Peaches and Cream Crepes

Peaches and Cream Crepes

Peaches are such a natural addition to any summer dessert. I decided to use some of my fresh peaches in crepes. Crepes are a nice dessert any time of the year. I think especially nice in summer, using fresh, seasonal fruit.

The crepes were filled with unpeeled, sliced peaches that had been tossed with sugar ahead of time. The sugar softens the peaches a little.  I also added some sweetened cream cheese and a little strawberry jam to the filling. We loved them.

They can be assembled ahead of time, and just kept chilled until ready to serve.  Serve as is, with a dusting of powdered sugar or even a vanilla caramel drizzle- recipe follows.

Peaches and Cream Crepes

1 recipe basic crepes- recipe follows
2-3 peaches, pitted and sliced thin
¼ c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
¼ c. powdered sugar
Strawberry jam, optional

Make a batch of basic crepes and set aside until ready to use. Place sliced peaches in a bowl with sugar, vanilla and cinnamon and stir until sugar is dissolved. Best to do this at least a couple of hours before you want to use them. This softens the peaches and allows juices to come out of the peaches. You need the juices for the cream cheese. You can do this the day before, then just finish the cream cheese and assemble.
Place cream cheese in a bowl and start beating with an electric mixer. Drain juices off the peaches and add the juice to the cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar, too. Beat until cream cheese is fluffy.

To assemble the crepes: Place a crepe on work surface. Spread with some of the cream cheese. Along one side of the crepe place a small amount of strawberry jam, like a stripe. Place several slices of peach in a row, on top of the strawberry jam. Starting on the side of the crepe with the peaches gently roll up the crepe. Repeat with remaining ingredients. You will have 12. Serve as is, or you can top with powdered sugar, peach slices, warm jam, whipped or caramel sauce – recipe follows.

Basic Crepes

3/4 c. flour
1/8 t. salt
3 eggs, beaten
2 T. melted butter
3/4 c. milk, approximately
Butter or oil for pan

Beat together flour, salt and eggs until smooth. Stir in melted butter and then stir in milk until batter consistency is that of cream. Let stand for 30 minutes before using, or can be refrigerated, covered, overnight. Beat again, just before using.
Heat 6 or 7 inch skillet. Brush with butter or oil and pour in about 2 teaspoons of batter, tipping pan to cover bottom of pan completely with batter. Cook until edges start to brown, turn over and cook until lightly browned (about 2 minutes per side.)
Crepes can be made day ahead or even frozen between sheets of waxed paper and frozen. Makes 12.

Vanilla Caramel

I made a light caramel sauce for the crepes. I just put 1/4 cup of water in a small saucepan with a cup of sugar. Boiled it all together for about 3 minutes. Removed from the heat and added a teaspoon of vanilla, 4 tablespoons of butter and a 1/4 cup of half and half. Stirred until smooth, then added a pinch of salt, for extra flavor.

Crepes with a vanilla caramel drizzle

Canning Tomatoes

crushed tomatoes

I love my home-canned tomatoes. They taste so much better than anything than comes in a can. Worth the effort.

You have options when canning tomatoes- crushed, juice, sauce- and more. The one option you won’t see for home- canned tomatoes is diced. There is a reason for that. When tomatoes are canned commercially, calcium is added to keep them firm. That is why commercially canned diced tomatoes hold their shape. Home canned diced tomatoes will just cook down, get very soft and not hold their shape. Canning tomatoes whole will give you a firmer end product, if that is what you want.

I have been asked several times in  canning  classes, if it is safe to can yellow or orange tomatoes. We have all heard that yellow and orange tomatoes are lower in acid, so are they still safe to can? The answer is yes, they are safe to can.

Why?

In spite of you might have been told, orange and yellow tomatoes are not acid free or low acid.

Truth is, that yellow and orange tomatoes have just as much acid as red tomatoes.

Crushed Orange Tomatoes

Well, for the most part at least. In terms of acidity or Ph, yellow and orange tomatoes are about average. Some cultivars have more, some less.  Bottom line is that all tomatoes are safe to can- as long as you acidify them.

Adding salt is optional, and is for flavor only. Use canning/pickling salt or non-iodized salt when canning.

Here are some popular canning recipes to get you started.

All follow the NCHFP (National Center for Home Food Preservation) recommended procedures.

Crushed Tomatoes

Peel and core tomatoes , trim off any bad spots and quarter. Place about 1/4 of your prepared tomatoes in the kettle and cook, stirring constantly over high heat. Use a potato masher to crush tomatoes and extract juices. Once they are boiling add remaining tomatoes, stirring constantly. You don’t need to crush these tomatoes. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. In clean, hot jars add needed acidity listed below. You can also add 1 teaspoon of canning salt per quart if desired. Ladle in hot tomatoes, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims clean and adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath. Pints 35 minutes, quarts, 45 minutes. 1,000-3000 ft over sea level add 5 minutes. Twenty-two pounds of tomatoes will yield about 7 quarts of tomatoes.

