Sunday, August 25, 2013

Crunchy Pecan Blackberry Cobbler

Garden Goodness Part 3

What is better than some blackberries? Now you all know I love some blackberries. And I know.... from feedback that I have gotten from some of my readers, last year's blackberry story made some people cry (see Blackberry Lemon Thyme Jam.) That was not my intention but it does make me feel nice that I can really reach you in that way.

This recipe came up as a way for me to say Thanks. As some of you know, my life has been a little upside down these past few years. And while that crazy is coming to an end soon. I am sure a new crazy is just around the corner- that is life right?? Well as a single girl in a new neighborhood, all alone, I have had some learning to do. Thanks to my Daddy, I am a well rounded girl who needs little help using most tools, changing a tire or doing a whole range of household "typically" male tasks. As great a man as he is, he made sure my little sister and I  knew how to survive without a man. And strange to say but since I have been married I have really appreciated that (ironic, huh?) Now, as I live alone again, I appreciate this learning all over.

Well, I did not make this recipe to say thanks to my Dad. No, I make him a lot of other recipes to show my love (a new one is coming next week. I can't tell yet in case he is tuning in.) There is one thing that I can not do with my Honda Accord- haul things. Lucky for me, I have moved into an older neighborhood that has some really great people in it. You know, the kind that when you move in come down and introduce themselves and give you their name and phone number. Well, these neighbors are awesome. They know I am a single girl and they check on me. They brought me a light to put in my garage, that senses when I am home, they send bones home for my Golden Retriever Charlie and as they say here, they are just "good people." (I love this local saying.) Recently, I went to a local store and got a great deal on a new coffee table. Unfortunately I had no way to get it home. I purchased it with the promise that I would come back for it at a later date. As I was pulling in to my driveway, I saw my neighbors and thought should I ask or not. Uggggg..... I hate to ask!!! But I did and they were more than happy to help. They got in their truck right then with straps and a protective blanket and off we went. I was so happy to have them. They always say "honey, you don't owe us anything. This is just good neighbors helping good neighbors." But what is my saying here at Bonbons and Biscotti- "Love Begins in the Kitchen" and for this single girl a little lost in the world right now it is so good to know that she has someone to count on. So, I got in my kitchen and I baked; adding a ton of appreciation and thanks with every sprinkle of sugar.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Traditional Southern Tomato Pie

Some more Garden Goodness coming your way!

So I have lived in South Carolina for 14 years and for 14 years, I have heard about the elusive Southern Tomato Pie. No... let me rephrase. As the locals say- Southern Tomato Piiiiii. Yes, I have lived here for 14 years and have yet to taste the tomato piiii. A few years ago, a local friend gave me this recipe and told me I had to try it cause it was amazing. And I am guilty again, it went into the vault of recipes that I just have to try..... someday.  I finally did this weekend. After two huge pieces, I literally had to walk away from the pie!!! This thing is like crack. It is so good! It might be a little on the fattening side( a little?!?!?!)  but who cares when you get to experience all the goodness of local homegrown herbs and veggies covered with a bubbling pimento cheese like topping. I did end up sharing a few pieces of my new addiction with a few very special friends. But don't worry,  last night, I had a totally healthy meal. I ate a huge piece of tomato piiii w a tiny side salad. LOL!!!!! I guess it is all how you look at things!!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Tart & Tangy Refrigerator Pickles

So what little summer we had is coming to an end! Kids are going back to school, the early mornings ,when my dogs and I are sitting on the porch drinking tea, have been cool and my garden is giving me its last offerings for summer. Some vegetables are more plentiful than others right now. Unfortunately, with this summers crazy weather, gardens have really suffered here in my part of South Carolina. My family in Pennsylvania has also reported bad crops. One thing that has done exceptionally well is my cucumbers. Maybe it was due to all the rain, I don't know. They had a difficult start though. I always plant my cucurbits from seed. I planted them all in late April as I always do but this year, we had record amounts of rain in the spring and they never came up. I had to reseed them all and therefore they got a late start. I do not know the garden phenomenon that made these cucumbers go crazy while my squash, cantaloupe and zucchini struggled to produce. I do know however that it is August 17 and I just picked 12 cucumbers today. I have the pleasure of doing this at least 3 times per week. Many friends and loved ones have benefited from my cucumbers this summer.

