Kitchen Concoctions: September 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

So Long Summer

I had so much fun featuring a week of mouth watering summer favs, that before we get too far into fall I wanted to recap or flashback to these delicious special treats.

Mmmm... smores. Who doesn't love them?!? Silky rich chocolate, gooey marshmallows, and crunchy graham crackers. I took this summer camping classic and transformed in into a yummy, tummy pleasing Smores Candy Bar!

Ice cream is an essential 'cool me off' summer time treat. And what goes better with ice cream (than chocolate) fresh summer fruit. This Strawberries n' Cream ice cream is a heavenly delight and worthy of any summer (or year round) get together or celebration.

Usually with the extreme heat summer brings (especially here in Texas), the last thing I want to do is heat up my kitchen or spend countless hours slaving away over dinner. Sandwiches are the perfect solution for this and these Pulled Chicken Suiza Sammies were a summer dinner staple.

One of my summertime loves is all the fresh fruits and veggies (particularly the fresh fruit); and what goes better with fresh fruit than ice cream??? Fresh fruit made into cobbler topped with ice cream! This Strawberry Peach Cobbler was some of the best (maybe even THE best) cobbler I have had in ages and it was so easy to make!

And the final summer time treat that I shared during the "A Farewell To Summer Week" was a tribute to my sweet tea lovin', peach worshiping, Georgia boy (er man, heehee) Eric. Considering this was the first time I made peach tea I would have to say that it was a success (at least according to Eric)!

Well I am sad to see the lazy days of summer go, but we just had our first fall 'cool' front and boy did it put me in the mood for pumpkins, and sweaters, and hot cocoa, and falling leaves! Oh how I love fall! Let the fall festivities begin!

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Georgia Boy and His Peaches

There were lots of things I learned when I first started dating Eric (and continue to learn). Three of those things being about sweet tea, Georgia, and peaches. I mean I did know about all these things before I started dating Eric but I quickly learned a great deal more. Since Eric and his family are from Georgia I am constantly told things like Texas is not 'the true south', despite what I think! "Everywhere you go in 'the south' you can get sweet tea," Eric says. And sure enough, I realized not long after dating him that his favorite drink is hard to find here (unless you are at McDonald's or a BBQ joint).
I also learned that people from Georgia have lots of pride in their state. I mean I am from Texas and Texas pride is HUGE, larger than the actual state to be matter of fact! I mean the shape of Texas, and the Texas flag, and Texas 'symbols' such as the bluebonnet and longhorn, are found everywhere. From T-shirts, to cookie cutters, to purses, to being tattooed on people's bodies. Texas tattoos... now that's some pride! Now Eric, his family, and his Georgia friends have lots of pride too (heck, Eric's brother has an outline of the state of Georgia with a big peach in the middle that says 'on my mind' as a tattoo as part of his sleeve) but I have never seen any group of people worship anyone, anything or any place, like Georgians worship the peach! Peach worshiping... now that's pride!

Well being the good girlfriend that I am I decided to make Eric a refreshing summertime drink that brought his favorite things together... sweet tea and peaches... to remind him of a favorite place... Georgia. Problem is I am not a tea drinker. I grew up around it, since I have family who drinks it, but I am not that familiar with it (at least I wasn't before meeting Eric). So, after watching Eric make sweet many a time, I thought I could 'wing it' and figure out how to make peach sweet tea. My version and method is probably totally wrong but a couple of Georgia boys said it was 'damn good'. And Eric is pretty proud that I am finally becoming a 'true' Southerner.

PS. I think that I might be slightly jealous that Georgians have a fruit to worship. I love fruit too! With all the Texas pride where is our fruit worshiping?

Georgia Peach Tea
By Heather of Kitchen Concoctions
Printable Version
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook time: 5 minutes Makes 1 gallon

3 quarts hot water
7 individual tea bags
4 peaches
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar

In a 1 gallon pitcher add the 3 quarts of hot water. Add the tea bags to the water and begin to soak.

Peel and slice the peaches. Place peaches in a food processor and blend until smooth.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the 1 cup of water and sugar to a boil. Let boil for 2 minutes. Add the pureed peaches to the sugar mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour peach/sugar mixture through a mesh strainer into pitcher with tea bags and water.

Let tea bags sit and brew with peach mixture for 15-20 more minutes. Remove tea bags. Strain fully prepared tea into a new 1 gallon pitcher. Serve over ice. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Summer of Fruit

One of the best things about summer food wise (and honestly that's all we care about here is food, right?) is all the fresh and in season fruit and veggies. And a good thing about living in Texas, where the cold weather doesn't last quite as long or come quite as early, we are fortunate to enjoy these 'summer time' fruits and veggies a little bit longer than most.