Whole Tomatoes in Juice

Use any extra tomatoes to make juice. I use tomatoes that are too big to can whole, or those that have blemishes that need to be trimmed. Cut up clean, unpeeled tomatoes in a kettle and cook, stirring often until tomatoes are mushy. Strain mixture, pressing on solids or run through a food mill or tomato juice extractor. Set aside,. Place peeled, whole tomatoes in kettle and add enough tomato juice to cover them. Heat to a simmer and simmer gently 5 minutes. Add lemon juice or citric acid to jars, using amounts listed below. Add salt, if desired. Add tomatoes and cover with hot juice, leaving 1/2 -inch headspace. Wipe rims and adjust lids. Process both pints and quarts 85 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Tomato Juice

Wash, stem and trim bruises off tomatoes. Cut into chunks. Add about 1 pound of tomatoes to kettle and bring to a boil while crushing. Continue to add additional cut up tomatoes slowly, keeping mixture boiling. This will keep the juice from separating later. Simmer an additional 5 minutes once the tomatoes have all been added. Press mixture through a strainer , sieve or food mill to remove seeds and skins. Add lemon juice or citric acid to jars according to directions listed below. Add salt if desired. Return juice to boil and add to prepared jars leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe rims and adjust lids. Process n a boiling water bath pints 35 minutes and quarts 40 minutes. Add 5 minutes processing time at elevations between 1,001 and 3,000 ft.

Tomato Sauce

Prepare as for juice. After juice is made return to pot and start cooking down to desired thickness. You’ll lose about 1/3 of the volume for thin sauce and 1/2 of the volume for thick. Add lemon juice or citric acid to prepared jars as described below. Add salt if desired. Add boiling sauce leaving 1/4 -inch headspace. Wipe rims and adjust lids. Process in a boiling water bath 35 minutes for pints and 40 minutes for quarts. Add five minutes at 1,001-3,000 ft. elevation.

Acidity and Tomatoes

Tomatoes must be acidified before canning. When canning either whole, crushed or juiced tomatoes you must add either 2 T. bottled lemon juice per quart or 1/2 t. citric acid . For pint use 1 T. lemon juice or 1/4 t. citric acid. You can also use 4 T. (5%) vinegar per quart, but it will alter the flavor and is not recommended. You can add a little sugar to offset the flavor, if you like.

Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles

Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles

I am a big fan of homemade bread and butter pickles. I make several batches every year. Friends and family really like them, too. I get requests, every year, for these Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles.

While you should follow recipes for pickles carefully- those amounts of vinegar, salt, sugar etc., all are important for safety and a good end product, you can play around with seasonings a little.

In this case, I just add a teaspoon of red pepper flakes to each pint jar for the spicy version.  Just enough of a kick. You might want to add a little more or less, according to your taste.

So here is the recipe for classic Bread and Butter Pickles- with the variation for Spicy included.

Bread and Butter Pickles*

6 quarts thinly sliced pickling cucumbers
6 medium onions, peeled and sliced thin
½ c. pickling salt
1½ quarts vinegar
4½ c. sugar
½ c. whole mustard seed
1 T. Pickling spice
1 T. celery seeds
Wash cucumbers and trim off ends before slicing. Place in non-reactive bowl
(stainless steel, enamel, plastic) add the onions and then salt and stir. Allow cucumbers and onions to sit in the salt for 3 hours. After 3 hours drain well, but do not rinse. Meanwhile combine remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Add cucumbers and onions and return to the boil. As soon as the mixture is boiling ladle into clean, hot pints jars, leaving a good ½ -inch of headspace. Wipe rims and screw on lids firmly. Place in boiling water bath and process  for 10 minutes. Remove to counter and allow to cool naturally. Makes 12 pints.
* For Spiced Bread and Butter Pickles add 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes to each pint jar just before filling.

Note: These need a couple of weeks for the flavors to develop. They can also be made with firm, small zucchini. For crisper pickles, you can also add Pickle Crisp, which Ball makes. Follow package directions.
Source: Putting Food By

Creamy Zucchini Soup – Hot or Cold

Creamy Zucchini Soup

You can never have enough recipes for zucchini. If you have ever planted zucchini, you know what I mean. 

This is a recipe I’ve had for ages, but had not made in a while. I forgot how much I liked it. As an added bonus, it can be served hot or cold.

I leave the skins on my zucchini, I like the way the little green flecks look in the soup, but you can peel, if you prefer. You can also use a combo of green and yellow summer squash.

Here is the recipe.

