Fresh Apricots are tangy yet sweet and not something I purchase on a regular basis. Last year our CSA delivered a large bag of apricots week after week. This recipe was a delicious way to use the fresh apricots and have a chewy, moist dessert or breakfast treat.
FRESH APRICOT BARS
2 lbs ripe Apricots
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier) or orange juice
1 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or Sea Salt
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup old fashioned oats
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 2 quart baking dish.
Combine the apricots and sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the apricots are soft (will vary tremendously depending on the ripeness of the apricots-very ripe apricots will only take minute or two). Stir in the orange liqueur.
Puree the apricots in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour into a bowl and set in freezer to chill while you make the crust.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, salt, and baking soda. Pinch in the butter pieces into the flour mixture (or cut them into the flour with a pastry cutter), until it resembles coarse sand. Pinch in the oats until well combined.
Press 2/3rds of the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spread the apricot puree over the crust bottom. Sprinkle the remaining crust over the top of the apricot puree.
Bake for 1 hour or until the crust is golden brown.
Allow to cool, then slice and serve. Store in the refrigerator.
Pears, pears, pears! I’ve overrun with pears thanks to my CSA shares this fall. They have been absolutely delicious but more than I can eat.
This recipe was simple and resulted in a moist, delicious bread great for a breakfast treat with a cup of hot coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Due to family tastes, I omitted the nuts, but it would be delicious with walnuts or pecans!
In a bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla; mix well. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt; stir into the egg mixture just until moistened. Toss pears with lemon juice. Stir pears and walnuts into batter (batter will be thick).
Spoon into two greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 2 loaves.
My garden continues to produce plenty of tomatillos and when paired with fresh sweet corn, cilantro and seasonings, it makes a wonderful salsa. I’ve also used it to top my favorite Papusas from the Farmer’s Market. It wold also be wonderful paired with chicken or fish. A new favorite!
CORN AND TOMATILLO SALSA
4 ears fresh corn kernels
2 seeded and finely chopped jalapeno peppers
4 cups husked, chopped tomatillos
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro
In a large skillet, combine the corn kernels and jalapeño peppers. Cook and stir for 10 minutes, until the jalapeños are soft.
Add the tomatillos, green pepper, onions, lime juice, water and coriander to the corn and jalapeño mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat. Cool. Stir in cilantro.
Cool salsa in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
Fresh New Potatoes and Peas were a summer treat on the Iowa farm. My Mother would dig potatoes and shell peas from her large summer garden. I cannot verify the origin of this recipe but Mom always said it had Dutch or Pennsylvania Dutch roots.
While I do not grow potatoes in my garden, I prepared with red potatoes from the grocery store and peas from my CSA weekly bounty.
This recipe can easily be prepared with frozen peas as well. It’s a wonderful side dish with steak, hamburgers, or fish. My oldest daughter, Megan, suggested it would be great with a little Parmesan cheese. I’ll be trying that next time!
FRESH NEW POTATOES AND PEAS
1 1/2 quarts new potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups new peas, cook until done
1 cup sweet cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup grated carrots (optional)
salt and pepper
Cover potatoes, peas, and carrots with water and cook until tender. Drain.
Combine cream and flour until smooth. Add to potatoes and peas and add butter, salt and sugar.
Cook and stir over medium-low heat until thickened.
Continuing on my lazy days of summer postings, let’s talk about tomatoes. Fresh garden tomatoes cannot be compared in any way to the mushy, tasteless tomatoes at the grocery store. Comparing the two is like comparing a beautiful rose to a dandelion. Wonder why that’s the case? Read this great article from the University of Illinois Extension office.
Unfortunately, I have regular visitors to my garden helping themselves to my tomatoes. The silly bunny (that isn’t afraid of my Golden or Chihuahua) along with the neighborhood Raccoon are creating havoc with the tomatoes. I find green tomatoes plucked from the vine laying on the ground. I find large red tomatoes half eaten on the vine. Have any of you had the same experience? This is the first time in over 20 years that I’ve had to fight for my own tomatoes!
My tomatoes have been slow to produce this year but I have enjoyed a few fresh tomato salads. This time a juicy sliced tomatoes paired with homemade pesto (basil also from my garden) was the salad du jour.
If you don’t grow your own tomatoes, visit a local Farmer’s Market soon and enjoy the harvest.
