I look so forward to the Thanksgiving meal every year. I roast a no fail Rosemary Turkey, my grandma’s Chicken and Dressing, my sister’s Three Cheese Mashed Potatoes, my mom’s Squash Casserole and Ambrosia, and my spin on turnip greens and corn soufflé. These menu items are non-negotiable and always present. But besides the greens and cranberry relish, this feast turns out looking pretty darn beige on the table! What do you say we invite a new side dish this Thanksgiving? You know…one that will impress your taste buds and add vibrant color to your plate! I created it a couple weeks ago, very much by accident, and immediately knew I was on to something.
MIXED GREENS WITH ROASTED SWEET POTATOES AND ONIONS, DRIED CRANBERRIES, GRANNY SMITH APPLES, TOASTED PECANS AND PARMESAN
Hold on Ranch Dressing and boring ol’ Onion Dip! There’s a new dip boss in town! Peach and the Willow Dip, “please stand up, please stand up, please stand up”! (Go ahead and rock the Slim Shady song here….it’s Friday and you’ve been itching’ to dance all week!). Continue reading →
Oh how I love Carrot Cake! I think not so much for the carrot part, but more for that decadent, fail proof cream cheese frosting part. For me, the cake is a medium just to get to the frosting! Is that awful??? SNS? Same goes for Hummingbird Cake…but I digress…just look at this beautiful Carrot Cake!
Easter is a little over a week away and millions of folks around the world will celebrate this holy holiday by “brunching and lunching” with family and friends. My hunch is that Carrot Cake will make its share of appearances at dessert tables far and wide. If Carrot Cake is one of your favorites like it is mine, then you will definitely want to add this new twist on a traditional dessert to your Pinterest board. It just so happens that my blog’s namesake, the glorious peach, is the added ingredient that creates such a delightful new riff on a classic cake. The peach notes in the cake are subtle…the perfect balance of fruit and spice. I decorate my Peach Carrot Cake in the naked fashion, not to overwhelm the cake with too much of that beautiful cream cheese frosting. Believe me… it’s hard for an icing addict like myself to admit, but this cake is so good it doesn’t need frosting!!! Trust me on this one and keep the frosting layers thin. I also love the rustic elegance the cake renders…especially with the addition of peaches and blackberries. So earthy and beautiful…like spring and summer wrapped into one!
PEACH CARROT CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING & CARAMELIZED PEACHES
Makes one 6-inch cake; Serves 8 – 10
Ingredients for the Cake:
3/4 cup salted butter
3 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 3/4 cups grated carrots
1 can of peach halves in juice (2/3 cup of peach pure will be used in the cake, save the rest for the filling)
Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting:
3/4 cup softened butter
7 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 – 1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
For the Filling:
Remaining Peach Puree
3 – 4 fresh peaches (you may also use frozen peaches, thawed)
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp light brown sugar, loosely packed
Heat oven to 350 degrees F
Line with parchment and butter sides of two 6-inch cake pans
Melt the butter and leave to cool.
Beat eggs and sugars until fluffy and lighter in color and texture, about 3 minutes. Add melted butter and vanilla and beat until combined.
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl, then stir into the batter until just smooth.
Peel and grate the carrots. Put the peaches (without the juice) in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
Add grated carrots and 2/3 cup of the peach puree to the batter and stir until combined. Divide the batter between the two cake pans.
Bake for about 40 – 43 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
Beat butter until pale and fluffy. Add cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until just smooth.
Put the bowl in the fridge while you cut the cake.
Cut both cake layers in half with a serrated knife so you end up with four cake layers.
Put the first cake layer on a cake board or directly onto a plate or cake stand. Spread a layer of frosting on the first layer, then spread a layer of peach puree over. Repeat this until you’ve used up all layers.
Spread a thin layer of frosting all over the cake and put in the fridge while you prepare the topping.
Slice the fresh peaches. Heat the butter over medium heat in a non-reactive skillet. Add brown sugar and swirl with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts.
Add the peach slices and caramelize for 2 -3 minutes. Let cool completely, then put them on top of the cake with the blackberries.
***Cake recipe credit: Award winning baker, writer and blogger, Linda Lomelino ***Peach Carrot Cake Photo Credits: Robyn Rodehaver
Looking for other great cake ideas for Easter (or anytime!)??? Try this one from Peach and the Willow! Click HERE for recipe!
