I don’t know about you, but I am extremely eager for it to be fall. Fall is probably my favorite season (At least, if we’re talking about the 4 seasons. Otherwise, Christmas is my favorite!!), so it’s no surprise that I’m chomping at the bit for it to be here. It seems that in the last couple of weeks my body and mind have switched over to fall mode; I’m craving apples, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, chili, pies, and warming spices. Nevertheless, I’m trying to temper those cravings as much as possible. I am enjoying the fruits of summer, and I know that I need to get the most out of them, since a couple months of root vegetables and apples will change my tune back to wishing for summer’s bounty. Since we had a labor day picnic at our church, I thought it would be a great opportunity to try some new summer-y recipes. I’ll share them in just a bit, but I also wanted to let you know about some upcoming deals and a kitchen tip I discovered.
From now until the 23rd, Dairy Queen is offering a deal where you can buy one blizzard and get another one (equal or lesser value) for just 99 cents. I think this might be another fun way to say goodbye to summer.
From the Money Saving Mom blog, I heard about a Krispy Kreme promotion for National Talk Like a Pirate Day. On September 19th, if you go to a participating Krispy Kreme wearing an eye patch or talking like a pirate, you will receive a free original glazed doughnut. If you go in full pirate costume (but no weapons), you will receive a full dozen original glazed doughnuts. Now that sounds like a day to just go hang out in the local store and see who shows up.
The tip that I’ve discovered recently, may be something you already know, but I had to share it in case you didn’t. Have you ever noticed on a Bisquick box, that there is a little spot that says, “For best results, refrigerate after opening.”? I hadn’t noticed it until the last time I bought some Bisquick. I had previously decided not to try making my own Bisquick because it would need to be refrigerated. Now it seems that I need to refrigerate the store-bought stuff too. I decided to refrigerate the Bisquick I’d just bought, and see if there was a difference. Wow! I can’t believe that I never knew this, but it really does make a difference. Since I’ve been refrigerating my Bisquick, I’ve noticed that the leavening agents works better and my baked goods rise higher. Obviously, you don’t have to keep the Bisquick in the fridge, but if you can find the room, your family will probably enjoy the results.
When I think of summer fruits, I think of berries and stone fruits. Since I’ve done a lot with berries so far this summer, I wanted to concentrate a little bit more on stone fruits. I also wanted to try a new take on a picnic classic: coleslaw. Just the week before the picnic, I read Tyler’s Ultimate (Tyler Florence) and found this innovative take on coleslaw that I thought would be delicious and perfect for the upcoming picnic. I like the mix of flavors and textures, and especially the fact that it’s not loaded down with mayo and sugar. Next time, I think I’ll add another creamy component by throwing in some feta or bleu cheese crumbles.
Coleslaw with Pecans and Spicy Chile Dressing
1 head shredded Napa or Savoy cabbage (Although this had good flavor, I’ll probably just use regular cabbage next time since the Napa is a little pricey.)
4 shredded carrots
2 cored, thinly sliced Granny Smith apples
1 thinly sliced red onion (I didn’t mix this in, because I don’t like raw onion, but I did serve it on the side for those who like it.)
1 c. toasted, chopped pecans
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. cumin
3/4 c. mayo
Juice of 1 lemon
1. Toss together the cabbage, carrots, apples, onion, and pecans. Mix well and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients til well blended. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mix and toss well to coat.
Since I’ve had leftover buttermilk from the Cream Soda-Toffee Cupcakes, I’ve been wanting to find a yummy way to use it up. I’ve wanted to make this chicken salad for a long time, but I never seemed to have buttermilk when nectarines were in season. Now that I did, I jumped at the chance to try this delicious salad. It’s not a dish that will knock you out of the park, but it is delicious, and I will look forward to having it again next summer. It’s not overly spicy, but it does have that nice curry flavor that I love. I didn’t realize that I was out of celery, but the salad was still yummy. Next time though, I’ll make sure that I have some so that I’ll get even more crunch. I love how the sweetness of the nectarines offsets the slight heat of the curry powder. Like the coleslaw, I love that this has only a small amount of mayo for creaminess, without drowning the flavors in it. I made it just this morning and put it on lightly toasted bread for my lunch. (And I ate it before I thought to take a picture; sorry, I’m still training myself.) It was light and just what I had hoped it would be.
