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+++Enter At Your Own Risk+++ At the gentle nudging (I said gentle y'all) of a few friends, I have started these blogs in order to share my culinary goings-on and daily misadventures through my own brand of humor (ok, sarcasm). I just write about stuff! At 50, I have learned that living has gotten in the way of life - and I am going to blaze my own personal trail to fun (hopefully)! If it is feminine, great. If it is not, so much the better! Hopefully fun that does not land me in jail............

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Peach Cobbler Part Deux

Welcome to this week’s episode of  Do-Over Time in Tennessee… 

No, I was not kidding about making this cobbler recipe again with tastier peaches and no,  I have not finished eating the first cobbler. Remember, no one to help me eat it this cooking go-around.  Poor me...

It would come as no surprise to anyone who either knows me or follows my FaceBook posts that I am sitting here in my bed, after my second baking misadventure in as many days, thinking about the Maker's on the shelf.  I'll leave it there this time.

Plans for today? Brunch and visit with Mom, aunt and cousin. Meet peeps at the Tennessee Theater for the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s then scream home for the cobbler “Do-Over” with plans to share the "improved" finished product with a friend who taste tests my food and is brutally honest.  Said honesty being good, bad and sometimes ugly.  Remember "Mom makes it this way..."  I do trust their opinion though so I cannot get too bent.

After enjoying the movie with KC, Lib and LB – I screamed home and sorted out peaches to find the ripest three. At this point I realize that I obviously have not had many experiences with super fresh peaches in my life – as I had no idea that 48 hours was NOT LONG ENOUGH TO RIPEN THEM…  I have promised to produce this cobbler at 6:00p today and have run out of ripening time.  The peaches are better at least, so I am moving ahead as planned – again…

As I am peeling peaches for the cobbler that I plan on making and delivering, I learn that the schedule I thought was hammered out as to when to meet my friend  – was NOT.  I was missing a key piece of information apparently.  Together we decided the cobbler would be delivered tomorrow, cold, instead of today while fresh.  I had already peeled and sliced the best peaches. There is no waiting. I continued cooking while bummed and temporarily frustrated.  I remembered why I don't plan a lot of things.  I am not patient or welcoming of change.

After I had the cobbler mixed up using the same recipe as Friday (from memory) and baking in the oven for like 10 minutes, I realized that I FORGOT TO ADD THE VANILLA to the batter.  Bummed meter pegging to the right…

I pulled this puppy out of the oven after checking for doneness and then let it cool about 30 minutes.  I tore a piece of the ‘cake’ portion off the top and tasted it.  I wish I had not pulled the boner of forgetting the vanilla, but it still tastes okay - I think.  I might just have to make it yet again tomorrow after work though since "okay" was not what I was striving for.

Lessons learned today?
Fresh does not equal ripe in peaches (duh!)
Never plan on imperfect information (clarify details...)
Do not try to plan too much in a day (is this a girl trait?)
ALWAYS use the recipe – do NOT go by memory (yea, Mom was right - again...)
Do NOT text and bake (dangerous, simply dangerous)

While I sit propped up on my bed, laptop on lap (where else?) and digging into Friday's cobbler, I ponder why I do this crap.  Well, I guess it is simple...  I don't eat a lot, but when I do, I want it to be worth it.  I like sharing recipes with friends.  I do not want to share a recipe that I have not thoroughly checked out.  I also like cooking for my friends who do not get home cooked momma food often - as they seem to appreciate it the most.

Where's that bourbon?


Friday, July 16, 2010

The Trials and Tribulations of Making a Simple Peach Cobbler

Who knew making a peach cobbler could be so fret with drama? A recipe with 7 ingredients should not be a problem for a country cooking maniac – right?

I am sitting here in my bedroom, at 9:00p at night, sweating from the event, drinking Maker’s 46 on the rocks to calm my nerves and wondering about so many things.

