Monday, June 28, 2010

Light Peach Cobbler

I meant to try and post this last week, but I got a bit burned out last week at VBS.  I was working in the kitchen, preparing snacks for over 400 kids and volunteers every day.  So...I was tired and ready to just take a nap when we got home. 

I made this cobbler the week after we went berry picking, a few days after we made homemade freezer jam, and blackberry trifle.  This is also a light could have 2 servings and only feel a little guilty.  The original recipe called for margarine (yuck!), so I used butter instead.  It's only 4 tablespoons though for the whole dish...I can't believe that would hurt anyone too much. 

This cobbler is best serving warm from the oven, but we ate it straight out of the fridge the next 2 nights.  Didn't bother us a bit.  And with whipping topping or vanilla frozen yogurt, it's divine. :-)

Light Peach Cobbler

2 pounds peaches (about 12 small Texas peaches), blanched, peeled, and cut into 1/2" slices
1/3 cup sugar, plus additional sugar to sprinkle on top
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Juice and zest from one large or 2 medium lemons
1 teaspoon cinammon
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup skim milk

Let's prep the peaches first.  They can cool off in the ice bath while you prepare the topping for the cobbler.

Bring a large pot or deep skillet of water to a boil.  Score the bottom of each peach by making an "x" with a sharp knife.  Lower into the sauna and blanch for 3-4 minutes or until you see the peels starting to pull back from the fruit.  Remove the peaches and immediately place in an ice bath for 10 minutes.  (If you need to see detailed pictures, you can see my recipe for Rustic Peach Pie). 

While the peaches are cooling, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Set that aside for just a minute.

For the record, I have no idea how that butter snuck into the picture.  It was not supposed to be there yet, so I pulled it right back outta the bowl and told it to wait it's turn. 

Peel the cooled peaches (the skins should slide right off) and slice into a large skillet. 

Add the sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and cinammon.  Bring the mixture up to a gentle boil and cook until the peaches and the liquid thicken, about 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat. 

Go ahead, lick the spoon you were using to stir the's good ya'll!

Pour the cooked peaches into a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish, and spread them out evenly. 

Now add the the butter to the dry ingredients and work it in with your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add the milk and stir together to form a sticky batter.

Drop the batter over the peaches using a large spoon.  You can leave it in dollops or spread it out (I like to spread it out). 

Sprinkle over 2 tablespoons sugar.  I used turbinado sugar, but regular granulated sugar is just fine. 

Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the cobberl is bubbling around the edges.  Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. 

Serve warm in small bowls with a scoop of whipped topping or frozen yogurt. 

Only Rebecca, David and I ate this, but my girl LOVED it.  She probably had 2 servings every night, and I let her, 'cause it's a light dessert.  It wouldn't be right if David and I hogged it all anyway. ;-)

Enjoy this light treat, and God bless your table tonight!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Blackberry Trifle with Lime

I've got several posts in the works, but they were all put on hold this week after we went berry picking and bought some local peaches at the farm.  I had to show y'all what we did with the our bummer crop of fruit! 

I spend 2 days making homemade freezer jam...which turned out mighty fine, if I do say so myself. ;-).  We've been enjoying it on toast, in oatmeal, and frankly, just on a spoon too. 

I'd been doing my usual surfing on the web to see what else I could do with fresh blackberries and peaches.  I also wanted to make something light, since both David and I are trying to watch our waistlines right now.  So I came up with not one, but 2 desserts for your sweet tooth.  Yes, you can thank me later!

Blackberry Trifle with Lime

Makes 4 servings

2-3 cups fresh blackberries, rinsed and patted dry
Juice and zest from one lime
1 store-bought angel food cake (more power to you if it's homemade ;-)
1 container whipped topping, thawed in fridge

In a medium bowl, combine the blackberries, lime juice, and lime zest.  Mix gently to avoid crushing the berries.

Cut or tear the angel food cake into bite-sized pieces. 

You can make this dessert in either one large trifle in a glass bowl, a glass trifle dish, or individual parfait glasses.  Either way, this is one of tthose desserts you can't make in advance, otherwise the cake will get soggy.  But it's so easy and takes no time at all.   

Place a few pieces in the bottom of your serving dish.  Top with a few berries, and then a spoonful of the whipping topping.

Repeat the layers 2 more times. 

Finish with a nice dollop of the whipping topping, and garnish with a couple of fresh blackberries and a sprig of mint.  My mint in the backyard is doing so well this's a bush!

