Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tomatoes

All of a sudden had a lot of tomatoes. I had purchased some from the produce people and a day later was lucky to receive another bag full as a gift from someones garden. Nathan and I love tomatoes, we will eat them alone as a snack. Tara will eat them on or in her food but not alone. And Ryan, well, he will eat them but they are not his favorite.

I decided I could not let them go to waste and set about making as many things as possible using tomatoes. One thing I thought would be a nice change and kind of fun was a tomato and cheese tart on filo dough. Being that my head has hurt for four days now it was a slow process but I just couldn't let it go.

The kids and Monte all loved it. I didn't think to get a picture of the tart when it came out of the oven, but it looked great. I did finally take a picture as I put what little was left on plate.
From Goodies
(I really need to stop using my cell phone camera)

Last night I made Bruschetta which the boys put away pretty quickly, so I have used up about half of the tomatoes.

It does take some time to make the tart because of the filo dough but it is definitely worth it. Be sure to slice the tomato and onion very thin so your crust doesn't get soggy.

Filo Tomato Tart

Ingredients
7 sheets filo dough, thawed
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
7 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup very thinly sliced onion
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
6 Roma tomatoes, cut into 1/8-in.-thick slices
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt (optional, I didn't use)
freshly ground black pepper (optional, I didn't use)

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray paper with cooking-oil spray (or brush lightly with vegetable oil). Lay 1 sheet filo on paper and brush lightly with a little melted butter. Sprinkle all over with 1 tbsp. Parmesan. Repeat layering 5 more times (with filo, butter, and Parmesan), pressing each sheet firmly so it sticks to sheet below. Lay the last filo sheet on top, brush with remaining melted butter, and sprinkle on remaining 1 tbsp. Parmesan.
2. Scatter onion across filo, top with mozzarella, and arrange tomato slices in a single layer, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
3. Bake until filo is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, then serve.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

This last weekend was pretty relaxed. Payton came to visit from Idaho on the 1st and went to girls camp with Tara.
The girls together in June:

The girls got home from camp on Friday afternoon. I can't believe it was Tara's 6th year already. Both girls came home, napped and of course went out, after all we must not deny the boys the pleasure of our company. Ryan hung out with a friend and Nathan spent the weekend at their father's house.

Ryan, his friend Chris, Tara and Payton went to Six Flags on Saturday. Towards the end of the day Ryan and Chris where stuck on one of the roller coaster for a while but got off safe. They all had a great time and stayed until the park closed.

Sunday after church Tara and Payton had plans, of course, in an effort to make the most the few days they had left together. (Payton went home on Tuesday the 11th)

I made about 7 dozen peanut butter blossom cookies that evening. These are one of the kids favorite cookies. They love the Hershey's kiss on top of the peanut butter cookie.
The original recipe was the Pillsbury Bake Off winner in 1957. Since then different versions have appeared in many cookbooks, including "The Joy of Cooking."

This is the recipe I use.

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

When making these cookies always make sure you have the kisses unwrapped before you take the cookies out of the oven. Quickly put a kiss on each cookie before the cookie crusts up.

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup vegetable solid shortening
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 large eggs
4 Tablespoons whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sugar for rolling
60-70 Hershey Kisses, unwrapped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with vegetable oil.
3. In a large bowl, blend flour, salt and baking soda together and set aside.
4. Beat shortening and white and brown sugar on high together.
5. Add eggs one at a time beating after each one. Mix in milk and vanilla and scrape down sides of bowl. Add peanut butter and beat again, scraping one more time.
6. On low speed, add flour, salt and baking soda one cup at a time until the dough is mixed well and no dry spots remain. Give the bowl a final scrape.
7. With a cookie scoop or Tablespoon, measure out balls of dough, then roll in sugar.8. Place peanut butter cookie dough on the prepared baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned and firm around the edges. Don't over bake.
9. While the cookies are still on pans, and immediately out of the oven, place one unwrapped Hershey Kiss in the center, pressing the Kiss down just a little so that it gets stuck partially in the cookie. Don't press too hard!
10. Remove to wire racks and cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.
11. Makes 70 deliciously warm and chewy Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies!

Monday, August 3, 2009

It buckles!

So I was looking in the refrigerator the other day and noticed the kids were not eating the nectarines as quickly as I thought they would. I decided to use them in something baked and change things up a little so the kids interest in the fruit would be renewed. I thought about it for a few hours and looked through my recipes and decided to make Buckle.

Buckle is a coffee cake with fruit and a crumble topping. It is called buckle because the cake buckles arounds the fruit.

I had some blackberries also so I went to work. The nectarines were sweet and juicy, I sliced them up and prepared the batter. I love fresh ground nugmet so I use it a little heavily, and I choose almond extract instead of vanilla. The result was great! Moist, sweet and a little spicy.

Of course I took pictues (the kids think I am insane).


NECTARINE BLACKBERRY BUCKLE CAKE

For the Batter:

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 stick (4 Tbls.) of butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk (I used evaporated milk)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, preferably freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon Almond or vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (I used some that I froze recently and put them in frozen)
1 cup nectarines, sliced

For the Streusel:

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
5-1/2 tablespoons butter, softened

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease and line, with parchment paper, a nine inch square pan or grease and flour either a nine inch square or a round pan.

First make the batter. Cream together the butter and sugar. Then add the egg and mix at medium speed for about one minute. Add all of your dry ingredients and mix well. Mix in the milk and the almond extract. Scrape down the bowl while you are mixing these together.

Now make the streusel. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, almond extract and salt. Add your butter, mixing until you have medium sized crumbs.

Spread about half of the batter in your prepared pan. Then layer the nectarine slices on top of the batter. Fold the blackberries into the remaining batter, and place dollops of the batter on top of the nectarines. Then sprinkle the streusel over the batter.

Bake the buckle for 45-50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool the cake in the pan.

ENJOY!