Monday, August 27, 2012

Peach Crumble

August is peach season. Peaches have this way of pulling me into the heat of summer, of reminding me of sticky days, and the fan rotating around my tiny bedroom in the farmhouse in which I grew up. They remind me of burying peach pits in the sand pile, hoping they would grow into trees. And peach juices dripping down my chin and my hands and all over the place.

Peaches also remind me of breakfast in the depths of the winter. In August, my mother lined the jars up, filled with peach wedges and a sweet syrup, bright orange in the dark of the concrete basement. In the mornings, well into winter, I would carrying one of those jars upstairs to the woodstove-warmed kitchen, pop the top off and scoop the syrup-sweetened fruit into a bowl.

It was good. But it was never as good as the fresh fruit.


I feel kind of the same way about this crumble as I did about those canned peaches. In order to save the 8 or so peaches that had begun to wrinkle in the fridge beyond the point of enjoyability, I peeled, pitted, and chopped them, cobbled one recipe with another, made a bunch of changes to accommodate what I had in the house and, an hour later, scooped this out of a casserole and onto a pretty dish.


It was delicious, but I have to be honest: it's not as good as a fresh peach. But, let's be fair: is there anything as good as a fresh peach?

Peach Crumble


Filling:

8 peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped.
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Topping:

1 and 1/5 cup granola
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter

This recipe couldn't be simpler. Mix together the flour, sugar, and peaches. Spread out in a casserole dish of your desired size. I used a smaller, round one. I tried an 8 by 13, but found the layer to be way too thin. If you're using a square casserole, try a 9 by 9 or something equivalent.

In a separate bowl, mix together the granola and brown sugar. Cut in the butter until the mix is crumbly. I like to use my hands for this step. Spread the crumble topping liberally over the peaches.

Bake in a 375* oven for approximately 30 minutes or until the top is a gorgeous golden brown and the peaches have been cooked and heated through.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cabbage and Beef Wraps


Sometimes, I'll throw something together for dinner, find out it is absolutely delicious, take pictures in order to share the recipe with you, sit down at my computer to start writing and be hit with the realization that I have no idea what I put in it.

Case in point: these cabbage and beef wraps. This is what I know:

  • There is some beef in it. I think it was leftover steak, or a really cheap blade steak that the husband picked up at the grocery store for 50% off. Cut into edible chunks and sauted in oil and onions and probably garlic. 
  • There is either a whole whack of spices or not very many at all. The main base for this is a barbecue sauce, and not a homemade barbecue sauce either. It was an addition, thrown in when the spice concoction I was putting together was proving neither saucy, nor flavourful. BBQ to the rescue!
  • There is cabbage. Lots of lightly sauteed, but still a touch crunchy, cabbage. 
  • It was delicious. Even if it didn't look particularly beautiful.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Sweet and Sour Meatballs


In all honestly, I don't have a lot of recipes that I can call favourites. I don't like to repeat, so I don't tend to discover the joy in the rhythm of a recipe, or the fond delight of a long-time favourite. But if I did have one, something like these would be it.

Or basic spaghetti, cooked noodles smothered in ground beef and Hunts tomato sauce, just like mom used to make and I used to make as a student.

These meatballs are at once comfort food and close to elegant, each one a delightful bite of tangy meat. I could eat a dozen, but I definitely recommend keeping your consumption to 3 or 4.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs



1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp pepper

Simple to make.

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. I always take my rings off, set them in the window sill and tackle the mixing with my hands. It's gross, kinda slimy, but worth it.

Roll the mix into balls 1 - 2 inches in size. 

Brown the balls in a single layer on a skillet.* Transfer to a casserole dish.

1 cup BBQ sauce of your choice
1/2 cup vinegar, again of your choice. I used red wine vinegar, but I've also used balsamic and plain white.
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar

In another bowl, mix all the ingredients for the sauce together.

Place the meatballs in a casserole dish. 

Pour the sauce over top. 

Bake at 325* for 30 minutes or in a slow cooker on low for approximately 8 hours.

* I forgot this step this time 'round. We neither died from food poisoning or spent any time consuming raw meat. Just increase the cooking time to 45 minutes or so and make sure you cut one in half to make sure it's cooked all the way through before serving.