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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Niçoise salad

A salad to end all salads. Seriously. This is not your average, girly, anemic "I'm on a diet" kind of salad. It's chock full of hearty vegetables and topped with lots of protein in the form of eggs and fish. It's French. It's Mediterranean. It's delicious.

Originally popularized in the U.S. by Julia Child, niçoise salad is a favorite in our house. You have my permission to skip the anchovies, but I hope you'll give them a chance. Chop them up in small pieces, if distributing the flavor around the salad helps you to eat them. And remember how essential those Omega-3 fatty acids are for optimal brain and body function.

But enough of that. If you won't eat your oily fish, then I guess there will be more for me (yum).

This recipe is my adaptation of the one found in America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. My changes? Kalamata olives instead of Niçoise; Boston or baby romaine instead of Bibb lettuce; and canned tuna in place of foil pouches. In other words, this recipe is good enough that I don't mess with it. Hope you enjoy it, too!

Niçoise salad

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)
1 shallot, minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoons dried (optional)
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 pounds new red or gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
2 heads Boston or baby romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
3 (5-ounce) cans of tuna in olive oil
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
Kalamata olives to taste -- I think I use 3/4 cup
1 small tin of anchovy fillets

1. Shake all of the dressing ingredients together in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake to combine. Shake vigorously to recombine before using.

2. Bring 4 quarts of water, the potatoes, and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to a large bowl (reserving the boiling water). Toss the cooked potatoes gently with 1/4 cup of the dressing and set aside to cool. Return the water to a boil, add the green beans, and cook until they are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain the beans thoroughly, toss with 1/4 cup of the dressing, and refrigerate to cool.

3. Arrange lettuce in a bed on a large platter (or individual plates). Layer the remaining ingredients evenly, one on top of the other: cooled potatoes, cooled green beans, tuna, tomatoes, eggs, olives, and anchovy fillets. Drizzle some of the remaining dressing over the salad (but go easy). We find it's best to be conservative with the dressing and keep it on the table in case someone wants more.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

“Healthified” Spinach Dip with Artichokes

4cups lightly packed fresh baby spinach leaves (4 oz)
1package (8 oz) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
4tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese (1 oz)
1/4 cup fat-free (skim) milk
2cloves garlic, finely chopped
1teaspoon dried basil leaves
1can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained, chopped

Baguette slices, if desired

Assorted raw vegetables, if desired


Friday, April 23, 2010


To call this just a "brownie" doesn't do it justice. These are without a doubt one of the best chocolate confections you will ever eat. I got this recipe from my mother and I think she got it from heaven. You simply have to make them and let me know what you think!



1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups bread flour (not self-rising)
2/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
2 cup pecans, chopped

How to Make It:

1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2) Put butter in 9x13 dish, melt in oven.
3) Mix sugar, flour, and cocoa.
4) Add melted butter, vanilla, and eggs. Mix well.
5) Stir in pecans. Batter will be thick. Pour batter into pan and spread evenly.
8) Bake at 300 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted 1-2 inches from edge comes out clean. (Be very careful not to overbake.)
9) Cool completely and frost.


2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2-4 Tbsp. milk, for desired consistency

(The frosting has been halved from the original recipe, but it makes plenty.)


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sour Cream Cornbread

There is something so special about old family recipes - even if it's not from my own family. This particular recipe came from my friend Stephanie who got it from her great-grandmother. Talk about history! And the fact that this cornbread is as easy as 1-2-3 (literally!) is just icing on the cake - or honey on the bread, to use a more fitting imagery. :)

What You Need
3/4 c. cornmeal
1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tbsp. sugar
1 egg, well-beaten
2 tbsp. butter
1 c. thick sour cream
1/4 c. milk

What You Do
1. Turn on oven to 400 degrees, put butter in 9 x 9 dish, and place in oven to melt.
2. Combine dry ingredients, and sift. Add egg, sour cream, and milk, beating thoroughly.
3. Pour into buttered pan; and bake until golden, approximately 17-20 minutes.

Happy slathering...with butter, apple butter, jam, or-as pictured above-honey!

Better a bread crust shared in love
than a slab of prime rib served in hate.
~ Proverbs 15:17 from The Message


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

There are a lot of reasons to make chicken noodle soup. Maybe you're cold and your tummy needs some warming up?  Or possibly your family has had a bad stomach bug — the kind that makes you not want to eat for-evver. (a recent memory at my house) The one thing that always hits the spot is chicken noodle soup — here's an awesome twist — Thai Coconut Chicken Soup. One alteration I made to this recipe was to add Pad Thai noodles — so necessary and so good!

Oh, and one of the most flavorful parts of this soup is the homemade broth.

