Sunday, January 12, 2014

Chick Peas, Peppers, Red Onion, & Celery Salad

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

It is potluck night in Harbor Springs and I went on a search for something new to bring to the table. Nothing struck my eye in my recipe files so I came up with this simple salad based on what I had in the pantry and refrigerator. Simple, tasty, and a great winter salad----but I think I'll be serving this is warm weather months, too.

Presoak 1 pound of chick peas/garbanzo beans. I covered the beans with 2" of water, brought to a boil and and then simmered for 2 minutes, and the let stand, covered, off the heat for 1 hour. Then bring the beans back to a simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until cooked but still firm with a bit of crunch. Drain the chick peas and let them cool to room temperature.

In a serving bowl, add:
2 chopped peppers--I used a blend of red, yellow, and a bit of orange
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
4 stalks of celery chopped
The drained, cooled chick peas

I am a huge fan of flavored olive oils and vinegars and use Fustini's. For this recipe, I used 1/3 c of blood orange olive oil and 3 T pomegranate balsamic vinegar and 1 t Greek seasoning.

Pour the dressing over the salad and chill 1 hour before serving. This salad holds very well and can last for several days in the refrigerator--if it indeed lasts that long. Full of fiber, protein, and flavor!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

One Pot Dinner: Sauerkraut, Carrots, Potatoes & Sausage

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

I'm often looking for new ways to cook sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is a lot more versatile than many people think and it doesn't have to be sour. My Dad loved fried sauerkraut!

One pot cooking is so easy. For this recipe, I played with a version of slow cooked sauerkraut that I have used of Julia Child's that calls for soaking and draining the sauerkraut. The more it is soaked and drained, the less sour it is.  For this recipe, I soaked a 12-ounce package of  kraut in cold water for 10 minutes, drained and rinsed, and then repeated this step twice more for a total of 3 soakings--30 minutes of soaking and then draining. The rest is easy!

In an oven safe casserole dish, saute until soft:
1 medium onion, sliced
3 t olive oil
2 minced garlic cloves

To this, add:
drained kraut
3 peeled and sliced carrots
2 c cubed potatoes

Once the vegetables were coated with oil, add:
2 links kielbasa, chunked
4 c chicken stock
2 t caraway seeds
2 T dried parsley
1 t thyme
Pepper to taste (no salt needed)
Bring the stock came to a boil,  cover, and bake in a 350 degree F oven for 40 minutes. Served with a slice of thick bread---a perfect winter meal.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Barley and Kale Salad

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

We had unexpected dinner guests and I needed to come up with a salad idea using what I had in the kitchen. This 3 ingredient salad has become a favorite in our house--so good and so easy.

In 2 cups water, cook 1 cup pearl barley, simmer 40-45 minutes until barley is tender but still firm.  Cool to room temperature.

In a serving bowl, add 4 cups chopped kale, the cooled barley and 3/4 cup Pond Hill Farms Spicy Peanut Sauce--or any store or home made peanut sauce. Pond Hill Peanut Sauce is fabulous.  In a hurry, I have served this warm and it is very tasty.  But it can also be served chilled. The salad will hold for several days...assuming it lasts that long.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fresh Pumpkins Part II

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

Photo: Baking pumpkins for the Thanksgiving pies.The Thanksgiving pumpkin pies in our house have to include ones made from fresh pumpkins. No canned pumpkin allowed! While there are differing opinions as to the comparison tasting of fresh and canned pumpkin, canned is out in our house. Baking the pumpkins---easy!

One trick I've learned with baking any squash is to put them on a foil lined baking sheet. The squash juices are sugary and leave a mess to clean. The pumpkins are baked whole (so the flesh doesn't dry out) in a 350 degree F oven for 40-45 minutes until a knife can be inserted and easily removed.

Then the pumpkins are cut open to let the flesh cool.  The seeds can be scooped out or in my case, the entire pumpkin--flesh, seeds, and skin--are dropped into a Victorio strainer. The pumpkin puree comes out one end and the seeds and skin come out the other.  Two small pie pumpkins--pie pumpkins only---no carving pumpkins!--typically generate 6 cups of pumpkin puree, enough for three pies. Pumpkin cannot be safely canned so if the pie making is a few weeks out, the puree can be frozen. One of the favorite pies in our house: Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Easy as pumpkin pie!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Meyer Lemon Sorbet

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

Thanks to an abundance of Meyer lemons this year on my mother-in-law's tree, I've have made many batches of Meyer lemon sorbet including filling her freezer with several batches. I have a Cuisinart frozen ice cream maker that gets a lot of use during the summer fruit season and this winter, it's seen action making Meyer lemon sorbet. We'll be eating this fabulous sorbet for months and enjoying it every time.

