Thursday, August 18, 2011

Peach Blackberry Cobbler

I have been making this recipe for years now. I originally found it in the July 2007 issue of a Cooking Light magazine.  It is absolutely fabulous! The drop biscuit topping is tender and fluffy and the whole thing comes together in almost no time at all. You can literally just toss it together while you are cooking dinner, or just before, and you'll have dessert to look forward to once you've eaten all your veggies.

You can easily make this an all peach cobbler. Or an all blackberry cobbler. Or a blueberry peach, or a triple berry, and etc. I use this recipe as the base standard for all my summer cobblers. The amount of sugar and flour called for in the filling below is a good amount for berries/fruit that are sweet and not too juicy. If you have some fruit that is more tart than sweet, like wild blackberries, you will need to add a bit more sugar to the mix. Likewise, if your fruit is very juicy, you may need to add more flour to the filling, up to about 4 tablespoons.

Serves 8

1/2 c sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
1/4 tsp salt
2 peaches, sliced (you may leave the peels on if desired, I do)
2 dry pints blackberries
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Biscuit Topping:
1 1/3 c flour
1/3 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp chilled butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 c buttermilk (or plain milk if you don't have buttermilk)
1 1/2 Tbsp turbinado sugar, reserved to sprinkle on top of biscuits

Preheat oven to 400°.
Combine first 4 filling ingredients in a large bowl. Add peaches, blackberries and lemon juice. Toss gently. Spoon mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the topping. Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups and level off with a knife. Using a wire whisk, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. With clean hands, rub butter into the flour mix using your fingertips until the mix looks like coarse meal. You could also do this with a pastry blender if you prefer. Make a well in the middle of the mix and add the buttermilk all at once. Stir, with a wooden spoon in a circular motion, just until moist.

Remove the baking dish from oven after the 15 minute pre-bake. Drop the biscuit topping onto the hot fruit mixture in 8 spots. Sprinkle the dough with the turbinado sugar. Bake for another 25 minutes or until it's bubbly and the biscuits are golden.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Zucchini Bread with Candied Ginger

I'm an avid Farmer's Market shopper; and being one requires me to eat with the seasons. Which means that for the majority of the year, I eat whatever produce is locally in season at the time. Practically, what this looks like is weeks of eating a certain vegetable, say zucchini, in creatively different ways as to not get bored or tired of eating the same thing.

Last year I came across this cookbook that nearly called out my name from the shelf. It's perfect for my eating lifestyle. Called Eating Local, it highlights great recipes that help to make the most out of the local produce that is available at the farmers markets or through a CSA subscription. This is where I found this amazing recipe for zucchini bread; it has since become my very favorite.

Don't be scared off with the addition of the candied ginger, it really makes this bread into an almost gourmet experience. I find candied ginger at my local Fred Meyer. There's a brand called Naturally Preferred that they carry in the "healthy food" section that I like the best, but any will do.

Makes two 8 inch loaves

3 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup minced candied ginger
3 large eggs
1 cup canola oil
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
(For a variation, try 1 cup grated carrot and 1 cup grated zucchini. It's just as tasty and more colorful.)

Preheat oven to 325°. Grease two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.

Sift the flour before measuring. With a wire whisk, sift together the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl. Then stir in the candied ginger.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until light and foamy. Add the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Whisk vigorously until the sugar dissolves. Then whisk in the zucchini (or the zucchini and carrots if doing that variation.)

Add the dry ingredients all at once to the egg mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon just until blended. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared pans.

Bake for about one hour, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn out loaves from the pans and leave them to finish cooling, right side up, on the rack.

Loaves should keep well, wrapped in plastic or wax paper, for about 3 days.