Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Peach Streusel Crisp

The first peaches appeared at the farmers' market this past weekend so I stocked up with the goal of making a nice cobbler. My gentleman is particularly fond of streusel toppings on these things, so I found this peach streusel crisp recipe from Penzeys. I used THIS TUTORIAL from KAF to peel the peaches, and discovered in the process that several of my peaches were not yet fully ripe. Oh well. Eventually I got them all in the baking dish.

I normally don't say things like this, but there was WAY too much topping. The peaches were covered up with floury crisp and it wasn't as bubbly or juicy as the recipe suggests. I poured a little bit of cream on top before serving so it wouldn't be so dry. With the cream, it was quite lovely, but the leftovers have thickened even more and it isn't as great as I'd hoped. I will have to try out a different recipe in the future.


Peach Streusel Crisp

9 good-sized ripe peaches
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon china cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons flour (for juicy peaches; 1 tablespoon for firm peaches)
1 stick cold butter
1 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon china cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease the bottom only of an 8x8 glass pan or medium casserole dish. Peel and pit the peaches, slice and place in a large bowl. Top with sugar, flour, CINNAMON and VANILLA, toss to coat. Set aside while preparing topping. Make the streusel by cutting the cold butter into a bowl, adding flour, sugar and CINNAMON, and rubbing it through your fingers until the streusel is a coarse, sandy/pebbly texture. Put the seasoned peaches into the pan, top generously with the streusel, and bake at 350° about 30 minutes, until the streusel is golden brown and the peach juice is starting to bubble up through the topping.

Yield: 3-4 servings (Enough for an 8x8 pan, double the recipe for a 9x13 pan.)

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Baked Eggplant Parm

My coworker came in the other day and said, "Lauren. You have to make this. You don't understand. It's perfect." Right, right. I LOVE eggplant parm so I figured I'd try it out, but my expectations were low. Homemade eggplant parm is so temperamental. The eggplant gets bitter. The eggplant gets soggy. The breading comes off and separates from the eggplant entirely once you've put it on your plate. It just never is quite right.

Well, this one is. This is the best parm recipe I've ever made and I don't plan to make any other one ever again. This involves roasting the eggplants, layering with cheese and sauce, and then adding a panko breadcrumb topping towards the end. Oh my gosh. No, seriously. It's perfect. I will absolutely make this again.


Baked Eggplant Parm
Lick My Spoon

1/2 cup olive oil
3 pounds eggplant
2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
5 teaspoons minced garlic -- divided
15 ounces ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup plus 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 450 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and brush the parchment with olive oil.

Cut the eggplant into ¼-inch slices and arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Flip the slices over and repeat, so now both sides of the eggplant are oiled and salted. Roast until golden brown, about 30-40 minutes, flipping the eggplant halfway through. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool while you prepare the remainder of the ingredients. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 F.

In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil along with 3 teaspoons of the garlic over medium heat. Let cook until the garlic is fragrant and starting to toast. Add the tomatoes to the pan and bring the sauce to a simmer. Add the sugar. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, then add the basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, 1 cup of parmigiano, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Assemble the Eggplant Parm: spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, followed by half of the roasted eggplant, 1 cup more tomato sauce, half of the ricotta mixture and half of the mozzarella. Repeat: eggplant, sauce, ricotta, mozzarella.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, remaining 2 teaspoons garlic, 1/4 cup parmigiano and panko. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Once the filling is bubbling, take the casserole out of the oven, remove the foil and sprinkle the panko mixture evenly over the top. Continue baking, uncovered, until the topping is golden brown and crisp, about 20-25 more minutes. If the topping is not browning, drizzle a little olive oil over the top and place under the broiler (keep an eye on it, it'll brown quickly under there). Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Servings: 6

Make Ahead: This is a great dish to make ahead. Make everything through Step 5. Cover the assembled Eggplant Parm with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator up to two days before serving. I usually prep the panko topping as well and keep this in an airtight container in the fridge. When you're ready to bake the dish, bring it to room temperature and continue with Steps 6 and 7.