Sunday, June 26, 2011

Peach Blueberry Cobbler

Daughter and I had a quick bite at Iron Hill Brewery the other night. We shared their Goat Cheese and Tomato pizza….so incredibly good. One of the main reasons daughters and I like to go to Iron Hill, is to experience the total deliciousness of their Warm Oatmeal Cake. However, Mark the Server threw us a curve ball and said….”we have a peach and blueberry cobbler.” Do you know the sound that screeching tires make as a vehicle comes to a complete and sudden stop…well that’s the sound that went off in our collective heads. We looked at each other with widened eyes and we both said…


So, the cobbler arrives all delectable looking.

We didn’t like it at all.

I used this peachy experience as inspiration to search for a healthier version of this treat and I found one on the Mayo Clinic site. This version uses both fresh and frozen fruits and whole wheat flour.

Grains that haven't been refined are called whole grains and are better sources of important nutrients like potassium and magnesium. They haven't had their bran and germ removed, so they are also excellent sources of fiber. Whole grains make you feel full longer and give you more stamina because our bodies absorb them more slowly, keeping blood sugar and energy levels stable. Whole-wheat flour also adds a nuttiness and satisfying consistency that white flour just can’t imitate. This recipe uses both.

The Mayo Clinic recipe I found on line called for apples…I substituted peaches.

Peach Blueberry Whole Wheat Cobbler
2 large peaches, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (I used frozen slices)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 ounces frozen blueberries

3/4 cup all-purpose (plain) flour (I like Daisy Organic)
3/4 cup whole-wheat (whole-meal) flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold trans-free margarine, cut into pieces (I like Brummel & Brown yogurt spread)
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Lightly coat a 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, add the peach slices. Sprinkle with lemon juice. In small bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Add the mixture to the peaches and toss gently to mix. Stir in the blueberries.

Spread the peach-blueberry mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish. Set aside.

In another large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a fork, cut the cold margarine into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the milk and vanilla. Stir just until a moist dough forms.

Turn the dough onto a generously floured work surface and, with floured hands, knead gently 6 to 8 times until the dough is smooth and manageable.

Blop dough pieces over the peach-blueberry mixture until the top is almost completely covered. Flatten them a bit so they bake evenly. I like to leave some little spots through which the fruit juices can escape!

Bake until the peaches are tender and the topping is golden, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Twisted Black Cow

The Black Cow – Root Beer and Vanilla Ice Cream – reminds me of the kitschy car-hop/drive-up restaurants popular in the 50’s and 60’s. As a kid, I LOVED going to WEBER’S Famous Root Beer on Route 38 in Pennsauken, New Jersey. We would anticipate opening day just as eagerly as we anticipated the last day of school or the start of the Phillies season (they weren’t a winning team back then). Going to WEBER’S was a total treat….we would arrive in my father’s fancy 67 starlight blue Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme with a black vinyl top and despite the “don’t spill anything” admonitions, for the time it took to drink the creamiest root beer ever, we were in carbonated heaven.

Until one of the kids knocked the tray off the window and my dad would start cursing. He did not have many vices…that was one of them.

So this past Sunday, sister, older daughter and I planned an outing to WEBER’S to have lunch, drink a Black Cow and take photos…for this post. The Cutlass is long gone (too bad, it was nice car), but my sister’s Chevy Something served as an eager substitute. We did see a vintage T-Bird while we were there…gorgeous and in mint condition!

I asked sister and older daughter if people thought I was a famous reporter as I was snapping photos…they said they probably thought I was a tourist. I should have brought my notebook and interviewed the waitress…that would have added credibility.

Anyway, the Black Cow is a classic drink that is hard to improve upon, but I decided to give it a little twist…

Twisted Black Cow

2 scoops of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
2 teaspoons of chocolate syrup
1 heavy splash of cherry syrup, such as Torani (the TWIST)
1 can/bottle of Root Beer – I like Stewarts, Weber’s or A&W

Fill a mug with the ice cream or frozen yogurt, add the chocolate syrup and the cherry syrup, fill the glass with root beer.

And there you have it, a Twisted (cherry) Black (root beer) Cow (ice cream) . YUM. When it blends together…totally delicious.

Black Cow is also the name of a Steely Dan song….pretty sure that the Black Cow they sing about sported more than ice cream and root beer. Listen to it here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Dime

I found a dime. Folklore tells us that finding a dime means that a lost loved one is trying to reach out to you, especially when you are struggling with an issue or need reassurance in some way. A penny and a nickel sat along side of the wayward dime and I put those in my piggy bank but I taped the dime to my laptop as a reminder of the prospective cherubic communication.