What You'll Need

1 quart chicken stock, recipe follows
1 stalk lemon grass, white part only, cracked open with the flat side of a knife
3 kaffir lime leaves, fresh or dried, hand torn (optional)
1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 small Thai chilies, halved lengthwise
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (13-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 (8-ounce) can straw mushrooms, rinsed
4 limes, juiced (I cut this back to 3 limes)
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Chicken Stock

1 whole free-range chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), rinsed, giblets discarded
2 carrots, cut in large chunks
3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
2 large white onions, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved
1 turnip, halved
1/4 bunch fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

  1. Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.
  2. Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container.
  3. Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.

What To Do

  1. Bring the stock to the boil over medium heat in a soup pot. Add the lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, ginger, chilies, and garlic. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and gently simmer for 10 minutes to let the spices infuse the broth.
  2. Uncover and stir in the coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, mushrooms, lime juice, and chicken. Simmer for 5 minutes to heat the chicken through; season with salt and pepper. 
  3. To serve, place a generous mound of noodles in each bowl, then top with the hot soup.
  4. Garnish with cilantro. Be careful to avoid chewing the lemongrass, ginger, or lime leaves.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Baked Flounder Parmesan

4-6 Flounder fillets, lay in baking dish
1 Garlic clove, minced
3/4 c. Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/2 c. Breadcrumbs, plain
1/4 tsp. Basil
1/4 tsp. Oregano
1/4 tsp Thyme
1 tsp. Parsley
4 TBSP Butter, melted
2 TBSP Olive Oil

Combine all the ingredients together, mixing well, to make a crumb mixture.  I mix all the dry ingredients together, then add the butter and olive oil.  The butter and olive oil will make a mealy mixture.  Once everything is together, sprinkle over top of the fish and Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes or until the topping is brown.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Baked Crab Cakes

Crabcakes are a real treat our house. So, when I found crab on sale a few weeks ago, I was excited at the prospect of whipping these up! I know a sign of a quality crabcake is if it doesn't have any filler. Well, these have some filler, but I still think they're especially delicious. I'm willing to bet you won't be disappointed.

What you need
Nonstick cooking oil spray
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 small green or red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1 large egg or 2 large whites, beaten
1 pound crabmeat, picked over for cartilage
1 cup dried breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking oil spray.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, jalapeno, and garlic and cook, stirring often until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

Mix the mayonnaise, parsley, mustard, seasoning, and egg to combine. Add the crabmeat and 1/4 cup of the breadcrumbs and mix lightly until just combined. Form the mixture into 8 cakes. Place the remaining breadcrumbs in a shallow dish and dredge the cakes in them. (Prepare for sticky hands!) Arrange the cakes on the baking sheet and spray with cooking oil spray.

Bake 10 minutes. Carefully the turn the cakes and spray again with oil. Bake until the cakes are crisp, about 10 minutes more.

From "Back to the Table: The Reunion of Family and Food."


Friday, April 16, 2010


According to All Recipes this is the "World's Best Lasagna," and I have to say it's the best I've ever had. I like recipes that are quick and easy, but this is not one of them. However, it was well worth the effort. The recipe below is how it was originally posted. Of course, I can never follow a recipe exactly, so I posted my alterations at the bottom.

World's Best Lasagna

1 pound sweet Italian sausage
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

How to Make It:

1) In a large pot, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

2) Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

4) To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.

5) Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

My alterations:
Used 1 lb. ground beef and twice the garlic
Left out: fennel seeds and the 1 Tbsp. salt
Used shredded Italian cheese blend instead of mozzarella slices
This makes so much sauce that I actually ended up using 18 lasagna noodles and next time I'll increase the ricotta mixture by about 50%.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pizza Mexicana

I love a nice, traditional pizza. But this is nothing like that. Nor is it authentically Mexican in any way. It's just a pie of sweet and spicy deliciousness that I cooked up, inspired by the flavors of Mexico and the U.S. Southwest.

Here's the cast of characters:
1 pound fresh (not dried) Mexican chorizo, casings removed
12 oz. can tomato sauce
1-2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded
2-3 red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

Here's how it plays out:
Prepare your favorite pizza dough recipe (make sure you allow time for it to rise). I make two 12-inch pizzas at a time (leftovers, baby), so you'll want to make sure you have enough dough for that.

Heat the oven to 450 degrees (or the temperature indicated by your pizza dough recipe) and move racks to the upper- and lower- thirds of the oven. In a large nonstick skillet, brown the chorizo over medium heat. Stir frequently, breaking up sausage with the back of the spoon, until it is no longer pink. Remove from skillet and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix tomato sauce and cumin. Add salt to taste. Spread sauce on two prepared pizzas (use as much or as little as you like -- sometimes I have some left over and I just freeze it for another time). Divide the cheese between the two pizzas, followed by the chorizo, peppers, and onions.

