Monday, July 25, 2011

Deep Dish Peach Tart

There is a shallow version of this summer delicacy as well but the deep dish allows you to fill the tart chock full of the rich colors and flavors that peaches provide. Use extra dough to make a trellis or dough leaves top for the tart.

Tart Dough
2 cups of all purpose flour
½ tsp of salt
1 tbsp of sugar
1 ½ sticks of butter
½ cup of ice water

    · Combine the dry ingredients with your fingers in a large mixing bowl. If using a food processor, then just pulse to mix.
    · Slice the cold butter into cubes and mix with hand mixer or pulse in food processor until the dough begins to clump into a ball and the butter is pea size or smaller.
    · Pour the ice water into the mixture, slowly, continue mixing simultaneously until ball of dough is formed.
    · On a floured surface, roll the dough into a large “pat” and chill for about an hour.
    · After chilling, roll or spread out the dough into your desired shape or to fit in a deep tart pan…the rustic feel of an imperfect circle or rectangle is what makes the simple elegance of this dessert so pretty. 
    1 ½ cups of fresh peaches {you can also add blackberries}
    ¼ cup of vanilla sugar
    ¼ cup of brown sugar
    Peach or apricot jam for glaze
    · Fill the tart dough with the one and one half cups of fresh peaches and sprinkle with vanilla and brown sugars. Cover tart with trellis pattern or cut leaves out of the dough if using a deep dish tart pan. If using a baking sheet and making a flatter tart, just spread the peaches on the flattened dough and sprinkle with sugar.
· Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or until the dough is golden brown… Glaze with jam or preserves and serve with a dollop of preserves or whipped cream as well. 

This tart is perfect along side a Georgia Sunrise.

By the way....the Georgia Sunrise post has been updated to include the actual recipe.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Georgia Sunrise

Here is a SNEAK PEAK at another upcoming book! It’s about drinks, ya’ll! Thought I’d share a bit with my friends… This book will be out Spring 2012!

Upon meeting me, one quickly learns I’m from Georgia and I love peaches. Yet, one fact you may not know upon first meeting me is that I love sunrises too. Sunsets are fabulous and are spellbinding but a sunrise is the start of a new day, the literally dawning of newness and that breaking of nightly silence. Darkness is torn by streams of red, orange, and yellow light, and these colors are caught in a drink I call a Georgia Sunrise.

Sunrises are full of hope and promise and I hope and promise you this drink will surely make the beginning of a new day simply marvelous. Might as well start breakfast with a peach tart as well! The breakfast of champions I’m sure!

3 peaches pitted and sliced into wedges. The skin is fine to leave on but you may peel if desired.
2 cups of peach nectar
1 cup of cranberry juice (pure cranberry or your favorite cranberry mix)
Puree the peaches. Pour nectar and cranberry juice into blender and mix well. Serve chilled or over ice. A new day has broken and celebrate with this sunrise!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Brown Sugar and Buttermilk Blueberry Poundcake…

Some things are just too good to pass up, such as the combo of blueberries and brown sugar. 

And what else would be better than to combine them into a poundcake?

I adore poundcake. Love it more so. I’ve been kicking it up a notch lately with buttermilk, which I pretty much substitute for milk in most of my baking now. It gives a lift and kick and a richness to cakes especially. Honestly, because cakes NEED a bit more richness… enter gilding the lily terminology here. Add in blueberries and your summer has just been captured in this dessert. Garnish with whipped cream, serve warm with ice cream and of course a few fresh blueberries, or toasted the next morning as the breakfast of champions! 

From the blueberry fields flooding into to Middle Georgia into this Farmer’s kitchen and now on to yours, enjoy this delightful dessert!

Brown Sugar and Buttermilk Blueberry Poundcake
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, softened
½ cup of shortening
16 oz. of brown sugar…one box
½ cup of granulated sugar
½ cup of vanilla sugar
5 eggs
3 ½ cups of cake flour
½ teaspoon of baking powder
1 cup of buttermilk
1 teaspoon of good vanilla
½ teaspoon of salt
1 ½ cups of fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease and flour a 10” Bundt pan or two small loaf pans.

Sift the flour and baking powder in a large bowl and then set aside.
With your mixer, hand or standing, cream the butter and shortening. Add the sugars alternately and continue to beat the mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating well after each egg is added.
Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, add the flour and milk to the creamed butter, sugar and eggs.

Mix the blueberries with a bit of flour, about 2 tablespoons and gently fold them into the batter. You can leave off the extra flour and have the blueberries concentrated on the bottom of the cake.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 2 hours. Fair warning, your house will smell wonderful!!

Allow to cool and serve with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream or ice cream! Yummmm!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Roasted Supper

I don’t have to tell ya’ll its hot as a pepper sprout out there. It’s uncomfortably warm and unattractively hot – unattractive sweating mind you – yet in exchange for the persistent perspiration and heat, we get summer produce. Fair enough… fair enough. 

Since it is literally roasting outdoors, I thought I’d use the same technique in the kitchen. I roast everything. Fruit, vegetables, meats… there is something so fabulous about charring and caramelizing the sugars and serving up these dishes that are easy, pretty, and sometimes, unexpectedly divine (namely roasted cauliflower… you’ll be enthralled with the goodness!)

We eat chicken and rice in some form or fashion often. I’m always trying to interject seasonal savoir faire into the dish and this time of year is perfect for my Vidalia Onion Risotto with Braised Basil Chicken.  Basically, follow the directions for risotto (I love the Rice Select products) and be sure to use good chicken stock for the liquid. Water and bouillon cubes makes a quick stock and throw in some thyme and basil for summer flair.

Brown the onions first… this is the start of nearly every savory dish this Farmer makes. Mimi does and Mrs. Mary does… need I reinvent the wheel? If you have never fallen for a TV infomercial gimmick, I’m sorry; for there is one that is great! The Vidalia Chop Wizard and its counterparts – it really makes chopping onions a less tearful event. Yet, try slicing the onions super thin with a mandolin and voila! You’ll have the perfectly thin browned onions for your risotto, squash, corn, succotash, gumbo, jambalaya, soup, peas, beans, salads, etc etc etc… this is a fun tool! Brown your onions for your risotto and your braised chicken and you’ll have a flavor base full of depth and richness.

Braising is another fabulous cooking method and by utilizing this method with chicken, wine, seasoning, and fresh herbs, you’ll surely have happy campers at your table. If you have very thin chicken cutlets, just brown them with the onions and add some wine. So easy and delicious! The sweetness of thyme and basil infiltrate into the dish and liven up the bolder flavors with summer herbal zest.

We’ve had a mess of squash this summer and though cooking it down in browned onion in the iron skillet is bar none Southern fabulousness, a twist is to roast thinly sliced rounds of squash. Olive oil, salt and pepper… that is all you need for roasting veggies. A hot oven (400-450) will roast your squash or what have you until golden greatness and desired crispiness. I like a bit of char – the beauty of roasting is that crisp and tenderness combo. YUM!

With distinct flavors abounding in this meal, something lighter and clean to gully down was completely apropos. My cucumber salad with the same herbs I had used in the other dishes carried the flavor and made for the perfect garden to table pairing. Again, my mandolin came into action, for these cucumbers were delicately thin and decadently delicious. Dissolving a bit of sugar in the vinegar in the microwave with the herbs too infuses other flavor accoutrements into this salad’s dressing. Ice down the dish and the textural delight of warm and cold dishes is simply divine.

Though it is so hot, match the heat with your kitchen’s own firepower! From this Farmer’s garden and kitchen – roast on this summer!
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