Normally, I would not have given that 10¢ a second thought, but earlier that day, my sister’s “dime” was momentarily misplaced, and while searching for it, she explained the significance of a found dime. It’s coincidental that I stumbled upon one the very same day…on Father’s Day.

If you see a dime…pick it up and have a chat!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Baked Beans

My Aunt Becky made the best baked beans. To the best of our knowledge, the recipe was not memorialized anywhere but through the years we tinkered and tried to recreate her culinary legacy now affectionately known as Becky Beans.

Architect's son graduated with youngest daughter and for his graduation party, Architect planned a "hot dog bar." What a great idea and totally manageable when cooking for a large group of people, especially hungry teenagers. I gave her some topping suggestions, like onions sautéed with ketchup…a delicacy available at any decent hot dog cart in Center City Philadelphia. I also offered to make Becky Beans. Becky Beans are merely doctored up canned baked beans that are absolutely delicious and are a great compliment to anything grilled…like hot dogs!

Becky Beans

Two cans of Baked Beans (I like Bush's)
One large or two small Vidalia onions sliced and caramelized.
½ cup of ketchup
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup brown sugar
1 lb. of bacon

Coat a pan with some olive oil and butter. When extremely hot, add the sliced onions and sauté until they are brown and caramelized. Resist the urge to stir too often as this will interrupt the caramelizing process. Set aside.

Cook the bacon until crispy and set aside (I was pressed for time, so I used the microwavable bacon). Put the beans in a pot and add the ketchup, maple syrup brown sugar, caramelized onions and crumbled bacon. Cook until the flavors are well incorporated, about 30 minutes.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tuscan Tommaso Collins

As you read in an earlier post, every week during the summer, I plan to post the recipe for a refreshing beverage – sometimes the drink will involve spirits, sometimes not.

The following beverage is made with spirits…it’s Foodie’s very own brew. This drink is the Tuscan twist of an all-American standard, the Tom Collins, which is made with gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup. The Tom Collins is a variation of the original Collins Cocktail made with a Dutch malt wine called Geneva, lemon juice and a more potent version sugar syrup.

Tuscan Tommaso Collins
1 tsp Super Fine Sugar (Dominos) or Simple Syrup
½ cup lemon juice
1 ½ shot of gin (I like Bluecoat)
2 caps full of Stirrings Orange Bitters (I ordered mine from
Sprig of rosemary

Add ice to a cocktail shaker and add all the ingredients. Shake very well. Pour into a tall Collins glass filled with ice. I used one from a set my daughter gave me for Christmas. Top the mixture off with sparkling water and a sprig of rosemary...molto rinfrescante!

To re-cap the summer beverage GIVEAWAY

If you are already a follower of KOPO, make a comment to this or any post through June 30th OR if you are not a follower, become a follower by June 30th and make a comment…either way you will be entered to win this handy-dandy “Recipe Cocktail Shaker” from the Martha Stewart Collection. This stainless steel shaker has a built in “dial a recipe” that includes the recipe ingredients, preparation method and serving suggestion….a great addition to any home bar!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Reunion

Remember reading about my Italy trip? If not, you can read all about it here .

During the trip, I enjoyed the company of four other chaperones and three of the four got together today for a reunion brunch before one of our crew moved to Florida (don’t worry….we’ll visit!). We missed our cohort...but he will, no doubt, read all about our antics!

Our hostess graciously welcomed us into her absolutely lovely home and we had a blast reviewing photos, reminiscing about the trip and fantasizing about going back …it was a very pleasant mid-morning.

The delightfully set table, complete with freshly cut hydrangeas, welcomed a delicious Tomato Quiche (perfect for the Italian reunion), fruit salad and Creamy Berry Scones.

Aren’t friends wonderful?

Best of Show Tomato Quiche

Crust Ingredients
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup shortening
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water

2 cups chopped plum tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 cup evaporated milk

In a small bowl, combine the first four ingredients. Cut in shortening until crumbly. Add water, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to fit a 9-in. pie plate; transfer pastry to plate. Trim to 1/2 in. beyond edge of plate; flute edges. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes. Cool completely.

Place tomatoes in the crust; sprinkle with salt, basil, pepper, onions and cheeses. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, eggs and milk until smooth. Pour over filling.

Bake at 375° for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Creamy Berry Scones
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon of salt
½ cup raspberries or blueberries or blackberries or cherries, etc…
1 Tablespoon of zest - lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, etc…
1½ cup heavy cream
Sugar to sprinkle

Mix dry ingredients, fruit (or fruits) and zest (or zests) of choice together. Add 1¼ cup of heavy cream (a bit at a time) and stir with a fork until a biscuit-like dough forms. RESIST the urge to add more cream! Knead the dough a few times and press it into a ball. Break on into golf-ball size pieces of dough and flatten each onto a cookie sheet with bit of space between them for baking. You should get about 12 scones, depending on size. Brush the top of each scone with a bit of the leftover cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350° for 15-17 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sausage Scallopini

It was my turn to cook this past Tuesday and I made (my version of) Sausage Scallopini. This is a quick and easy dish packed with lots of peppers and onions…it reminds me of my grandmother.