Bake pizzas for approximately 20-25 minutes, switching racks halfway through, until cheese is thoroughly melted and onions and peppers begin to brown.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pepperoni Pizza Twist

I got this out of the Pampered Chef  Season's Best Recipe Collection Fall/Winter 2002 book.  I thought I would broaden my horizons and make some new dishes.  This was one of them.  Next time I will put something like sausage in the center, which is better liked by my children.  If you are looking to mix up your pizza night, then try this tasty recipe.

1 package (3.5 oz) Pepperoni slices, diced
1 can (3.25 oz) pitted ripe olives, drained & chopped
2 TBSP snipped fresh parsley
1/2 c. shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 TBSP all purpose flour
1 Garlic clove, pressed
2 packages (11 oz. each) refrigerated French bread dough
1 Egg
1 tsp Italian Seasoning mix
2 TBSP Parmesan cheese
1 can (15 oz.) pizza sauce, warmed (optional)

In a bowl combine the pepperoni, olives, parsley, mozzarella cheese, flour, & garlic.  Mix well.

Place bread dough, seam side up, on a cutting board or whatever cookie sheet/Pampered Chef stone you want. Slice each loaf lengthwise, end to end, cutting halfway through to the center of the loaf.  Spread open flat.  Using a roller, roll dough crosswise to a 4" width, creating a well down the center of the loaf.  Spoon the mixture, you set aside in your bowl, down the center of the two loafs.  Gather up the edges over filling, pinching firmly to seal.  Place loaves, seam side down, in an "X" pattern.  Crisscross ends of dough to form a large figure "8".

In another bowl or 2 c. measuring cup, separate egg , discard yolk or set aside for another recipe, Beat egg white and seasoning mix; lightly brush over dough.  Cut 3" slits in each of the top sections of the twist revealing the filling.  Grate Parmesan cheese over the loaf.  Bake at 375 for 30-32 minutes.  Serve with warm pizza sauce, if desired.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Potato and Ham Soup

It was time to come up with some creative uses for our leftover Easter ham. We were out of all the other yummy Easter dinner side dishes that accompany the ham, and you can only eat so many ham sandwiches, right?

So, I, being the soup lover that I am, was eager to try this Potato and Ham Soup recipe. We were not disappointed!

What you need:
5 cups peeled and diced potatoes (I think I used four medium-sized potatoes)
1 cup diced onion
3/4 cup diced celery
3/4 cup diced carrot
2 tsps. salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper, or to taste
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups diced ham
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of celery soup
1 cup heavy cream (I used light cream)
(I was distracted by feeding my baby in the midst of making this or I probably would have added some fresh herbs too.)

Bring the potatoes, onions, celery, carrot, salt, pepper, and water to a boil in a large pot. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. (All my veggies were wonderfully tender...except the celery. Might have need just a few more than 15 minutes.) Add the ham, cream of celery soup, and heavy cream; return to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning and serve.


Recipe from Tabitha King at


Friday, April 9, 2010

Strawberry Pie

Oh yes, it's that time of year, when fresh berries are plentiful and that's means pie. Personally, I am not a fan of cooked fruit, so I prefer this recipe over the many other berry pies I've had. This recipe is from my brother-in-law, Dan. It's easy, delicious, and perfect with whipped cream.

Strawberry Pie

1 1/2 cups flour
dash of salt
2 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup oil

1) Mix ingredients in a bowl with fork.
2) Press onto bottom and sides of 9" pie plate.
3) Bake at 375 degrees for 8-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.

2 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. cranberry jello (cranberry is my favorite but you can also use raspberry or strawberry)

1) Mix first three ingredients in a pot. Bring to boil; stirring continually with a wisk.
2) Boil until thick. Remove from heat.
3) Add jello. Cool. (I set the pot on a towel in the fridge and stir every once and while until cool.)
4) Place 1 1/2 - 2 pints of cut strawberries over cooled crust. Pour filling over strawberries.
5) Chill in fridge for several hours before serving.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wild Rice with Dried Fruit

Once upon a time, I was reading a magazine - probably Reader's Digest? - and saw an advertisement for raisins. I like raisins, to be sure, but I don't particularly notice advertisements for them. This one, however, grabbed my attention by including a recipe that looked appealing to me. So I tried it out on my family one evening in late November 2005, and we all liked it so much that I included it in our big family Christmas dinner that year. Since then, I've made it numerous times, and I continue to enjoy it so much that I'm tempted to give it my All-Time Favorite Rice Award. The best part about it is the dried fruit and the sweetness that brings to the dish. Sweet is always good, in my book. ;)

What You Need
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. sliced celery
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1 tsp. or cube chicken bouillon
2 1/4 c. water
1 pkg. (6 oz.) long grain & wild rice mix
1 c. raisins and dried cherries (I prefer about half and half raisins and sour cherries, but really, this would be delicious with a number of different combinations of dried fruit)

What You Do
Melt butter in a medium saucepan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and pecans. Cook 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add bouillon, water, rice mix and seasoning packet, and dried fruit. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer 25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Happy dining!

Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.
~ Voltaire


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

O'Henry Bars

Most of the time a recipe comes with a good story, and if you're lucky, a good one. This is one of those recipes — it was my husband's grandmother's. She would make it quite often for her grandsons when they were young. And even as adults when we'd all visit her, she'd have a plate ready for us.

SO, if you're feeling generous to share, which may not be your first reaction, your friends/family/kids/coworkers/neighbors will rave about this little snack. (did I cover everyone?)

You'll just have to trust me: they're good.

What You'll Need:

2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c corn syrup
2/3 c butter (softened)
2/3 c brown sugar
4 c quick oats

1 c chocolate chips
2/3 c peanut butter

What to Do:

    1.    Blend first five ingredients until crumbly. Press into 9x13 greased pan.
    2.    Bake @350 for 15 minutes. Cool slightly.
    3.    In a double boiler, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter together until smooth. Spread on oat mixture while still hot.

Because I have eager people waiting to eat this, I put it in the freezer for 15 minutes to cool, then move it to the refrigerator for another 15.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Chicken Imperial

Before I had children, I worked in food sales at Shady Brook Farms, before Cargill took over and it just became turkey sales and not chicken sales.  I got to try a lot of different varieties of turkey and chicken.  This is one of my favorite chicken recipes that I got when I worked at Shady Brook Farms.  It is so easy and requires very little effort.

6 Chicken breasts, boneless/skinless
1-2 sticks of Butter, melted
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 TBSP Garlic Powder
1/2 c. Parmesan Cheese
1/4 c. Parsley, chopped
1 c. Bread crumbs

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.  Melt the butter.  Then proceed dipping the chicken in butter, then in dry mixture, then place on 9x13 dish.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Ham-Swiss Ring Around

This is a recipe that my mother makes, but I have no idea where it came from originally. It looks at lot more complicated than it is. So don't be afraid to try it! You won't be disappointed.

Ham-Swiss Ring Around

1 cup broccoli florets
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
2 Tbsp onion, finely chopped

2 tsp mustard
1 Tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp lemon juice
3/4 cup (3 oz.) swiss cheese, grated
1 can Hormel chunk ham, drained
1 8 oz. can crescent rolls
Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)

How to Make It:
1) Cook and drain broccoli. Mix parsley, onion, mustard, butter, and lemon juice.
2) Add cheese, broccoli, and ham. Mix lightly. Set aside.
3) Separate rolls on well-greased cookie sheet. Arrange triangles with the points outside, overlapping the base a little bit.

4) Spoon filling evenly around the base.

5) Fold points over top and tuck under bases. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
6) Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Chicken Sate with Rice and Peas

Several years ago, my friend Jamie made this meal for lunch when I was visiting her, and I loved it and raved about it until she shared the recipe. Now this is a favorite meal at my house.

If you like Thai food or you're a sucker for peanut sauces (like me), I'm pretty sure you'll really enjoy this dinner.

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup reduced-fat creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 cups instant brown or white rice
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

Saute chicken in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown on all sides and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

In a small saucepan, combine broth, peanut butter, and soy sauce. Simmer 2 minutes, until hot, stirring with a wire whisk.

Cook rice according to package directions. Remove from heat and stir in peas. If desired, season with salt and pepper.

Serve chicken strips with peanut sauce, rice mixture on the side.


Ginger peach brown betty

I have a confession to make. It's about my basement. Supposedly, I love peaches, and every Labor Day my mom and I laboriously can approximately two bushels of peaches, just so we can enjoy them all year long. My confession: I have several dozen jars down there . . . and they're not all from 2009. We never finished the jars from 2008!

I'm determined to find creative ways to use them all up before peach season '10 rolls around, so I invented this recipe a few weeks ago and it was a hit. Making use of three things I always have too much of — canned peaches, bread, and fresh ginger (I buy large root segments in shrink-wrapped packages at a discount) — this quick and easy recipe is also a great way to get fruit into your family during the colder months when fresh fruit is neither appetizing nor local.

Ginger peach brown betty

2 quarts canned peaches (fresh or frozen would work, too!)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup flour
1/2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 slices sandwich bread, or equal amount of unsliced bread
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drain peaches and rinse with cold water. In a large bowl, combine peaches, sugar, lemon juice, and flour. Add ginger and cinnamon, and transfer to a 2-quart baking dish. In a food processor, pulse bread until fine crumbs appear. Tip: If using a chunk of unsliced bread (and you don't want to use a food processor), simply grate it with a box grater. Pour breadcrumbs on top of fruit mixture, and dot with butter. Cover with foil or glass lid and bake 25-30 minutes, until fruit mixture is quite bubbly. Remove foil or lid and bake 5-10 minutes more, until breadcrumb topping is golden brown.


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