Everyone Enjoy and Happy Easter! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Love ~ Sabrina
Are you feeling it like I’m feeling it…seeing it like I’m seeing it??? The warmth of the sun, the pop of greens, the new melodies of the song birds??? Spring, albeit too early, is bursting all around us! From tree blossoms to grass weeds…the signs are everywhere! Soon…crates of Strawberries will be showing up from Plant City, Florida to satisfy our strawberry indulgences and vices. And although a nasty freeze will surely make an unwelcome appearance before it’s all said and done…we can still be excited about Spring’s beautiful, life renewing arrival. Continue reading →
Tea Champagne Party 101. Start with three really good cookie recipes, a few bottles of champagne and some of your best girlies! Done! It’s that easy! You’ve made a party.
But seriously…with a little pre-planning, you can throw the most heavenly tea champagne party that’s ever been. The pay off is so worth the effort! Like with any party, once you’ve determined what you’re celebrating…birthday, engagement, baby shower, etc…you can then settle into some details. My planning/brainstorming looked something like this:
Tea Party…Around Valentines Day…A “Gal”entines Day Affair…Marie Antoinette Style…One Year Blog Anniversary…around 8 – 10 ladies…all in shades of blushContinue reading →
So your kid went pee-pee in the potty for the first time? Let’s Celebrate!Your pups got a clean bill of health at the vet? Let’s Celebrate! Your rude co-worker didn’t give you the stink eye in the hall today? Let’s Totally Celebrate! Point is, it really doesn’t take much to whip me into a frenzy and pop a cork in celebration. But with the one year anniversary of my blog approaching, I knew I wanted to do something a little over the top to commemorate the occasion. Soooo… (pronounced long and drawn out…very southern-like), being the self proclaimed prissy pants that I am and having never shied away from anything girly or glamorous, I decided to throw a tea party…but not just any garden variety tea party. A modern day Marie Antoinette style tea party where there is, in fact, no tea, only champagne, and plenty of delectable treats on which to feast your eyes and tickle your taste buds. Since the party was to occur just before Valentines Day, I made it a “Galentines Day” affair and invited a few girlfriends, making it the most fabulous, frolicky, gorgeous party I’ve thrown in a very long time! Friends came dressed to the hilt and we spent Friday afternoon laughing, loving, sharing, being a little serious and a tad silly! I’m guessing Marie Antoinette would have felt right at home! Continue reading →
The last time I was at Gloucester Vineyards, it was the end of the Muscadine harvest. The stately rows of grape leaves had begun to yellow, crisp and scorch; some falling from the vine; exposing the last of the season’s most syrupy fruit to ripen and raisin in the Indian summer sun. I consumed all the ripe grapes my stomach could bear…just standing there and “grazing” as we call it. It was only when I could simply eat no more that my dad and I began picking fruit for my jelly making…about 40 lbs in all, I’d say; enough fruit for about 30 pints of jelly. I know I’m biased…but there is no better jelly than Muscadine. Don’t even try and sway me…nope…it’s the “end all- be all” of homemade jelly. And just when you think you’ve reached the pinnacle of taste bud satisfaction with the perfect bite of homemade buttered biscuit smeared with Muscadine jelly, try cooking with it!…As in Muscadine Jelly Baked Ham!!!! Eyes roll back, I tell you. Eyes roll back…
Interested in making your own stash of Muscadine Jelly but can’t find the fruit locally? Send me a message and I’ll tell you how you can have muscadines sent to your doorstep next season. Cheers!!!
Still reeling from a sun and fun filled Labor Day Weekend on Smith Lake with friends, my mind keeps nagging me that our frolicking days of summer will soon dim into the short, crisp days of fall. My heart actually grimaces a little when I consider that very soon, summer vegetables like our beloved tomato, will disappear from the farmers market and be replaced by it’s boring cousin…the dull and lifeless grocery store variety shipped from God knows where. And then there’s the disappearing field peas and sweet corn that my family and I have lapped up all summer long with great enthusiasm. Yes…I “put up” a few bags of peas and tomatoes in the freezer…but who am I kidding? Those will be consumed by the end of September! So what is left to do but embrace the fact that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the changing colors of a Tennessee fall and all its beauty…that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, football season with tailgates and boiled peanuts and “football food”!…and that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the baked goods and holiday fare that I will soon be preparing and enjoying with wild abandon?!!! There! Done. I feel better.
