Applelicious Cupcakes

Applelicious Cupcakes

Channeling June Cleaver

Channeling June Cleaver

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

An Outrageous Peach Pie

I have a little problem. I was going to make this pie, take a picture and post it to show how delicious this peach pie is but I have only one person share the pie with, my husband! I do enjoy cooking but I love to bake. I could bake all day, cakes, pies, pastries, you name it, I'm there. My problem is unless I have company etc, I don't have enough people at my house to eat all these backed goods! So I just will share the recipe today but next time I will bake and take a picture! Maybe I can through a baking party and have everyone come and eat up all that I baked!
This is a sinful pie so rich and delicious. I love peaches, fresh or cooked in pastry. Growing up my grandparents had peach trees and the fruit was wonderful. When we moved into the house that I grew up in we had a peach tree and I loved picking and eating the fruit that this tree produced.

Outrageous Peach Pie

1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup butter
2-3 Tbsp apple cider or water

1 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
4 Tbsp flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups peaches, peeled and sliced

1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup butter

 Pastry:  Combine flour, sugar , cinnamon and salt in large bowl. With pastry blender cut in butter to consistency of coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle apple cider over, one tablespoon at a time, mix to moisten pastry mixture evenly. Press dough into ball. Roll out on lightly floured surface into a 11 inch round. Fit into a 9 inch pie plate. Fold extra dough at edge into a rim and flute or crimp a raised edge.
Filling: Combine sour cream, sugar, flour, salt, egg and vanilla. Add slice peaches and stir well. Pour into pastry lined pie plate. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes.
Topping: Mix brown sugar, flour and butter until combined. When pie is done baking remove from over cover with topping. Reduce over heat to 375F and bake for 20 minutes.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mussels so good, so easy!

I am always amazed when I go into a restaurant and see how much they charge for mussels. Right now mussels are so fresh and reasonable at the grocery store or fish market. And they are so easy to make, serve as an appetizer or over pasta as a meal. A wonderful summer meal that is ready in no time. I make mussels a few different ways depending on what I feel like. I do either mussels marinara or mussels in a white wine sauce both are delicious.

Mussels Marinara
3 lbs of mussels
3 Tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots chopped
1 cup white wine
1 can(14.5 oz) petite cut tomatoes
1 Tbs fresh oregano
1 TBS fresh parsley
1 Tbs fresh basil
pinch of crushed red Italian peppers(optional)
1/2 tsp pepper

Rinse and clean mussels thoroughly. Cut the "beard" off, that dark string that is attached to some of the mussels. If the mussels are very dirty scrub with a brush.
(You can also soak in a bowel with water just covering the mussels. Add 1/2 cup of flour and soak for 30 minutes. This will get rid of sand but most of the mussels that you buy at the grocery store are pretty clean.)

Saute garlic and shallots in olive oil for about 5 minuets just until translucent. Don't brown. Add wine, parsley, oregano, basil, both the red and black pepper and tomatoes, bring to a boil. Add mussels, cover and cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until mussels are open. Discard any mussels that don't open. Serve over pasta or with a loaf of crusty bread. Serves about 4 - 6 for a meal

Mussels in White Wine Sauce
3 lbs mussels
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
4 chopped shallots
1/3 cup flat leaf parsley
1 Tbs fresh thyme
1/2 thread of saffron
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Clean mussels. Heat butter and olive oil add shallots and garlic, cooking until translucent. Add wine, parsley, thyme, saffron, and pepper bring to a boil Add mussels, cover and cook over medium heat 8- 10 minutes until mussels open. Discard any mussels that don't open. Serve over pasta or with bread as an appetizer.

I love to make mussels because they are so good, easy to make, and reasonable to purchase. What more can you ask for.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Back into the garden!!

