Peach Cobbler

My husband, in general, is a good man.  Anyway, for 41 years he’s been a good friend, husband and companion.  He doesn’t talk much but has the grace and patience to look interested when I’m talking 🙂  He has sent me flowers when he’s been out of the country and is now working on a rose garden for our home in the U.S.  Each morning before I come down to coffee, he cuts roses for the breakfast table.

It’s for all of those reasons that occasionally I’ll make a dessert.  My husband likes food well enough but absolutely loves anything sweet.  Anything.  I saw these peaches in the supermarket and they looked pretty and appeared to be from the U.S. so, nostalgically, I decided to make my mother’s southern style peach cobbler.  It’s an easy to make dessert and I knew he would love it.  He grew up eating pies, cakes and cookies,  and I was fairly sure he’d never had a cobbler, at least not a proper one  😉

These were no Georgia peaches, nor the ones I use for ice cream in France.  They were not very sweet, a little too tangy and tasted like a peach cousin.  But whatever 😀

This is so easy I might branch out a bit and try other fruits for cobblers.  My husband doesn’t mind eating the whole thing but it’s also great for coffee with friends.

I used 1 1/2 cups of sugar between the batter and the peaches.  It was sweet but not in a terrible way.  Still, I think I will decrease the sugar by 1/2 cup next time.

Next time I will try to find better quality fruit with natural sweetness and old school peach flavor.  I think that in fruit desserts, the fruit should hold center stage.

Some people don’t care 😀

Peach Cobbler

8 fresh peaches, peeled, seed removed and cut into wedges

3/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup milk

1/2 cup butter

Ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 F

Bring the peaches, sugar and lemon juice to a boil, gently stirring, then remove from heat and set aside.

Mix the flour, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, salt and milk together and set aside.

Melt the butter in a baking pan in the oven, remove and pour in the batter, top with the peaches, sprinkle with the cinnamon and return to the oven to bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is brown and crisp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Dessert, Food and Wine, Fruit, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Braised Oxtails

Did you know that oxtail (cow tail) is $5.99/lb?  I mean, you can buy steak at that price.  It’s true that in France the French have always valued the oxtail as a quality source of meat but here in the States it used to be considered among the least desirable parts of the cow, along with the shins, feet and bones that were usually dirt cheap and used to flavor soups and/or provide a source of protein to low income families or southerners who just eat like that 😀

Raised by southern parents, I eat like that and wanted to make some meaty, succulent oxtails but wanted to get more sauce from them than I usually do.  Searching the internet I found a great sounding recipe that also seemed to make enough sauce.  To my surprise, the recipe was written by one of my Facebook buddies who I consider to be a 5 star cook, Shinae Choi Robinson.  My inspiration today comes from Shinae, yet again.

Even before I approved of the amount of sauce Shinae’s recipe made, I congratulated her on her choice of never fail ingredients; onions, carrots, garlic, celery, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf.  She knows 😀

The temperature fell to below freezing the other day but my herb garden took it in stride except, of course, the no class basil plant which is such a “girlie man” when it comes to anything different.  Dead before Thanksgiving, I’ll wager.

Having browned the first batch of oxtails, I just had to take a picture even under the hood artificial light because they looked good enough to bite but I knew better; you’d have to have filed your teeth into points to chew these 🙂

I bought 3 lbs of large oxtails and 1 lb of the small ends of the tail that I adore.  There’s not much meat on the small ends but I think they’re tastier somehow.

So easy after the browning.  Everything into the pressure cooker for 45 minutes; meat, vegetables and liquids.

I haven’t been “tormented” by the aroma of a cooking pot for a long time but today was one of those days.  The smell was beyond delicious!  Thank you Shinae.

Braise Oxtails

4 lbs trimmed oxtails

Salt and pepper

Flour

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tall, whippy thin carrots, sliced

2 celery stalks, sliced

2 onions, cut in half then sliced

4-6 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 cup red wine

Leaves from 5 thyme sprigs

1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

2 bay leaves

2 tbsp tomato paste

2 cups chicken broth

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

Season the oxtails with salt and pepper, dust with flour, than brown on all sides in a large skillet in the olive oil.  Remove the oxtails from the skillet and place inside a pressure cooker.

Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the oil from the skillet, then add the carrots, celery, onions and garlic, sauteing until the vegetables are soft.  Add the wine to the skillet and boil until the liquid is reduced by about a third.  Add the herbs, tomato paste, broth, salt and sugar, bring to a boil, then pour over the oxtails in the pressure cooker.

Secure the pressure cooker lid, top with the bobble, and bring to a boil.  When the bobble starts to swing back and forth, reduce the heat until the bobble maintains a gentle back and forth rhythm.  Continue to cook for 45 minutes, allow the pot to depressurize, open and serve with pasta or mashed potatoes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Oven Roasted Chicken with Turnips and Spinach

It was 28 F(-2 C) this morning and our first frost of the season.  I’d better get the winter clothes out of the attic and shake out my gloves.   They predict that we still have a few more days of 70F weather but basically, winter is coming 🙂

To keep my strength up, I sauteed some turnip cubes with shallots and garlic, wilted in some spinach and sprinkled on some leftover tomato.  I would KILL for some lardons!  But I am where I am and this medley was very good.  My new plate from the Christmas Store in Scranton.

I was lucky to find package of chicken from Quails R Us Plus with normal sized thighs and drumsticks.  Farm grown, the chicken tastes like chicken.

For the chicken pieces, use the ole salt, pepper, onion and/or garlic powder to season, dust with flour and roast in the oven with melted butter for about 45 minutes, turning once.

Sauteed Turnips and Spinach

2 tbsp olive oil

2 large shallots, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, chopped

2 large turnips, cubed

1 tbsp chicken broth or water

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

5 0z box organic baby spinach

1/2 tomato, seed and pulp removed and chopped

Heat the oil in a skillet, add shallots, garlic and saute until soft.  Remove from the skillet and set aside.  Add the turnips and saute until lightly tanned.  Put the garlic and shallots back into the skillet with the turnips, add the broth and vinegar, cover and steam until the turnips are tender.  Toss in the spinach and barely wilt in handfuls.  Remove from the flame, top with the chopped tomato and serve.

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, side dish | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Veal Chops with Sage Mustard Sauce

 

It’s been a very good year for our herb garden, even the stubborn, gangster basil looks good!  We’ve got fennel fronds, parsley, weed like oregano, rosemary and two varieties of sage that are almost bushes.  Autumn is a good time for sage with all the root vegetables coming along and, of course, more pumpkins than I’m interested in 😀

I found these enormous veal “chops” at the Alpine butcher.  Young, pink veal is difficult and sometimes impossible to find around here, so I paid the outrageous price for them with only a small grimace.  Why are they so big?  Never mind, I could become a, gasp, vegetarian if I thought about it too much.

Having spotted the lifetime supply of 6 large jars of Amora Dijon mustard in the pantry,  I thought I would go with a mustard sauce, accented with sage and whatever else came to mind that I didn’t have to go out and buy.  I made some mashed some potatoes with lots of butter and no milk; you don’t need milk if you’ve been insanely generous with the butter 🙂  I browned the chops on all sides, then roasted them in a hot oven while I prepared the sauce.  I had intended to wilt some spinach but I couldn’t be bothered, so made do with mixed, young lettuce sprouts.  This was good enough and easy.

The sauce reminded me of France.  Well, there was the mustard and all that butter 🙂

Veal Chops with Sage Mustard Sauce

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

15 whole sage leaves

2 veal chops, seasoned with salt and pepper

2 tbsp butter

3 shallots, thinly sliced, vertically

2 tbsp finely chopped sage leaves

1/2 cup white wine

2 tbsp dijon mustard

1/2 cup chicken broth

Salt and pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Add 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil to a hot skillet and flash fry the whole sage leaves, removing them to drain on paper towels.

Add the chops to the skillet and when browned all over, place on a rack in a roasting pan, roasting for 10-15 minutes.

In the meantime, add 2 tbsp butter and the shallots to the same skillet sauteing until the shallots are soft.  Stir in the chopped sage and the wine, then boil until half the liquid has evaporated.  Blend in the mustard, stirring well, then add the chicken broth, salt and pepper, bring to a boil, stirring, then simmer until the sauce has thickened.