As the summer winds down, I want to share a few of my favorite recipes for using up all those last minute veggies. Yes, some of these recipes will be canning, some will be dinners to make to use up those not so beautiful tomatoes and others will just be personal favorites. Remember this is the time to stretch the summer and enjoy the tastes in the most simple and beautiful way. This late summer time is also a time to start to think about winter and the flavors we will miss. Prepare now..... and in January when you sit down to some fresh pasta covered in homemade pesto or a bagel smeared with  tomato basil jam you canned yourself, you will be standing in the middle of your summer garden again.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Peaches and Cream Pound Cake

Today I my last recipe for Peach Week. I hope that you enjoy this one as much as I did. Of course here in the south pound cake is the dessert of choice. So I combined these two southern favorites to top off the week. This cake was so moist and delicious. I loved the addition of almond extract to give it a deeper flavor. This recipe is a win in every way.

Don't forget to check out our past peach recipes. Bourbon Peach BBQ Ribs and Bourbon Peach Jam

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Peachy Keen Muffins

Who doesn't love a warm muffin for breakfast? I know that I do. These muffins are so good and really easy! OK. They are not as easy as the dump and mix variety from a box, but for homemade muffins they are pretty easy. At times, we get used to the really sweet artificial fruit tastes. These muffins are not super sweet but have a great, subtle peach flavor. They are the perfect morning muffin with a cup of coffee or hot tea. I made these and took them to work this past week and they were gone fast. Give them a try. I am sure your friends or family will fall in love.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


It is Hump Day!! Who needs a cocktail??? Not just any cocktail but my new favorite cocktail- the Peachtini!! This drink is so reminiscent of summer. I LOVE IT!!!

Give it a try.... IMPORTANT NOTE: I am sending this blog out at lunch in case you need to run out and get any ingredients. Preparation and time management are important parts of life. This includes making sure you have enough vodka when you get home from work on a Wednesday night. Be responsible people!

 Cheers Peaches!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Frozen Peach Pie Filling

 A lot of times, when I am talking to friends, patients or family members about some of my cooking practices, they look at me with surprise and say that they never thought of doing that. This happens a lot when I talk about canning, preserving or freezing. Unfortunately, we are more comfortable going to the local big box grocer and buying frozen fruit or veggies in a can. This time of year, when gardens are offering up their highest yield and farmers markets are bursting with seasonal fruits and veggies in every color, is the time to think about what you will miss in winter and plan ahead. Plenty of our local produce can be canned, frozen or dried for later use. Also when you grow or buy some fruits and veggies you always get a few that are just not pretty. These are great ones to save for recipes like this.

In this recipe, I went to our local produce stand that I frequent weekly. They had a special on a half bushel of peaches for $8 because they were considered too small. I bought it and have eaten them, baked with them and gave some to friends. In the bottom of the basket there are always a few that are bruised or slightly crushed. These are always the perfect peaches to make into pie filling. Of course, fresh peach pie is always a treat during summer months, but imagine in the cold gloomy days of January (when we all need a mood booster) having the ability to bake a fresh peach pie. It is comfort at it's best. First, you have the satisfaction of knowing you made this and it gives you the taste of something that you can look forward to. Prepare now. In January you taste buds and maybe your friends will be thanking you!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Peach and Basil Bliss Cocktail

Welcome to Bonbons and Biscotti "Peach Week!" I am really excited to share some of these recipes with you. Here in South Carolina, peaches are the fruit of summer. They are sweet and fragrant and just beautiful. Since I moved here 14 years ago this October, I have learned how to truly love the peach. In the summer, I frequent the local peach farm which is about 4 miles down the road and buy peaches, blackberries, cantaloupe and all things summer that I do not grow myself. I love going to Fisher's Orchard to get my local produce. When I get there, they have a large section of fruit that is called "soft peaches." AKA- they have seen better days or they are marked up in some way (hail damage usually.)  I love this section. Most times, if I am shopping to bake or mash peaches up in drinks, it really does not matter what they look like. On any given day, in the soft peach section, you can find me and at least 2 other elderly women collecting peaches for our baking. It is always makes for an interesting conversation and some true local baking knowledge. This past week when I went, they had half bushels of these beautiful peaches you see in the pictures half off cause they were judged to be too small for sale. I instantly felt sorry for them.... I was worried they would get a complex due to this judgement. I decided to turn their fate around. I bought them, took them home and turned them into all things wonderful.

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