Preserving oven dried tomatoes and peaches

We’ve all had those days where a line-up of cooking and baking projects have left the kitchen upside down, with every mixing bowl dirtied and an army of utensils soiled. With any luck, there’s a empty spot on the countertop on which to set a wine glass or a coffee cup (depending on how you choose to face the mess) and then there is no other choice but to wade in and get it done.

These days, I am having more of those situations than I care to disclose. With recipe development for the cookbook in full swing and late-summer canning projects tucked around family meal prep, it is difficult to stay on top of clean up, even though I aim to ‘clean as you go‘ every time.

messy kitchen

Danny is usually an amazing help with dishes, but all last week he was laid up with a badly sprained ankle, and I was on my own – not just for the pots and pans, but for all children and household duties. Whew!

Which is why, at 8-o-clock in the evening, when faced with several pounds of peaches and tomatoes to preserve, I decided that semi-dehydrating them was the best course of action. [Read more…]

Concede Summer’s End with Vanilla-Biscuit Peach & Plum Cobbler

I had another post in queue for you for today, but it rightfully got shoved to the back burner mere minutes after I scraped my bowl of cobbler clean on Wednesday and declared I had to share this simple summer dessert.

We’re hanging onto summer by a thread. Noah goes back to school next week  and Mateo has his first day of preschool after the long weekend.

Recipes featuring pumpkin and apples are already making an appearance, and they are making me nervous. I feel like I haven’t eaten enough Corn on the Cob with Feta-Mint Butter, or Marinated Tomatoes. Just the other night I tweeted:

I love fall flavors as much as anyone, but for now, let’s give summer fruit it’s deserved due – and this cobbler is the best vehicle I can possibly think of.

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Four ideas for campfire-roasted fruit (recipe: Caramel Peaches with Pecans)

We are camping folk in the summer. Be it on a beach in Maine or lake-side in rural Quebec, we pitch a big tent and cook foil dinners and hash browns over an open fire, gaze at the stars until bedtime is long past, and wake up at an unmentionable hour with the sun.

This summer, however, has been a bit different. We have a relatively-new-but-growing-up-fast baby in the family, and although I have camped in the past with a wee one, I just couldn’t find the motivation this time around to pack up all five of us and hit the trail.

Fortunately we have a big yard with plenty of space to pitch a tent, and at the far end of it, there’s a fire pit suitable for both a roaring bonfire or a marshmallow-toasting bed of coals. We took advantage of our urban homestead last week and played at camping on our own turf.

Danny and the boys pitched the tent while I tossed a salad, shucked corn, and wrapped up these peaches for dessert. Yes, there were marshmallows and s’mores, too, but I wanted to highlight some of the fruit that’s plentiful now and ripening all over my counter tops.

Our campfire-roasted caramel peaches with toasted pecans were smokey and sweet, sticky and soft – and made a lovely little seasonal dessert.

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Canning Week: Small Batch Peach Barbecue Sauce

Written by Marisa of Food in Jars.

I grew up in a household that was entirely divided on the issue of barbecue sauce. My father was a devotee, who regularly worshiped at the altar of sauced ribs and slathered pulled pork. When there’s nothing else in the house to snack on, he’ll make cheesy toast, dressed with lashings of sweet, hot, tangy sauce.

My mother lives in direct opposition to my dad. She can’t bear even the faintest whiff of barbecue sauce and refuses to share a dining table with anyone who is partaking. I credit this dislike to the fact that she grew up in a Jewish neighborhood of suburban Philadelphia, where barbecue meant pork. Though hers was a secular household, they held onto the practice of avoiding anything from the pig.

I find myself somewhere in between my parents’ sauce extremes. I don’t love it with the same fervor as my dad, but I can see its virtues, particularly when painted onto a chicken leg that’s been slowly cooked on a charcoal-burning Weber.

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Grilling Fruit (Recipe: Grilled Peach and Haloumi Salad)

When Aimee mentioned that my next post would coincide with “grilling week”, I have to say that I was pretty darn excited.

After all, I’m a man, and men are supposed to be “King of the grill” – if you buy in to all of that jazz.  And so to be quirky and different, my initial thought was to go off on a tangent and write about how to make a grill over a real fire or grilling something in a really hot backyard pizza oven (two more of my projects now that the chicken coop is made).

But sometimes, meat on any kind of grill, whether it be steaks or sausages or chicken, fish, etc…. is just, well, meh.  Especially later in the grilling season.  Most of the BBQ or grilling events we go to all summer long are remembered for the people, not the meat. I can probably remember only a handful of grilled steaks that were memorable for their flavor.

However, the first time I had grilled peach and haloumi salad will be memorable for a long, long time.  I can’t even remember  if we had guests or not that night, but I can remember almost every single bite that I had.

Yes, it was that good.

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