Tag Archives: dessert

Searching for the Perfect Peach Cobbler

Although I bought both ripe and un-ripe peaches on Saturday, those that I didn’t use in the first cobbler were already ripe by Monday given the heat wave we had over the weekend.  Although making another recipe meant a ton of peach cobbler in the house, I didn’t want to waste the fruit (and so far no one has turned me down when I’ve offered them peach cobbler).

I decided to try this recipe from Gourmet (September 1999).  I used huge, gorgeous yellow peaches from Hamada Farms.  I think I might like these yellow peaches even better than the two varieties I bought from Blossom Bluff.  These large yellow peaches had that traditional sweet/tart classic yellow peach taste that immediately transports you to where ever you were, which ever summer it was, when you first experienced a perfect peach.

peaches

___

topping

on the way in

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out

I loooved this.  I pains me to admit it, because I’m so sentimentally devoted to Lee Bailey, but I like this cobbler much better than the first.  There are two reasons why.

First, the lemon.  Baking even the best peaches with any amount of sugar creates a heavy sweetness.  Just a small amount of lemon (one tablespoon in this case) is a reliable means of ensuring the acidity of the raw peaches remains a vibrant part of the final product.  Second, the crust.  I really loved Bailey’s crust (I guess that makes me a Crisco lover), but in my opinion this topping (it’s more a topping than a crust) is more authentically cobbler.  It’s ever so slightly cake-y and crumbly, qualities I think any true cobbler should have.

One criticism with a disclaimer.  First the disclaimer: I love sweet things, and I’ve been known to have a sweet tooth.  But, as with the first cobbler, I felt that this was much sweeter than necessary.  Perhaps I’m a purist when it comes to fruit.  Fruit desserts are some of my favorite, and any fruit that has been baked, cut, seasoned, or otherwise assembled by human hand is certainly distinct from fruit straight from the tree.  That said, I appreciate desserts that preserve as much of the fruit’s natural integrity as possible.

The quarter cup of sugar that goes in with the peaches seems appropriate, but I plan on making this again for the final cobbler bake-off (okay, I’m the only participant so far) and next time I will use far less sugar in my topping.  The recipe calls for a 1/2 cup where I’m sure a 1/4 cup would suffice.

More peaches and peach cobbler updates later in August.

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Monday Morning Links

  • Vena Cava has amassed a comprehensive to-do list for LA.  I’m homesick. (Viva Vena Cava)
  • P.S.: Vena Cava’s Fall 2009 collection just hit stores, see the collection (Style.com) and shop (Barneys)
  • UPDATE: how did I miss this?  Am I the last to know about this or what?  Please advise.  (Amazon)
  • Dylan Fareed makes a video of Santa Monica beach, I’m still homesick. (Dylan Fareed)
  • On a separate note: Thankfully, I’m not the only one who is tortured by the issue of pruning lavender. (Gardenweb)
  • It’s peach season, and this looks really good.  (The Kitchen Sink)
  • But it just makes crave a real old-fashioned cobbler, and there’s no one I can think of I trust more on the subject of peach cobbler than Lee Bailey (NPR)

peach4Image from thekitchensinkrecipes.com

I think I’ll just have to make both.

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We Made It To Spain

Of course between Paris, Marseille, Lourmarin, Guéthary, and Hondarribia (Hondarribia is the Basque, but the town is also known as Fuenterrabía in Spanish and Fontarabie in French), much is missing from my typically daily entries here.  That noted, we are very happy to be in Spain.  This part of Europe is especially striking due to the stark constrast in food, language, and terrain found just across the border from one country to another.  A twenty or thirty minute drive from Biarritz and we’re in a whole other world.  We landed in Hondarribia, in the old quarter of town at an amazing hotel called Obispo, housed in what was a 15th century palace.  I love this place.  It’s charming–old yet comfortable, and impeccably kept including all the amenities a modern girl could want (WiFi!  while it was fun to be liberated, it is fun to reconnect too).

We arrived slightly exhausted from all the fun we had with our friends, the vacationing Parisians, in Guéthary (is it possible to have too much fun?) so we did the unthinkable and sat down to dinner at 8:30 (does it count that it hasn’t been before 10PM or finished before 12AM for the last week?).  The Hotel Obispo recommended Sebastián, which happens to be just around the corner (no walk or drive to the new part of town necessary).  It looks beautiful from the outside, so it wasn’t hard to draw us in.  Here is our meal in pictures and a few words (I was too relaxed to remember to take any establishing shots, but the restaurant’s website has a good virtual tour and great historical photographs too).

sebastian window

The restaurant’s website states that “[the space] was a grocery shop several centuries ago [and] the most representative elements of the shop are still conserved, such as the window displays and glass cases once displaying the groceries which supplied numerous generations of residents of Hondarribia.”  Here are various bottles (age unknown) in the window display case.

our view

We ate upstairs.  This was our view; a window box planted with purple amaranth and ivy.  Across the street are window boxes with red and white geraniums.