And in the summer I am obsessed with the fruit! The bountifuls of berries, watermelon, nectarines, and.... peaches. Finding the perfect ripe, but not too ripe, juicy peach is a good day I tell ya! Since the beginning of July when peaches started to take over the fruit stands and farmer's markets here, I have had peach cobbler on the brain. Then of course I saw several blogs with peach cobbler recipes, which furthered my need to make it. I mean I know pretty much any berry makes a wonderful cobbler, but a peach cobbler... that's the best! So finally I made a run to Sprouts (which I love, love, love!) and came home with bags full of peaches and immediately went to work making this A-mazing cobbler.

What I love about this recipe is that besides the fruit all the ingredients are pantry staples. I also love that the biscuit topping is sprinkled with a cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar mixture- which adds great flavor and makes your house smell wonderful!

Notes: The original recipe used blueberries but I had an abundance of strawberries and I thought the strawberries worked perfectly. Mine took the full 40 minutes to cook. I tired to pull it out of the oven right at 35 minutes and it wasn't done. The cinnamon was not originally in the recipe but we thought this completely set this cobbler over the top and made it ridiculously good. Of course adding ice cream made this cobbler a true classic!

Strawberry Peach Cobbler
Printable Version
Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: 35-40 minutes Serves 6-8

1 cup flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
3 1/2 cups fresh peaches - peeled, pitted and sliced
1 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, 1/2 cup white sugar, and baking powder. Mix in milk and 1/4 cup butter until smooth. In a medium saucepan, stir together the brown sugar, cornstarch, and water. Mix in the peaches. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Mix in 1 tablespoon butter, lemon juice and strawberries. Continue cooking until the butter melts. Pour into 8 x 8 ungreased baking dish. Evenly spoon batter in mounds over the hot fruit. In a small bowl, mix the coarse sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and sprinkle over the batter. Bake cobbler for about 35-40 minutes or until bubbly and a toothpick inserted into the crust comes out clean.

adapted from The Sister's Cafe

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Screams Summer

So I have to be honest with you. The summer themed recipe that I am sharing with you today is actually not the recipe I had picked to share today. This recipe I am sharing is great and totally a keeper but not something that SCREAMS summer to me. I was super excited to share the other recipe (the recipe I am now not sharing) because it totally reminds me of baseball, which is probably one of my all time favorite sports and and totally is just as American as the 4th of July and both baseball and the 4th of July SCREAM summer to me (did you follow me on that one!). But sadly that recipe is not going to be shared with you today because I can't find it. I got the pictures all ready, I typed up my little intro paragraph and then when I went to pull out my trusty composition notebook that I write all the recipes I create, it wasn't in there. I then looked in the overly stuffed 3-ring binder that I have been saving recipes since middle school in (magazine cut outs, recipes written down from friends and family, etc.) and I couldn't find it in there either. So I tore up my house looking in all my filing cabinets, finding lots of other things along the way (like my first ax return, my application to college, a paper I wrote in college, an electric bill from my first apartment) but no recipe. I was so disappointed. I am now going to have to make this recipe again and hope that it turns out the same, just as good as I remember... and then immediately type it up and hit save!

Although this was not my first recipe choice it is a good one! It is great for summer, because it is a sandwich and who doesn't love a good sandwich in the summer?!? It doesn't require much effort or the use of the oven, both big bonuses on a hot, lazy summer day! I saw this recipe and adapted it from one blog I read regularly and have had much luck with the recipes, who originally got this recipe from another blog I read regularly and have had much luck with the recipes. So I knew it had to be good! And of course it was! The sauce is sweet but has a nice kick, it is filling but not too heavy! What a great summer sammie!

Pulled Chicken Suiza Sammies
Printable Version
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Serves: 4

2 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
3/4 cup salsa verde (I used Goya brand)
1/2 cup sour cream
4 slices white cheddar cheese
4 sandwich rolls, split

Boil chicken breasts in water for 20 minutes or until no longer pink all the way through. Remove chicken from water and let cool for 1 to 2 minutes. Shred chicken.

Preheat the broiler. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and honey, then stir in the salsa and heat through. Mix in the sour cream. Add chicken to sauce mixture. Stir to evenly coat and heat through.

Pile the chicken mixture on the roll bottoms. Top with the cheese and broil to melt.

adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything and Taste and Tell

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Essential Summer Treat

What screams summer more than hot days or the pool? Ice Cream! Ice cream is an essential treat to save yourself from the heat all summer long (and is a treat I indulge in all throughout the year). Inspired by the cookies n' cream ice cream I made earlier this summer, I created my own Strawberries n' Cream Ice Cream. Rich custard made with cream cheese and heavy cream paired with juicy, plump, sweet strawberries makes this ice cream divine. Perfect for cooling off on a warm summer night!