This is a simple recipe that uses just 3 ingredients: lemon juice, sugar, and water. No Meyer lemons? Use regular lemons but increase the sugar to 2 cups--Meyer lemons are sweet because they are a cross between oranges and lemons.

First make a simple syrup:
2 c water
1 1/2 sugar
Simmer until the sugar dissolves, about five minutes, then cool completely. 

To the cooled syrup add:
2 c fresh Meyer lemon juice

I add 2 T grated lemon peel, too but the peel is optional. 

Chill the liquid for at least 8 hours. Pour into an ice cream maker and churn until a thick slush. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Stuffed Peppers

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

Our garden season has ended and I harvested a large quantity of peppers, onions, and eggplant. Several times in the past few weeks, I've made a simple stuffed red and green pepper and included some eggplant in the baking dish between the peppers.  I'll be doing this again!

There are many recipes for stuffed peppers. Some include rice with hamburger.  I like panko bread crumbs. I mixed hamburger and panko with fresh tomato sauce and topped the stuffed peppers and the sliced eggplant with the tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesan--so an Italian version.

This is an easy recipe with less than 10 minutes of preparation time. I used peppers from my garden. At the farmers market this time of year, large bell peppers are $.25 each. 

Cut 3 large bell peppers in 1/2 length wise and place cut side up in an oiled baking dish.

To 1 lb of ground beef, add:
3/4 c panko
1 beaten egg
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove minced garlic
3/4 c seasoned tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Divide the beef mixture among the peppers and fill each pepper so the mixture forms a mound.

For the eggplant:
Cut 1" slices of eggplant, brush with olive oil and place in the baking dish with the stuffed green peppers.

Cover the peppers and eggplant with 1 1/4 c tomato sauce. Top with sliced or shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheeses to taste--about 3/4 c of each.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes until the cheese begins to bubble.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Canning Marinara Sauce

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

The fresh tomatoes are still at the farmers markets and in the fall, bushels of canning tomatoes are inexpensive. Last week, I brought home 1 1/2 bushels and canned 35 quarts of tomatoes. This weekend's project was marina sauce.

Canning is very easy and it allows me to have complete control over what goes in the jar. When fruits and vegetables are plentiful, canning stocks my pantry shelves at low costs for a quality product.

There are several ways to make marinara sauce: peeling the tomatoes and cooking the sauce and ingredients down to a thick stage resulting in a chunky sauce; peeling the tomatoes and cooking down and then running them through a food mill to puree and remove seeds; and my cheater method--filling a huge pot full of tomatoes, unpeeled and uncored, cooking until slightly soft and running them through a food mill.  The result is a very thin tomato sauce that is then cooked down.

I use a Victoria food strainer that sends the juice down a chute and the tomato skins and seeds out another side. I put the seeds and skins back through the strainer several times to get even more juice.Then on the stove this large pot of tomato sauce went for several hours. I cooked it, stirring often, until it was reduced by 25%. I started with 1/2 bushel of tomatoes that I bought for $7.95 at the market. Then I added:

6 medium onions, chopped
6 green peppers, chopped
12 cloves of garlic, minced
1 c fresh basil
1/2 c fresh oregano
salt and pepper to taste
6 cans tomato paste

The sauce continued to cook down another 25% to a thick sauce. To each hot pint canning jar, I added 1 1/2 T lemon juice--needed to balance acidity levels. The sauce was cooked in the canner for 35 minutes. And the result? 15 pints of gorgeous marinara sauce at a cost of about $1 a jar.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Corn with Onions, Peppers, & Cilantro

Kathryn Washburn Breighner

Fall is here and the last of fresh sweet corn is at the farmers markets. I love sweet corn in any fashion but this recipe is especially good with corn that is not so fresh or with frozen corn. My garden is overflowing with onions and multi colored peppers which went into this dish. I added a hot pepper to this for some heat.