See...that was easy wasn't it?  The lime juice and zest really compliment the blackberries, even David mentioned it.  My husband doesn't talk much while he's eating...that means he really liked it.
We had trifle two nights in a row to use up all the cake.  The second time, we tried using our peach freezer was heavenly.
This recipe works with any kind of frui or fruit preserves...try strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, kiwi, pineapple, mango...anything you like!  Or go crazy and use your favorite combination. 
I hope you make this soon.  It's perfect on a hot summer night, and you don't have to turn on the oven. 
God bless your table tonight!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More Freezer Jam

On Monday, I took the kids to Neal's Berry Farm to pick blackberries and buy some local Texas peaches.  When I walked into the farmer's market, one gentleman remarked,

"My, you sure are brave!" 

I knew he was referring to the four kids I had in tow. 

I replied, "Well, I hope so, either that, or I might be stupid!" 

But you know what?  The kids were fine.  The blackberries were very plentiful, and thanks to my 4 little helpers, we picked 9 pounds in 1/2 hour.  No pics, though, was enough to manhandle them in the farmer's market trying to pay for the berries and 10 pounds of peaches.  That's when my pickers turned into little misfits, looking into the coolers, the ice cream bin, the candles for sale, etc.  Geez...  But the lady running the stand was so sweet, and wasn't fazed all all, thank goodness. 

So, what did I do with all that fruit?

Well for starters, I made 6 jars of this (just 2 showed up for the photo shoot ;-)...

Peach Freezer Jam with Lemon

And 6 jars of this...

(I know they look identical, but this one is a bit chunkier peach and lemon, with the addition of crystallized gingerDavid went to Penzey's and got some for me--thanks honey!). 


I also made a few jars of this...

Blackberry Freezer Jam with Lime

Instead of using lemon juice per the pectin box directions, I used lime juice and added lime zest (from 2 small limes).  The combinations is unexpected, but lime really brings out the flavor of the berries.  It works well with blueberries too, and in a cobbler, it's divine. 

Rebecca was my official taster...we both thought the peach jam was REALLY good (not that the blackberry jam wasn't).  I just followed the directions on the CERTO liquid pectin box, (they sell it at Walmart) making sure to use the full amount of sugar per batch.  Last time I made strawberry freezer jam, I tried to use 1/2 the amount of sugar, and the jam didn't set.  Lesson learned!

I used the zest of one medium lemon per batch because I like more lemon flavor than just using lemon juice, and about 2 ounces of crystalized ginger per batch for the peach ginger jam.  The ginger adds a tiny don't taste it at first, but it creeps up on the back of your tongue, and you'll feel a little warmth going down your throat...just enough to make you think, "Hmm...what is that?" 

The first 2 batches of peach jam, I used a potato masher to crush the peach slices after I'd blanched and shocked the fruit to remove the skins.  The next 2 batches, I chopped the slices up...and there wasn't much difference in texture...the 2nd batch was just a bit chunkier.   So if you want to make your own jam, I'd say mash the fruit because it goes faster than chopping up the peaches. 

After all that jam making, I still had enough fruit to make Light Peach Cobbler and Light Blackberry Trifle with Limeso check out those posts too.  I hope to have the recipes up by the end of the week. 

I hope you are eating up some summer!  God bless your table tonight!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: 4 Kinds of Tomatoes

Don't ask me why, but David decided to grow 4 different varieties of tomatoes this year.   One is a slicer/beefsteak tomato.  I've only picked one so far, but can't wait to try it. 

The littlest ones are cherries.  This particular type doesn't get deep red, so they are picked when they are red-orange. 

The last one is a type of grape tomato.  They are like minature roma tomatoes and very sweet.  Rebecca has been eating them right off the vine. 

 Lasty, there are the romas.  We've had a steady crop of 'em for the past 2 weeks.  I roasted a whole bunch last night in the oven, and tossed them with sauteed bacon and leeks, and a pound of penne pasta.  It tasted like summer...YUM!

The green beans, cilantro, and lettuce are done for the season, but the swiss chard, zucchini, cucumbers, and of course the tomatoes, are going strong. 

Tell me how your garden is growning, and God bless your table tonight!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Berry Fruit Salad

I threw this salad together last week when I had a ladies luncheon to go to, and very little time.  The blackberries in the back yard were at their peak; all I had to do was run to the store for some strawberries.  I am sure you could substitute blueberries, raspberries, fresh peaches, or whatever else is in season.  Don't rinse the berries until you need them...or they'll turn mushy. 

Berry Fruit Salad

2 pints fresh blackberries, rinsed and patted dry
1 pound fresh strawberries, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into quarters
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Fresh mint sprigs for garnish, if desired

In a large bowl, combine the blackberries, strawberries, honey, mint, and lime juice.  Taste and adjust the flavors to your liking.  If you like more lime juice, mint, or honey, go for it.  I added a tad more honey because our home-grown fruit is not as sweet as the blackberries you would buy at the store. 

Carefully pour the salad into a pretty bowl.  Garnish with the mint sprigs.  Serve immediately or chill for no more than 6 hours...any longer, and the blackberries will wilt. 

Enjoy this taste of summer, and God bless your table tonight!