Blueberry Peach Cobbler

 

So I know I have neglected this blog for a long time, but I’m back and baking!  What better of a reason to start baking when you find out you’ve got some new European neighbors and why not welcome them to America with an appropriately seasonal blueberry & peach cobbler!  Yes, strategy was involved in choosing this dish…you know, since they have to return the baking dish back to us someday…
Whether you’re baking this for someone else or just to eat it yourself, feel free to change up the ratio of blueberries to peaches to whatever suits your fancy, or use completely different fruit depending on the seasonality of what’s available!  It’s your call!

Blueberry Peach Cobbler
Courtesy of Smitten Kitchen
I split the recipe into two 8×8 baking pans (of course one to share and one to eat!)

For the fruit:
About 6 peaches
About 2 1/2 cups blueberries
2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 Tbl flour
2 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

For cobbler topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
6 Tbl dark brown sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbl cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, toss together fruit, sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt, and divide evenly between the baking dishes.

In another mixing bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.  Cut the butter into the dry mixture until only pea sized chunks of butter remain.  With a rubber spatula, stir in buttermilk and mix until dough comes together, yet remains wet and slightly sticky.

Drop spoonfuls of the dough over the filling, covering as much of the fruit as you like.  Bake cobbler for about 20-25 minutes, or until the juices are bubbly and topping is nicely browned.  Serve cobbler with a fat scoop of vanilla ice cream or just enjoy as is!

Potato Gnocchi

I’m not even going to lie – I’ve already booked my one way ticket to hell.  So with that, these little perfect, pillowy potato clouds are the closest thing I’ll have in experiencing heaven.  And no, I don’t think it’s a sin if you serve these gnocchi with some good, jarred tomato sauce…after all, you just made HOMEMADE GNOCCHI!

Potato Gnocchi
Courtesy of the most fabulous and funniest Top Chef alum, FABIO!
Serves 4

3 lbs. Russet potatoes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Poke the potatoes with a fork a few times to allow steam to escape.  Bake the potatoes in a baking pan for about one hour or until cooked.

Allow potatoes to cool before mashing or ricing.  Place the mashed potatoes in the refrigerator overnight, or until completely cold through.

Add the flour, cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix to combine.  Then add the cold potatoes and mix until the dough comes together, about 5 minutes.  Do not be tempted to add any liquid to the dough…IT WILL COME TOGETHER!!!

Dump the dough on a floured surface and smack the dough a few times to release any air bubbles.  Cut the dough into fist sized pieces and roll into logs.  Cut the rolled logs into one inch pieces.  Cook the gnocchi in a large pot of salted boiling water until the first few gnocchi rise to the surface.  Take the pasta out immediately after a few float to the surface and add them to whatever sauce you want to serve them with!

Banana Yogurt Muffins

These little shits are BANANAS!  B-A-N-A-N-A-S!  One minute you have a wire rack full of little muffins and by the time you go to bed and plan of eating a muffin in the morning for breakfast, you realize, WHOOPS, they’re all gone!  So grab those old, brown bananas that no one eats anyway and transform them into something that people actually eat!

Banana Yogurt Muffins
Yields about 18 muffins

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheats oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour muffin tins (or use muffin liners for easier cleanup).

In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  One at a time, add in eggs and mix until smooth.  Combine yogurt, mashed bananas and vanilla, then add to mixture, beating until fully incorporated.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Slowly mix in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, making sure not to over mix.  With a rubble spatula, fold in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared muffin tins and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Let muffins rest in pan for 7 minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool.

~*Fabulous*~ Flawfree Roast Chicken

Sure buying the ingredients for this roast chicken may cost slightly more than buying a prepared rotisserie chicken from Costco, but I don’t think the Costco chicken has anything on this chicken’s crispy skin and flavor, SON!  Added bonus!…You get to recreate an Ina Garten masterpiece that you know will turn out without flaws, because pretty much anything she creates turns into magic and fabulocity, just like her!!!

Whole Roasted Chicken
Courtesy of the Most Fabulous Domestic Goddess

1 (5-6 lb) roasting chicken
salt and pepper
1 large bunch of fresh thyme
1 lemon, halved
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
2 Tbl stick of butter, melted
1 large onion, cut into wedges
1 bulb fennel, cut into wedges
4 carrots, cut into chunks
2 parsnips, cut into chunks
olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove the giblets inside the chicken.  Rinse both the inside and outside of the chicken thoroughly and pat the outside of the chicken completely dry.  Remove any excess fat or pin feathers.  Generously season the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper.  Stuff the cavity with majority of the thyme, and both halves of the lemon and garlic.  Brush the  outside skin with butter and season with salt and pepper.  Tie the chicken legs together and tuck the wings under the chicken’s body.