In a saute pan, add and heat:
3 T olive oil

Add to the hot oil:
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large sweet pepper, chopped--add a hot pepper if you like heat

Stir for 2 minutes until the ingredients are evenly coated with oil and beginning to soften. To the mixture, add:

3 c fresh corn cut from the cob or frozen (not thawed) corn
3/4 chicken or vegetable stock
1 T chopped cilantro
1 t smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the mixture over medium heat for 5-7 minutes.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Zucchini Cake

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

We were invited to a dinner where we were bringing dessert. I wasn't happy with the fresh fruit selection at the farmers market for a pie but my garden was overflowing with zucchini.  The chocolate zucchini cake I concocted was a hit! There is not even a hint of zucchini flavor in this cake. It is moist and chocolatey....perfect.

In a bowl, cream:
1/2 c softened butter
1 3/4 c sugar

To it add and beat until smooth:

3 eggs added one at a time

Stir in:
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 1/2 t grated orange peel
2 c grated zucchini

Sift together:
2 1/2 c flour
3/4 c cocoa
1 t salt
2 1/2 t baking powder
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 3 batches and in between add:
1/2 milk

Stir in 3/4 c chopped nuts like walnuts or pecans.

Pour into a greased and floured bundt or angel food cake pan and bake for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees F until a tooth pick inserted into the came comes out clean. 

Cool on a rack for 25 minutes or until cool to the touch. Then invert onto a cake or serving plate. Top with powdered sugar or a vanilla icing.

    Sunday, August 26, 2012

    Herb Bouquets

    By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

    We are heading to a friend's house today so for a gift, I'm taking a summer herb bouquet. The garden is in full bloom now so I picked:
    Italian parsley
    Curly parsley
    Variegated Sage

    This gorgeous bouquet is arranged in a small canning jar and not only looks great but can be used for days after we leave!

    Monday, August 13, 2012

    Roasted Beet Salad

    By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

    Fresh beets are so good. This time of year, the farmers markets have fresh beets and they are so sweet.  Last week, I roasted some beets to use in Beet Risotto and I had some leftover beets.  They became an amazing beet salad!

    Roasting beets is an easy task: wrap cleaned beets in foil, add a couple of whole garlic cloves, some sprigs of thyme, and olive oil and bake at 350 degrees F for about an hour, less if the beets are very fresh.

    When they are cooled, peel the beets under running water--this keeps the red color off  hands.  For this salad, I used:

    4 medium beets, roasted, peeled and sliced
    1 small red onion, diced
    1 T parsley--I used Italian from the garden

    To the beets and onion, I added:
    2 T olive oil mixed with
    1T fresh lemon juice

    The salad was chilled for 60 minutes before serving and then topped with crumbled blue cheese. It didn't last long!

    Sunday, August 12, 2012

    Basil Pesto

     By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

    The basil in the garden is flourishing now and needs to be harvested. Pesto seemed like a good idea for tonight's dinner.

    And this is so easy!  In a food processor, add:
    4 c packed basil leaves
    2 cloves of garlic, peeled
    3/4 c pine nuts or walnuts

    Pulse these ingredients until they are just coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 c grated parmesan, salt and pepper to taste and while running the food processor, dribble in 3 T olive oil.  The mixture will come together.

    How to use the pesto? Many ways:
    *Freeze in ice cube trays and then remove when frozen and put into a freezer bag to add to stews or pasta.
    *Toss with 1 pound of pasta like I did.
    *Slice fresh tomatoes and top with 1T of pesto.

    I knew we would have leftover pasta and pesto so tomorrow, I'll add some fresh cherry tomatoes and chunks of buffalo mozzarella for a tasty pasta salad.

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

    By Aida Washburn

    As a lover of chocolate chip cookies, I'm always looking for something related. I borrowed this idea from the Reese's Facebook page, using my favorite chocolate chip recipe, box brownies, and Pieces instead of the Peanut Butter Cups they used.

    Amy's Grandma's Cookies
    1 cup shortening
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 egg
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp vanilla
    2.5 cups flour
    Most of a 12 oz bag of chocolate chips

    Mix all in a bowl. (For regular cookies, roll into small balls and bake for 8 minutes at 375 degrees.)

    For this recipe, grease muffin tins. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover the bottom of the muffin tin with cookie dough...perhaps 1/2 inch deep.

    Prepare brownie mix. Sprinkle Reese's Pieces on top of cookie dough, 8-10? Then top with brownie mix. The cookie/brownie mix should fill 2/3 of the cup.