upstairs

The upstairs dining area.  Note that we are among the first present for dinner…there was one other couple across from us.  The benefit of the early hour is great photographs.  I loved the alternating colors between the beams on the ceiling.  Only a Spanish chef/restaranteur could pull that off.  Honestly.

chefs suggestions

These are the beautiful cards containing the chef’s suggestions for the evening.  Qué bonita!  Las ilustraciones sólo!

tablecloth

An essential component of any fine dining experience: fine linens for the table.  I found Sebastián’s particularly soothing due to a delicate pique.

txacoli

Txacoli: it has become as essential to my existence as Almodóvar.  Sin txacoli lo que es la vida?  These tall cups (unlike the shorter versions I am used to drinking Spanish wine in) are very cool.  It is like drinking liquid ambrosia, the liquid of life.  The wine is produced in the countryside outisde of Hondarribia.

txacoli autentico

Don’t be fooled by any imitations; the “Getariako Txacolina” sticker across the foil is as essential as any Bordeaux A.O.C.  It is an extremely limited area in which these special grapes are grown, and the special wine produced.

gazpacho

Ah gazpacho, con una anchoa y algún aceite de oliva bueno

monkfish

Monkfish and shrimp–preparation unknown, rather forgotten, in a good bottle of Txacoli

tuna

The “taco de atun rojo de Hondarribia a la parilla.”  With my limited Spanish I have little clue what I ate (sorry).  I half expected some tuna in a corn tortilla.  Wrong.  What came was 1,000 times better.  It tasted like the most beautiful tuna steak seared in a deep seasoned pan of pork fat–there was surely a strong bacon-ish element that was delicious.  On the side are some crispy onions and a drizzle of parsely-seasoned olive oil.  Amazing.

brick of chocolate

I can’t be sure because I forgot to photograph the menu, but I am fairly certain that this dessert was advertised as the “chocolate brick.”  It delivered as advertised.

Overall an extremely successful first night in Spain.  We will indubitably return to Sebastián–did I mention the service is impeccable?  If, for nothing else, the fine pique linens!  Salut!

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Ladurée

Some blessed souls are visiting from Paris and brought me this beautiful box, of which some of you might be able to guess the contents:

La Duree 1

laduree3

ladurre4

laduree6 

This might be the first time I’ve experienced the sexy black tissue paper–I don’t remember it from the last time.  Combined with the champagne silk ribbon it’s positively lethal.

laduree

I swear this picture was in focus when I took it, but it doesn’t look it now–I must have been too excited!  Look at the colors!  (Crumbled, but beautiful like Polidori’s pictures of the walls and columns of Havana’s great halls

ladureetower

The bright pink raspberry ones fruits rouge (red fruits) are my favorite–they embody Paris.

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Friday Indulgence

Courtesy of my new favorite food blog Lottie + Doof (SOOTHE!):

Warm Strawberry Crumb Cake

strawberry

photo by Lottie + Doof

So, I admit, I don’t read blogs that much.  I mean, I read some blogs, but the Internet is a brilliant place for pictures.  And I especially don’t carefully read blogs that feature lots of big pretty pictures.  But, this admission aside, I actually read the text that accompanies this beautiful picture and recipe, and think it’s hysterical.  Recommended reading; if you are actually reading this text, and are not completely distracted by the above picture.  Lottie + Doof make the reading easy with clean design and simple font.*  Perhaps it was because these two were MFA candidates in a past life?  Props.  

*there are tons of great blogs out there that I can barely stand to look at much less decipher the words in terribly small illegible fonts.  Boo!

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Passover: Liberation and Chocolate

Tonight the Jews will celebrate the ancient exodus from Egypt and slavery.  Unfortunately I will not be formally celebrating tonight, but My Kugelhopf quickly transported me to possibly the most pleasurable part of the seder meal (and any meal): dessert!  Kerrin Rousset of Kugelhopf has posted the most mouth-watering delectable matzoh-sweet explosion.  In the vein of many of my chocolate posts of late (here and here; reviewing chocolates such as Fran’s, Poco Dolce, and Barlovento), Rousset mixes her matzoh with “golden butter caramel and creamy dark chocolate” + Maldon salt?  My favorite??!! OY VE!!!

matzoh

This post is a MUST read and the recipe–a MUST try.  It’s EASY.  I’m running out for some last minute matzoh right now!

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I’m Watching: The Jewels of New York

The Jewels of New York is “a mission to uncover the hidden treasures New York has to offer and share them with friends through a collection of seasonal and local recipes.”  I discovered JoNY through the links page on ARL’s new fave blog Saipua.  I was immediately drawn in by the clean design and obvious appreciation for the finer things, specifically great-tasting and great-looking food.  I’m particularly impressed with JoNY’s recent “Last Winter Supper,” which consists of Glazed Rack of Lamb, Parsnips in Parsley Butter, and Warm Cabbage Salad.

winter-supper

Is it titled this to herald in the springtime on March 20?  Should we all separately, collectively recreate the JoNY “Last Winter Supper” in our home kitchens far and wide on the evening of March 19?  Yes!

And don’t forget dessert!  Rosemary whipped cream?!  The fresh new answer to yesteryear’s lavender- and rose-infused creations?  I’m in!

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