Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Beneath the paving stones - the peach

I grabbed 9 peaches on the way home. When they were weighed at the checkout, the actual weight was closer to 3 pounds than four.

Here's the peach filling. I added the lemon zest, and later saw that the recipe seemed to want it in the dough, even though the ingredient was listed in the filling section. Oh well.

So, apparently the word "cobbler" comes from the fact that the topping is like cobblestones, which I can definitely see. I was worried about peach stuff coming out, so I put a pan underneath, and it served me well.

The cobbler tasted good. Maybe a little too lemon-y (and I only used the zest from one lemon), but I liked the cobble part. I wasn't sure if it wasn't properly cooked, or if the stuff that is touching the peach sauce just doesn't ever get firm.

In restless dreams I walked alone, narrow streets of peach cobbler...

So I invited my friend Vanessa over to help me make this week's cookalong, Peach Cobbler. Aaron documented the making of this peach cobbler in vivid detail, and here I share with you just a portion of the pictures! Making peach cobbler is the stuff of juicy dreams, I tell you.

juicy peaches

zesting an orange (the store was out of lemons!)

Mixing the flour in the peaches over heat created way too much juice. We tried to add more flour to soak it up then more spices and everything. But still, too much liquid. In retrospect, I don't think I needed to heat these peaches up one bit. And I used whole wheat pastry flour, cause I wanted to.

adding maple syrup

adding the orange zest

adding the spices

mixing and stuff

mixing (this is the window view shot that I should use should I ever have a cooking show in my apartment)

way too liquidy, so we drained it out!

a little better (I think we might have drained it some more?)

mixing the dough

seems like a lot of peaches! a deep but not long enough pan

makin' cobbles

makin' cobbles

we just decided to fill the whole thing and it was a LOT of dough!

contemplating my mitts

ta da!

aa says: look proud!

cobbler! there's a little uncooked dough underneath all that biscuit (we probably should have left some of the dough out), but not a ton, but it's vegan so as they say around here: "no worries!"

It was yummy.

each peach pear plum

Does this look like 4 pounds of peaches?

I thought I had white flour but didn't, so I used whole wheat and the dough is too puffy and thick. I related that to Stagflation and he appropriately dissed me for subbing flour indiscriminately. ha ha. Will not try to get away with such a thing again. I used a loaf pan, not a 9x13, so I had less surface and therefore used only half the dough, which was still too much. Ate the peaches with just a small amount of the crust. The juices seeped up through the crust:

The smell of peaches makes my heart sing! la la laaaa!

Have any of you seen Dead Like Me? "it's like looking at a bowl of peach cobbler you just dropped on the floor. As good as it might have been, you just don't want it anymore"

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Mmmm, peaches

I had a hard time convincing myself to actually cook the peaches, they were so wonderful just the way they were, but my sense of responsibility kicked in and I made the cobbler. The things I'll do for the cook-along. Because it is far too dangerous to have that much leftover cobbler around, I only made a quarter recipe, but I really didn't want to do the fiddley math. Okay, I could have had Master Cook do the fiddley math, but I didn't want to deal with the weird measurements, so I eyeballed it. Other problems: No white - excuse me -- unbleached flour, only whole wheat, and no applesauce. I thought about blending up an apple but decided against it for the tiny amount my quarter recipe required. I added a touch more soy milk to the wet stuff. There was a brief moment of puzzlement when I got to the instructions that said to add the lemon zest to the dry stuff when, in fact I had already added it to the peach filling as it was listed among those ingredients.

The "cooked" peaches. These pretty much were releasing juice the instant I cut them, so I wasn't sure how long to cook them. They were basically just warmed.

With the topping, uncooked. I have no idea what the consistency of the dough was supposed to be like; this looked reasonable to me so I just went with it.

And the final product.

As a result of my playing fast and loose with the dough, it was predictably a bit, uh, heavier than what I imagine should have been a biscuit-like topping. It was still biscuit like but in a sort of health-foody way. Undoubtedly the applesauce would have made it a bit fluffier and, of course, the white flour would have made it a bit more normal. But I actually like it this way. If I were serving it to guests it probably wouldn't have been the best way to go about it, though. There's a different flavor to the filling, too, but in a pleasant way, probably the ginger and cinnamon. Anyway, it's pretty darned good and I would actually serve this to other people.

Cobbler? Crumble? Crisp???

I've never eaten a cobbler before and, even though I read through the recipe, I figured a peach cobbler would be similar to an apple crisp. I suppose it is, but there is a definite difference.

