Peach and Blackberry Cobbler

Kevin and I enlisted some of our talented friends (or “friendors”) to help with our DIY weddingJamie tried her hand for the first time at assembling wedding florals for our big day.  We had bridesmaids bouquets, groomsmen boutonnieres, and a few corsages for our immediate family.

NOTE: All non-food photos in this post were taken by the talented Rodney Ty Photography.

Boutonniere and Corsage
Boutonniere and Corsage

Since we were serving a family-style dinner and to keep conversations fluid, we decided not to have large floral centerpieces and just do bud vases.  That kept costs down and workload relatively minimal – I say “relatively” because it was still a ton of work for Jamie in a very short amount of time.  I spied some fun and inexpensive hexagon-shaped mirrors in the 2015 IKEA catalog, and bought as many packs as we could get our hands on (they were hard to find!).  We also got the clear vases and aisle marker bud vases from IKEA, which my newly minted mother-in-law spray-painted gold for us.  We didn’t have any trouble drinking enough cabs to be able to recycle those bottles into table number holders too.

Bud Vases
Bud Vases

Jamie and I took a couple of early morning trips to the Flower Mart in downtown LA a couple months before the big day to scope out pricing, what was in season, and what flowers looked good together.  We even bought flowers to do some test bouquets, as well as see how the flowers would hold up in warm weather.  After some trial and error, we found some winners.

Bridesmaids Bouquets
Bridesmaids Bouquets

However, when we did another scouting trip the week before the wedding, we had to scrap almost all of our ideas when we realized that most of the flowers we had in mind weren’t in season anymore. Jamie, Shou, and I went to the Flower Mart bright and early the day before the wedding and played everything by ear, based on price and color.  What we ended up purchasing was lisianthus, dahlias, pink misty, silver dollar for some greenery, and my one splurge – David Austin roses for the bride/bridesmaids bouquets.

Bouquet
Bouquet

We were so impressed with how gorgeous the bridal party’s florals came out, and loved the look of the bud vases.  More detailed shots in the gallery below!

In the Aisle!
In the Aisle!

As a thank you to Jamie and Shou and also an early birthday celebration for Shou, Kevin and I hosted them for dinner.  We made giant porcini-rubbed rib-eye steaks, fresh chimichurri, roasted parmesan cauliflower, roasted red potatoes, and garlicky roasted asparagus.  I also wanted to take advantage of stonefruit season for dessert. Jamie and Shou had gotten us ramekins as a gift, so I HAD to use them!  Here is the peach and blackberry cobbler recipe, as adapted from Martha Stewart:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 to 4 ripe peaches (1 1/4 pounds), cut into eighths
  • 1 C blueberries
  • 1/4 C plus 1 T sugar
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 2 t cornstarch
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 C heavy cream
  • 1/2 C plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of table salt
  • 1 t baking powder
  • Vanilla ice cream (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine peaches and blueberries in a bowl. Whisk together 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch. Add to the fruit and toss to combine. Set aside. Combine egg, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and cream in a bowl; whisk with a fork. Set aside.
  2. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and remaining tablespoon sugar. Make a well in center of dry ingredients, and pour egg mixture into well. Using hands, slowly draw dry ingredients into wet ingredients, and work dough until just mixed together. Don’t overdo it!
  3. Divide fruit mixture among four 8-ounce ramekins. Gently pat dough into 4 disks just big enough to fit on top of ramekins. After placing, brush dough with remaining melted butter. Place ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake until juices bubble up and crust is golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes. Serve hot, with ice cream if desired.
    Peach and Blackberry Cobbler
    Peach and Blackberry Cobbler

    Thank you again Jamie and Shou!!!

Peach Shortbread

Back from a long hiatus – and married at that!

Stone fruit season is finally here again!  I’ve been waiting a long time to post this recipe until peaches were in season again.  I made these for Kevin and his mom’s family birthday celebration last September and they were a delicious hit.  Shortbread is absolutely delicious, but I generally find it a bit too rich and heavy during hot months.  The peach in this really livened up the shortbread flavor, as did the crumbly topping.  Loved these – and they looked pretty too!