    Bake in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes, and check that a toothpick comes out mostly clean (chocolate chips notwithstanding).

    Saturday, January 28, 2012

    Clare Mackey Chili

     By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

    This is a treasured family recipe. I cut it out of the Detroit Free Press years ago and have no clue what drew me to this odd blend of ingredients. It was called "Clare Mackey Stew" after the wife of a Michigan politician. 

    When our sons were in school, we would haul gallons of this to ski meets and it would wow people. Everyone called it a chili. No one could guess the secret ingredient: apples.

    Once or twice a year, a friend will ask for the recipe for "Clare Mackey" as it was affectionately called at the ski meets.  We would show up for the tailgate party and people would ask "Did you bring Clare Mackey?" It's that good.

    ½ pound dried red kidney beans
    1 lb. pound breakfast sausage
    1 large onion, chopped
    3 large garlic cloves, minced
    2 large Granny Smith apples, cored, unpeeled, cut into 1 inch chunks
    ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
    3 T chili powder
    1 ½ t dried mustard
    15 oz. tomato sauce
    sour cream for garnish

    Soak kidney beans overnight. Drain, cover with water and cook over low heat until the skin begins to break but the beans are still slightly hard. Drain beans reserving 2 cups of the liquid.

    In a large heavy pot, brown breakfast sausage breaking into 1" pieces. When the sausage is pink, add the chopped onion. Continue to brown the sausage; drain off any fat. Add to the pot, the beans, the garlic, apples, sugar, chili powder, mustard, tomato sauce, reserved bean liquid, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 60-75 minutes or until apples are softened and the chili is thick.

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    Spanish Judion Beans from Avila

    By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

    Several years ago, we were making a dish with kidney beans and the only kind available at our local grocery store was a somewhat pricey Michigan grown bean. It was outstanding and for the first time, we understood the difference in dried beans.

    We were in Avila, Spain a few months ago, a walled city in a region known for their dried beans. I brought back 2 kilos of them, a large lima and a kidney bean. Today, I prepared a tapas-like lima bean dish similar to a tapas we had in Spain. We were wowed by the beans: huge, meaty, sweet, fabulous.  We won't be buying generic dried beans again.  There are no words to describe how spectacular these beans are.

    For this dish, I soaked 1 c of the Judion beans for about 6 hours. To a pot, I added the beans covered by 1" of water and:
    1/2 large onion, minced
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 bay leaf
    several sprigs of fresh thyme
    These simmered for 30 minutes.

    In a Dutch oven, add:
    2 T olive oil, heated, then mixed with
    1/2 c chopped green pepper
    1/2 c chopped red pepper
    the remaining onion half, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 qt of canned tomatoes drained (I used tomatoes I canned from my garden)
    1 t smoked Spanish paprika
    salt and pepper to taste

    Bring this to a simmer. To it add the beans and the bean water and spices.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking for 15-20 minutes.

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    Cranberry Apple Pecan Pie

    By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

    I love cranberries and am excited each fall when fresh ones appear in the grocery stores. Cranberries are too good for just the holiday season so I stash several bags in the freezer. Many grocery stores now carry frozen cranberries year 'round--as well they should.

    Because we're pie people in our family, a variety of pies come out of our ovens. This cranberry, apple and pecan pie has a great blend of flavors from the sweet apples and  the tart cranberries mixed with the pecans.  This one's a keeper!

    In our family, pies always start with home made crust. If you have to succumb to the grocery store version, so be it, but truly, making a crust is easy.We had an abundance of apples in our orchard this year and still have a supply stored in a cool spot. For this pie, I used three different varieties--because I have them--and for apple pies, I prefer to blend two or three varieties.

    Mix together:
    5 c chopped, peeled apples
    1 1/2 c fresh or frozen cranberries
    3/4 c chopped pecans
    1 c sugar
    1/4 c flour
    1 t cinnamon

    Pour the fruit mixture into a pie plate lined with a crust. Cover with a top crust and bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees F and then reduce the heat to 355 degrees F and bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is golden brown.

    Monday, December 26, 2011

    Linzer Torte

    By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

    Linzer torte is the Christmas dessert at our house.  This torte originated in Linz, Austria and is a golden brown torte filled with raspberry preserves and topped with a woven crust. It's very easy to make, so easy that I am not sure why this is a once-a-year treat! I cut this recipe out of a (now deceased) Gourmet magazine in 1979.

    The crust is a simple one of egg, sugars, baking powder, flour and crushed toasted almonds. The almonds give this dessert its distinctive flavor.

    To start, toast some almonds in a 350 degree F oven then grind in a food processor. 2/3 c of ground almonds is needed.

    In a mixing bowl, cream until light:
    1 stick softened butter
    1/2 c packed light brown sugar
    1/4 c white sugar

    1 egg and the ground almonds

    Then add and combine well:
    1 1/2 c flour
    1/4 t salt
    1/2 t cinnamon
    3/4 t baking powder

    In a 8 x 8" greased baking pan, press 2/3 of the dough. If the dough is sticky, grease a spatula to help spread the dough. Place the remaining dough between wax paper and roll with a rolling pin to a shape about the size of the baking pan.  The dough will be very thin. Put the dough in the freezer for about 5 minutes.

    While the dough is chilling, mix 3/4 c of raspberry preserves with 1 t grated lemon peel and spread on the dough in the pan. Remove the chilled dough and cut into 10 strips and place them on top of the dough.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. Cool and top with sifted powder sugar.

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    Making Sauerkraut in a Jar

    By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

    A month or so ago, I listened to a food show on making sauerkraut that recommended a 21-day 'curing' period. We were heading to Europe within the next 21 days and I wouldn't be here to tend to the curing kraut and while in Berlin, I had some fresh kraut. And I knew I had to do this.

    Easy? You bet. And the flavors are unlike those found in the grocery store. All it takes is cabbage, seasonings like caraway, salt, water and something to put the mixture in. I chose to make the sauerkraut in quart jars but this can also be done in a large ceramic crock.  One disadvantage of making this in the jars is that it takes some time to pack the cabbage into the jars.

    For my kraut, I diced 2 heads of cabbage into small dice and tossed with 1 T salt and let sit for several hours. To this I added 3 T caraway seeds and then packed tightly into quart canning jars. I used the flat end of my rolling pen to compress the cabbage. To some of the cabbage, I added chopped apples (our orchards went crazy this year!), onions, and fennel seeds.

    Next comes salt water, 1 T to a quart and poured over the chopped cabbage in the jars until the liquid covers the cabbage.  Finally, I topped the mixture with a leaf of cabbage. This leaf doesn't have to be covered with liquid but its presence prevents the build up of harmful bacteria. The jars were closed with a canning jar lid and ring.

    What happens over the next few weeks is called fermentation. Every 4-5 days, I loosened the lids. What a surprise!  A great deal of pressure built up in the jars. I placed the jars on paper towels in a baking pan kept in a room temperature space. More than once, the brew inside the jars spilled out of the jars. Those jars were at work!

    This week, 21 days after I packed the kraut, we had the first jar which I rinsed and drained twice and then cooked with onions, carrots, and chicken stock. It is still crunchy and oh, so tasty. Now what to do with my jars? Two choices: they can stay in the refrigerator for six months or they can be canned. I will put some in the refrigerator and can the the rest for gifts. I did two rounds of kraut making and have nine quart jars of this glorious stuff.

    An alternate method to making kraut would be the traditional method of placing the cabbage in a crock and covering with the salt water brine and then topping with a plate and a heavy object like a brick to compress the kraut. Once the 21 days have passed, the kraut can then be placed in jars to refrigerate or can. I tasted my kraut several times during the three weeks of brining and at 21 days, the flavors were intense. The kraut can continue to cure beyond the 21 days, up to 6 weeks.

    Friday, September 30, 2011

    Applesauce Paperweights!

    By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

    One of the many reasons for cooking is to share the food with friends and family. Sharing food also means sharing with those who don't have food which is what I had in mine this month when our apple orchard produced an abundance of apples.

    Because I love to can, I came up with an idea to pick and can our apples into applesauce for the Harbor Springs Food Pantry. This wasn't an easy accomplishment as the Food Pantry required a licensed kitchen, a federally certified canning expert, and appropriate labeling on the jars. The licensed kitchen required liability insurance and a State Health Department certified food safety expert on hand.

    All of the hurdles were jumped and 11 of my friends joined me on Monday in the licensed kitchen that is in the same building as the Food Pantry. More than 100 families were at the Food Pantry while we cooked the applesauce--the building smelled heavenly. After six hours of work, we canned 67 quarts of applesauce and put them on the shelves of the Food Pantry.

