Monthly Archives: June 2012

Sunday Peaches

A friend of mine has a peach tree. She brought the most delicious white flesh peaches I have had in a while to a party. My mom ended up taking them. I still don’t know how that happened. Anyway, my friend promised me another bag. And she came through:

If I had my little way, I’d eat peaches every day. Nature’s candy in my hand, in a can, or a pie.

This is what I had left. Oh what do I mean? I had to be sure they were still tasty. I ate two immediately. So juicy.

As much as I loved them, I could not eat them all before they went bad. So…JAM IT IS! But not my full scale, 6 dozen jar production. Nope. I bought a bread maker (and then discovered the joys of mixer and no knead bread. Go figure) and it can make jam. In fact, I think most can. Anyway. A cup or so of fresh peach jam coming up!

First, I must skin the peaches. How do you do this the quick way? Boil some water:

Watched pot, etc, etc

drop peaches in for a minute:

Gonna get in the hot tub!

dunk in ice water:

Naughty peaches being shocked

skin peels right off!

That is a horrible lie. My mom’s peels came right off. My peels did not come right off. “Cut an X on the bottom!” Did that. no love. I boiled them for 60 seconds. I boiled them for almost 2 minutes. Nothing. You know what did it? A paring knife.

Instructions from the manual: <none> There were no instructions for peaches. For hard fruit like apples:

“Cut into small pieces, cook with water until soft, mash. Add 1 cup of prepared fruit to pan with one cup of sugar.”

I did not want sweet cooked peaches. I wanted jam. Well, preserves.


“Cut into smallish pieces, eat multiple lovely juicy chunks that didn’t get cooked mushy by the failed peeling process, add 1 cup of whatever is left to the bread pan, realize you have a bit more than a cup, add the rest, add 1 cup of sugar, and a bit of pectin because I want a harder set.”

Instructions from the manual:  Put pan in the breadmaker, press the jam button. Come back in 1 hour 20 minutes to jam! Let cool. Place in clean container. Cover and refrigerate.

Reality: Put pan in breadmaker, press jam button, come back in 1 hour 20 minutes to find sweet peach flavored syrup with bits in. Press jam button again. Wonder why the machine just beeps at you. Realize it has to cool down. Come back 5 minutes later, press jam button, machine still beeps at you. Come back in an hour because, really, it’s time for dinner. I don;t need jam RIGHT NOW. Press jam button. Machine complies. Come back in 1 hour 20 minutes to find mostly thickened jam with peach bits in and burned sugar at the top. Rejoice! Spoon into clean container, cover and place in fridge. Lick spoon. Go to bed happy.”

Sunday Eats

Let’s work our way backwards, shall we?

6/17/2012: Alton Brown’s Shepherd’s Pie…mostly

A “real” shepherd’s pie is made with lamb, not beef. Hence the name “shepherd’s pie.” Whatever. Sunday, I ventured forth to get some ground lamb. Because I did not think ahead to go to the farmer’s market the say before. Grump. Now I gotta go to Central Market. Ugh. I didn’t wanna go all the way to Central Market. Sprout’s! They should have ground lamb!

This…this is not ground lamb

No problem! I have a big ass Kitchen Aid mixer and a meat grinding attachment! Now that I had transformed the lovely lamb shoulder chops into a mass of pink squidginess, I could then get to cooking! What does the recipe say? “Add onions and carrots and saute.” Why would I saute carrots? I did however, saute onions and–oh look!–5 medium sized mushrooms that need eating! Then I dumped in my lovely pink critter meat and browned it.

Next, “add flour, cook for one minute, add tomato paste–” Tomato paste? Sure, why the hell not! And hey, while I’m at it, I’ve got some cherry tomatoes from my garden, let’s slice and toss those in as well! They’ll cook down (no they won’t)! Simmer for a bit, add your additional veg (no corn here. it just looks wrong) and add to a casserole dish.

Looks tasty already

So, I’ve never made a proper shepherd’s (or cottage)  pie. I’ve always browned some meat, added gravy from a packet, dumped in some frozen veg and topped with mashed potatoes either from instant or from the refrigerated section. There was none of this “make a gravy” or “simmer” stuff. This time, however, I whipped some red potatoes (russets suck) and added it to the top (yes, I still used frozen veg. Alton said I could!).

Mmmm. 1000 calories per serving

Now, I have no idea why the recipe calls for an egg yolk, but I put it in. Next time I won’t. Bake this puppy for 25 minutes and dinner is served.


Right. Bread. I found a no knead bread that only called for 2 hour sitting time instead of 12. Welp.  This is bread. There’s nothing good or bad to say about it. It was flour, water, yeast, and salt. No milk (it would go bad), no oil/butter (why?), no sugar (guess the yeasties would eat it too fast?), and no character. It’s fine for dinner but not a sandwich bread. Of course, I think I did screw it up. It was supposed to be sturdy like a bread dough. I was goopy. “Using a serrated knife, cut off a piece of dough.” No. It was more like “Get a spoon.” Now I know how to fix it for next time.

Sunday Sweet

I’ll admit, I don’t know when I made this. It was on a day when I wasn’t making anything really special for dinner. Maybe it was a roast chicken day. Anyway, I decided to make a bread pudding.

Let me state right now that I don’t like the feel of wet bread. Wet bread feels so gross and many puddings I’ve had were just wet bread. Bleah. This recipe, however, is pretty good.

Again, I pull from Alton Brown with his Chocolate Bread Pudding but with modifications.


  • 2 large whole eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup hot chocolate mix
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 ounces espresso, slightly cooled
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and divided
  • 18 ounces stale challah bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into 1/2-inch pieces

Modification 1: No hot cocoa mix
Modification 2: No espresso
Modification 3: No chocolate chunks

So here you’re asking “Then why are you using the chocolate bread pudding recipe if there’s no bloody chocolate in it?” Because his other recipe is not what I was looking for. Trust me. It works

Modification 4 aka Here’s your damn chocolate:  I had a chocolate babka sitting in the freezer for over a year. The plan was to make bread pudding out of it. It just took longer than I thought. I have no idea how much bread I used. I just cubed it up and put it in a pan. A bundt pan.

Modification 5: Some rum. “how much is ‘some rum’?” No clue. Less than a half cup, more than a tablespoon. I like rum.

I followed the recipe with my mods. I have made this before using a homemade cinnamon bread that had very little salt but was perfect for this. So this time I knew I could kinda wing it. Last time I had too much for my pan. This time, though, this time I was determined to have things turn out differently!


That’s a lot of bread pudding. No one else will eat it. Just me. I made a nice bourbon sauce for it as well. I’d post the recipe but I have no idea what I used. Sugar, butter, flour, bourbon, milk all cooked for a bit. It turned out lovely. Really. Just…a lot. I gotta learn how to cook smaller portions.