Sunday, August 9, 2009

Peach Tarts

When life gives you peaches, make... er, peach tarts!

At least that was the first thing that came to my mind when our neighbor dropped off a five gallon bucket full of peaches. Previous experience has shown us that these peaches are more for eating than they are for making things with them, like pie for example. They give off too much juice and the pie never sets up because it's too runny. I thought I would navigate around this problem by making peach tarts where the sugar is added ahead of time. This would draw out the juice and allow me to put in the peaches and add the liquid afterwards as I saw fit. It turned out fantastic.

Peach Tarts
About 4 cups of chopped peaches (usually 6 peaches, depending on the size)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (if your peaches are not as ripe or if they're not as sweet as you would like, add more by tablespoon to taste)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbs orange juice
Box Pie Crust Mix

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the pix crust mix according to directions for one single shell pie crust. Chop the peaches and put them into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stir everything together then let sit for 20 minutes.

While the peaches are sitting, roll out the pie crust dough and cut out circles with a round cookie or biscuit cutter. You can also use the top of a drinking glass if you don't have a cutter wide enough. Take the dough circles and press them gently into an UNGREASED muffin tin. Don't use the extremely large muffin tins as the tarts will not set up. Normal muffin sizes work best here!

Once the tart shells are ready, fill each container with a spoonful of peaches, about half full, being careful not to overfill. Sprinkle with brown sugar on top and bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes. Let cool fully before trying to remove. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mom's Brownies

For as long as I can remember, my mother has made these brownies for me and my father. A lot of brownies are cakelike and they just cannot compare to this rich, fugelike version. Adapted from the Joy of Cooking, they are THE BEST dessert for when you're having a chocolate jones and she was kind enough to share the recipie with me and let me take pictures of her latest batch.

Mrs. Potter's Brownies

The biggest secret to these brownies is to have all ingredients at room temperature.

4 ounces unsweetend chocolate
1 stick (8 tablespoons) of unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 tsps vanilla
4 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour

Optional: 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans. (I usually beg for mine plain!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a metal 9x9 pan.
Melt the butter and chocolate together in a pan or in a bowl in the microwave stirring occasionally so the mixture does not burn or boil. Stir until it is smooth then set it aside until it has cooled completely. Do NOT put it in the fridge.
Once it is fully cooled, mix in the sugar and the vanilla. Once these are well combined add the eggs. Finally, gradually mix in the flour and then fold in the nuts if you are adding them.

Scrape the batter into the pan (it will not smoothly pour in, you will have to scrape it and spread it out) and put it in the oven for 23 minutes or until the center is almost firm when lightly pressedand a toothpick comes out clean. They will not rise up like some brownies so do not be alarmed.

Let cool fully and enjoy! I like mine warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, yum!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rainbow Collage Table Tiles

Reposting the whole thing seems redundent so...

Please check out my winning entry for the Craftster contest #39 "Repurpose a Catalog": Rainbow Collage Table Tiles!

It was a very time consuming project but it was also extremely fun and worthwhile. :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Banana Muffins

The original recipie for these comes from Muffin Recipies but I have modified it over time towards personal preference and lack of ingredients.  The recipie makes 12-20 of the most delicious and lightly banana tasting muffins you've ever had, they are fantastic for breakfasts on the run or even as an afternoon snack.  I used to make them for choir trips because they stay fresh in plastic bags for several days.

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3 bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Heat the oven to 400 degrees and grease the muffin tins/baking cups.  Using an electric mixer, beat together the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and two of the bananas.  Next add the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Mix untill well blended pausing to scrape down the sides from time to time.  Once the batter is completely mixed, break up the third banana into large chunks and add it to the bowl.  Blend until some small chunks still remain--these will bake and form little hidden bits of banana in the muffins. 

Fill the cups until they are about 1/2 way full then bake for 12-15 minutes or until the tops of the muffins are lightly browned.  If you did not use paper muffin cup liners then the rim around the edge of the muffins will be a little more brown than the tops.  Let cool 5 to 10 minutes then enjoy!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Chinese Honey Chicken

This is one of my favorite things to get at a Chinese restaurant, and while this isn't the perfect recipe, it's very good!

It is also, if time consuming, rather simple. The recipe called for 1.5 pounds of chicken for deep-frying, but it makes so much batter you could probably get away with more.

  • 4 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1/4 c. Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 c. Water
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Egg White
  • Pinch of salt

Mix all of the batter together, and set aside covered for 30 minutes. I recommend steaming some rice during this time, the sauce is better warm.

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Oil
  • 2 tsp Ginger (minced or paste)
  • 1-2 Tsp minced Garlic - to taste
  • 3 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 Tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 c. Water
  • 1 Tsp cornstarch (mixed with 1 Tsp water)
Now then. The sauce. I made this with my friend Jasmine, and this caused us some problems as the original recipe called for 3 tablespoons garlic. This was, of course, far too garlicky, and we were forced to scrap the first pan of sauce. Taste frequently!

Heat the oil in a pan, adding ginger and garlic and cooking for about 30 seconds. Just heated really. Add the water, vinegar, and honey, stirring well. Finally add the cornstarch mixture and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To cook the chicken (and/or tofu) prepare your deep-fryer or instead prepare a deep pot and heat enough oil to submerge the morsels. I confess I had little to do with this process (Jasmine did the work here). Just be careful that the chicken cooks all the way through. When done it should have a crispy outside and a golden color.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Baked Pears in Brown Sugar

My mom recently has been buying pears for the cheap, since they are in season. But what do you do with them? I researched and found a simple, but delicious recipe. It is modified slightly, so read close.

  • Pears. (duh. You will be halving them, so base how many on how many people you are serving. I am using 3.
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar (preferably dark)
  • Pistachios coarsely chopped (or your favorite nuts. Hohoho)
  • Vanilla ice cream (originally called for sourcream, but I like this better)
Preheat oven to 400 F, make sure there the center rack is in place and will fit your pan.

Now then, start halving those pears! When I made them this time they were less than perfectly ripe (a little too soft) so take that into consideration when making this. I've found that using a strawberry stem remover works wonderfully for removing the core of the pears. A simple knife will do for cutting out the stem 'root'.

Plop the butter in slices into the pan of your choice (make sure that it will fit all pear halves) and put it into the oven to melt. In the meantime, pack up your brown sugar.

When the butter is melted, remove from the oven and sprinkle the brown sugar all over in the pan. It'll seem like a ton of brown sugar, but it'll be okay. Place the pears cut side down into the pan, and put into the oven for 30 minutes.

Do a crossword.

Have tongs and a ladle or spoon of some sort at the ready, and remove the pears from the oven. Flip them over, picking up some of that sauce and pouring over the 'white' of the pears (of course they won't be white at this point). Put back into the oven and bake for 10 more minutes.

When they are done, let them cool slightly before transferring to plates or bowls. Serve with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of sour cream, and sprinkle with nuts.

Done! :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Tomorrow is valentines day. And I am jobless. So I decided to bake my boyfriend something - at first it was just going to be simple truffles, but I quickly discovered that we were out of a few key ingredients for them. Of course.

These were tasty and surprisingly simple - though you have to wait an hour or two for the dough to chill.

Psst. Here is the recipe.

I didn't put the extra cup of chocolate chips in after the dough was mixed because I thought that was plenty enough chocolate.

WARNING! 36 Servings is a complete lie. This recipe made about 80 small cookies. So I suggest halving it or making bigger cookies... I don't think my concept of an 'inch' is that much smaller than theirs but my god so many cookies.