Creamy Zucchini Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
2 T. butter
4-6 medium zucchini, sliced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 T. chopped parsley
½ t. each basil, marjoram and thyme
1 t. hot sauce, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste
6 c. chicken or veggie broth
1 c. milk or half and half- I prefer the half and half

In Dutch oven cook onions in butter until tender. Add vegetables and seasonings and cook until hot. Add broth, heat to a simmer and cook 15 minutes. Puree mixture in blender in batches and return to pot. Add milk and heat through. Adjust seasonings. Serve hot or cold. I topped mine with some fresh chopped parsley and a little hot sauce. Serves 6-8.

Cherry “Danish”

Cherry “Danish”

We made these little pastries in cooking camp last week. The kids enjoyed making them and eating them. If you are a baker, you might balk at calling these Danish. They are not the traditional Danish we are used to. They are tasty, though, and easy to make. I call them pastries, although that seems a little vague. They are more like little biscuits, filled with fruit.

Mom always called them Danish. My Mom used to make a batch whenever she had unexpected guests. They are ready in no time. I used cherry pie filling in these, but you can use other fruit fillings or even make cheese Danish.

They are made with baking mix- like Jiffy Mix. I make my own mix and the recipe follows. You can prep them in the time it takes to preheat the oven. They bake for just a few minutes, so a batch made in no time at all.

Easy “Danish”

2 c. biscuit mix, like Bisquick or Jiffy Mix- I make my own.

2 T. sugar

1/2 c. butter

2/3 c. milk

Assorted preserves or pie fillings or even sweetened cream cheese or ricotta for cheese “Danish” I prefer pie filling over preserves because preserves melt a lot and tend to spill out during baking.

1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar

milk

Combine biscuit mix and sugar. Cut in butter. Stir in milk. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls on lightly greased baking sheet. Indent middle using spoon. Leave 2-3 inches in between, as they grow. Spoon preserves, or pie filling, into indents. Bake in 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Combine confectioner’s sugar with enough milk to make a runny glaze. Drizzle over cooled Danish. Makes 12.

Homemade Biscuit Mix

8 c. flour

1 c. powdered milk

1 c. powdered buttermilk

¼ c. baking powder

1 T. salt

1½ c. shortening- I like to use coconut oil- you can also use butter, but mixture needs to be kept in the fridge if you use butter. I keep mine in the fridge in hot weather if I use coconut oil.

In large bowl combine dry ingredients and mix well. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Store in a tightly-closed container and use it in 2-4 months. Makes 10 cups.

Right out of the oven
Freshly glazed
Cherry Danish

Zucchini Pancakes

Zucchini Pancakes

You can never have too many zucchini recipes. Especially this time of year. This simple recipe uses zucchini to make tender and flavorful pancakes.

They aren’t the type of pancake you would pour maple syrup over. They are wonderful topped with some fresh salsa, though. These pancakes make a nice lunch or main dish meal. They can also be served as a side dish. Similar to potato pancakes. I have been known to have them for breakfast.

I think they taste best when golden on the outside, a little crisp. They will still be tender inside.

So if you have more zucchini than you know what to do with, and you don’t want to bake zucchini bread, here is a recipe you might want to try.

Zucchini Pancakes

2 c. shredded zucchini

1 medium onion, diced

2 eggs

1/2 c. flour- you made need a little more or less depending on how moist your zucchini is

2 t. hot pepper sauce, or to taste

1 t. baking soda

salt to taste

oil for cooking

Combine all ingredients, except the oil, in a medium bowl. Heat oil in skillet and spoon batter in. I used a little over 1/4 cup for each. Cook over medium heat until lightly browned around the edges. Flip and cook until golden on both sides and pancake springs back when touched lightly. Remove to platter and keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with salsa or sour cream. Makes 8.

Cheesy Cherry-Blueberry Coffee Cake

Cheesy Cherry-Blueberry Coffeecake

If you need a really special dessert for your next party or cookout, consider making this cheesy cherry-blueberry coffee cake. It is one of my favorite coffee cake recipes ever. The cake is not too sweet, and the combination of cream cheese, with the fruit  reminds me of a cherry-blueberry blintz.

The streusal topping adds a nice little crunch.

It is fine served all on its own. You can also serve it with ice cream or whipped cream. You can also top with more blueberries and cherries.

While I think of this cake as a wonderful dessert, it can be served as a breakfast or brunch dish.

As if this weren’t enough- this cake freezes great. Who are we kidding? There won’t be any leftovers – but you could freeze them, if you had some.

So here is the recipe. Enjoy!!

