Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Peach Praline Pecan Streusel Pie: Serious Pie for Serious Peaches (. . .The Story of My "Fall" and Pictures of Things Outside)

I don't think it'd be a stretch to say I love peaches. Even after the whole peach growing, peach harvesting and peach jam making I did a few weeks back, I'm still bringing home peaches from the store. Just. In. Case. In case of what exactly, I couldn't say. This pie is a bit of a multi-stepper, but in a painless way. You make your pie dough (or godforbid, use store bought if you must), mix up the streusel (storing the extra you'll have for muffins or better yet, another pie!), peel and slice up the peaches, assemble pie, bake, cool and eat. So easy. If you want to skip ahead and not read my story about my falling, that's fine. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sabih and Zhough: 'Jerusalem' Cookbook Inspired (And. . . For the Love of Book Fairs and Great Finds)

Sabih was never going to be something I just thought, "Oh, how about Sabih tonight?" Yes, if I'd had the chance to bond further with my Croatian born grandfather, perhaps a food trip or two would have been in order (I happen to know he loved food as much as my father did and as much as I do)--I may have encountered something akin to this dish on one of our excursions. But perhaps not. This is, according to my cookbook Jerusalem, a dish not from Jerusalem, but "developed by Iraqi Jews settling in the 1950s in the city of Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv". Who knew? Ottolenghi says this eggplant/pita (yes I made my own spelt pitas to go with this) with yummy filling is "exciting street food". Well, for me, this dish is seasonal and super flavorful and exciting vegan dinner food. Made with eggplants I bought local-- because I can't get an eggplant to grow to save my life--combined with the other components (pictured below) and the husband and I were smitten throughout the entire meal. Here's a link to the full recipe. I added some left over vegan meatballs to this, just in case you wondered what that other non-eggplant looking item on the pita was. They, by the way, made a devilishly good addition to the sabih. In most instances the dish is served with hard boiled eggs. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins (My Midlife Baking Healthier, Eating Happier--with Less Sugar AND Less Gluten Shift)

I've been experimenting with gluten free baking for the past year now. Honestly, who hasn't? I have had some terrific results. I've also had some sad disasters. A health concern recently triggered a demand for me to cut back on foods on the upper register of the glycemic index. More on this in a moment. Meantime, desperate for a little sweet, a little "bread" with my morning GF oatmeal, I came up with these gems. Sweet potatoes are a favorite of mine. I haven't met a woman who doesn't love them. Trying to get my husband to eat one is like pulling teeth. He's, to be polite, not a fan. However, carefully disguised in food stuffs, they pass. I have read the sweet potato is a sort of "wonder food" for women who are losing their minds. . . I mean estrogen levels. More sweet potatoes for me please! I wanted a moist muffin that could hold up to my ritual of slightly re-heating and then dabbing with a bit of Earth Balance margarine. And then, of course, I needed chocolate. The list of ingredients is fairly long for these, but don't be put off buy this--they are worth it. Easy to whip up though. Plus, in the end, my blood sugar thanked me. These were completely worth the trial and error it took to get here. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Vegan Semolina, Coconut and Orange Marmalade Cake with Chocolate Ganache (And. . . my first peach harvest that almost "wasn't")

Vegan Thyme: Vegan Semolina, Coconut and Orange Marmalade Cake with Chocolate Ganache (And. . . my first peach harvest that almost "wasn't")...
I've had my eye on this cake for quite some time. But I needed two things to make it happen: sunflower oil and orange marmalade. I have both now. And the cake was completely worth the wait. The original recipe is from the cookbook Jerusalem by Yotam Ottogenghi and Sami Tamimi. I had a bigger than usual vegan challenge in adapting this recipe as it calls for four eggs! But this cake was happening regardless. The chocolate part is completely optional. Honestly, I wasn't going the chocolate ganache route until DH said, You ARE going to add chocolate to this, right?
The thing that I had trouble with in making this was achieving that little "bump" down the middle typical in loaf cakes. Or the crack on top where the syrup goes. When the baking time came to an end and I had no "bump" on top of my cakes, I was a bit crestfallen to tell the truth. I had my hopes set on this little feature. Could be my baking powder's time had run out, or something was wrong with my egg replacer (which is what I opted using for the eggs in the recipe vs. a flax and water mix or some other iteration of vegan egg helper). Truth be told, the lack of this little feature did not harm the cake's end result in the least little bit. Nada. So this past week, husband and I have enjoyed splitting a slice of this cake as an after dinner treat. It's loaded with flavor. Topped after just coming from the oven with orange flavored sugar syrup, there is really no need for more than a small piece. You will feel the love of this cake in one bite size and be satisfied. Trust me. Which is why I love it so much.   
I haven't told you about my peach tree yet. I'll try to make this short. Three years ago I brought home three fruit trees: a peach tree, apricot tree and pear tree. We planted them in our back yard (un-fenced area) and waited. 


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