Ah August,  time to start getting the garden ready for the coming fall season. I've been away from my garden for a few weeks, first it's been too hot to work outside and second I was busy with my son's wedding. Now it's the time to get rid of spent blooms and dead plants etc. I worked all morning cutting back my Shasta daisies and yarrow. I like the large yellow yarrow plants because they can be dried for fall arrangements and also they don't over take the garden like some yarrow. I also cut back my lavender plants to promote stronger plants next year. I love growing lavender not only does the plant make a wonderful garden edge but you can cut the lavender and use it in cooking or dry to scent your linens. All that I did today will make the plants stronger and help my plants get through the winter and reward me with wonderful blooms next year. If you want a beautiful garden you have to dead head, prune, fertilize all season long. It's not enough to just plant and watch the beautiful blooms, taking care of your plants is just as important. I find as I've said before working in the garden so peaceful and as beneficial as doing yoga for staying in the present moment and enjoying nature, and not to mention a great workout, all that bending and pulling..
A guilty pleasure of mine is reading all the flower catalogs, my favorites are White Flower Farm and Dutch Gardens. I have used both 30 plus years and have never been disappointed with the quality and price of the plants. I especially like buying bulbs and peonies from these companies. I can look into my crystal ball and say unequivocally that plants from these two companies will be arriving at my door in the fall.
One plant that comes into wonderful bloom from mid July until September is the Hydrangea Paniculatas. I first bought this hydrangea as a tree and I paid about $100.00 ten years ago. Since that time I have bought the scrub form and cultivated the plant to grow as a tree for very little money. On day I found a sad and almost dead plant at Home Depot and purchased it for about $10.00, now eight years later I have a beautiful tree. Over the years I purchased more and let them grown as a shrub. I now have good luck taking cuttings from these shrubs and cultivating the cuttings into new scrubs.  My garden is now filled with these beautiful plants and I plan to grown more this year.

Two things that I could not live without when I work in the garden is Off Clip on Mosquito Repellent. The mosquitoes love me and this is wonderful because I can just clip and be protected. The second is a Nettie pot. After the garden my allergies would be out of control if I didn't use the Neti pot two time a day!
Off to getting a relaxing Sunday dinner together.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Busy with the pefect wedding!

I haven't posted in two weeks and I have a wonderful explanation, I was so busy with my son's wedding and I didn't really have that much to do. I don't know how the bride keep everything all together but she did a wonderful job. The wedding was picture perfect!! We just sailed through everything and the weather the day of the wedding was the best day of the year. We were able to go over to the public gardens and take beautiful pictures.
I did have company at my house and I did a little entertaining. A wonderful causal dinner on our deck that everyone enjoyed on the Thursday night before the wedding.
Now I am back on track and I have many wonderful ideas to share with you about cooking, gardening and just enjoying life. I did get some recipes from my Mother but I will have to cook them myself, working with my mother to get all the correct measurements and steps but I will be able to duplicate her dishes.
As sad as I am that the summer is slowly coming to an end, I am happy with all the fresh local produce at the farm markets. In my town we have a wonderful farm market where we can get the freshest produce, which makes cooking so easy. What could be better than grilling an assortment of peppers, zucchini, eggplant or what's at the market, adding corn on the cob, grilled fish or meat, tossed salad and bread. You have a wonderful , easy, quick delicious meal. I find what really adds to grilled food is wonderful seasonings.  I am partial to Penseys spices and rubs. I just love their spice blends. I am fortunate to have a store close by but you can order on line. Try all the different spice blends.  My favorite has to be Tuscan Sunset with Mural of Flavor coming in second.
I'll leave you with a recipe for Pesto Sauce. You can grow your own basil so easily in the garden or in a pot.

Fresh Pesto Sauce

 3 cups loosely packed fresh Basil leaves
1/cup fresh parsley
3 large cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of pine nuts
1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
1 teaspoon of fresh oregano (an easy to grow perennial herb but it will quickly take over any area. So I planted mine in a plastic pot and planted the pot in the grown. You can use a terracotta pot but it tends to break up after a few harsh winters)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cups fruity olive oil
salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender to form a thick smooth sauce.
You can serve over pasta or over cooked potatoes for a pesto potato salad. Or put just a little dollop on grilled fish or chicken.  Just use your imagination.
I like to freeze the pesto sauce in small containers to use later. You can just defrost and use. No cooking or heating needed.