Five Things And A Basket Of Peaches – Part Five


So what could be a better way to end a collection of five things to make with this seasons incredible peaches than something as classic as a peach cobbler?

Made so often, it could be tough deciding on the perfect one, but I think I’ve got it. As most cooking goes, you have to use what you’ve got, what you know and experiment a little along the way. I also know that the best and most perfect peach cobbler, or anything for that matter, focuses on good ingredients.

The succulent peaches were a given, but I wanted more than the same old brown sugar and cinnamon. I still had a small amount of the brandied cherries from, what I think are some of the most fantastic brownies, yes, if I say so myself, so I decided to use them. And the result? I think this made for about the best cobbler, peach or otherwise, I’ve ever had.

Try it, go ahead…

REDTOP PEACH COBBLER

4 Peaches, sliced
1/4 Cup Brandied Cherries
1/4 Cup Soft, Whole Wheat Flour,
3/4 Cup Unbleached Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 Cup Sugar, Raw/Turbinado
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Cup Vegetable Shortening, cold
1/2 teaspoon Orange Zest
1/3 Cup Soy Milk

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Slice the peaches and lay them in an 8″ circular pan.
Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon of the sugar and dot with the brandied cherries.*
Bake for 15 minutes or remove from the oven once the peaches have softened and become quite juicy.
Meanwhile, sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl or pulse in a food processor.
Add the remaining sugar.
Cut in the shortening with the food processor, pastry cutter or a fork. Once the mixture resembles a course, pea like meal, add the soy milk and the orange zest, mixing just to combine.
Increase the oven temperature to 400ºF.
Spot the batter over the hot peaches in spoonful sized portions and return them to the oven for another 25 minutes or until the topping is crisp, fluffy and golden.
Serve warm.

* To quickly make the cherries, you may try 1/4 Cup dried cherries, 2 Tablespoons brown sugar and 3 Tablespoons of good French brandy. Mix and drizzle over the peaches – make sure it’s good and bubbly before removing it from the oven and adding the topping.

Spaghettini Rustica



I was beginning to feel a little sympathy for all those wonderful tomatoes I’ve been snagging the spotlight from. Over this past week, I’d been a smidge focussed on my overflowing basket of fuzzy peaches.

While I cooked and created away, this star of a tomato stared me down from the windowsill. I couldn’t leave it to become over ripe, not after all this concern for the perfect peach. And what would Ruth think? I couldn’t dare miss her six month Presto Pasta Celebration. I must give her carbs and my obsession with the Browniebabe title credit for my extra pounds gained – over the summer no less!

Taking a cue from Marta, I decided to enjoy everything in my kitchen a little bit more, after all, she chose the tomato as produce of the month!

Wanting the spotlight to brighten the tomato, and because I still had a peach cobbler in the oven, I whipped up some quick pasta in all it’s tomato glory.

SPAGHETTINI RUSTICA

250g Whole Wheat Spaghettini
2 Field Tomatoes
1 Clove Garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 – 2 Tablespoons Capers
1/4 Cup Kalamata Olives
2 Tablespoons Italian Parsley
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Cook the spaghettini as to it’s package directions to al denté.
Core and roughly chop the tomatoes.
Drain the pasta and while it is still hot, add the tomatoes, garlic, oil, capers and olives.
Toss well and add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Add the parsley just prior to serving.

Serves 4

*Over dinner, we conferred that this dish would go super with a sprinkling of parmigiana and a choice of skewered, freshly grilled prawns or tofu kababs. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Summer Fresh Tomato Sauce


Can’t you just imagine the tomato flavour? Pure as the day it was grown, this no cook sauce is a cinch to make and creates a perfect way to highlight light or stuffed pastas.


FRESH TOMATO SAUCE

2 Tomatoes, skinned and seeded
1 Clove Garlic, Puréed
pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Bring a large pot of water to boil.
Prepare a bowl of ice water.
Score the bottom of the tomatoes and drop them into the boiling water for about 1 minute.
Remove and plunge them into the cold water.
Core the tomatoes and remove the skins; slice and remove the seeds.
Mash the tomatoes with a fork and add the puréed garlic, salt and olive oil; mix well.

Conchilioni Primavera


If you’re like me, the garden is bursting and the local farmer’s market is a flash with irresistibly bright colours. When I returned home from the market this morning I realized my biggest challenge of the day might be shutting my refrigerator door if I didn’t get to work, so I started dinner early.

My grocery bags were overflowing with this time of year’s typical finds; zucchini, field tomatoes and bell peppers so I didn’t have too much trouble figuring that each of these would find their way onto my plate later on. Looking to avoid a big mess of dinner, I remembered I had some of my favourite conchilioni pasta in the pantry. Typically known as “jumbo shells”, they are great for stuffing and baking, so my job of coming up with something to create for dinner was pretty much already taken care of for me.
With a whole lot of vegetables and a little bit of sautéing, I had a fairly quick, simple and elegant dinner for four.

CONCHILIONI PRIMAVERA

1/2 Onion, finely diced
2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Zucchini, finely diced
6 -7 White Mushrooms, roughly chopped
3 Tablespoons Dry Vermouth, optional
1 Roasted Red Pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 Field Tomato, seeded and finely diced
1/2 Breadcrumbs, optional
1 teaspoon Thyme
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
2 Tablespoons Oregano
2 Tablespoons Parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste
450g Conchilioni Pasta (about 12-15 large shells)

In a large sauté pan heat the oil and add the onion.
Once the onion begins to soften, add the garlic and finely diced zucchini over a medium heat; cooking for about 2 minutes.
Return the heat to a medium high and add the mushrooms.
Once most of the liquid is out of the mushrooms and the zucchini has softened and browned, add the vermouth, if using and sauté for another minute or two.
Add the chopped red pepper and the tomato, cooking down any remaining liquid.
Finish by adding the herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
Cool slightly and add the breadcrumbs if the mixture still appears to hold a lot of liquid. (Moisture is good, pooling of juice is not so much.) This step is optional and shouldn’t be necessary.

Cook the pasta as to the package directions for al dente, about 9 minutes.
Drain and cool slightly.
Line a oven proof pan with a basic tomato sauce.
Stuff a generous tablespoon full of the stuffing mixture into the shells to fill and place in the prepared pan, in a single layer.
Cover finished pasta with foil and bake at 350º for 25 minutes.
Serve with another drizzling of sauce and a sprinkle of parmigiana, if desired.

Raspberry Coulis


Perfect and quick addition to pancakes, swirled into cheesecake and of course, anything chocolate.

RASPBERRY COULIS

1 Cup Raspberries, frozen is fine
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup water
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

Heat everything in a saucepan, bringing it to a simmer.
Once the sugar has dissolved and the raspberries have broken down slightly, cook for 1 – 2 minutes more then remove from the heat.
Using an immersion blender, purée the mixture.
Strain through a mesh sieve to remove the seeds, if desired.