    Then came one more hurdle: while we were canning, Feeding America notified our Food Bank that the State Department of Agriculture wouldn't allow us to donate the applesauce. The Food Safety official actually gave us the wrong reason: she said that Michigan's Cottage Law required a "cannery waiver" for the kitchen we cooked in. Michigan's Cottage Law is for home based businesses, those not in a licensed kitchen, and doesn't allow any canning except for jams and jellies.

    When I called the State Agriculture Department, a different story unfolded.  To donate or sell canned goods like our applesauce, we needed to be in a kitchen licensed for commercial processing of food.  Our kitchen did not have this $175 permit.  Our Food Pantry--so excited at what we had done and now devastated at this obstacle--told us they could not give our lovingly prepared applesauce to their clients.

    So we changed directions: instead of creating applesauce, we created applesauce paperweights! Yes, paperweights! The Agriculture Department does not control how paperweights are made.   The 67 quart jars are labeled "Applesauce TLC Paperweights. This item is intended ONLY for use as a paperweight and is NOT intended for human consumption."

    These beautiful paperweights will look wonderful in any home or kitchen. You, too can have one for a donation to the Harbor Springs Food Pantry. The applesauce paperweights are available at two Harbor Springs businesses and are going like hot cakes! Our community is furious that a project that had already met so many rules was not allowed to give this food to the people in our area who need it.  While we cannot donate the applesauce, the donated funds from the paperweights will still help the Food Pantry families.

    It used to be that we could easily help people.  Food should not be wasted when people need it.  That was the intent of this project. It didn't work out that this food could be shared but we're helping in a different way with our gorgeous applesauce paperweights. We will do this again--in a kitchen with the right paperwork!

    Sunday, September 11, 2011

    Peach Pie--Freezing

    By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

    Our peach tree is full of ripe peaches so I am making the basics of a peach pie to freeze. This can be done with almost any fruit: it's easy. Just make the pie filling like normal so in this case, I mixed:

    6 c peaches
    1 1/4 c flour
    1 1/4 c sugar

    And to the fruit, I added 2 T of Fruit Fresh to hold the peaches in the freezer.  Then I poured the mix into a pie plate--no crust--and froze it.  When the fruit was frozen, I slid it out of the pie plate into a 1 gallon freezer bag to store.

    In the winter, when we want a peach pie, I'll partially thaw the peaches and place in a crust to bake.  But I learned something this time: one of the pie plates full of peaches was not frozen solid so when I slid it into the freezer bag, it broke apart. So I took the freezer bag full of peaches and placed it inside the pie plate and froze it in the bag! What a revelation. I should have been doing this for years. Once the bag of fruit was frozen, I removed the pie plate.

    Friday, September 2, 2011

    Peach Cobbler

    By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

    We're still swamped with peaches! For this recipe, I picked up a bowl full of peaches from the ground to make this fabulous peach cobbler. I like lots of fruits in my pies, cobblers and crisps and so for any recipe where 4 c of fruit is called for, I add six. For this cobber, I used 8 c because the fruit needs to be used.

    To start, bring a bowl of water to a boil and drop the peaches in the water. Using a slotted spoon, remove the peaches after 1 minutes and drop into a bowl or sink of cold water. Remove the skins and the stone and put the cut peaches in an 8 c bowl.

    To the bowl of peaches, add and stir together:
    1 t cinnamon
    2 T brown sugar
    2 T flour
    1 t vanilla

    Pour the peach mixture into a greased baking pan or pie plate. Using the same bowl that the peaches were in (to save on clean up!), add:

    1 c flour
    3/4 c brown sugar
    4 T cold butter
    1 t baking powder
    1/2 baking soda
    a pinch of salt
    2 t grated lemon peel
    3/4 c buttermilk

    Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a fork or pastry cutter until the pieces of butter and pea size.  Stir n the buttermilk and blend quickly. The dough will be wet.

    Top the peaches with large dollops of the dough and bake at 425 degree F for 20 minutes. Top with ice cream or yogurt.

    Thursday, September 1, 2011

    Peach Sorbet

    By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

    We've been on a peach kick the last few weeks because our peach tree is abundant with delicious fruit. And we've been making lots of sorbet this summer from various fresh fruits like strawberry, blueberry and now peach.