Strawberries n' Cream Ice Cream
Printable Version
By Heather of Kitchen Concoctions
Prep Time: 25 minutes Chill Time: Overnight Churn Time: 20 minutes Makes about 1 quart

2/3 cups sugar
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cups milk
1 (16 oz) carton heavy cream
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Beat the 2/3 cups sugar and cream cheese together until smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Set aside.

Bring the milk to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan. Slowly beat the hot milk into the cheese mixture. Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and place over low heat. Stir constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon until the custard thickens slightly. Be careful not to let the mixture boil or the egg will scramble. Remove from the heat and pour the hot cheese custard through a strainer into a large bowl. Allow the custard to cool slightly, then stir in the cream.

In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, combine sliced strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Let strawberries cook for 15 to 20 minutes, breaking up/mashing the strawberries with a wooden spoon as they cook. Allow strawberries to cool after cooking. Cover and refrigerate custard and strawberries in separate containers overnight.

Stir the chilled custard, then freeze in your ice cream machine according the manufacturers instructions (my machine took 20-25 minutes), adding the prepared strawberries to the machine when the ice cream is semi-frozen. Allow the machine to mix in the strawberries. When finished, the ice cream will be soft (like soft serve) but ready to eat. For firmer ice cream, transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 2 hours.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Farewell To Summer

I am sad to see that the official end of summer is here. I know for most, the sign of summer ending is when school starts up again (which happened several weeks ago here). But for me (since I haven't been a student for quite some time and have no kiddos yet that would be starting school) the 'offical' end of summer is Labor Day. Labor Day allows for one final hurrah, BBQ, and pool party before the weather starts to cool (even though actually here in Texas we will still have warm temps well into October; in fact I remember many a Christmas cutting down our Christmas tree wearing shorts and a T-shirt)!
Well to celebrate the end of summer, or I guess to wish it a sad farewell until next year, I will be hosting a Kitchen Concoctions week long Farwell To Summer. Every day this week (YES, every day!) I will be sharing a summer related/inspired recipe. I mean peaches and strawberries will still be 'in season' for a little bit longer here, so who says we can't keep eating these summer treats for just a little bit longer!

And to be honest with ya, these are recipes I have been making all summer and have just not gotten around to blogging about them. Sooo, I thought I had better share them quick, while there is still time to make these delicious summer treats and before we get too far into soup and pumpkin eating season!

First up: SMORES! Smores are probably one of my favorite treats. Who could not love the combination of rich chocolate, sweet and sticky marshmallows, and the crunch of a sweet graham cracker. And while many associate this treat with summer BBQs and campouts this treat brings me right back to my childhood and bonfires we used to make in the fall at my Uncle's ranch.

Well a few weeks a go I was craving this favorite, childhood classic but I had two problems. 1.) No bonfire and 2) I did not want to use my stove in any form or fashion because it was over 100 degrees out. So I created this Smores Candy Bar (as so named by Eric)! It encompasses all those wonderful and magical childhood flavors (and memories) that I love! This candy bar totally cured my Smores craving and was SUPER easy to make too!

Smores Candy Bar
by Heather of Kitchen Concoctions

Printable Version
Prep Time: 10 minutes Chill Time: 2 hours Makes 20 bars

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
6 whole graham crackers
1 heaping cup of mini marshmallows

Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Spray foil with non-stick spray.

Microwave the chocolate and sweetened condensed milk in a microwavable bowl on high for 2 minutes, or until chocolate is almost melted. Stir chocolate after 2 minutes, until the chocolate is melted. Blend in the vanilla. Let cool slightly, for approximately 1-2 minutes.

Break the graham crackers into pieces, but not crumbs. Toss graham cracker pieces and marshmallows in a bowl with powdered sugar. Pour melted chocolate mixture over graham cracker and marshmallow mixture. Stir to evenly coat.

Spread the fudge/candy mixture into the prepared pan. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Cut into 20 squares. Store leftovers in airtight container in refrigerator.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A New Home

Hey Kitchen Concoctions Readers!

Please note the new web address for this site is I hope that since this web address is a tad bit shorter than the old address it will be easier to remember and locate. If you are a follower or have Kitchen Concoctions saved on your 'Blog List" you should automatically be redirected here to the correct site. However I get a lot of readers who have found me from other websites or blogs. For these readers I have set up a 'temperary blog/website' that has a link to direct you all back to here. I hope that I have not caused to much confusion and that you all can find your way back to Kitchen Concoctions and continue to enjoy my blog.

Thanks for understanding!

-Heather of Kitchen Concoctions
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