Foodie Fridays & Weekend Fare

It’s a double feature today. ūüôā I’m sharing a recipe and introducing Foodie Fridays – I hope many of you will join in and share your food experiences!

Peaches and blueberries are such a wonderful combination. I needed a dessert for company and found a recipe for individual Peach & Blueberry Crumbles which I adapted. Yum. They were absolutely delicious. I made them a few hours ahead and then put them back in the oven to re-warm them. I served them with fresh whipped cream (not pictured) flavored with a little vanilla extract and a hint of cinnamon. The only thing I would change is to add a bit less sugar to the crumble topping Рit was quite sweet. These were quick to put together and looked elegant served in the individual ramekins.

PEACH & BLUEBERRY CRUMBLES
Print This Recipe

2 lbs. firm, ripe peaches, peeled & sliced or 4 c. frozen peaches
1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
2 Tb. lemon juice
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. flour

Crumble: 
1 c. flour
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. (1 stick) cold  butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place peaches and blueberries in a large bowl. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, granulated sugar, and flour. Toss well. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. Divide the mixture between six lightly greased ramekins or custard cups.

For the topping, combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and the cut butter in a medium mixing bowl. Use a pastry cutter to cut in butter until it is pea size. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit. Place the ramekins on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 45 minutes or until the tops are browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.

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FOODIE FRIDAYS!

We are so excited to give this feature a try. There is so much we can learn and share from one another! I find myself inspired by reading other blogs. We hope you will find this feature encouraging and inspiring.

Here are just a few guidelines for participating in Foodie Fridays:
1) Leave a link to your post with Mr. Linky.
2) Your entry can include a recipe, a kitchen success, an ingredient, a tradition, a book/magazine/restaurant review, a favorite (or not) tool or gadget, food photos, recipe website, a food memory, a cooking or eating experience or anything food related.
3) Please link back here in your participating post.

Hope you have fun, meet new people, learn a few things, feel encouraged, and find inspiration as you cook, bake, and entertain!

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Market Fresh: Rhubarb

Rhubarb is one of the first vegetables gardeners can harvest in the spring. It is a perennial plant, so it comes up on its own each spring, sporting beautiful red stalks (or sometimes pink or green) which can be turned into a number of delightful treats.

Somehow it was always elderly people in my life who had large rhubarb patches from which they were happy to share. I guess that makes me think of rhubarb as an old-fashioned food, but one I love. As a child, my mom would give us kids a bowl of sugar and a few stalks of rhubarb. We’d dip the end of our stalk in the sugar and then take a bite.

I think my all-time favorite use for rhubarb is strawberry-rhubarb pie. While in the UK I was introduced to exclusively rhubarb pie, which I enjoyed and made several times. Rhubarb is delicious in a crumble (see recipe below), either on its own, or combined with strawberries. And it is well-suited for jams and chutneys. Stewed or roasted rhubarb with whipped cream is a simple but sublime dessert. I even came across a recipe for using rhubarb in a green salad!

If you don’t have any rhubarb in your garden, and don’t know any elderly friends with large patches, its worth buying a bunch at the grocery store and enjoying at least one rhubarb dessert during the season. And here is a terrific recipe to try:

STRAWBERRY AND RHUBARB CRUMBLE
(Bon Appetit May 2010)
Print this recipe

3/4 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar
large pinch of salt
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup husked hazelnuts, toasted coarsely chopped (almonds or pecans would also work)
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (I omitted this)
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
12 ounces rhubarb (preferrable bright red), ends trimmed, stalks cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces

vanilla ice cream to serve

Combine flour, 2/3 cup sugar, and salt in medium bowl; whisk to blend. Add butter. Rub in with fingertips until mixture sticks together in clumps. Mix in oats and nuts. (Topping can be made one day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Preheat oven to 375F. Butter 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Place 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; whisk to blend well. Add strawberries and rhubarb to sugar in bowl; toss to coat well. Scrape fruit filling into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle oat topping evenly over filling.

Bake crumble until filling bubbles thickly and topping is crisp, about 45 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Spoon warm crumble into bowls. Serve with ice cream.

Serves 8.

Off The Shelf: Irish Cookbooks

Margaret M. Johnson has put together several beautiful cookbooks, all with an Irish theme. Each cookbook is full of photographs of the Irish countryside along with mouthwatering pictures of the recipes. If you are at all interested in Ireland, or Irish food, these are a must-see from your local library.

The first of the three books is Irish Puddings, Tarts, Crumbles and Fools: 80 Glorious Desserts. This book features recipes such as Bread and Butter Pudding, Queen of Puddings, Steel Cut Oat Pudding, Sticky Toffee Sponge Pudding, Rhubarb Tarte Tatin, Plum Tart with Oatmeal Crust, Blackberry-Almond Crumble Cake, Apple Fool, Lemon Syllabub, Lemon-Ginger Scones, and Christmas Pudding Ice-cream.

I tried the Pear and Ginger Crumble which I found to be quite delicious. The aromatic yet delicate pears went perfectly with the sharp bite of crystallized ginger and, topped with a crumbly topping, ¬†made for a very “more-ish” dessert.

PEAR AND GINGER CRUMBLE
(Irish Puddings, Tart, Crumbles, and Fools)
Print this recipe

Filling:
3 pounds Bartlett or Anjou pears, peeled, cored and sliced
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/3 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. minced crystallized ginger chips
1 1/2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

Topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 c. quick cooking (not instant) Irish oatmeal (I used regular, quick cooking oats)
2/3 c. packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat¬†the oven to 375F. Lightly butter a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Filling: In a medium bowl, combine the pears and lemon juice. Stir in the sugar, crystallized ginger, and flour. Spoon into the prepared pan.

Topping: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter, and stir with a fork until moist clumps form. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the topping is golden and the pears are tender. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream, if you like.

Serves 6-8.

The Irish Pub Cookbook gives recipes for the kind of heart-warming food you would find in a typical Irish Pub. Chapters include: Starters, Soups, Salads, Hot Pots Meat Pies & Savory Tarts, Meat & Potatoes, Seafood, and Sweets.

I found many of the recipes tempting; Salmon Cakes with Dill and Wine Sauce, Parsnip and Apple Soup, Bacon, Blue Cheese and Courgette Soup, Bibb, Bacon and Apple Salad, Ploughman’s Lunch, Guinness Beef Stew, Bacon and Cabbage, Irish Cream Cheesecake, and Irish Chocolate Cake.

I tried the Farmhouse Vegetable Soup which was delicious and down-to-earth with a distinct taste of parsnips.

FARMHOUSE VEGETABLE SOUP
(The Irish Pub Cookbook)
Print this recipe

4 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 leeks (white parts only), washed and sliced
2 parsnips, peeled and sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 cups vegetable broth
2/3 cup half and half
3 Tbsp. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
salt and pepper

In a stockpot or large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and leeks, cover, and cook, stirring once or twice, for 5-7 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft but not browned. Add the parsnips, potatoes, carrots and stock or broth, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

Working in batches, transfer the soup to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. (Or puree in the pot with an immersion blender.) Return the soup to the pot, whisk in the half-and-half, and season with parsley, salt and pepper. Simmer until heated through.

To serve, ladle the soup into shallow bowls.

Serves 4-6.

The New Irish Table: 70 Contemporary Recipes provides more of the same: beautiful photos, gorgeous food, and good recipes. The book is divided into Small Bites, Starters, Main Courses, Side Dishes, and Sweets. Scattered throughout each of these cookbooks are short explanations of various food items or recipes, helping to educate the reader on true Irish food. These books are a delight to look through and Johnson has done an admirable job of creating them.