    This is an easy dessert to make but takes some planning ahead time as well as freezing time depending on the ice cream maker that you have. Our ice cream maker requires freezing the canister for 24 hours ahead of time so I always keep it in the freezer just in case I want to make a frozen dessert.

    First, I went outside and picked a bunch of peaches!  Then I boiled some water and dropped the peaches in for about one minute to make it easy to remove the skins. I didn't need a knife; I just peeled the skins away with my fingers.

    Into a blender, I put:
    6 c peaches

    The peaches were blended until creamy. Then I added:
    1 c sugar
    4 1/2 t lemon juice
    4 1/2 t vodka

    No, the vodka does not affect the flavor but it does help the sorbet freeze more smoothly and without crystals forming.

    The mix was blended for just 10-15 seconds, just until well mixed, and then chilled for 3-4 hours. This is a one container recipe--I blended all the ingredients in the blender and chilled it in the same container.

    The peach mix was poured into the ice cream maker and 25 minutes later, a thick peach sorbet was ready. We couldn't wait: we ate some of the soft peach sorbet and then froze the remainder in a plastic container for later use.  I will be making more of this to freeze for later--I can just imagine a January night eating this sorbet and thinking of summer!

    Wednesday, August 31, 2011

    Grilled Peaches

    By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

    This is such a simple dessert and perfect this time of year when our peach tree is loaded.  I have grilled the fruit both outside on the grill and inside in a grill pan. Both are easy. Don't have a grill? No Problem, get out the grill pan and cook the fruit inside.

    Plan on 2-3 peaches per person depending on their size--our's our small. Baste the fruit with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle lightly with brown sugar or honey. Grill the peaches 3-4 minutes with the skin side down and then turn over and grill with the fruit side up for another 3-4 minutes.

    While the fruit is grilling, get out the ice cream and yogurt!

    Sunday, August 28, 2011

    Salmorejo Cordobes-Spanish Cold Tomato Soup

    By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

    Stunning, simply stunning. And simple, too. Gazpacho is not the only cold tomato soup. Our first taste of this soup came via son Nathaniel who lives in Spain. In the Spanish grocery stores, there are large refrigerators filled with cold tomato soups.

    This Salmorejo is perfect during summer's tomato season. What sets this soup apart from gazpacho is the ingredient of soaked bread. The Spanish use a lot of olive oil in this soup--I cut it way back from what we'd find in Spain and found this soup to be incredible.

    6 c tomatoes--I used many varieties
    1 medium onion, chopped,
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    3 T sherry vinegar
    2 T lemon juice
    2 c of crumbled white bread like a baguette
    1/4 c olive oil plus oil to drizzle over the finished Salmorejo

    In a bowl, add 2 c of water and 1 T kosher salt. Add the bread and soak, turning often, for about 30 minutes.

    While the bread is soaking, add 3 c tomatoes, 1 1/2 T sherry vinegar, 1/2 of the onion, 1 T lemon juice, and 1 garlic clove to a blender or food processor and process until creamy. Using a slotted spoon, add the bread to the mixture and process again until creamy.

    Pour this mixture into a large bowl and add the remaining tomatoes, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, onion, and salt and pepper to taste.  Process until thick and then add the olive oil and process again until it is completely blended.

    Add the mixture to the batch in the bowl and mix together. Chill for several hours and when serving, drizzle olive oil over the soup. This can also be topped with chopped hard boiled eggs and slivers of prosciutto.

    Sunday, August 7, 2011

    Basil Water--A Great Summer Drink

    By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

    Looking for something cool and refreshing to drink in the summer months? Head to the garden or herb pot and harvest some basil.

    Put the basil in the bottom of a glass, add ice and water.....and enjoy!

    I have a lot of basil right now and this drink makes great use of it and is oh, so tasty. I'm always looking for new ways to use basil and this drink couldn't be easier or better.  Cool off with an ice cold glass of basil water!

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    Grated Zucchini Patties

    By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

    The last two weeks have been super busy for me so I missed a few zucchini that are now overgrown. No problem: they are perfect for grated zucchini patties.  These are super easy and a perfect summer side dish.

    Grate a couple of large chunks of zucchini in a food processor to make 4 cups. Put the grated zucchini in a colander, toss with 1 t salt and let drain for 15 minutes. Blot the veggies dry with paper towel and add to a bowl.