But before I start carving a pumpkin or making a spice cake, I must share with you a meal that I served for a couple dinner parties over the summer. The first time I made Panko Encrusted Swordfish with Southern Field Pea Relish, we had just returned from Gloucester Vineyards (my childhood home), with a bushel or so of freshly shelled White Acre field peas. I had employed my son and husband, along with mom and dad, to help me shell the said peas, thinking it would be fun for all of us to sit in rocking chairs beneath my parents’ covered porch and talk while the whippoorwills sang us a pretty melody, just like I remember as a child. Hahaha! For two city boys, the talking and bird listening was great…but the shelling? The finger blisters? The slow moving pace of the peas falling into a large, seemingly bottomless bowl? LOL!!! But for me? Sheer bliss. It reminded me of a sweet time…a slower time…a time before cyber space and social media check in’s…and it was heaven. And I knew those peas would taste better for the effort. Growing up, I really don’t think we enjoyed a Sunday lunch without peas making an appearance at the table. We never tired of them…ever! And my grandma Berta, being the saint that she was, made sure she froze enough peas to get us through all of winter’s Sunday lunches! Glory be!!! They were always served in a pretty painted flower laced bowl with bits of salted pork swimming in the broth. Occasionally, and especially in the summer when okra was fresh, a few pods would have been placed atop the boiling peas to add their own earthy flavor to the mix. These days, when summer tomatoes are at their peak, I enjoy peas alongside freshly cut ‘maters with sea salt and bits of crumbled bacon. Talk about the ultimate main course salad!
I make my peas very simply…start with enough water so that when peas are added (you can buy frozen peas at your local grocery…they’re quite good!) they will only be slightly covered by water. Now add your salt pork…you can use smoked jowl, bacon, country ham…whatever you have available. I usually use about 8 ounces of smoked pork and I allow the pork to boil for about 10 minutes before I place the peas in the boiling water. Add peas and return to a boil…now taste. The water will not be salty enough…even with the salt pork. So begin with teaspoon increments and add salt to the peas, water and pork. Continue to taste until desired saltiness, being careful not to over season. The salt from pork will continue to be released as you cook. Continue cooking on medium for 30 – 45 minutes. This beautiful, simple field pea dish is the building block for the relish that you will make for the Panko Encrusted Swordfish.
…Getting back to my story. We had returned from Florida with a bushel or so of peas…
I had invited a few couples over for dinner that week and knew that I wanted to serve something slightly more elevated than a bowl of field peas and ham. That’s when I remembered a recent article I had read in Garden and Gun that had incorporated peas into a relish. My mind started running and I suddenly knew exactly what I wanted to serve! My family cannot get enough of my Panko Fried Chicken so I thought to myself, “what if I lightly fry Mahi Mahi or Swordfish the way I fry my chicken?…then top it with field pea relish?”…and that’s exactly what I did. As it turns out…the meal was a huge hit with our guests! The field pea relish with its lightly sweet and acidic notes, made the perfect complement to the crunchy, buttery fish. Served alongside creamy Gouda Grits and a simple Spinach Salad, this elegant summer meal is worthy of your fanciest dinner party menu or presented casually the way I did. Either way…it’s a show stopper!!! And a recipe you will want to Pin and return to summer after summer! (Psst! While it’s still “summery” outside…make this dish this week! Heck! I break the rules about wearing white after Labor Day ALL the time!)
SOUTHERN FIELD PEA RELISH
1 tbsp. minced shallot
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
2 cups cooked field peas (lady peas are pictured)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp. chopped parsely
1/2 tbsp. chopped chives
1/2 tbsp. chopped oregano
1/2 tbsp. lemon zest
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
In a saucepan, simmer minced shallot and garlic in 2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar over medium heat until softened (about 5 minutes). Place mixture in a bowl and combine with peas, olive oil and chopped herbs and zest and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
PANKO ENCRUSTED SWORDFISH (Serves 4)
8 – 4oz swordfish fillets…2 fillets per guest (I have also used Mahi Mahi!)
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups panko crumbs
1 1/2 cups peanut or vegetable oil or enough to cover bottom of frying pan to 1/4″
salt and pepper to taste
The breading of the fillets is a 3-part process using three bowls for dredging and dipping. I like to season and bread all of my fish before heating the oil.