Cheesy Cherry-Blueberry Coffee Cake

1 1/4 c. sugar

1/2 c. butter

2 eggs

2 1/4 c. flour

1 T. baking powder

1 t. salt

1 c. milk

1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries

1 c. pitted and coarsely chopped cherries

8 oz. cream cheese, cubed

1 t. grated lemon peel

Topping:

1/4 c. sugar

1/4 c. flour

1 t. grated lemon peel

2 T. butter

Preheat oven to 375. Grease and flour a 13×9 inch baking dish. Cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in eggs. Combine 2 cups of the flour with baking powder and salt and beat into batter alternately with the milk. Toss fruit with the remaining flour and fold into the batter along with the cheese and lemon rind. Pour batter into prepared pan. Combine sugar, flour and lemon peel for topping and cut in butter to resemble coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over batter and bake for about 45 minutes. Use toothpick to test for doneness. Serves 12.

Right out of the oven

Zucchini and Cheese Tartlets

Zucchini and Cheese Tartlets

Since zucchini are so prolific, there never seem to be enough recipes for them. I like this one as an appetizer. You can make up a big batch, bake and then freeze some for whenever you need them. Served with a salad they make a nice lunch or light dinner.

Zucchini and Cheese Tartlets

1 recipe of pie crust dough, enough for 2 pies, home made or store bought

1 medium zucchini shredded, about 1 1/2 cups

1 T. flour

1 c. shredded cheese- any kind you like. I like cheddar.

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 c. minced onion

1 t. Italian seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

hot pepper sauce to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out dough to 1/8-inch thick. Use a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut out circles of dough. Place dough circles in mini muffin pans. Press them in gently being careful not to tear them. Repeat with remaining dough and re-roll scraps. You’ll end up with about 3 dozen in all. If you don’t have enough pans, keep the extra dough circles under a towel or plastic wrap so they don’t dry out until you are ready to use them. In mixing bowl combine zucchini and toss in the flour. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Adjust seasonings to your taste. Place a rounded teaspoonful of zucchini mixture into each of the tartlet shells in the prepared pans. Don’t over fill. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown on top. They will puff up while baking but flatten when cooling. Can be served hot, warm or at room temperature. Makes about 3 dozen.

Can be frozen. To reheat take straight from the freezer and place on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven and bake for about 20 minutes, but check after 15 minutes.

Corn and Bean Wraps

Corn and Bean Wraps

If you are looking for a different filling for your wraps, you should try this recipe. The filling is a combination of cabbage, corn, beans, green onions and Cajun seasoning. The veggies are all mixed together and served warm, wrapped in a tortilla.

Shredded cabbage is wilted down in oil. I just cut up fresh cabbage, but you could use cole slaw mix, if you like. Once the cabbage is tender, the rest of the ingredients are added. It could not be easier.

This also might be a way to get your family to eat more veggies.  We do like to eat things that are rolled up, wrapped up or stuffed.

I used fresh sweet corn, but you can use frozen corn. I freeze local sweet corn every year to enjoy throughout the year.

So here is the recipe. The ingredients may seem humble, but put together, they really are something special.

Corn and Bean Wraps

1 lb. shredded cabbage or cole slaw mix

oil

1 c. corn, fresh or frozen

1 c. sliced green onions

1 T. Creole seasoning

1 (15 oz.) can beans, drained – I like black beans or kidney beans

1/3 c. mayonnaise

6 (8 inch) flour tortillas

Sauté cabbage, covered, in oil until wilted. Add remaining ingredients (except mayo) and cook until heated through. Remove from heat and stir in mayo. Spoon mixture down center of tortillas and roll up. Serves 6.

Blueberry Kolachy

Blueberry Kolachy

I have fond memories of making these delicate cookies with my Mother. I think of her every time I make them. 

I made my own blueberry pie filling, but you could use store-bought, if you prefer. Finish off the cookies with a light dusting of powdered sugar, if you like.

One problem people sometimes have, when making kolachy, is having them open when baking. When you fold the dough over the filling, give it a good pinch. Then fold it over and pinch it again. Also, don’t leave too much flour on the dough. It will prevent the dough from sticking to itself and will cause it to pop open. Some people like to moisten the dough a little, before sealing. That works, too. I just find the double pinch method works fine for me. Important to know- even the ones that pop open will taste amazing!! We were is a very warm kitchen and the cookie dough was on the sticky side. Very few opened up while baking.

Blueberry Kolachy

Dough

3 sticks butter

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

3 cups flour

Blueberry Filling– recipe follows

Powdered sugar, optional

Mix dough ingredients together and chill well before using.

Roll out chilled dough into squares or circles. Spoon a little blueberry filling into the center and pinch 2 ends or corners together. Bake in 350-degree oven for about 12 minutes, or until golden on edges. Cool and dust with powdered sugar. Makes 4-5 dozen.

Blueberry Pie Filling

3 1/2 c. blueberries

3/4 c. sugar, or to taste

1/4 c. cornstarch

1 c. water

1 T. lemon juice

In saucepan, bring blueberries and sugar to a boil, stirring often. Combine cornstarch with water and lemon juice and add to the blueberry mixture. Return to the boil and cook until thickened and bubbly. Makes 4 cups. You might not need the whole batch for the cookies.

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