Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bourbon Peach Turnovers

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When you spend a summer in the Okanagan you are guaranteed a few things. Hot weather, beautiful wineries and orchids galore. It wouldn't be hard to attempt the 100 mile diet around here, especially if you have a few fruit trees in your own backyard.

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The property I am living on happens to have a few fruit trees and right now is the harvesting time for peaches. So this weekend it was time to pick all the peaches off the tree and think of ways to use the boxes of peaches we had acquired. I think one obvious solution would be to make little peach turnovers. Filling them with bourbon is also not too bad of an idea.

Bourbon Peach Turnovers

Yields: 10 turnovers
  • All butter pastry dough (Follow steps 1-7)
  • 4 cups of peaches
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp of bourbon
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla
  1. Take one of your chilled dough discs out of the fridge and let it sit for a few minutes before rolling. Once the dough has softened up roll out your disc on a lightly floured counter as close to a square as possible. Roll them to about 1/8 inch thickness.
  2. Using a pizza cutter cut off access dough so you can form more of a square. Cut that large square into 4 smaller squares. Lay the square onto a baking sheet pan lined with parchment paper and put back into the fridge to chill. bourbonpeach1
  3. Take the access dough that you cut off and put it in the freezer to chill while you roll out your second disc into the same four squares.
  4. Once your 8 squares are cut, take the access dough out of the freezer and make 2 more small squares. Now you should have 10 squares. Let them chill in the fridge while you make your filling. bourbanpeach2
  5. For the filling, peel and cut the peaches into half inch piece and mix in a bowl with the flour, sugar, salt, bourbon and vanilla.
  6. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature until just pliable, 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon about 1 to 2 tablespoons filling onto a corner half of each square dough . Quickly brush a little cold water around the edge of the dough, and fold it in half so the other side comes down over the filling, creating a triangle. Seal the turnover, and make a decorative edge by pressing the edges of the dough together with the back of a fork. Repeat process with remaining dough. Place the turnvers back on the parchment-lined baking sheet, and return to the refrigerator to chill for another 30 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 375 F. bourbonpeach3
  7. Once the dough is chilled beat one egg yolk with 2 tbsp of water and brush over the turnovers. Use a knife to cut two small slits on the top and sprinkle the turnover generously with turbinado sugar. Place them in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Once the turnovers are out of the oven, let them cool completely before eating.
Filling Recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Blueberry Pancakes

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Sunday mornings are all about relaxing and taking the time to do the things you enjoy. Like sleeping in and eating blueberry pancakes. And since you have time on Sunday mornings you really should be making the pancakes from scratch. Actually you should never use pancake mix, you know it doesn't taste as good!

The one pancake recipe that has worked very well for me is from the classic American cookbook The Joy of Cooking. Every time I read this book it's like I get a little cooking lesson. From the technical information on cooking and baking to the sections on knowing your ingredients. If you are looking for one cook book you can rely on, this one is it.

Blueberry Pancakes

Yields: 14 4-inch pancakes
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 3 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tbsp of melted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  1. In a bowl whisk together the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder.
  2. In a separate bowl mix together the eggs, butter and milk.
  3. Quickly combine the wet ingredients and into the dry ingredients. You don't need to over mix the batter, there should still be small to medium lumps. Mix in the blueberries.
  4. Heat your frying pan to medium high heat and wipe the pan with butter using a paper towel. I like to scoop the batter with a 1/3 cup measuring cup into the frying pan.
  5. Once the pancakes have bubbles on top you can flip them and you only need to flip them once. The second side does not need as long to cook, about 1 minute.
  6. Repeat this process until all your batter is gone! Top off with real maple syrup.
Recipe from The Joy of Cooking

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fresh Strawberry Sauce

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Last weekend I went strawberry and blueberry picking at Covert's Farm in Oliver BC, where I obtained many delicious berries, and some half eaten with the help of my strawberry pickers. Who am I kidding? They did all the picking, I mostly took pictures. This farm has over 600 acres of fruits and vegetables and all organic. Which will make you feel good about picking them, and of course eating them too.

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Now after a hot day of picking strawberries in the sun you might want to treat yourself to some delicious ice cream. And don't just stop at simple vanilla ice cream, top it off with freshly made strawberry sauce from the 5 lbs of strawberries that you now have. Of course this sauce is not just good on ice cream but you can pretty much top if onto any dessert. I would highly recommend cheese cake or angel fruit cake.

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Enjoy!

Fresh Strawberry Sauce
  • 1 pint of strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • 1 tsp of cornstarch dissolved into 2 tbsp of water
  1. In a medium saucepan mix together the strawberries, sugar, balsamic vinegar and water on medium low heat for 15 minutes.
  2. To this mixture, whisk in the water and cornstarch mixture until the sauce starts to thicken up a bit, about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour the mixture into a blender and puree the strawberries until you get a smooth strawberry sauce.
  4. You can store the sauce in a container for about a week.
Recipe from Chef John at foodwishes.com

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Strawberry Lemonade (Swiss Style)

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The hot desert weather has officially arrived in the Okanagan BC, and to celebrate this beautiful weather I thought I would make some homemade strawberry lemonade. Of course it wouldn't be a real celebration unless I made the lemonade with vodka! That is the "Swiss" part.

The only reason why I am dedicating this to the Swiss is because they love to put alcohol in everything! Well, the Swiss couple I know at least. I was at their lovely bed and breakfast for dinner (yes I was invited over for dinner, not breakfast) and it seemed that every meal was accompanied with alcohol.

When I first arrived I was offered a nice cold beer while dinner was being prepared. Once we finally started to eat we had red wine to accompany our steak. Then for dessert, we had ice cream drizzled with what seemed to be a blackberry sauce infused with alcohol. This sauce was in fact 63% alcohol, "diffused" with red wine and berries. The berries had pretty much soaked up all the alcohol which made each berry the equivalent to taking a shot of vodka. After dessert it was tea time, which was good timing since I was starting to feel a bit tipsy after all the alcohol. But as I drank my tea I felt like it tasted a bit strong. Fritz told me that he likes to mix several tea bags together but he didn't mention that he also like to put rum in it too. Rum and tea, never thought I would put that combination together, but it actually tasted quite good.

So now you can see why I am dedicating this lemonade to them. You can definitely make this drink without the vodka, but trust me, if you drink it as is, you'll feel like your missing an ingredient.

Strawberry Lemonade
  • 2.5 cups of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 6 lemons, or 1 1/2 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 pint of fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 2.5 cups of club soda
  • Vodka
  • Strawberries and lemons to garnish
Directions:
  1. In a medium sauce pan bring the water to a boil and mix in the sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves and remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice and let cool completely.
  2. In a blender, puree the strawberries and then combine with the lemon juice into a pitcher. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
  3. Once you are ready to serve the lemonade, mix in the club soda and pour 1 oz of vodka into each drink. Garnish with strawberries and lemons.
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