Place the remaining chopped vegetables (onion, fennel, carrots, and parsnips) in a roasting pan, along with the thyme, and lightly toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread the vegetables evenly around the pan and place the prepared chicken on top.

Roast the chicken for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when a knife is inserted between the leg and thigh.  Remove the chicken and vegetables and let sit for about 20 minutes under an aluminum foil tent before slicing and serving.

Rainbow Crack Cake

Oh Rainbow Crack Cake, so inconspicuous on the outside, but then BAM! cut a slice of that cake and it’s a party on the inside.  Eat a slice of the cake and the party continues in your mouth!!!  And soon you find yourself eating half the cake since, like the name says, it’s like crack…

Rainbow Crack Cake
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Yields a 9-in round cake

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for buttering
2 1/3 cups sugar
5 large egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk, room temperature
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple food coloring
White buttercream frosting, or any other white colored frosting you prefer

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two 9-in round cake pans with parchment paper and butter and flour the two pans.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, and set aside.  In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy and well mixed.  Turning the speed down, add egg whites slowly, making sure the whites are fully incorporated before adding the next.  Combine milk and vanilla in a measuring cup.  While on low speed, alternatively add the dry ingredients and the milk mixture, starting with the dry and ending with the wet.  Mix until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly among 6 bowls (cereal bowls worked perfectly for me).  Add food coloring to each of the bowls and stir to combine.  Just add enough food coloring to get the desired shades.  To create the rainbow effect, start with red and pour the batter into the middle of one of the cake pans, allowing it to spread slightly.  Then pour the orange on top of the red batter, making sure you slowly pour it into the middle of the pan and that it spreads the red batter out as well.  Repeat with yellow.  In the second pan, use the same steps as in the first pan, but start with purple, then add blue and finally green.  Transfer pans to the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.  Be sure to rotate pans halfway through baking.

Remove pans from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes.
Invert cakes and remove from the pan, letting the cakes cool on the wire rack until completely cooled.  In the meantime, prepare the frosting.

After the cakes have completely cooled, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for an hour to make frosting the cake easier.  Using a serrated knife, level the cakes (and maybe eat the leftover trims!).  Place the cake with the purple, blue and green purple side down on a plate.  Take about two cup of the frosting and spread it evenly to cover the top of the layer and so it slightly spills off the sides as well.  Place the other cake layer, with red side up, on top of the frosted layer.  Using an offset spatula, take the remaining frosting and frost the top and sides of the cake to get a nice, smooth, even layer.

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Root Vegetable Soup

Cold weather and laziness just go hand in hand together, so why not make a huge ass pot of comforting soup?  Bam!  Now you have dinner for the rest of the week or you can freeze the rest of the soup for whenever laziness strikes again.

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Root Vegetable Soup

3 lbs butternut squash, cleaned and cubed
Olive oil
3 Tbl maple syrup
4 cloves of garlic, smashed with skin still on
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove of garlic
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken stock, plus more if needed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a foil-lined baking sheet, arrange butternut squash chunks and garlic into an even layer.  Drizzle squash with olive oil then brush with maple syrup.  Season with the cumin, salt, and pepper.  Roast for about 30-40 minutes, or until squash is tender and nicely roasted.

While the squash is roasting, saute chopped onions in a large pot over medium-low heat.  Add carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnip and garlic, continuing to saute for about 10 minutes or until onions are translucent.  Make sure onions are not browning.  Add bay leaf and stock to pot and bring to a boil, cooking the root vegetables until fork tender.

When vegetables are tender, turn down heat to a simmer and add the roasted butternut squash to the pot.  Simmer for another 5 minutes, covered.  Remove bay leaf and puree vegetables and adjust taste and consistency if necessary.  Serve soup with your favorite toppings…like bacon!  Creme fraiche/yogurt/sour cream!  Pumpkin seeds!

Bluebery Scones…or whatever kind of scones you want

In the words of Ryan Atwood, brooding O.C. teenager man, these scones can be “whoever you want [them] to be.”  Seriously, these scones are super versatile and you can add whatever you desire or have on hand.  Crave some chocolate?  Add chocolate chunks and orange zest.  Breakfast your favorite meal?  Maybe try a bacon maple scone! Boom!  The possibilities!

Blueberry Scones
Adapted from Joy the Baker
Makes about 8 scones

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbl granulated sugar
2 tsp lemon zest
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbl cold, unsalted butter, cubed
1 large egg yolk
3 Tbl plain yogurt
4 Tbl milk
1/2 cup blueberries
Preheat to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.  In a measuring cup or a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk, yogurt and milk.  Add wet mixture to dry ingredients, combining just enough to make a soft, sticky dough.  Fold in blueberries.

On a floured surface, knead dough about 15 times.  It helps to flour your hands too.  Roll or pat out dough into a 1-inch thickness.  Cut scones into desired sizes or shapes.     Place on prepared baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for about 12-15 minutes.