-  What do I not know about tonight?  Nough said.
-  Who will eat my peach cobbler?  Anyone?  I cannot eat it all myself.  I think I cook well enough for most people. Alas, there are those ever picky peeps out there who think it is ok to compare anything I make to “Momma’s.” Always fun to hear – and NEVER really welcome unless the thought ends in COOKIE'S IS BETTER.  The dieting peeps who are – dieting – so they don’t eat this or don’t eat that.  Ever hear of rock soup?  And the rest of my peeps are too far away to sample it for me but would happily do it. Where are you people?  Help me out!
-  What recipe do I use?  Imagine my shock when I opened my series of old-time cookbooks (ok, old to me ranges from 10 to 40 years) only to find no peach cobbler recipes?  Wait, I have one cookbook from the “Society of Farm Women of Pennsylvania” that is at about 500 pages. It will have one! Farm women got it going on...  There I learn that even though the individual chapters are listed by page number, there are NO page numbers on the individual pages. Is this possible? It took a while to find out there are no peach cobbler recipes in that promising cookbook or any of the others I had planned on using. My favorite cookbook had ONE recipe and all it said was “Peach Cobbler” 1 stick butter, 1 cup self rising flour, 1 cup sugar. Mix. Bake at 400 degrees. Seriously?  Could I have a little more than that?  I think it actually failed to include actual peaches, so I had little faith in the validity of that recipe.  I finally land on a simple recipe online.
-  Where to get the peaches?  I decide to buy my peaches from the roadside peach vendors because theirs will be fresher than the store - RIGHT?  So I thought. I just barely managed to find South Carolina peaches today - after missing the peach vendors on my way to work and home every day for 3 days. Are my work hours that off?  I finally catch the vendor today near my house and buy $15 worth of peaches picked fresh this morning.  Huh, did it occur to me that the peaches would need to ripen a few extra days?  Of course not… They are fresh.  And by the way, if the roadside guy is there from 8:00a until at least 5:00p, how did he pick the peaches and get them to Tennessee – today?  

Just say'n.

I digress.

I start the process in the spice cave.  Do you ever have to stick your hand in places that you are just not sure about?  Okay, don’t answer that.  I went spelunking through the pantry in search of simple plain old vanilla and cinnamon. These are staples in most every kitchen.  Even the kitchens where women don’t really cook - have THESE spices at hand.  These should easily be found in my pantry (of all the pantries I know) any day of the week, right?  RIGHT?  So what do I drag my hands through tonight - in the dark?  Three containers of whole cloves, two cayenne, two red pepper and another 30 or so containers of various goods? REALLY?  I barely found the cinnamon and vanilla. It ought not be this difficult.

So, I get down to the business of making the cobbler itself. I turn the oven on, gather the rest of the ingredients, prepare the dry ones, melt the butter and prepare the peaches. Could the fruits of my labor have managed to be a little more tart?  Oh crap, I’m in it now, so keep going – right?  I might as well see this through since I have all this mess out on the counter.

I toss the peaches with sugar and cinnamon then set them aside, praying that by some stroke of luck, they will taste fine after baking. I commence to mixing the milk into the dry ingredients – using only what the recipe calls for - and find that I have what amounts to SOUP.  What?  Fine...  I go for it. No modification of the recipe.  Have faith wee one, have faith.

The outcome?  Amazingly enough, the cobbler isn’t half bad. If I wait 24 to 48 hours to make it again, the peach flavor will be better for sure.

The kitchen is trashed, the oven is cooling, I’m thinking about doing this all over again Sunday and I am drinking…  Long live Maker’s Mark.   Hum, bourbon peach cobbler anyone?

Simple Peach Cobbler

1 stick butter melted
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Heat oven to 375
Pour melted butter into a 2 quart baking dish. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of the sugar and flour; stir to blend. Stir in the milk and vanilla until blended. Pour the batter over the melted butter. Toss the peaches with the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon. Arrange the peach slices over the batter. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. The top will be browned and the cake will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Serves 6

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