Friday, July 17, 2009

At Last!

After a long, hot, dry spell with a high pressure system firmly in place over Oklahoma and weeks of 100-plus heat, a slow moving cold front yesterday brought enough instability to trigger some boomers, resulting in almost an inch of badly-needed rain with a bonus of cool temperatures.

I first observed a buildup of cumulonimbus north of us about 3:00. At 4:30 I heard the first crackle of thunder and grabbed my camera to capture pictures of the rapidly developing storm.

The sheets of rain and wind gusts and frequent, close lightning increased, and by 4:40, small hail began falling, so I had to stop taking pictures and seek shelter inside.

A few minutes later the hail became one inch ice chunks and finally golf-ball sized hail! It looked like someone was throwing dozens of golf balls into our yard and the noise was incredible. The rain was blowing sideways at that point so I was unable to take the camera out the door and capture the sight. I did soak myself grabbing these souvenirs from the yard.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Crumb-Topped Fresh Peach Pie

There is never a better time to make peach pie than when fresh peaches from Porter, Oklahoma are in season.

I used my old stand-by, Betty Crocker's Cookbook, and modified her Fresh Peach Pie recipe to accommodate a crumb crust. Instead of trimming and crimping the edge of the crust, I left on the excess and pulled it up over the peaches, crostada-style.

Fresh Peach Pie
Pastry for 9-inch One-crust Pie, unbaked
5 cups sliced fresh peaches (about 9 medium)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt

Crumb topping:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) salted butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix together crumb topping ingredients, pour into bowl of food processor, and pulse until mixture forms clumps. Set aside.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare pastry. Mix peaches and lemon juice. Stir together sugars, flour, cinnamon, and pinch of salt. Mix with peaches. Turn into pastry-lined pie pan. Sprinkle with crumb mixture until peaches are covered. If desired, cover edge of pie crust with 3 inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning; remove during last 10 minutes of baking.

Bake 35 to 45 minutes, or until crust is brown and juice bubbles up through crust.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Rosie's Baked Beans and a Celebration

Our Fourth of July dinner was a traditional feast this year, with Nathan's hot dogs, corn on the cob, potato salad, deviled eggs, and baked beans. Dessert was homemade Heath Bar ice cream. In other words, a total pig-out.

In the early 1970s, a wonderful gal named Rosie shared with me her baked bean recipe (she also taught me to crochet), and I have never been interested in any other recipe.

Rosie's Baked Beans
4 slices bacon (nitrate-free Niman Ranch Applewood Smoked Bacon imparted a wonderful smoky flavor to these beans)
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 – 1 lb cans pork and beans, undrained
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar

In a large skillet, fry bacon till crisp. Drain, reserving 2 teaspoons grease, in which onions are sautéed till tender. Mix remaining ingredients into skillet, along with crumbled bacon. Pour into lightly greased baking dish and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Dessert could not be easier--into my Cuisinart Automatic Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream Maker, I placed whipping cream, milk, half and half, sugar, crushed Heath Bars.

The perfect end to our Fourth celebration was the arrival of nature's own fireworks in the form of a noisy, windy thunderstorm.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

It's a Beautiful (Waffle) Morning

One of my favorite "groovin' oldies" songs, It's a Beautiful Morning by The Rascals, perfectly expresses my feelings today. And there is nothing that gets my groove on like a beautiful Oklahoma morning with a chance of thunderstorms in the forecast. To further brighten my day, the Rose of Sharon bush has finally started blooming. Who needs fireworks when nature provides such dazzling displays?

On to the kitchen--armed with about 15,000 recipes I've bookmarked the past few days to make for the Fourth of July weekend, I decided to pump up my energy with a crispy Whole Grain Waffle on Allrecipes by What A Dish!. Here is my version of her recipe:

Crispy Waffles

2 eggs, beaten
1-3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/4 cup unbleached flour (can use part whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 cup flax seed meal
1/4 cup wheat germ
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Whisk together eggs, milk, oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Mix in flour, flax seed meal, wheat germ, baking powder, sugar, and salt until batter is smooth. Cook on preheated waffle iron until crispy and brown.

These waffles meet my strict standards for crispiness, which is surprising, because applesauce is subbed for part of the oil. Plus they are wholesome and nutritious with flax seed, whole wheat flour, and oatmeal; and Hubby, who shies away from anything labeled "healthy", loves them! The grains lend a nutty, sweet flavor that just adds to the crunchy appeal of these waffles.

Happy Fourth of July!