Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Peach Cobbler

My very favorite cobbler recipe! Fresh peaches are simmered in simple syrup and spooned over a cake-like batter before baking. The results are sweet, cakey, and delicious! This foolproof cobbler will be the hit of your summer picnic.

A couple of weeks ago, we went peach picking for the first time! While Georgia may be known for their peaches, South Carolina grows their own fair share of the sweet summer fruit. On a beautiful Saturday morning, we headed south to pick our own - and as a bonus, caught the end of blueberry picking season, too!

Before we knew it, we had filled an entire box of peaches. We ate what we could, I baked up 2 very different cobblers, and then we sliced and froze the rest for later. This cobbler was the result of our Saturday morning adventures - and it's an old favorite. I actually have made this recipe multiple times, and blogged it 6 years ago, but it deserved another look.

Baking is not my thing so I love when I can find an easy recipe that doesn't require a bajillion measuring cups. This recipe may be easy, but it's not lacking in flavor. It's absolutely my favorite cobbler recipe and is always a hit when I serve it to company! The key is self rising flour; while something most of us probably don't stock regularly in our pantry, it's inexpensive enough to pick up a bag just for this dish. I promise it's worth it!

I didn't bother peeling the peaches this time and it turned out just as delicious. The peel softened so much that you didn't have a typical peel texture or flavor. If you're uncertain, feel free to peel it if you feel so inclined :)

If you have access to it, this is best served with a big scoop of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream! 

Peach Cobbler
4 cups sliced peaches (peeled, if desired)
2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons butter

1.5 cups self rising flour (not all purpose)
1.5 cups milk
ground cinnamon, optional

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium saucepan, combine the peaches, 1 cup sugar, and water; mix well. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Place the butter in a 3-quart baking dish and place inside the oven to melt. Once completely melted, remove from oven.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the remaining 1 cup sugar and flour. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly to avoid clumping. Carefully pour the batter into the baking dish over the melted butter. Do not stir. Gently spoon the peaches and their syrup over top. Do not stir. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon, if desired.

Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the batter is set and browned around the edges. Serve warm.

Source: Paula Deen

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Greek Feta Tzatziki

A thick and creamy tzatziki that's loaded with feta cheese! It's perfect used as a dip, stuffed into a pita sandwich, or drizzled over grilled chicken.

This is the last recipe from my recent all-things-Greek week, which included this amazing charred eggplant with chermoula and these easy grilled lamb kufta kebabs. This feta sauce was the perfect addition - it can (and probably should!) be made in advance so you can enjoy it over the span of several days. We used it as a dip (with grilled pita bread) and, later in the week, drizzled it over pita pockets stuffed with leftover meatballs.

The key to thick and creamy tzatziki sauce is really squeezing out as much liquid as possible from the cucumber. I use a cheesecloth, like what I use to make cheese, but any clean towel would work. After that step, this sauce is super easy; you don't even need to pull out a food processor - just a bowl!

This tastes better the next day - feel free to whip is up a day or two in advance and really let those flavors come out!


Greek Feta Tzatziki
1 medium cucumber, grated
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, plus more for topping
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper, to taste

Place the grated cucumber in a clean towel and squeeze over the sink to remove as much liquid as possible. Repeat with a new towel if needed. Once dry as possible, place the cucumber in a mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Gently stir until well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Refrigerate until ready to use. Top with additional feta just before serving.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Grilled Lamb Kufta Kebabs

Incredibly flavorful meatballs are skewered and grilled for an easy, Middle Eastern inspired weeknight dinner.

We had a Middle Eastern week awhile back and these meatballs were one of our favorites! The mix of lamb and beef offer huge flavor on it's own but mixing the meat with spices takes it to another level. They are easily skewered and grilled so the cleanup is minimal (just 1 mixing bowl!) and the meatballs have a smoky, fresh from the grill flavor. If the weather is poor, you could always use your grill pan instead.

One night we served these skewers alongside this charred eggplant with chermoula and a few nights later, sliced and stuffed them into pita pockets topped with a creamy feta sauce that I hope to share later this week. They would also be amazing on a big Greek salad or placed on toothpicks for an easy appetizer!

If you aren't a big lamb fan, try subbing in all beef! It'll still be flavorful and fantastic.

Grilled Lamb Kufta Kebabs

1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
12 ounces ground lamb
12 ounces 90% lean ground sirloin

Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Add the lamb and sirloin and combine gently. Shape the mixture into 18 meatballs then thread them onto about 6 skewers. 

Heat your grill to medium-high heat and lightly grease the grates. Add the skewers and grill 8-9 minutes, or until done, turning occasionally.

Source: adapted from Cooking Light April 2016

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Jalapeno Cheese Grits with Beer Shrimp and Charred Succotash

Creamy grits are loaded with jalapeno and cheese and then served with quick cooking beer shrimp and charred edamame, corn, and tomato succotash. Bright flavors and cheesy goodness! 

Charred food may be one of my current obsessions – did y’all see that charred eggplant I posted awhile back? Truth be told, I love a lot of slightly burned foods… matter of fact, my very favorite hot dog spot in Charlotte is due solely to their ability to char it to perfection. My roasted marshmallows wind up the same way :)
Charring, when done correctly and not literally burning the food to a crisp, results in incredible flavor. In this recipe, you lightly char the veggies for the succotash to give a great depth of flavor to the dish. Your cast iron skillet can do this easily on the stovetop so you can make the grits right alongside it.

Corn is readily found fresh so you could easily sub in a couple cobs for the frozen stuff but you’ll need to add the additional step of grilling, cooling, and cutting. I’m lazy, and short on time, so I just charred the bag stuff alongside the edamame. 

If you have all your stuff on hand (ie – not shelling the edamame!), you can easily whip this dish up in 20 minutes or less.


Jalapeno Cheese Grits with Beer Shrimp and Charred Succotash

1 bag frozen corn kernels, steamed
1 bag frozen shelled edamame, steamed
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons cilantro, diced
2 cups water or broth
1 tablespoon butter
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
¼ cup heavy cream
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup beer

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the steamed corn and edamame and cook, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes or until starting to char. Salt and pepper then remove to a bowl. To the bowl, add the halved tomatoes and chopped cilantro; toss gently.

Meanwhile, bring the water or broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the grits and whisk until thickened. Add the heavy cream, butter, diced jalapenos, cheese, salt, and pepper. Whisk until melted and smooth. Keep warm.

In the same cast iron skillet, drizzle a bit of olive oil and add the shrimp. Cook 1 minute, flip, then add beer. Cook another minute or two or until cooked through.

Spoon the grits into individual shallow bowls followed by the shrimp and reserved succotash.

See Aimee Cook

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