Curried Chicken Salad with Nectarines (slightly adapted from Cooking Light)
3 c. shredded, cooked chicken
2 c. cubed nectarine (about 2)
1/2 c. diced celery
1/3 c. chopped scallions (If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I omitted it. Instead, I used a dash of chives and dried, minced onions that I added into the dressing.)
1/4 c. mayo (Are you as shocked as I was that 1/4 c. of mayo is all that’s going to dress nearly 6 c. of salad?)
2 tbsp. buttermilk
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt (Which I just now noticed that I forgot, but it still tasted great.)
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 tbsp. sliced, toasted almonds (I used slivered; either would work.)
1. Combine the chicken, nectarines, celery, and scallions (if using) in a bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine the mayo, buttermilk, lemon juice, salt, curry powder, and pepper; whisking well. Drizzle the dressing over the chicken mix; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with almonds.
This whole yearning for fall was not at all helped by our movie choice for the week, Runaway Bride. For some reason, that movie just feels like fall to me. (Watch the trailer here to see if you get that feeling too.) In the movie, a last-minute columnist, Ike Graham (Richard Gere) stumbles upon the story of a Maryland woman, Maggie Carpenter (Julia Roberts), who has run from the altar 3 times and is engaged to a 4th man. Though fired from his job for not getting all the facts straight, he is determined to expose her as a man-eater. While he tries to dig up the skeletons in her closet, she is just trying to get on with her life and proceed down the altar again. The two exchange many barbs, but eventually become friends and maybe more?
There are so many fun aspects to this movie. The soundtrack was carefully picked out to enhance the mood of the movie. And, as is usual in a Garry Marshal movie, the writing is hilarious. Ike’s column and Maggie’s retaliation letter are perfect examples of this. Maggie and her best friend Peggy’s relationship is also a good example of relatable characters. Some of my favorite scenes are the platypus scene, Maggie breaking into Ike’s room, trying to buy the wedding dress, and Maggie’s process of finding herself. Here are a few of my favorite lines: “Boys, take my princess for a ride on her chariot.”, “I’m gonna go focus on your eggs, Bob.”, “I like his tight butt.” “Grandma!” “Well, I do.”, and “The veil is not attacking you.”
Though a few different foods are referenced in the movie, I latched onto the name of the town’s baseball team, the Hale Peaches. I couldn’t decide which of these recipes I liked better, so I decided to go ahead and make both. The first one, that I’ve made several times before, is a delicious, though very soft cookie. These are really best the same day they’re baked. After that, they’ll turn into a kind of cookie mush that is still delicious, but you kind of have to scoop them up. My friend’s mom said that they taste just like peach cobbler.
Peach Drop Cookies (from Martha Stewart)
2 c. + 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. softened butter
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 peeled, pitted, 1/4 in. diced, large peaches (I’ve always left the skin on, and it’s never been a problem.)
1/3 c. peach jam (I’ve never been able to find peach; apricot is a great substitute.)
2 tbsp. fine sanding sugar (Regular sugar also works fine.)
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
2. In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high til pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the flour mix and beat til just combined. Add the peaches and the jam and beat til just combined.
3. Using a 1 1/2 in. ice cream scoop or a tbsp, drop the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing the cookies about 2 in. apart. Combine the sanding sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle about 1/8 tsp. on the top of each cookie.
4. Bake the cookies til they’re golden brown and just set, about 11-13 min. Let cool on the sheets for 5 min., and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
The other peach recipe was new to me, but something that I just couldn’t pass up. I’ve done baked apples before, so I thought the idea of baked peaches was just perfect. This recipe is so adaptable to whatever you like or happen to have in the house.
4 halved peaches
4 tbsp. brown sugar
1 c. granola (I just used oats mixed in with the butter and brown sugar.)
8 tbsp. butter
1 pint vanilla ice cream (Again, I went with what I had in the house; in this case, it was Cool Whip.)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the peaches, cut side up, in a baking dish. Sprinkle each half with 1/2 tbsp. brown sugar, 2 tbsp. granola, and 1 tbsp. butter. Bake til the peaches are soft and the granola begins to brown, about 15 min. Transfer to plates, spoon the juice over, and top with ice cream.
Are you in a fall mood yet, or are you still enjoying the summer? What kind of dishes are you enjoying the last days of, and what are you looking forward to making? I hope you found some good ideas; let us hear from you soon.