some skim milk added.  I'll pack a slice of whole-grain toast with a light spread of peanut-butter and add a banana at work for a mid-morning snack. My soup will be a light lunch.  In the afternoon I'll have a cup of hot sweet tea with a handful of rosemary almonds.  After school I'll eat a pear or apple to hold me until a light dinner. 

Curry Chicken Soup

I've made of a habit of prepping all veggies before I start cooking:
The ingredients are:

1 pound cooked chicken (I used rotisserie chicken this time--had some leftover)
2 chopped yellow onions
4 large chopped carrots
l large potato cubed.  I used Idaho Russet
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup frozen peas
1 32 oz. box chicken stock or broth
1 cup water
2-3 Tblsp. Olive oil
2 tsp. curry powder
salt and pepper to taste

Swirl some olive oil into a large dutch oven. Add the carrots and onions and sautee about 5 minutes until softened.  Add the curry powder and potato with 1 cup stock and 1 cup water.  Simmer, covered, about 10 minutes until the potatoes and carrots are soft.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot.  (Or cool slightly and puree in a blender and return to the pot.)  Add the rest of the stock with the cauliflower florets.  Cover and simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 20 minutes.  Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.  Add the peas and chicken and simmer about 5 more minutes.  Check for salt and flavor.  To serve, sprinkle some grated parmesan on top if desired.  Cool and pack into individual servings in small canning jars to take to work and refrigerate. 
I love the creamy yummy texture of this soup when the carrots, onions and potato are pureed together.  Another of my favorite soups now. (This recipe was adapted from my Reader's Digest book of Food Cures.)
The Rosemary Almonds are from a recipe I found
 in my Williams-Sonoma Christmas Entertaining cookbook.  I mixed 3 Tblsp. olive oil with 2-1/2 cups almonds and fine seasalt.  I mounded it with 4 sprigs of rosemary onto a cookie sheet and roasted it for 15 minutes.  I stirred it and roasted 10 minutes more.  I'll take handfuls of these almonds to work and snack on them with my afternoon tea.  I love these.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Healthy Food Snacks

I was away a few days visiting my daughter. Knowing I was coming back home to my New Year goal of healthy eating again, I thoroughly enjoyed my Shepherd's Pie at the Irish Pub, The Harp, followed by a double dip from Baskin-Robbins. I'm back and I need to make lunches and snacks for work. Since I've been away, I'm not  ready to go for groceries yet. I think "Chopped"--use what you have to make two nutrition-rich snacks and a healthy lunch for the three days left of the week!!  I look in the fridge and find a butternut squash, broccoli, carrots, some leftover green beans and tomato sauce. I have the usual pantry items.  I clean and slice the two carrots onto a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and slide into a 400 deg. oven.  I roast them about 10 min.  I add broccoli florets, also drizzled with oil and sprinkled with salt.  I let that roast about 10 more minutes and add some red pepper flakes and pine nuts and stir the mixture.  I let that roast until the vegetables are tender. It's bright, colorful and really good. I pack it into containers to eat for after-school snacks.

Since I'm trying to lower my cholesterol and beans are good for that as well as good protein, I saute some onions in olive oil in a pan on the stove, I add a can of rinsed roman beans and throw in those leftover green beans. 
After sauteeing a few minutes with some salt and freshly-ground pepper, I add some tomato sauce,  and simmer until it thickens.  I sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese on top and scoop it into little jars to take to school for one of my snack breaks.
I pack some tortilla chips to munch with these.
Finally, I make some Butternut Squash Soup to take for my actual lunches.  The recipe I use is below.
Walnuts make a tasty munchie to eat along with this soup.

Butternut Squash Soup

2 Tblsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. garam masala
dash ground ginger
dash ground cloves
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced (about 6 cups)
2 cans (14-1/2 oz. ea.) Vegetable Stock

In a heavy dutch oven, saute the onion and garlic in the heated oil.  Add the spices. Stir.  Add the squash and saute about 10 minutes.  Add the stock and simmer until tender.  Use a hand-held immersion blender to puree the soup. I like to leave some texture in the soup. 
This makes about 4 servings.

Notice that I use small canning jars as my containers.  They are great to eat out of cold, or remove the metal lids and microwave right in the jar and eat right out of it heated.

It looks like I took a lot of food to work, but it's all healthy--just brimming with color. Snacks don't have to be celery and carrot sticks.  My quantities are small and so full of flavor, I don't need more.
After a day like this, all I want for dinner is a salad with a small piece of fish or lean meat.