Place flour, buttermilk and panko crumbs in three different bowls. Add 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper to the flour and panko crumbs; stir to combine.
Wash and dry fish fillets; lightly salt and pepper each side of the fish
Dredge each fillet in flour; shaking off excess
Dip floured fillet in buttermilk and coat
Dredge and fully cover the floured and buttermilk’d fillet in panko crumbs; set aside on tray
Repeat for all fillets
Place oil in frying pan and heat on high, watching carefully
When oil has reached frying temperature, place the fillets into the pan; be careful not to overcrowd
Fry on each side about 3 minutes or until golden brown
Remove to lined plate or warm oven until ready to serve; top with Field Pea Relish
Bon Voyage Summer!!! See ya later Field Peas and Tomatoes! Until next time!!! We love you! Peace Out!
Autumn…we’re comin’ for ya!!!
Remember to follow these and other Peach and the Willow recipes and decorating ideas on Pinterest. Search me, Sabrina Shelfer Pflug, and pin from the Peach and the Willow Recipe Board! Happy Pinning!
Field Pea Relish recipe courtesy of Garden and Gun Magazine, June/July 2016
Awwww…Green Sauce, you beautiful babe you! You’re pretty, smart and voted most likely to succeed! Dinner parties are more interesting when you’re invited as you simply light up the table! Vegetables are more vibrant when you’re around. Even the humble grilled cheese breathes a breath of fresh air when you come to call.
Green Sauce is relatively new to my kitchen but has quickly sprung to the top of my “must have” list. Although this saucy babe shares similar ingredients with Salsa Verde, Chimichurri or Pesto (all of which I greatly enjoy), I find Green Sauce to be something quite different and delicious in its own right. The parsley and basil swim around beautifully in the most perfectly salty/citrusy bath, lending a freshness to almost anything with which its is paired. My “go-to” for a quick dinner party is Seared Steak with Green Sauce. It’s fancy without being snobby, never takes itself too seriously but always completely consumed to the great delight of my guests.
I’m a big believer that sauce should enhance the food…not smother the food. It should be a compliment to the dish…not overwhelming to it. I find this sauce always delivers!
I recently dined at a fantastic New Orleans restaurant, Peche Seafood Grille, on Magazine Street. One of the dishes we ordered that evening was whole Red Fish, the quintessential fish of choice for locals. Upon arrival to the table I was delighted to find that the entire top of the fish was covered with their version of Green Sauce! What a compliment to this beautifully prepared dish! I have also recently noted that one of Nashville’s acclaimed restaurants, Husk, also serves their version of Green Sauce with beef dishes.
Two cups packed flat leafed parsley leaves
One cup packed Basil leaves
One garlic clove
2 tsp. capers
2 anchovy fillets
pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil
Juice of one lemon
Pinch of salt
Place all ingredients except olive oil in food processor or blender (blender will produce a smoother sauce and this is what I prefer) and pulse until leaves are broken down. Stream in the olive oil, more for a loose sauce, less for one that is more dense. Do not over puree’ but, instead, keep it a bit course in nature.
Serve atop meat or vegetables on a large platter or in a bowl for passing.
Good Gookamookee Sauce (pronounced; goo-ka-moo-kee) is HANDS DOWN my most often used and requested barbecue sauce. But let me be clear…this is my dad’s prized sauce and he deserves all the credit! When he first made it for our family, he declared “good gookamookee!” the name stuck, and a craze began! For a lotta folks…it’s barbecue crack (beware people!…highly addictive!). Just don’t let my dad see you put it on his smoked brisket! By his rules, he decrees Good Gookamookee can accompany anything but brisket! (Hmmm…I humbly disagree!…this sauce would taste good on a rock! Love you dad!)
