peach wontons with browned butter whiskey sauce

Here’s another recipe where the measurements are up to you. Ingredients: fresh peaches, brown sugar, wonton wrappers, butter, and whiskey. Once the peaches are sliced (or diced), sprinkle them with brown sugar (I used smoked demerara sugar, but brown sugar is also good). Place the peach mix on top of wonton wrappers. Fold over and pinch edges together using water or egg white as adhesive. Fry one minute on each side in hot oil. Drain and cover with powdered sugar or browned butter whiskey sauce. To make the sauce, brown some butter on the stovetop, then whisk in some whiskey and brown sugar. Cook till it reduces to a near caramel state and pour over tops of fried peach wontons. Voilà: crunchy dough, spiked glaze, sweet steam, and warm August peaches, intersecting in one juicy wonton bite.

macarons in the midwest

They do exist! Mind you, I have never been to Paris, but the macarons at Madeleines Bakehouse are worth my (and your) while. I have mainly had their fruit macaron selections (Apricot, Raspberry, Key Lime, Blackberry) up until this weekend. My mom and I stopped in the bakehouse for some French Pressed Coffee yesterday and took a few macarons to go. She chose Coconut, and said that “it is five times better than a Snoball!” I chose Crème Brûlée and Pumpkin. Pumpkin was yummy, with a fresh pumpkin butter center, but Crème Brûlée is my new favorite. The “trinity cream” dessert is in a sparkly, bite-sized sandwich poof of light, sweet indulgence. Airy flavor vibrance, AHOY.

modern (lovers) pastry

I got to see Boston (and my dear, engaged-to-be-wed, friends Emily and Jarrid) for a day at the end of my trip out East last week. The sun was shining, and soon after walking past the Government Center, I had my first ever bakery fresh cannoli from Modern Pastry. Sweet little fried pastry tubes stuffed with sacchariferous ricotta. In my head were the song lyrics, “Oh that feelin’ inside we’re gonna transmit it to life!” from The Modern Lovers. Here’s hoping for future cannoli transmissions to/from my kitchen.

irish coffee oatmeal pie

I decided that if that stinker groundhog goes back into his home tomorrow, then I am going to have a slice of this pie for breakfast every morning for the next six weeks. My new recipe was initially inspired by Sophie Leavitt’s Oatmeal Pie in the All New Penny Pincher’s Cookbook (my mom told me that she purchased the cookbook after Ms. Leavitt appeared on Phil Donahue’s program!). I made a few versions, one with strawberries and this one with espresso, steel cut oats, and less sugar. Definitely a sweet cafe, hearty, and high-in-fiber pie. Make it an all-the-way Irish dessert by topping it off with whipped whiskey cream and serving it alongside an Irish coffee. Happy February. Is it March yet?

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Beat 3 eggs.
Mix in 1 C brown sugar, 1 t cinnamon, 2 T instant espresso powder, and 1/2 t salt.
Stir in 1 1/2 C quick-cooking Irish Oatmeal.
Melt 2 T unsalted butter.
Stir in.
*Pour in 9″ unbaked pie shell.
Bake 40 minutes.

Emeril’s Irish Whiskey Cream
1 C heavy cream
1 T sugar
2 T Irish whiskey

Whip the cream until it begins to form soft peaks. Add the sugar and whiskey and beat until stiff peaks form. Cover and chill until needed. Plunk as much as you please on the pie or in your coffee.

*you wouldn’t have to use a pie shell… but before baking I like to brush butter on the dough and sprinkle with brown sugar and sea salt.

last day for blueberries

Before hopping on the Kal-Haven bike trail Saturday morning, I got to enjoy the South Haven Farmers Market. Kind and generous farmers and artisans were as abundant as the produce. There is still plenty of gorgeous fruit for picking up there, though the woolen mittens remind everyone that Southwestern Michigan fully embraces all of the seasons.

dubliner cheese & thyme crackers with tomato soup

I benefited from my co-worker Zora’s tomato abundance yesterday!  I made some soup and thought it was a great time to try out a cheese cracker recipe I’d been holding onto, Ina Garten’s Parmesan & Thyme Crackers.  I thought about using pecorino romano  (because I prefer the sharpness and can’t get enough salty sheep’s milk cheese), but when I was at the cheese case I spotted Dubliner and knew that was what I wanted to use.  The sweetness of the cheese complemented the fragrance of the thyme and balanced the acidity of the tomato.  When these crackers are baking they smell like cheese straws, but when they come out of the oven they melt in your mouth.  Simple and tasty.

stochastic summer

Not much to say, just sifting through some photos from the season. The temperature got down to the 6o’s last night, and I am giddy for the weekend and the fall season, my favorite. Wishing you random happiness.

peachy pie memories

Those hands have been peeling peaches for 75 years! My grandma was one of ten brothers and sisters who grew up on a farm in Northeastern Indiana. This time of year, they would get up to seven bushels of peaches at a time, and the five girls would sit on the front porch and peel them for canning, to put up for the winter.  In the summer months, my great-grandma, Margaret Beck, would do all of the baking in the morning on a cook stove.  On special days, she would bake pie.  She used giant pie tins and always made at least two at a time.  My grandma came to stay with my mom this week, the first week for peaches in our area.  I visited one day after work and spent time with her in the kitchen. That night I sat at the table with my mom and grandma and ate peach pie off of my great-grandma’s dish.

what’s better than a porch

A porch swing.  What’s better than a porch swing?  Pie on a porch swing!  My sister came up to her in-laws’ this week and somehow through the magic of text messaging and family recipes they put together a lovely spontaneous cookout.  Not bad for the middle of a workweek!  She made some pies, her father-in-law did some grilling and we all ate well.  The cherry pie is a Southern Living recipe, and the peaches and cream pie is from Great Grandma Manges’ family cookbook.  The internet is pretty great for recipe finding, but family recipe cards and books are among my personal treasures.  Later I will have to say more about spaghetti squash and shrimp on the grill, but right now I’ll appreciate the coziness of a welcoming front porch.

fried blueberry pies

Last summer my sister went to a teacher’s workshop in Shipshewana, IN.  She returned with homemade fudge, taffy, cheese curds, pecan brittle, and a story about a homemade fried blueberry pie.  A young Amish mother and her two boys kept a fried pie stand; the boys took the change while the mother served fresh fried pies!  It sounded so delicious that I didn’t forget about it, and since blueberries are in season I had to try it out myself.  I used my grandma’s pie shell recipe and a version of Betty Crocker’s blueberry pie filling with extra lemon juice.  The combination of late spring fruit and fried pastry really felt like summer was underway.  More versions must follow!