First, I diagonally sliced and browned spicy Italian chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s. Then I cut three kinds of peppers – red, orange and yellow into strips and added them to the pan with a few cloves of garlic and sautéed for about 10 minutes, until the peppers softened a little. Next, I added sliced onions, and cooked the mixture for additional 8-10 minutes. I finished by adding a can of plum tomatoes, roughly diced, and simmered for another 10 minutes. I served this with brown rice and a yummy summer salad served in the lovely traveling salad bowl that Architect brought and a nice red wine that Foodie selected. I wanted to have the leftover Scallopini the next day, but daughter spotted it first!

Don’t you just love leftovers?

My Tuesday dinner mates and I have decided to mix things up a little this summer….instead of meeting at each other’s houses, we’ll decide on a spot, either locally or in downtown Philadelphia (we can take the train…very convenient), to have a quick bite, a cup of coffee, a scoop of gelato, or a refreshing summer cocktail…which brings me to a summer giveaway!

Every week in the summer, I plan to post the recipe for a refreshing beverage – sometimes it will involve spirits, sometimes not. Hopefully, you’ve already enjoyed the Lemon Drop Martini and Mojito recipe I posted. So, here’s the deal…if you are already a follower of KOPO, make a comment to this or any post through June 30th OR if you are not a follower, become a follower by June 30th and make a comment…either way you will be entered to win this handy-dandy “Recipe Cocktail Shaker” from the Martha Stewart Collection. This stainless steel shaker has a built in “dial a recipe” that includes the recipe ingredients, preparation method and serving suggestion….a great addition to any home bar!

Stay tuned!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Candy Mortarboards

Remember “The Cook in the Kitchen with a Bag of Peanut Butter Cups” post? Well, here is what I made with those seemingly disparate ingredients. How adorable are these? I saw the original inspiration in the May/June edition of “Semi-Homemade” and I improvised a bit. The button M&M’s and the shoestring licorice were my idea, but I cannot take credit for the peanut butter cups and chocolate squares.

Very easy to a small peanut butter cup, wide side down, on a prepared cupcake, put a dab of icing in the center, and place the chocolate square on top. Add a dab of icing in the center of the chocolate square and add two pieces of 2" cut licorice for the tassle. Top with a button M&M - and there you have edible graduation cap! These were a big hit at the graduation party I hosted this weekend…especially with the kids! I did not make the lovely cake but it was absolutely delicious!

The traditional graduation cap is called a mortarboard because it looks like the hawk tool used by bricklayers to hold the mortar while they're laying bricks. I don't exactly get the connection, but was curious about the name of this strange little hat.

Congratulations to all graduates...what an accomplishment!

Mortar hawk image from Google images.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I Call the Chicken to the Stand

After a brief hiatus (for various and sundry reasons, not the least of which is this globe-trotting blogger) our Tuesday evening dinners have resumed. Now, the weather in the northeast has been unusually hot – downright toasty – and such temperatures are just not conducive to cooking. Enter the perfect solution, GRILL….Architect grilled a whole damn chicken! She has this little contraption on which the chicken sits and is grilled upright.


So I embarked on a hunt to find this little item. I typed “chicken grill stand” into an search and, there it was…in all its grilling glory

and BONUS I can have it by this Saturday if I order within the next 21 hours and choose next day shipping.


That was easy.

I was just as curious about the beer-can chicken recipe book for $8.51 but I passed on that.

This little piece of equipment produces the best roasted chicken ever…moist on the inside and fight-for-the-crispy-part on the outside. Delicious indeed. Architect also grilled asparagus and I contributed a zesty green salad with raspberries, goat cheese and sunflower seeds. Foodie made a quinoa salad. What, you ask? Quinoa (keen-wah) is a low carb grain with a taste and texture that is a cross between brown rice and oatmeal….tasty indeed. We also had a tiramisu cake that was left over from a weekend soiree.

Oh, mojitos…had those too. Might explain my sluggishness the next morning.

Crush mint and sugar to taste in a little bowl, add a shot of clear rum and 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice. Fill a tall glass with ice, add the rum mixture and top off with sparkling water. Garnish with a few sprigs of mint...yummy.

Youngest daughter’s Senior Ball is this weekend…they grow up so quickly!