Monday, May 3, 2021
Thursday, July 16, 2020
Peaches are in full swing here in Virginia and man are they delicious! The plump, brightly hued orbs of sweet and juicy 'fruitmeat' is the perfect accompaniment to both shellfish, fish and pork, even poultry. A nice, chunk filled cobbler is easy to assemble and can be ready for your next dessert slot in no time. I was in the local supermarket looking for peaches and Elba Butcher Shoppe had just what I needed. They have peaches by the peck, the bushel or pair, right now and I wanted to have enough for more than just one recipe. I saw this wonderful recipe for a brown sugar cake with a Peach Bourbon Frosting and it peaked my interest. I must create something inspired by that article, but first, I needed to complete the request of my oldest daughter, Genesis. Besides, any time is a good time to pull out my vintage Emile Henry pie dish, the beautiful ruffled retired one, "Paprika" edition. I just love it. It was a gift, a most wonderful one I might add. It is a humongous dish, made in the 90's, a full 11 inches across! That's a mighty dish for pies and cobblers, even meat pies and quiches.
Genesis has some firm likes and dislikes, but I know for sure she enjoys a fresh peach or two, with pleasure and gratification. I like to grab enough for the girls to snack and go, mom included. There's a certain nostalgia involved in eating fruit within its season, during it perfectly, wonderfully ripe time, it's a much different experience for the palate. Just Bliss. This recipe is simple and full of flavor. The Bourbon may be added or taken away, I wanted to add some depth of flavor, with some oaky undertones and elevation, Maker's Mark does just that and there's plenty left to either serve alongside, save for another day or to make a boozy shake to go along with it!
5 lbs. or 16 c. fresh peach slices, 1/4 to 1/2 inch cut (this dish is huge, 11 inches across, 2 inches deep, you can use 2 regular deep pie dishes, but you will also need two more crusts)
1 stick of butter, unsalted
Juice of one medium lemon
2- 9 inch pie crusts, either store bought or homemade
1 c. pure cane sugar or brown sugar or to taste
1 tbs. Pumpkin Pie Spice
Pinch Pink Himalayan Salt
3 tbs. cornstarch
2 tbs. Maker's Mark or good quality Bourbon
SPST, (I used some freshly cracked black pepper grinds to compliment the Bourbon and sweetness of the peaches.)
Preheat oven to 350*F.
In a small bowl, combine sugar, salt, cornstarch and spices. Stir with fork to mix well.
In a large bowl, add peaches, lemon juice and Bourbon. Toss to coat.
Sprinkle evenly with sugar mixture and combine in a folding fashion until evenly coated.
Lightly grease pie dish with a small piece of the butter and press one of the crusts into the bottom and up the sides.
Place small pats of butter across the first crust.
Add contents of bowl and spread evenly.
Add remaining pats of butter and cover with second crust.
Make slits to vent.
Bake until golden and bubbly, about 50 minutes.
Let stand before serving.
Makes Smiles and is perfect with some Vanilla Bean Ice cream or Butter Pecan!
Monday, March 9, 2020
It is now time to start tiny seedlings indoors, row by row, prepping them for the transition to our outdoor gardens and beds. Soon, we will be digging, hauling, hoeing and making raised rows and anthills, to foster the best possible outcome for our magnificent homegrown produce. The pruning and gardening gloves, shears and clippers, will be our decided gear. Aprons will have smears of the fertile and viable soil, especially along the tops of the pockets, and our shoes will show telltale signs of earthen activities. We will have salad greens abound; tomatoes and cucumbers as well as violet and crimson berries; aromatic herbs and fresh accoutrements to a menu bursting with vitality and life.
The majority has embraced a more organic and virginal form of growing, using minimal additives if any at all. Awareness is taking hold and this year, there will likely be more gardens or newly ordained 'farmers' than ever. From the roof tops of cityscapes, to the marginal plots newly designated, the revolution will ensue. We will assert ourselves as conscious consumers and bolster our confidence with our hands, turning sweet nothings into delicious somethings. We will compost. We will engage in sensual congress with our progenys, our grow spaces.
These growing stations will not only provide sustenance and foster our most primal instincts, but also exercise our minds and bodies and quench our souls. Some will be learning canning and dehydrating techniques for the first time, while others are hardened veterans and already have their preservation plans mapped out, like clockwork.
Fermentation will yield such ethnic delicacies as sauerkraut, Kimchi, pickles and Kombucha, full of viable prebiotics, probiotics and flavor. Jams, jellies and preserves, oh my. Sweet, savory, tart and briny all have a place at the table. Feelings of accomplishment and confidence will spring forth proverbial sunshine, to reflect onto all we do. We will get to know our foodstory more than ever. We will share, we'll feast, we'll preserve, we will fellowship. We will be Betterthaneverians. Do you like the way that sounds? I know I DO!
Tuesday, June 18, 2019
We as consumers, naturally want the 'best' and 'most' for our buck, or at least what we perceive as such. Now that is all fine and dandy as certain things go, for instance; we wouldn't pick up a loaf of sandwich bread that is already smooshed or a carton of eggs with cracked ones or even a box from the shelf, that has either a razor type slash or is slightly marred in any way.
This of course is understandable, but sometimes this attitude makes certain very special produce a target to be forgotten. We all love the perfectly round and bright tomato when picking our fruits. We want to eat the rainbow and the colors to match. We want the stuff of legend and much falsity like the burgers and food scenes we see on television and in ads. We want the straight, perfect carrots like the ones Bugs Bunny always had. The banana must be free of bruising and the pepper should sit upright when placed on the table. You get the drift. The 'ugly' produce is left in back or never even makes the cut when the buyer checks the crates or boxes. Poor little veggies... "What's in a name? That which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet."Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)
A simple truth, resonating from words, centuries past. Let's give these loving morsels a chance, your carrot cakes,veggie medleys, casseroles and risottos will taste the same, if not better. Especially if you're going to cut it up anyway. Better because we are doing a service to the energy it takes to grow produce. Better because of the land usage and care the farmer, commercial or residential, has put into the finished product. Better because the poverty levels in the United States are still rising. Children are hungry during the summer without school breakfasts and lunches to supplement.
We are at the helm of being some of the most wasteful consumers in the world. We snub the ugly produce, while some long only for basic sustenance of a meal, that they didn't have to wait days for...
We must set aside the superficiality of our exacting standards, as far as food image is concerned.
On a lighter note, the people in the know, myself included, are fine with the imperfect produce and are able to cop these babies at a discount, saving upwards of 30 to 50% off, which for any economically savvy individual means lower food costs for the family. I think their design makes them special and unique, individuals among minions. Betterthaneverians. Not to mention the fun you can have guessing all the things it resembles. Thanks! And while you're at it, get on board and enjoy the bumpy, gnarled, Siamese twin looking ride! Be kind to the "Ugly" and "Imperfect" Produce and it will certainly be kind, delicious and money saving to you and for you!
Stop Hating, Start Eating.