Monthly Archives: August 2010

Peach and blueberry crisp

Despite the sudden heat wave that’s hit my city, late summer is my favorite time of the year food-wise because my two favorite fruits, peaches and blueberries, are cheap, plentiful, and in season. A few days ago I got it in my head that I needed to clear out the peaches that I’d frozen last summer to make way for a new batch. And then I got the idea in my head to bake them into a crisp, and to add some blueberries from the two-pound crate I’d picked up at the grocery store, and, well, the rest was history.

The result was a ridiculously simple dessert, one that, had I been inclined to mix the fruit in the baking dish, could have taken only one bowl and about five minutes of prep time. I used Mark Bittman’s recipe for apple crisp, substituted fruits, and scaled the recipe down to accommodate the fact that my roommate was out of town this week and I’d be eating the entire thing myself. Which I did, happily. My only regret was that I didn’t have any whipped cream to put on top. But I do have one more batch of last summer’s peaches in the freezer, so luckily I have a chance to rectify that.

Peach and blueberry crisp

Adapted from How to Cook Everything

  • 1 1/2 pounds of peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced (thawed if frozen)
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour or cornstarch
  • 1 Tbs. sugar, if needed
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs. cold butter
  • Dash salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the fruit with the vanilla extract, tablespoon of flour or cornstarch, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and 1 Tbs. sugar if the fruit is tart. Spread it in an 8-inch square baking dish. Combine the oatmeal, remaining flour and brown sugar, remaining 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and dash of salt in a bowl. Using two forks or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Spread the topping over the fruit and bake until the topping is browned, the fruit is tender, and the fruit juices are thickened, about 30 minutes. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.


Spinach, pesto, and mushroom quiche

As part of the requirements for my graduate program I took a game theory class my first year. One of the more memorable problems was titled “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche.” It had something to do with a jock and a nerd signaling their level of manliness to each other by eating quiche and drinking beer,  and while I never managed to solve the problem, it became a joke among my classmates for weeks afterward. All this is a roundabout way of saying that if these supposed “real men” ate quiche like this more often, they might reconsider their ideas of what foods are manly and what foods aren’t.

This quiche is in my rotation of recipes for lunches that I take to campus, since it holds up well even after a couple of days in the refrigerator and still tastes as good as the day you made it. It can also work as a breakfast, though I’d perhaps leave out the pesto. Despite the long list of ingredients it all comes together fairly quickly, even with cooking the mushrooms and spinach (though you can certainly use a box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained). The basic recipe of cream cheese, eggs, half and half, salt and pepper, and a couple of handfuls of whatever grated cheese you have on hand also makes a good basic quiche recipe that you can customize to your heart’s content. Next time I’m going to swap the spinach with braised leeks and see what happens. I can only expect that it will be delicious.

Spinach, pesto, and mushroom quiche

Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen

  • Half recipe of your favorite pie crust, rolled out and pressed into a pie plate or tart pan
  • 6 oz. fresh mushrooms, cut into approximately 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 10 oz. fresh spinach
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-2 Tbs. pesto, depending on your preference
  • 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4-6 green onions, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender and their liquid has evaporated, about 6 minutes. Place mushrooms in a colander in the sink to drain. In the same pan, add the spinach and toss until it is just wilted, cooking in batches if necessary. Remove the spinach to a cutting board and chop it roughly. Add the spinach to the mushrooms in the colander and allow the ingredients to drain and cool to room temperature while you work on the rest of the recipe.

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with a mixer until it is smooth. Gradually beat in the half and half, eggs, and pesto. Mix in mushrooms, spinach, cheeses, green onions, and salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture into the prepared crust. Bake at 425 until the filling is set, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.