Monday, June 4, 2012


In addition to feeling adventurous at the Farmers Market, my friend insisted that I buy some good old peaches while I was there. So I bought a nice big bucket of them and decided to have some fun with desserts. I found a nice recipe for Whole Wheat Peach Kuchen in my Simply in Season cookbook (p. 156). While in the middle of making it, my work-wife stopped over and asked what I was making. I said, "I think it's called koo-CHEN...?" Then she looked at my recipe and said, "Oh, you mean KOO-ken? It means 'cake' in German." So... apparently it's cake (but honestly, it's more like a cross between a pie and a cheesecake, but whatever).

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tbs sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup butter

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Pat mixture over bottom and sides of a pie pan. (Note: I really think this may have been slightly too much crust for my pie pan; however, this pan was a little shallower than my glass Pyrex pan, so maybe I just need to use a deeper pan. Beats me, but you may want to consider adding slightly less flour.)

Filling 1
4 cups peeled peach halves
3 Tbs sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Arrange peaches cut-side-down on top of crust. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over peaches and bake at 400°F for 15 minutes.

Filling 2
1 cup yogurt or sour cream
1 egg
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine and pour over peaches and continue baking for 30 minutes or until set.

Who doesn't love a good kuchen?

So the kuchen was pretty good. It was a nice way to mix things up. The creamy topping was superb (I ate quite a bit of it before I dumped it on top of the peaches!). One issue I had was that when I decided to make it, I probably didn't have quite enough peaches yet and they were very small on top of it. So next time I'll definitely need some more!

After I ate all the kuchen up, I decided I wanted more peaches, so I bought another bucket the next week. This time, I wanted to take an old favorite at my house and make it from scratch.

My mom made this really yummy and easy dump cake. Basically you grease a cake pan with a stick of butter. Then you add two cans of pie filling (same flavor or you can do a different flavor on each end) and then pour a box of yellow cake mix on top. Finely slice up the rest of the butter stick and lay it evenly across the top of the cake mix. Bake at 350°F for about an hour.

So even though my mom's recipe is super delicious, I wanted to try to make it from scratch. One thing that really got me when I read Kitchen Counter Cooking School was the part where her husband came to the realization that boxed cake mix is nothing more than flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt (and a bunch of preservatives to keep it 'fresh'. Bottom line is that it's really not any more difficult to make a cake from scratch, but there's this stigma that it's actually really hard and that's why you make the boxed stuff. So I decided to try out their recipe for cake mix (p. 207) and I substituted fresh fruit and honey for the pie filling.

1 stick butter
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Cut up and peel fruit into medium chunks. Cover with honey in a bowl and let sit for a few hours or overnight. Grease 9x13 cake pan with butter stick. Spread fruit/honey mixture over bottom of the pan. Mix flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt, and then pour on top of fruit. Sprinkle little butter slices over the top of the cake mix so that the pan is well-covered. Bake at 350°F for about 1 hour. Cool and serve with cream or ice cream.


Again, I think the cake mix recipe may have been a bit too much for what I was doing, so I will probably cut back a little bit next time, maybe to 2 cups flour, 1 1/4 cups sugar (it was a little too sweet), and maybe 2 tsp baking powder. It was still very delicious and what I really love about dump cake is that it is just as good when it's leftovers the next day. And the next day too... if it lasts that long. So I'd say it was a pretty successful transformation that will need some minor adjustments to reach perfection.


Lately I've been very experimental at the Farmers Market. A couple weeks ago, I bought a bag of kale and was like, "I have no idea what to do with this, but I'll figure something out." The farmer recommended kale chips and a few other things, but didn't give me a recipe card, so I forgot half the things they told me I could do. Instead, I opted to check out my cookbooks for some inspiration. I realized that my Farmer John's Cookbook had not been getting the attention it deserved, so I started there and found a great recipe for Cajun Corn and Kale Salad (p. 226). Since I'd already bought a couple ears of corn, it seemed like a perfect way to go through my purchases. Below is my very modified version of this because I didn't have a lot of the ingredients, so I just adapted it to make it work.

2 ears sweet corn
as much kale as your heart desires
1 sweet pepper
1 hot pepper
1 tomato
1 onion
1 clove garlic
leftover cucumber
olive oil
lemon juice
cayenne pepper
black pepper
ground mustard
thyme? (I don't remember if I had some, but the recipe called for it)

Bring large pot of water to boil. Add corn ears. Turn off heat and let sit for about 5 minutes. Pull out corn to cool and remove kernels from cob.
Re-heat water and add kale with a sprinkling of salt. Cook for about 5 minutes. Strain and cool. Remove excess liquid and finely chop.
Cut up other ingredients and mix everything together. Season with additional salt.

 Behold, sweet deliciousness.

I added a lot of cayenne pepper, so it was pretty spicy, but I absolutely loved it! I took it to my neighbors' place, who were serving Korean food for dinner that night. Normally I wouldn't think Cajun-style salad would go with Korean food, but they were making spicy food so it actually complemented everything quite well. It really was a great summer salad that can add a refreshing taste to just about anything. I'm really excited to make it again.

I also made some kale chips using a pretty basic recipe.

olive oil
sea salt
lemon juice
additional flavors/spices, if you're so inclined

Wash kale and cut into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle with additional ingredients on a cookie sheet. Bake at 275°F for about 20 minutes or until crisp, turning once halfway through.

Crispy Little Kale Bits
So the first thing you need to know about kale chips is that they are pretty gross if they aren't completely dry and crisp. But if they're done, they're alright. There's not much to brag about, but kale is so good for you, I don't really mind eating it this way to get the nutrients out of it.

I haven't been as good about making smoothies lately, but I think once I get myself back on board, I would like to try adding a little bit of kale to them. It doesn't really taste like much and seems to blend in pretty well, so that's my next step I think.