Applelicious Cupcakes

Applelicious Cupcakes

Channeling June Cleaver

Channeling June Cleaver

Monday, August 24, 2015

Peach Schnapps Pie with Streusel Topping



August is peach season with fresh picked peaches in all the markets. Peach pie is one of my favorites pies(I know I say that about every pie!). Sometimes you have to do something different, go a little rouge, shack it up! That's what I did with this Peach Pie, I added Peach Schnapps to the filling, added a struesel topping all in a phyllo pie crust. I just let my creative cooking ideas flow for this show stopping pie!

Streusel topping:
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced
3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Filling:
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoon Peach Schnapps
3 3/4 to 4 pounds peaches, peeled with vegetable peeler, halved, pitted, cut into 1-inch wedges


Phyllo Pie Crust:
10 14x9-inch sheets fresh phyllo pastry or frozen, thawed
5 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger

Preparation:
Streusel topping:
Stir flour, oats, sugar, and salt in medium bowl. Add butter; rub in with fingertips until mixture holds together in moist clumps. Mix in pecans. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.


filling:
Stir sugar and next 4 ingredients in large bowl. Mix in Peach Schnapps, then peaches; toss. Let stand at least 20 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Crust:

Lightly butter 10-inch-diameter tart pan. Place rimmed baking sheet in oven to heat. Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in small bowl. 
Set rack at lowest position in oven. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lay 1 phyllo sheet on clean work surface and brush lightly with butter (keep remaining phyllo sheets covered with plastic wrap and damp towel to prevent drying). Sprinkle 1scant teaspoonful cinnamon mixture over phyllo. Repeat 4 times with phyllo, butter, and cinnamon mixture. Arrange stacked phyllo in tart pan, gently pressing and allowing long sides to hang over edge of pan. Repeat layering process with 5 remaining phyllo sheets. Arrange stacked phyllo crosswise atop first sheets so that overhanging corners point in opposite directions. Roll overhang in to form edge of crust. 
Spoon filling into crust. Scatter topping over, breaking up large clumps.

Bake pie 30 minutes. Reduce oven to 350°F; bake until juices bubble thickly and topping is golden, covering edges with foil if browning too quickly, about 30 hour. Cool on rack at least 1 1/2 hours. Serve warm or at room temperature.



Enjoy!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Farm Fresh Tomato Eggplant Bake with Mozzarella



We New Englanders live for the summer months when all the area CSAs and farm markets products are local, fresh and available. Perfect for a vegetable lover and cook. Here is my problem, I get carried away by the bountiful beauty at my local Farmer's Market going overboard with my purchases. I just can't help myself, I'm like a kid in a candy shop! What to do when I return home with my bags bursting with all kinds of produce; Cook up all the veggie casseroles that just pop up in my brain. This week I was loving the large local tomatoes along with the deep purple eggplant. I picked up locally grown onions and fresh local mozzarella to finish creating my Tomato Eggplant Bake with Mozzarella. I just added olive oil with my home grown herbs for a flavor bursting veggie dish, quick, easy and delicious.


Farm Fresh Tomato Eggplant Bake with Mozzarella

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 large eggplant, peeled and thinly sliced, salted*
1 large vadalia onion, thinly sliced
2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 tablespoon basil, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a large 13"by10" baking pan. Layer eggplant on baking pan. Drizzle with herb olive oil, then top with onion, drizzle herb oil, followed by 1/2 of the slice mozzarella. Continue to layer with tomato, remaining oil then the last of the mozzarella. Sprinkle with finely chopped basil. Bake for 45 minutes until cheese is melted and starting to brown. I then like to broil for a few minutes just so the cheese is bubbly. 

*To salt eggplant, peel and cut thinly. Place it in a colander, sprinkle generously with salt (don't worry, you'll be rinsing most of it off before you cook it) and let it sit for about an hour. Before using, thoroughly rinse the eggplant and pat it dry.

Enjoy!



Baked Zucchini and Summer Squash Casserole with Polenta and Mozzarella


Summertime is my favorite time to go to local Farmer’s Markets savoring all the beautiful fresh picked produced. I love to shop like a Parisian filling my market basket with produce, cheese, bread and even fresh fish. I love to create delicious meals with all my purchases. I love this Zucchini and squash casserole that I added polenta and mozzarella making this the main course not a side dish. I served it with fresh bread and a salad made of spicy greens, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers all that I just picked up at the Farmer’s Market.

                        Baked Zucchini and Summer Squash Casserole with Polenta and Mozzarella


Ingredients:

Polenta, Instant, I used Bellino
2 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 pounds summer squash (about 6 medium), sliced into thin rounds
2 pounds zucchini (about 6 medium), sliced into thin rounds
1/2 cup sliced fresh mozzarella
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
4 large eggs
1/2  cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with 1/2 tablespoon butter.

Cook Polenta according to directions. Remove from heat add butter and Parmesan cheese. Pour Polenta into prepared baking dish.

Heat the olive oil and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, salt, and black pepper and cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the squash and zucchini and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Stir in the thyme and remove from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the half of vegetables to the prepared baking dish, reserving the cooking liquid.  Top vegetables with sliced mozzarella then remaining vegetables.

Combine the eggs and cream in a medium bowl and whisk to blend. Gradually whisk the reserved cooking liquid into the egg mixture. When all the cooking liquid is incorporated, pour the mixture over the vegetables in the baking dish. Using a spoon, gently shift the vegetables around so the egg mixture is evenly distributed. Bake until the mixture sets, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the Parmesan, return to the oven. Bake until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.


Enjoy!


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Tuscan Tuna Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes



Summertime is salad time at our house. I love to use the fresh bounty from local farmers markets to create wonderfully fresh and delicious salads. What could be better on a hot evening than cool crisp greens covered with heirloom tomatoes then topped with Tuscan Tuna Salad. Just add fresh Italian bread, wine and fresh peaches for dessert. Now that says summertime!

Tuscan Tuna Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoon chopped basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
2 (6-ounce) cans tuna in olive oil, drained  I use Genova
2 ribs celery chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped, white only
1/4 cup chopped sweet grape tomatoes
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
1/2 head lettuce, or field greens
2 large heirloom tomatoes, one red, one yellow, sliced

Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, basil and thyme in small bowl. In a medium bowl lightly chunk tuna then add celery, scallions, grape tomatoes, olives and capers. Toss with most of the salad dressing. Reserve 2 tablespoons. 
Line a plate with lettuce. Top with heirloom tomatoes, then drizzle with reserved salad dressing. Place Tuna Salad on top.