Friday, October 7, 2011

Peach Shortcakes

Sometimes pictures do not make justice to a plate.  This is one of those occasions. This dessert was so fresh and delicious, but unfortunately my camera was not able to capture that. Anyway, I found a great recipe from Cooks Illustrated that will let you have this amazing dessert all year around, not only during Summer when fresh peaches from Chilton county are available ;-)

"This recipe works well with any peaches, regardless of quality. If your peaches are firm, you should be able to peel them with a sharp vegetable peeler. If they are too soft to withstand the pressure of a peeler, you’ll need to blanch them in a pot of simmering water for 15 seconds and then shock them in a bowl of ice water before peeling. If buttermilk is not available, substitute 1/2 cup of low-fat yogurt mixed with 3 tablespoons of milk. Orange juice or orange liqueur can be used in place of the peach schnapps. The biscuits may be made up to 24 hours in advance." Cooks Illustrated.


- For the Fruit:
2 lb. ripe but firm peaches (4 to 5 medium), peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
6 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. peach schnapps (see note)

- For the Biscuits:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
2 tspn. baking powder
2 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 tspn. table salt
2/3 cup buttermilk, cold (see note)
1 large egg
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

- For the Whipped Cream:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


For The Fruit: Gently toss three-quarters of peaches with 4 tablespoons sugar in large bowl. Let stand 30 minutes. Toss remaining peaches with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and schnapps in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high power until peaches are bubbling, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, stirring twice during cooking. Using potato masher, crush peaches into coarse pulp. Let stand 30 minutes.

For The Biscuits: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. While peaches macerate, whisk flour, baking powder, 1 tablespoon sugar, and salt in large bowl. Whisk together buttermilk and egg in medium bowl; add melted butter and stir until butter forms small clumps.

Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir with wooden spoon until dough comes together and no dry flour remains. Continue stirring vigorously for 30 seconds. Using greased 1/3 cup dry measure, scoop up mound of dough and drop onto parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet (if dough sticks to cup, use small spoon to pull it free). Repeat with remaining dough, spacing biscuits about 1 1/2 inches apart, to create 6 biscuits. Sprinkle remaining tablespoon sugar evenly over top of biscuits. Bake until tops are golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 15 minutes before assembling.

For The Whipped Cream: Using hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat cream, sugar, and vanilla on low speed until bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; continue beating until beaters leave trail, about 30 seconds longer. Increase speed to high; continue beating until nearly doubled in volume and whipped cream forms soft peaks, 30 to 45 seconds longer.
To Assemble: Split each biscuit in half and place bottoms on individual serving plates. Spoon portion of crushed peach mixture over each bottom, followed by peach slices and any exuded juices. Top peaches with 2 tablespoons whipped cream, cap with biscuit top, and dollop each shortcake with some of remaining whipped cream. Serve immediately.

Source:  Recipe Courtesy of Cook's Illustrated. Published July 1, 2008.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Orange Cream Mimosas

Morning pleasures...  Mimosas are one of them, especially if you can make them in advance and serve them next to delicious breakfast/brunch foods!  This is a very easy recipe.  You will like it.  I promise.


2 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice (5 to 6 oranges)
1 orange, zested
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup superfine sugar
1 bottle sparkling wine or Champagne (*)
Strawberries, for garnish

(*) Non-alcoholic sparkling wine, sparkling cider, or ginger ale can be substituted, make sure you cut the amount of sugar, so your drink won't be overly sweet.


Put orange juice, zest, half-and-half, and sugar into a blender and process until the sugar has dissolved, about 30 seconds. Pour this mixture into a shallow pan and freeze until hard, 4 hours or overnight.  (If you have an ice cream maker, just follow the manufacturer's instructions and churn the mix until soft serving consistency)

Remove the frozen orange mixture from the freezer and let it sit to soften slightly, about 10 minutes. With a scoop or tablespoon, scrape out a small scoop and put it into a Champagne glass. Slowly fill the glass with Champagne and serve garnished with strawberries.


Source:  Recipe Courtesy of Tyler Florence

Monday, October 3, 2011

Spinach Salad Wrap

I've been inspired by sandwiches recipes lately, and I saw a similar recipe on the web and decided to make a twist on a regular spinach salad and turn it into a wrap!  Hope you guys enjoy it :)


- For the Salad
1 5oz.  package of baby spinach (fresh)
6 flour tortillas (10")
6 slices Muenster Cheese, cut into strings (or yellow cheese of your preference)

10 slices of bacon (cooked, and chopped coarsely)
1/2 small red onion (sliced)
3 hard eggs, sliced
1 tomato, thinly sliced

- For the salad dressing
5 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. mayo
2 Tbsp. sour cream
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 tspn. dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. honey
Salt & Fresh ground pepper, to taste


For the salad dressing:  Put all the ingredients inside of a mason jar and shake it until completely combined.  Set aside.

Before starting building your wraps, make sure you don't over fill the tortillas or it will be harder to roll them up after you put the last ingredient on them.  Divide the spinach leaves among the flour tortillas.  Start layering them with cheese, bacon, red onion, sliced tomatoes and eggs.  Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper and drizzle moderately with salad dressing.

Roll the tortillas up (like a burrito) and cut them diagonally in half.  Serve immediately and enjoy!