Friday, August 31, 2018

Life's a Peach!

I was browsing a bookstore recently and saw Judith Jones' book The Pleasures of Cooking for One.  I don't know why, but it made me feel sorry for her.  If you're as lucky as I am, you should appreciate the fact that you can cook for people you love.  You're lucky to have them! Why don't you make them this Texas classic, Texas Hill-Country Peach Cobbler. It is so easy, so creamy, so crusty, and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream - Divine! My kids love to watch it cook in the oven, you'll see why! This is the last recipe in my trilogy of favorite recipes that are easy, most requested, and travel well.  If you're going to a Labor Day cookout, why not bring this?  If you missed the other two recipes, check them out: Salsa Mexicana and Corn Souffle.

Texas Hill-Country Peach Cobbler

Serves 6


3/4 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups sugar (separated into 1 cup plus 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter (melted)
3 cups fresh sliced peaches
9x13 baking dish (this makes a thinner cobbler with lots of crusty bits - this is what I use) or an 8x8x2 (this makes a thicker cobbler with less crusty bits)
Vanilla ice cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pour the melted butter in the dish.  Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, 1 cup of sugar, and milk together and pour into the pan.  Do not stir!  Lay the peaches evenly over the batter.  Top evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar.  Bake for an hour. Bonus: Your house will smell great!

The Non-Souffle "Souffle"

This is part 2 of my favorite recipes that are easy to make, the most requested, and very easy to transport, perhaps to a Labor Day barbecue.  This recipe is for a delicious Corn Souffle, which technically isn't a souffle because the egg whites are not whipped separately and then folded in.  The dish does slightly "puff up", so thus the name? All you do is combine the ingredients, bake it for an hour or so, and it's done! It's so versatile that I make it at Thanksgiving, Christmas, with Barbecue, and Mexican food. It really goes great with anything. Last Thanksgiving I didn't make it because I thought my family might be sick of it; however, I regretted it when everyone was horrified not to see it on the table!  It's a side that everyone loves!  Keep checking my blog for the last recipe!  Hint: It's a Texas classic!  If you missed the first recipe, check it out: Salsa Mexicana.

Corn Souffle

Serves 6-8


1 stick of butter, melted
1 can of creamed corn
2 cans of regular corn, drained
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 box, 8.5 oz "Jiffy" corn muffin mix


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together all the ingredients.  Pour into an 11 cup, 2.6 L, or 8x9x3 baking dish and bake for an hour or so, until the center is set. Yum! 

**For a spicier version, add 2 thawed "cubes" of Green Chile Sauce!

The Pullman Strike?

The Pullman Strike, led by the American Railway Union, began in Pullman, Illinois in 1894 over reductions in wages. It quickly spread across the country and disrupted railway traffic and the delivery of the U.S. Mail. The strike was broken up by U.S. Marshals and roughly 12,000 United States Army Troops killing 13 strikers and injuring 57. Six days later, President Grover Cleveland made Labor Day a federal holiday to try and reconcile with the labor unions.

Today, most people associate Labor Day as the symbolic end of summer weekend.  It may be one of the last barbecues of the season.  So, if you're having a barbecue or going to one, this week I'm going to share 3 of my favorite recipes, that I make over and over because they are easy to make, the most requested, and very easy to transport.  I'm going to start with an appetizer or condiment, specifically, Salsa Mexicana from Mark Miller, aka. Godfather of Southwestern Cuisine. If you haven't made your own salsas before, this is a great way to start.  It tastes really fresh, summery, and you control the heat. Keep checking my blog for the other 2 dishes. Hint: one's a versatile side dish and the other is a classic Texas dessert! 

Salsa Mexicana:


2 tablespoons or so, diced white onion
8 Roma (plum) tomatoes (about 1 pound), diced, seeds and all
2 serrano chiles, finely diced, with seeds for HOT, some seeds for MEDIUM (I like it this way), or without for MILD (my kids like it this way)
2 tablespoons or so, fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (don't use the junk in the bottle)

Place the onion is a strainer, rinse with hot water, and drain.  Thoroughly combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Add a little more sugar if the tomatoes are acidic, but make sure the salsa does not taste of sugar. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to combine. 

This is great with chips, guacamole, tacos, or grilled meats. Makes about 2 cups.