Peach Crisp

It’s peach season, people, and peaches are one of my favorite things on the planet. I eat them fresh like crazy, but sometimes you just need to bake something, am I right? So here’s a recipe for peach crisp that is easy and dee-lish. My first bite made me go, “day-yum.” Emphasis on the “yum.” Plus it’s easy. Bonus!

Peach Crisp

4-5 cups peaches, chopped (skin left on)
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 stick cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Instructions

Make the crisp topping: mix together the flour and brown sugar. Add the butter, cutting in using a pastry cutter, two knives, or a food processor. The mixture should be the texture of fine crumbs. Stir in the walnuts.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Toss the peaches, flour, sugar and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Transfer peach mixture to an 8×10 baking pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle the crisp topping over the fruit, covering the entire surface. Bake on the center rack for 30-35 minutes, until the topping is browned and the fruit juices bubble up through the topping.

Advertisements

Cucumber Boats; or, Some Experiments are Bound to Fail

I went to my little vegetable garden last night and came back with a basket of cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. I knew just what to do with the cherry tomatoes: Vegetarian Tortellini Salad. (I admit, I’ve been largely subsisting on this dish lately. I just can’t get enough of it.) But as for the cucumbers, I was a little overwhelmed. I’ve been pulling cukes out of the garden for weeks now, and I’m a little (read: really) tired of eating them raw as slices. And the cukes I picked last night were enormous; there were 3 I couldn’t wrap my hand around, and they were probably as long as my forearm.

I looked for a few recipes online, but most were more involved than I was willing to try last night. Some called for cream cheese, which I love, and I figured I would make something up. Thus, my version of Cucumber Boats.

It was not my finest dish.

It was easy to prepare and sounded tasty. I had high hopes. Some experiments are just destined to fail. Here is the recipe. If you have a great cucumber recipe, send it over. Please. I’m begging you.

Cucumber Boats

1 medium cucumber
about 2 tablespoons cream cheese
Italian Herbs*

Cut the ends off of the cucumber, and slice lengthwise. With a small spoon, scrape out the seeds. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese with the herbs. I just kept adding more sprinkles of herbs until it looked pretty good and…herb-y. Liberally smear the herbed cream cheese into the hollowed-out cucumbers.

*I have a little jar in the spice drawer called Italian Herbs. Pretty sure it’s basil, oregano, maybe parsley, etc.


Carrot Cake Cupcakes

My sister’s favorite kind of cake is carrot cake, so for her bridal shower I decided it would be nice to make carrot cake cupcakes. I’d never made carrot cake in any way, shape or form before, so I scoured the internet for a recipe that looked simple and good.* Dear ol’ Martha Stewart came through for me. My first time making carrot cake cupcakes turned out to be a banging success. The cupcakes were moist, sweet and spicy, and a huge hit with all the guests.

*It’s my strong belief that the best dishes – whether a main course, breakfast, or dessert – are made from simple, whole ingredients. You won’t find many ingredients in my kitchen that can’t be found at the local Cub Foods.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

1 pound medium carrots, peeled and shredded (I did this by hand with a cheese grater)
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup golden raisins (optional; I used them and liked it)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Cream cheese frosting (recipe to follow)
Shredded toasted coconut (recipe to follow)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with paper liners. In a bowl, whisk together carrots, eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and raisins. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Stir flour mixture into carrot mixture until well combined. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until testers inserted into centers come out clean, 23 to 28 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks, 10 minutes. Turn out cupcakes onto wire racks, and let cool completely. Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen for up to 2 months in airtight containers. Frost cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (recipe below). Frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature, and sprinkle with toasted coconut (recipe below), pressing gently to adhere.

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
12 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
4 cups (1 lb.) powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, and then vanilla; mix until smooth.

Toasted Coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread coconut evenly on a baking sheet with a rim. Toast, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, about 10 minutes (or longer if a darker color is desired). Transfer sheet to a wire rack; let coconut cool completely.