Here is the recipe, as adapted from the ever-faithful Smitten Kitchen:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 3/4 C plus 2 T all-purpose flour (or you can measure 3 C and remove 2 T flour)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 C (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 ripe but firm peaches, pitted and thinly sliced (between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Brown the butter: Melt butter in a small/medium saucepan over medium-low heat. It will melt, foam, and then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Keep your eyes on it; it burns very quickly after it browns and the very second that you turn around to do something else. Set it in the freezer until solid (about 30 minutes).  Note that once you freeze the butter, the brown bits will sink to the bottom.  That’s totally fine since they’ll be thoroughly creamed together with the flour mixture!
    Frozen Browned Butter
    Frozen Browned Butter

    [Side note: You don’t HAVE to brown the butter, but it does make a big difference in taste!  If you don’t have time for this, just add two more tablespoons of flour (making 3 cups flour total) and cut softened butter into the flour with a pastry blender.]

  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a 9×13 inch pan, or spray it with a nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and spices with a whisk. Use a pastry blender to blend the solidified brown butter and egg into the flour mixture. It will be crumbly.

    Crumble Mixture
    Crumble Mixture
  3. Pat 3/4 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly. Tile peach slices over crumb base in a single layer. Scatter remaining crumbs evenly over peaches and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until top is slightly brown and you can see a little color around the edges. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.
Out of the Oven
Out of the Oven

According to Smitten Kitchen, these hold up really well in the fridge. She also reckons these would freeze well, between layers of waxed paper, with the container sealed well in plastic wrap.  I can’t vouch for any of that because there were no leftovers from the birthday gathering to test this out with!

Peach Shortbread Squares
Peach Shortbread Squares

Now go take advantage while peaches are still in season!

Peaches and Cream Ice Cream Cake

Doing something to celebrate your significant other’s birthday is a bit like taking your car to the carwash.  The basic bronze package (e.g., birthday dinner and maybe dessert) is what you opt for most of time, while you “level-up” once in a while and get them the silver package (e.g., everything from the bronze package plus a gift and/or planning a get-together with their friends, etc.).  But on “milestone” birthdays, you splurge and treat your car (or boyfriend) to the platinum package, which is includes all of the above in addition to a surprise party and an exterior carnauba wax and polish.

In planning the birthday basketball tournament, I had to spin an intricate web of lies and to keep KJ from getting suspicious since I wanted it to be a surprise.  However, this meant pretending he was just getting the bronze package to deflect any suspicions while actually procuring the platinum in secrecy.

In the middle of the week, he gave me the Puss in Boots eyes and told me that the ONE thing he wanted for his birthday this year was a half-batch of the peanut butter cookies I had made a few weeks ago for a coworker’s birthday.  Obviously, I couldn’t A) say no to those eyes and B) tell him I was too busy making a surprise birthday cake and planning a surprise party.  So, on his actual birthday, I frantically cranked a full batch out in between work and servicing a bronze package a la dinner at Rustic Canyon to sample the “Best Gourmet Burger in LA”.  I put chocolate chips in the other half-batch for him to bring to his fantasy football draft, where the birthday cake would also be served.

Since he loves ice cream cake, I decided to try my hand at making the frozen treat.  I didn’t want to make any ordinary ice cream cake that one could buy from Baskin Robbins (i.e., Mint Chip Ice Cream with Chocolate Cake, etc.).  So, I thought I would take advantage of it being peach season and whip up a peaches and cream ice cream cake.

Chopped Fresh Peaches and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

I made it upside down and in a 9” springform pan so I wouldn’t have to worry about prying the frozen concoction out of a normal pan.  The first layer was vanilla bean ice cream with chopped fresh peaches mixed in, and the middle layer was peach sorbet.

White Cake and Peach Sorbet

The final layer was a white cake.  The recipe I had made enough to fill a 13”x9” pan at about two inches thick.  I anticipated needing to cut it down to be 9″ round, and then cut it shorter to about an inch or so. However, the cake ended up being a little on the dryer side when it came out of the oven, so it crumbled when I tried to put it on top of the sorbet layer.  It didn’t taste dry, but it just wasn’t moist enough to stay together.

My Crumbling Cake Layer

Since it was already late on a work night and I couldn’t pick out all of the pieces from the softened sorbet, I instead ended up piecing everything together and pushing it down in hopes that it wouldn’t fall apart once it came out of the fridge.  Thankfully, it ended up working out because if the cake had actually been very moist, it would have gotten soggy and icy once frozen.  I wish the peach sorbet had been a bit brighter in color so that the layers would really pop when looking at the cake as a whole.

Ready for the Draft!

I picked up a cake box and the gold cake round at a specialty cooking store in Culver City, along with a couple of smaller baker’s boxes for the PB cookies and maybe a future project. Despite the sorbet layer being a bit light in color, I did really like the way the cake looked when sliced.

So Much Prettier When Sliced

Here’s the gallery!