Fresh peaches are a summer treat! I have fond memories, as a kid, of biting into a fresh peach and have the juice run down my arms and all over my face. I was a sticky mess, but loving that peach!
Colorado peaches are some of the best and I’m lucky enough to live in the great state that produces them. To date, I’ve not seen Colorado peaches at the market but Costco has had wonderful peaches this summer. What better dessert to serve visiting family topped with vanilla ice cream! The recipe is from my tried and true Farm Journal Country Cookbook, 1972 a gift from the folks at Farm Journal many years ago when I worked in Agri-Marketing for an ad agency in St. Joe, MO. The cookbook has seen a lot of love and even though it’s spine is broken, it continues to support my love of good home-cooking!
Our Book Club potluck was coming up, featuring the book Proof of Heaven a Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander, M.D. Our potluck theme was ‘what would you have for your last meal?’ I tripled the recipe so I could have enough Cobbler for the Book Club and for visiting family. It was hit with both groups. It’s delicious (even if I do say so myself) and a wonderful summer treat.
FRESH PEACH COBBLER
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 to 1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup water
4 cups sweetened sliced peeled peaches
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Mix cornstarch, brown sugar, and water. Add peaches and cook until mixture is thickened, about 15 minutes.
Add butter and lemon juice. Pour into a greased 8″ round or square baking dish.
1/2 cup sifted flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons soft butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter and egg. Beat until butter is smooth.
Drop spoonfuls of Batter Topping over hot peach mixture. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon white sugar.
Bake in hot oven (400 degrees) 40 to 50 minutes. Serve warm, in bowls, with vanilla ice cream.
Caprese Pasta? With smoked mozzarella? OMG…I had to try this recipe found on Iowa Girl Eats. I rarely eat wheat pasta but this was worth the splurge!
8 oz. bow tie pasta (or pasta of choice)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups sungold (cherry) tomatoes, halved
salt & pepper
2 Tablespoons pesto (reference Pesto recipe or purchase)
1 cup cubed smoked mozzarella cheese (or mini mozzarella balls)
extra basil leaves for garnish
Prepare pesto and set aside. Cook pasta in salted, boiling water until just under al dente then drain and set aside. Place an oven rack to the very top, then preheat broiler.
Heat oil in a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add cherry tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, then toss and cook for 30 seconds.
Add cooked pasta and pesto then toss to combine. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top then place skillet under the broiler until cheese melts. Using a pot holder, remove skillet from oven then sprinkle with fresh basil leaves and fresh cracked pepper. Serve immediately.
Fall is in the air and the apples are fantastic. What a perfect time to make fresh applesauce just like Mom used to make. I’m honored that this tradition continues as older daughter, Megan, made this year as well.
A trip to the Farmer’s Market for fresh apples and a little time and you’re ready to go.
I’m fortunate enough to still have the vintage colander sieve with wooden pestle my Mother used for many years, making quick work of making ultra-smooth applesauce. I have even cooked the apples with the skin on (and sometimes with the seeds) knowing that the colander/sieve will strain out the skin and seeds.
8 apples (Granny Smith’s work well–but use what you have)
1 cup cold water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
sugar to taste (or none if you prefer)
Wash the apples under cold water. Peel and core each apple and cut into smaller pieces. Put apples, water, and sugar in saucepan.
Cook over medium heat. When the water begins to boil, turn down heat to medium low to simmer and add cinnamon. Cover with lid and lower heat again to keep from sticking. Stir often while cooking about 40 minutes. Add more water if needed.
Use a vintage sieve and pestle, potato masher (or food processor) to mash apples into smooth, thick sauce.
Serve warm or chill in refrigerator. Freezes well.
Peach season has come to an end but there is time (and peaches) for one more fresh Peach Crisp. Pal, Maribeth gave me a ‘colorado classique’ cookbook a while back and we both have enjoyed the terrific recipes. She made the peach cobbler from the cookbook for my birthday last month and it was delicious. Today I made it and had the same wonderful results. Since it has peaches and oatmeal…it is also the breakfast of this champion!
Fresh Peach Crisp
4 pounds ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup oats
1 cup unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place peach slices in a greased 13x9x2″ baking pan. Sprinkle with salt.
Mix the flour, cinnamon, sugar and oats together. Add softened butter and mix until crumbly. Sprinkle over peaches and pat down.
Bake 50-60 minutes.
Serve plain or with rich vanilla ice cream.
Recipe from ‘colorado classique a collection of fresh recipes from the rockies’.