According to ochef.com:

Cobblera spoon pie (more like a fruit stew with dumplings), in which biscuit dough is dropped onto the fruit before baking. The consensus is that the dish got its name because the lumps of cooked dough resembled cobblestones.

Crispa deep-dish fruit dessert made with a crumb or streusel topping and baked.

Crumblea British dessert in which raw fruit is topped with a crumbly pastry mixture and baked. One reference says a crumble is like a crisp, but not as rich.

Now, the food porn:

Peach Cobbler - cooking the peaches

Happy slices of peaches warming in the pot. I used about 7 cups or so of peach slices after searching the internet for what "4 lbs of peaches" equaled. 8 cups probably would have been better.

And I forgot to add the ginger.

Peach Cobbler - lemon zest

The lemon zest made the whole apartment smell dreamy.

Peach Cobbler - before cooking

Before baking.

Peach Cobbler

After baking.

I decided to try the recipe today because the boy's mom, sister and his sister's fiance were visiting. Of course, they'd all just finished having a coffee before they arrived and didn't want any cobbler. His mom tried some a few hours later, at room temperature, and said it was good. I had some after they left and liked the flavour. The cobbler topping is far less sweet than a crisp topping, and is without the crunch of caramelized sugar.

I quite liked it and I keep going back for another forkful.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Teaches of Peaches

Are peaches in season where you all live? I just bought a basket of them and I'm itchy to make peach cobbler. What say you?

Listening to Peaches while preparing is optional, but recommended!

imperfect pakoras

Well, well, this didn't turn out so well, but I know a second attempt later will be better.

The recipe said do not taste the raw batter, but I did, and she's right, it's gross.

I plopped the batter on a baking sheet like cookies, checked on them and they looked like they were sticking, even though I'd greased the sheet well.

So I decided to deep fry them, in a small pan. Uck! So greasy and messy:

But then I remembered that they are supposed to be greasy and messy. Remember my heart-shaped moulds from the magic loaf week? Pulled 'em out again. Also made dal to go with it, thinking it will balance out the greasiness of the pakoras:

On the theme of Indian cooking, I have this awesome poster in my kitchen:

And I know I'm not the only one who has stained kitchen gear with spices. Any of you other Toronto veg*ns have this TVA measuring spoon?

Catching up on a month of cookalongs!

So I had a nice internet hiatus as I moved across the U.S. from NYC to Portland, Oregon, and that hiatus also included a cooking hiatus, but now I'm all caught up and ready to show you my versions of the last four cookalongs!

I actually made the Colorful Tofu Salad with Basil and Cashews before I left New York (I think I made it the day or the day after it was posted!), but then I got too busy to post it. It was a month ago, but I still remember how delicious it was!

a picture of the dressing

and the finished salad!

I made the coleslaw dish most recently since I'm not really a coleslaw person and I wanted to give the idea some time to percolate as I considered what my take on it would be. So I tinked with it to make it more "me" (added tempeh and celery to give it more of a tempeh/mock chicken salad feel, added wildwood garlic aioli (so good!) and a little bit of seasoned rice vinegar and olive oil as the dressing), and I was very pleased.

And in a million years I wouldn't think of adding uncooked ramen noodles to a salad but it was simply fantastic!

ramen noodles, chopped carrot, grater, and cabbage

steaming tempeh

roasted sesame seeds

mixed salad!

I made the next two dishes last week. I've actually never made quesadillas before (and I don't remember ordering them either), so this was new. So exciting that vegan cheese has finally come along enough to make something with "queso" accessible to us!

before cooking shot (I used canned pinto beans, and I cooked the pepper and mushroom as long as it took me to prepare the bean puree and grate the cheese cause we were hungry!)

out of the oven on my cookie sheet! I didn't have a large working oven in my old place so a simple thing like this gave me a lot of joy!

my plate, with a big dollop of tofutti sour supreme

And lastly, pakoras! I'm completely in love with Indian food so I was so excited to try my hand at pakoras! And I think Kitee's recipes are the best so I had full confidence. I ended up frying them in a whole bottle of peanut oil, and while when I filled it up I saw that they actually hadn't absorbed too much peanut oil at all (I got most of the bottle back), it still felt wasteful. Anywho..

mixing up the batter (i tasted it too, but i knew what to expect so not so bad)

pakoras, airing out on the paper towel

with toor dal/frozen spinach and spices (I forgot to put the chopped spinach in the pakoras so they made it into the dal!)

Thanks for reading (if you made it this far!) The farmer's market is tomorrow and I'm so excited to stock up on peaches!