Saturday, September 22, 2012

Double Crusted Peach Cobbler

Fall has officially arrived so why do I still see peaches at the grocery store? Either these stores want to mock us with the fact that Summer is over or they want us to hold onto the flavors of Summer for just a bit longer. 

Whatever their reason may be, it gives us just another excuse to believe that Summer may not be over after all. If that round, orange-yellow, tart and sweet fruit is the only reminder of Summer that we can hold onto, I'll take it!

It's been years since I first saw this recipe on the Food Network and I've wanted to make it ever since I saw Bobby Flay's wife make it. All I have to say is...TWO CRUSTS!! Enough to urge you to make it huh?

Double Crusted Peach Cobbler
Recipe by Stephanie March

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping and rolling
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 to 6 tablespoons ice water

Peach Filling
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch salt
10 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices (if peaches are out of season, use thawed frozen peaches)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Place flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and process for 5 seconds. Add butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add water, a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough just comes together.

Remove dough and knead lightly on a lightly floured surface until it just comes together. Divide the dough in half and form into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Once dough is chilled, remove from the refrigerator and roll each disk into a 9-inch square approximately 1/4-inch thick. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets and return to the refrigerator to chill until ready to assemble.

Melt butter in a large high-sided saute pan over medium heat. Add the sugar and water and cook until sugar is dissolved. Add nutmeg, salt, peaches, and flour and cook for 5 minutes.

Final Assembly
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place half of the peach mixture in the bottom of a 9-inch square buttered baking dish using a slotted spoon. Top the peaches with 1 layer of dough. Place on a baking sheet and bake until the crust is light golden brown.

Remove from the oven and top the crust with the remaining peaches and cover with the other crust. Brush the top crust with heavy cream, sprinkle with sugar, and return to the oven. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbly. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting and serving.

-Aaron John

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Chocolate Raspberry Cake w/ Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Let's face it, cake has become one of those things that don't require a special occasion anymore. Eat at a restaurant. Cake. Walk up that flight of stairs. Cake. Watch some good ol' tv. Cake. Buy a new outfit. Cake.

What ever happened to the days when the only time we had cake was at a birthday party that your friend threw at a bowling alley when you were 10 years old?

Surely, I'm not the only one that noticed this. Whether a cake, a cupcake or an individually packaged slice of cake in the bakery aisle of your nearest grocery store, what have we become?

I'll tell you what we have become. People that live each day like it's a party and don't care who tells us no! So, move over health gurus. Today, WE EAT CAKE!

Don't forget to vote for me in the Evening Magazine Contest for Best Food Blog!!

Chocolate Raspberry Cake w/ Vanilla Bean Buttercream
Makes 1-9 inch 2 layer cake

Hershey's Chocolate Cake
Butter, for greasing the pans 
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans 
3/4 cups good cocoa powder 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder 
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt 
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans. 

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream 
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter until light and fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract and salt. Mix until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

Final Assembly
2 chocolate cake layers
1/2 cup raspberry jam/preserves
Vanilla bean buttercream
Melted semi-sweet chocolate (optional)

Place one of the chocolate cake layers on a cake board. Spread the raspberry jam/preserves over the top. Take the second chocolate cake layer and place it on top of the jam layer. Frost with vanilla bean buttercream and decorate with melted semi-sweet chocolate on the sides and pipe the remaining buttercream around the cake to make a border.

-Aaron John

Monday, September 10, 2012

I Need Your Support, I Need Your Vote!

To all my loyal followers and blogger friends, I need your help now, more than ever. You might've noticed the picture above on the left side of my blog. Well, I was nominated in a local contest for Evening Magazine's "The Best of Western Washington". I don't know who nominated me but thank you, whoever you are!

Now, it's your turn. I need all the support I can get from all of you. Tell your family, tell your friends, tell your dog for all I care. Just show your support and vote and let's win this together!

Just go to this link:
Click: Vote Now
Sign in: Use your facebook, email, etc.
Cast your vote!

-Aaron John

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The BLT Sandwich

Sandwiches are some of the simplest and easiest way to have a great meal. No recipe? No problem. You practically don't need any recipes. Just take two slices of bread and put whatever you want in between.  Have you seen the commercial where the kids were in the kitchen with their mom, making sandwiches using ketchup, peanut butter, and whatever they found? I guess, to each its own. But, one of the tastiest and simplest of sandwiches is the BLT.

What's not to love with a BLT? A sandwich made out of bacon? Sign me up. Put as much bacon as you want, as much mayo as you like. Hey, I didn't say this is a health food. But, there is lettuce and tomato for you health gurus. It's your sandwich, make it your way.

In other news, today I found out that I was nominated in a local contest for Evening Magazine's "The Best of Western Washington" in the food blog category!!  Because I just found out today I'm still in the process of claiming the nomination but I'm behind in the votes and need your help!

Please go over and vote!! :) Here's the link!

The BLT Sandwich
"Recipe" by Me
(For 1 sandwich)

5 slices of Bacon, cooked and drained
2 leaves from a head of Iceberg Lettuce
2 slices of Vine Ripen Tomatoes
2 slices of of Bread (White, sourdough, etc)
1 to 2 tbsp Mayo

Prepare all the ingredients. Wash the lettuce and tomatoes. Dry and tear the lettuce so that it fits the bread, the larger the pieces, the better. Slice the tomatoes about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick and set aside. Finally, I found when using white bread, if you slice the cooked bacon in half, it fits perfectly on the bread. 

To assemble the sandwich, toast the bread until golden brown. Spread mayo on both slices of bread. Layer 4 of the halved slices of bacon horizontally across one slice of the mayo covered bread. Next, layer another 4 bacon halves vertically over the layer of bacon. Finish it off with 2 more halves of bacon in any direction. Next layer on the lettuce to fit and add the tomatoes on top. Top with the other slice of mayo covered bread. Simple, simple, simple.

-Aaron John

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Roscoe's House of Chicken 'n Waffles

Over this past week, I was on vacation in none other than California once again. I feel that every time I say "vacation" it always tends to have California thrown into the mix at some point.

We flew into Anaheim for another Disneyland/CA Adventure trip and stayed there for 4 days before heading down to San Diego. One of those days, we went to Roscoe's House of Chicken 'n Waffles in Hollywood. For a place that calls themselves "House of Chicken 'n Waffles", you better order yourself Chicken 'n Waffles to see what this place is all about.

I ordered myself "The Obama Special" which was three wings and a waffle. The chicken was simply seasoned with a light dusting of flour to create the crust. It was juicy and flavorful. It's amazing how something so simply prepared can be so good. The waffle on the other hand was only crispy around the edges whereas the center was a bit soggy which was a disappointment. Overall, would I come back to this establishment? Heck yes!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Roscoes House of Chicken 'n Waffles
1514 North Gower Street
Los Angeles, CA  90028
Tel: (323) 466-7453

-Aaron John


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