    To the bowl, add:
    1 egg
    1 onion, minced
    1 green or red pepper, chopped
    1 c panko
    salt and pepper to taste

    Let the mix stand for 5 minutes and then saute in oil over medium high heat until golden brown on both sides. I served them with Greek Yogurt mixed with zatar, a blend of sumac, sesame, and spices. A taste of summer!

    Next up: Zucchini Relish!

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    Lavender Ginger Lemonade or Limemade

    By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

    My lavender is just about to bloom and I wanted to use it in a refreshing drink. This fits the bill! This will be the new drink of the summer at our house.

    In a saucepan, add:
    8 c water
    2 T chopped ginger
    4 T lavender buds--I just dropped in the trimmed, top part of the lavender with buds
    Bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat, steep 15 minutes, then strain the liquid. The liquid will smell wonderful and be brownish in color. Cool completely.

    In a pitcher, add 2 cans of lemonade or limeade frozen concentrate and the cooled liquid and mix together. To a blender, add 4 C of ice cubes and about 1/3 of the ade mix. Crush the ice and pour into the pitcher.

    Serve over crushed ice or ice cubes and enjoy.  This was a wonderful surprise at our house today!

    Saturday, July 9, 2011

    Strawberry Sorbet

    By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

    The fresh strawberry season is waning and I've done a number of strawberry desserts: strawberry rhubarb pie, and fresh strawberries with scones are two of the favorites. But it's hot today so I decided to do something cool. The farmers market had several vendors with strawberries today so I brought home quart with sorbet in mind.

    This is so easy!

    To a blender, add:
    1 qt, about 4 c, strawberries
    1/2 c very cold water

    Blend only about 30-45 seconds so that there are still chunks of fruit in the mixture.
    Pour into a bowl and add:
    1 c sugar
    1 T lemon juice
    1 T vodka--I used grapefruit vodka. The vodka is important; it adds no alcohol taste but keeps the sorbet from forming crystals as it freezes. The vodka is the key to smooth sorbet.

    Chill 3-4 hours until completely cold. Pour into an ice cream maker and follow directions. My ice cream maker has a canister that is frozen before using it and the liquid is poured into the chilled container and churned by the machine. It takes about 20 minutes.

    Scoop the sorbet into a freezing container, cover and freeze for 1-2 hours before serving.  Perfect!

    Wednesday, June 29, 2011

    Jicama, radish, cucumber, carrot summer salad

    By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

    This is super simple, fresh, and tasty.
    Mix together:

    1 medium jicama, peeled, cut sliced into strips
    2 carrots, chopped
    1 medium cucumber, chopped
    15-20 radishes, chopped

    In a small saucepan, bring to a simmer, stirring, 1/2 c rice wine vinegar, 1 t sugar, and 1/2 t pepper flakes. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables, season with salt and pepper to taste and blend. Chill at least 2 hours before serving, stirring often to blend the flavors.

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    Oven Baked Paella

    By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

    This was so good that is was a surprise. Each mouthful lead to a "wow". We love paella and have saffron, smoked paprika, and Spanish Bomba rice in the pantry and we've mastered and enjoy a stove top paella.

    But this oven baked version really carries a lot of flavor and it allowed for the development of the coveted paella crust, or soccarat, on the bottom. The texture of the rice was quite different that the stove top version and nicely absorbed the broth. And it's easy!

    Here is how it went together:

    In a Dutch oven, brown 4-6 chicken thighs and legs in 2 T olive oil.  Season them with salt and pepper and 1/2 t smoked paprika.

    Remove the chicken and add to the Dutch oven:
    1 med onion, chopped,
    2 gloves garlic minced

    Saute the onion and garlic until the onion begins to soften, about five minutes.  Add to the Dutch oven:

    1/2 pound spicy sausage sliced into 1/4" rounds. I used Andouille but chorizo or another sausage that is spicy would be great. Cook for another 3-4 minutes.

    Add to the mixture:
    1 c chopped, drained canned tomatoes
    2 c chicken broth
    1/4 t saffron threads
    1/2 t smoked paprika

    Bring mixture to a simmer and add:
    1 c Arborio or Bomba rice
    The chicken pieces

    Put the Dutch oven in a 350 degree F oven and bake 20-25 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Do not stir to disturb the crust that develops on the bottom. Serve with some Spanish wine or a good, cold beer and enjoy!