Please allow me to “break it down” for a moment and elaborate on Good Gookamookee Sauce and all its many culinary attributes. It’s a mustard based sauce, highly reminiscent of those made famous in the Carolinas. It’s wet. You get me? Wet! Not thick and sappy sweet…but liquidy and slightly sweet with a nice little peppery kick and a pleasant vinegary burn. Because of the spiciness and acidity of the sauce, it also plays the role of marinade,finishing sauce, dipping sauce and dressing! Yep. This sauce is kick ass (sorry mom). I have used it in so many dishes I couldn’t possibly be able to account for them. However, it is most obviously and frequently used when barbecuing (my friend Trey swears by his Barbecue Grilled Chicken Thighs with Good Gookamookee Sauce) while my husband puts a little in pasta dishes! It’s delicious mixed in with hamburger meat before grilling with a continuous basting or as that “special something” in your favorite homemade soup. The Peach and the Willow Slaw that accompanies the pulled pork sandwiches in this blog uses Good Gookamookee Sauce as its slaw dressing! So you see…no other barbecue sauce pulls this much weight in the kitchen or at the grill. Without further adieu…I present to you the recipe for Saucy Babe #2…
GOOD GOOKAMOOKEE SAUCE
2 cups Cider Vinegar
1 cup Brown Sugar; packed
1 cup yellow prepared mustard
3 tbsp Hot Sauce (I use Louisiana)
2 tbsp Black Pepper (I use course ground)
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tbsp Season Salt
Mix together and store in a jar or squirt bottle. Gets better as it ages!!!! I usually double this recipe because of how often I use it!
A Pulled Pork Slider is the ultimate summer crowd pleaser! Poolside, lakeside, beach picnics or just a great lunch or supper at home, this is the ticket! And EASY! The only thing the pork requires from you is patience. Here’s your step by step guide for Pulled Pork and Peach and the Willow Slaw.
Buy a pork butt or shoulder just big enough to fit in your Dutch Oven. You will want a big ‘un cause you’ll want as much pulled pork as possible! Turn stove burner on high and pour 2 – 3 TBSP of Vegetable Oil in the bottom of your pot, bringing up to high temperature but not smoking. Generously salt and pepper your roast on all sides and sear the meat on high a couple minutes per side. End with the fatty side on top (you want the fat to seep down into the meat).
Next, douse in 3 – 4 Tbsp Worcestershire over the top of the roast…
Cover pot, turn burner to low heat and walk away! The secret to good stovetop pulled pork is cooking it low and slow. I cooked mine a little over four hours but it could have withstood longer. Check your pot every hour or so to make sure you have liquid at the bottom of pot…adding water as needed. I didn’t add any water during my cook time.
Once done, remove roast to a cutting board until cool enough to handle. Using your fingers, pull the pork into strips. You will have a mound of beautiful pulled pork like this…
Some folks sauce their pulled pork at this juncture. I find that my family likes to sauce as they go…some want more, some less. This is totally up to your preference. When the pork has been pulled, it’s ready to be stacked onto a slider bun, splashed with a little Good Gookamookee Sauce and topped with Peach and the Willow slaw…
Pulled Pork and Good Gookamookee Sauce go together like peaches and cream but if you want a truly elevated Pork Slider, add my Peach and the Willow Slaw. I would say my slaw is like a classic vinegar slaw, but it’s not. I would say it’s like Asian slaw, but it’s not! So it’s simply “Peach and the Willow Slaw” and it’s my original. Because this slaw is crunchy, spicy and sweet, it is a perfect pairing with the meat and soft bun. And, since there is no mayo involved, it packs beautifully for any outdoor dining situation. And let’s talk about the colors! Don’t they say we eat with our eyes???? Check out these gorgeous slaw ingredients!
PEACH AND THE WILLOW SLAW
1/2 head of red cabbage, julienned
1/2 jicama, shaved into strips or julienned (if not available…no worries)
1/4 large sweet onion, julienned (I almost exclusively use sweet yellow onions in everything I cook…just my preference)
1 white carrot, shaved into strips (orange works…I like these better)
1/2 of granny smith apple, julienned
1/2 jalapeño, minced (Good Gookamookee is pretty spicy on its own so if you can’t tolerate a little heat, forego the jalapeño. That said, most of my folks want it in there!)
1/4 to 1/2 cup Good Gookamookee Sauce
Salt to taste (you will not need pepper…there’s plenty in the sauce)
Mix all together. Done! Yields 8 servings or enough toppings for 16 sliders.
All that’s left to do is pack your cooler with Pulled Pork, a jar of Good Gookamookee Sauce and your Peach and the Willow Slaw and head outside to play, eat and enjoy! Pack your pulled pork in aluminum foil and throw the foil package on a hot grill to warm before serving. It’s also fine room temp. Assemble your sliders at your outing! Super fun and easy!