Serve with mashed potatoes and garnish with fried sage leaves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, French, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

His Tree, His Pie

Think of the 41 years of deprivation my husband has endured because he, one who eats dessert for breakfast, married one of the few people in the world who does not love nor make dessert unless company is coming and/or it’s either Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas or possibly New Year’s.  Poor thing 😀  Over the years, he has been forced to satisfy his craving for home made sweets by making them himself (I do help with the recipes).

This year my husband’s apple tree was, unaccountably, overflowing with red, sweet apples.  We shared plastic bags full of these apples with neighbors and one of the neighbors, Ann Lynch, kindly shared her homemade apple pie with my husband.  Since then, he’s been moaning about making his own pie.  Yesterday, I handed him an easy, straightforward, traditional apple pie recipe and, backed into a corner, he made his own pie.  Objectively, I tasted a small bite and it was good; buttery, not too sweet and full of apples.

Posted in American, Cooking, Dessert, Food and Wine | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Fresh Borlotti Chili Beans

As you know, I like fresh beans when I can get them.  Fortunately, the Scranton farmer’s market has a few farmers who grow borlotti/red coco beans or what they call cranberry beans to shell.  These beans are quite a bit larger than the borlotti you find in France, about the size of kidney beans or maybe bigger.  They look large 🙂

My mom would often make what she called chili beans, a heavily Texas Mexican influenced, savory pot of beans flavored with ham hocks.  We loved these as much as the chili beans with beef.  Depending on her mood, she would serve these with flour tortillas or thin, unsweetened cornbread.  Cake like cornbread was not admired in our house!  Thank you Jesus 😀

I was going to go out to the ex-Super Duper that is now a Foodtown (bleah) for ham hocks.  Then I vaguely remember seeing several frozen chunks of leftover baked, smoked ham from some holiday meal I cooked.  Frozen, it wasn’t very attractive but it thawed out nicely and we won’t even think about how old it is, why worry?

How could I have forgotten about this pot?!  I looked up on the top shelf of the pantry this morning and it was staring down at me accusingly, and rightfully so!  I apologized profusely and promised it a glamorous day on the stove.

Chopped onions, garlic, bell pepper and a ferocious green chilli.  A routine I never get tired of.

The aromas from this pot assured me that this was going to be absolutely fabulous 😀  A wonderful rich, thick sauce made with canned diced tomatoes or better, if you have them, fresh tomatoes.

Nothing wrong with gilding the lily with a few toppings.  Make America grate again!

“And when you smile for the camera, I know I’ll love you better.”

Fresh Borlotti Chili Beans

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 large green or red bell pepper, chopped

3-6 large garlic cloves chopped

1 long hot chilli pepper, seeds removed or not, chopped

3 cups cooked, smoked ham, cubed

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp oregano

2 – 3 tbsp Mexican chili powder

2 bay leaves

1 cup of red wine

2 large (l lb 12 oz) cans of diced tomatoes

4 cups shelled fresh borlotti beans

2 cups water

Diced fresh tomatoes, sliced scallions and grated cheese for toppings

Warm tortillas, corn or flour

Saute the onion, bell pepper, garlic and chilli in the oil until the onion is soft, add the smoke ham and continue to saute for abou 1 minute.  Add the cumin, oregano, chili powder and bay leaves, continuing to saute for about 3 minutes.  Add the red wine and boil for 3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, beans and water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 1 1/2 hours.

Top with diced fresh tomatoes, scallions and cheese.  Serve with tortillas or cornbread.

 

 

 

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Mexican, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Sister Rose’s Sister’s Stew

For one year in college, I was a reporter for the campus Third World News.  One of my favorite things was interviewing Black Muslim ministers and their “soldiers” at their Islamic temples.  They were such gentlemen, courteously showing me the work they were involved in in their communities; grocery, clothing and electronic stores, child care, schools and recreation centers.  As they took me on tours of their neighborhoods, the young “soldiers” would surround me like bodyguards,  calling me “Sister Rose.”  Barely out of my teens, I was dazzled 🙂

Since the age of maybe 7 or 8, I have been a voracious reader of just about everything including the classics, over and over again, and science fiction/fantasy, depending on the writer and subject.  George M.M. Martin is one of the best storytellers I have ever read and I was lucky to discover him only after he had completed his 5th book in the Game of Thrones series, providing me with weeks of uninterrupted, quality entertainment.  Now I, along with his thousands of other fans who would rather read the books than watch T.V., have waited over 6 years for him to publish the rest of the series.  In anticipation, I started reading the last book “A Dance with Dragons” again to refresh my memory of what happened last,  rediscovering the description of a luscious sounding fish stew, Sister’s Stew:

The beer was brown, the bread black, the stew a creamy white. She served it in a trencher hollowed out of a stale loaf. It was thick with leeks, carrots, barley, and turnips white and yellow, along with clams and chunks of cod and crabmeat, swimming in a stock of heavy cream and butter. It was the sort of stew that warmed a man right down to his bones, just the thing for a wet, cold night. Davos spooned it up gratefully — A Dance with Dragons

Well, the first time I read that, I intended to make it!  But real life tends to interrupt my obsessive actions instigated by the interesting things I find it books.  I forgot about the stew 😦    And then, I remembered 🙂

No novice when it comes to the preparation of fish stew/chowder/soup, my only worry was to find a whole fresh fish to make the stock.  According to a N.Y. Times article kindly sent to me by The Dog, bouillabaisse aficionados revile any fish stock not made with rascasse or spiny fish but cooler heads suggest an American substitution of grouper, sea bass, rockfish and others.  Fine.  I was pretty sure I would be able to find one of these at Wegmans or certainly at the Southside Fish Market in the “city” of Scranton.

Guys, here in the landlocked, old school, countryside of Pennsylvania, whole fish, head on, with bones is just not done!  It seems that nobody wants to know what any fish looked like before it ended up on their plates as a fillet, preferably breaded.  We visited 6 different establishments and only managed to see one large, sliced, whole salmon, head sliced off but left in the right position for display purposes only.  The fishmonger at Southside told me that his customers complain if he doesn’t remove every single piece of evidence that the fish had a skeleton.

Dismayed and mystified, I grabbed a bag of frozen grouper fillets, went home and listened to James Taylor to calm my nerves, interspersed between Bobby Bland’s hardcore blues ballads.

The commercially frozen grouper, poached for 5 minutes, was what it was but with enhancers, did create an acceptable stock.  If you don’t have to, don’t use fillets.  A stock made with a whole fish is superior.

Anyway.  The fish ingredients for the stew were chunks from a very nice “back” of monkfish, some okay cod, fresh chopped clams and large crabmeat lumps from China. The stew did not disappoint, although I remained bitter about the stock fish.  Do use a reasonable butter;  Trix and Phillip gave me a block of butter from New Zealand which was excellent, French imported butter is also good even if you have to buy President 😀

Sister Rose’s Sister’s Stew

Make the stock

1 small to medium whole, scaled and cleaned rockfish, sea bass or grouper

1 small bunch parsley

2 tbsp peanut oil

1 large onion, sliced

3-6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 long green hot chilli, seeds removed or not, sliced

1 cup of drinkable white wine

8 cups water

1 bouquet garni for fish

1 large bay leaf

Place the fish in a stockpot with the parsley and set aside.  In a large skillet, heat the oil and add the onion, garlic and chilli, sauteing until the onion is soft.  Add the wine and boil for about 2 minutes then add to the stockpot along with the water, bouquet garni and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and poach for 10 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, remove the fish to a board and when cool, remove the flesh from the carcass and set aside.  Also remove the bay leaf, parsley, bouquet and, if you want, the garlic pieces from the stock.

Make the stew

1/3 cup butter

1 1/2 cup sliced carrots

2 turnips, peeled and cut into cubes

2 large leeks, trimmed, dirt removed and sliced

1/2 cup barley

Salt and pepper

2 caps safron

1 lb fresh clams, chopped

1lb monkfish, cubed

1 lb cod, cubed

1lb jumbo lump crabmeat

2 cups of heavy cream

In a skillet, saute the carrots, turnips and leeks in the butter until the leeks are tender then transfer with the barley, salt and pepper, to the stockpot with the safron, bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Add the clams and simmer for about 5 minutes, add the monkfish and simmer 2 minutes, add the cod and simmer 2 minutes.  Lastly, add the crabmeat and meat from the stock and simmer for 2 minutes.  Cool the stew for about 5 minutes, then stir in the cream.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cooking, fish, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, Seafood, Soup | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments