Gingered Peach Mason Jar Cobblers

Four Pies Finished

In honor of my darling best friend Julia’s birthday and in honor of peaches being abundantly available and ripe this weekend, I knew a fruity dessert was in order.  Since we had made plans to visit a couple vineyards on Sunday with our sweet friends Amy and Ryan, this dessert also had to be easily portable.  And it had to be adorable.  Whew- no pressure!

As it turns out, a perfectly peachy, easily transportable dessert was well within my reach (and yours!).  All it takes is a trip to the farmers market, a quick spin in the Kitchen-Aid, and a few mason jars to make these Gingered Peach Cobblers.

For the Filling (makes 4 individual pies):

  • 4 peaches
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs fresh ginger

For the Pastry Dough:

  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup ice water
  • 1 stick cold, unsalted butter
  • 1 tbs sugar

To make the Dough:

I have to admit, I’m no baker- I usually leave the sweet treats up to Julia.  But I’ve been pushing myself to mix flour + water instead of trudging to the store for some mediocre pre-made dough, and this recipe couldn’t be simpler.  Just combine your flour and sugar in a food processor or stand mixer.  Add the cold butter (with the mixer on a speed-2), one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture resembles sand.  Then, add your ice cold water and mix for ~15 seconds.  I made my pastry dough the night before the wine tour, and refrigerated it in plastic overnight.

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To make the filling:

When you’re ready to make your cobblers, grease the insides of four mason jars with butter.  Slice your peaches and place them in a sauce pan with 2 tbs sugar and 1 tbs ginger.  Give them a good stir and let them simmer over low heat for ~10 minutes until they’re syrupy and delicious.

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While those peaches are simmering, let’s talk produce!  Since there are really only 4 ingredients in this recipe- flour, butter, peaches & ginger- you can have some fun with the fillings.  I got three different peach breeds- Donut, Yellow, and White- from the farmers market.  And I was inspired to add ginger after finding this incredible baby Hawaiian variety.  No peeling necessary?  I can freeze you?  Hello, new favorite ingredient.

peaches with ingredients

Once your peaches are finished simmering, take them off the heat and let them cool a bit.

Peach Cobbler, Assemble!

Cut the pastry dough into two unequal parts.  Roll out the smaller half, then use the mouth of a mason jar to cut 4 rounds.  These should be thinner, because they’ll be on the bottom of the cobblers.  Roll out the larger half, which should be the thicker cobbler-toppers, and cut four more rounds.  Place the thin rounds of dough carefully in the bottom of your mason jars and bake at 400° for ~5 minutes.

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When the dough is a bit cooked, fill the jar up to the top with peach filling, and finish with the thick round on top.

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If you want to be really cute, and who doesn’t, use some leftover dough to form hearts or initials to pop on top.  Brush the whole thing with an egg wash and place in the oven (on a baking sheet!) at 375° for 30 minutes, or until the crusts are golden brown.

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I pulled these out of the oven about 2 hours before eating them and screwed the lids on for easy transport.  Not only did this make them easy to get to the vineyards, but would you believe that they were still warm when we ate them?  Just plain peachy!

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xoxo,

Liz

oh what?  you wanted to see a photo of the birthday girl on her vineyard trip?  so happy you asked:

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watermelon mint julep popsicles

This recipe is featured today on Fortique, a fun DC startup that offers an online marketplace for local talent and creative services.  When Stephanie, their founder, asked me to dream up a Fourth of July cocktail, my mind immediately went to grenadine and blue curucao.  But you don’t need a sugary mess to show your stars & stripes!  Opt instead for a fresh, cool cocktail that highlights America’s bounty.

Nothing says “America” like watermelon.  Except for maybe bourbon.  Okay, let’s face it: together, they’re like the Star Spangled Banner in a glass.  And on a scorching Fourth of July, these polar pops are worth their weight in A/C, packing punches of watermelon, mint, and bourbon, all frozen to summery perfection.  title page

You’ll need:

  • 4 cups of seedless watermelon (about half of a medium watermelon)
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup (1/2 cup sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup water)
  • 3 sprigs mint
  • 1 lime
  • 1 cup bourbon (adjust to your desired strength)
  • 24 Dixie Cups
  • 12 Popsicle Sticks (cut in half)

Makes 24 lil’ pops.

This recipe is so simple, and most of your time is spent waiting for the pops to freeze.  Dice your watermelon and add it to a pitcher (or a blender if you’re not using an immersion mixer).  Want to know the key to finding the sweetest watermelon amongst mounds of the fibrous fruit?  Search for the melon with a large, white spot on it’s side.  You want a watermelon that has been ripening on the ground for a while, and the larger the white spot (that’s where the sun couldn’t hit it), the juicier and sweeter your fruit will be.

Alright, Farmer Liz, we’ll get back to the recipe.  Add your simple syrup and juice of a lime to the pitcher.  I also added a couple extra tablespoons of sugar on top.

chunks in pitcher

Using an immersion blender on high speed, mix the contents of your pitcher until your watermelon looks like melon-colored-water.

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Add your mint and bourbon, give the whole thing a quick stir, and you’re ready to fill your popsicle molds!  While there are a slew of modern gadgets designed to pop out the perfect popsicle, you don’t need a store-bought popsicle mold to dazzle your Fourth of July crowd.  Use 3 oz Dixie cups and wooden sticks to make perfectly miniature frozen treats.  The wooden sticks keep the look classic while the small size ensures your guests don’t overindulge on the sweet nectar too early in the afternoon.

Fill the dixie cups with your watermelon-mint-bourbon goodness and pop the ‘sicles in the freezer for about 45 minutes.  Once they are semi-frozen, stick the popsicle sticks in the center of each one and then let the popsicles freeze over night. Depending on the amount of bourbon you use, these little guys could take up to 24 hours to get good and frozen, so plan ahead!

in cups frozen

When your guests are ready, just tear off the disposable cup and watch the fireworks fly!

watermelon mint julep popsicles

Whew, was that easy.  And you didn’t even have to break out the blue curucao & grenadine to capture the spirit of Independence Day.

Love,

Liz & The Hungry Texans

A Hungry Texans Crawfish Boil

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Being home in Texas means three things for certain: there will always be someone cooling off in the swimming pool, my daddy’s favorite playlist (self-titled Eggman) will always be on the outdoor speakers, and we’ll always be grubbing on the screened-in porch.  One of my favorite such grubs happens to be when we pull out the 80 quart pot, fill it with fresh seafood, and enjoy a good old-fashioned crawfish boil.  Blue crabs, Gulf shrimp, Louisiana Crawfish- all perfectly seasoned and served with sweet corn and potatoes to soak up the spice.  There’s really no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon with family and friends than over a steaming bowl of shelled crustaceans.  This is a pot of deliciousness that I’ll probably leave up to my dad, who humbly claims that there’s no secret to it, but has obviously mastered the art.  Still, it struck me as so simple, that anyone at home with access to a few mudbugs could recreate this Cajun delight.

boil & fish

We made our way to the Vietnamese Fish Market for our supplies.  This bustling Bissonet mainstay houses hundreds of Vietnamese staples and has a spread of fresh (usually still swimming) fish and seafood.

picking crabs

For larger Crawfish Boils with the extended family when we need huge quantities of crawfish, my dad will venture out to Beaumont (about 45 minutes from Houston) for a surplus batch.  But to feed 6 people, you can manage with a more local supermarket- you’ll need 2.5 pounds of shrimp, 10 pounds of crawfish, and 6 crabs.

You’ll need
2 to 3 lbs Gulf Shrimp, heads off
10 lbs Crawfish, still kickin’
6 blue crabs, alive and plump
½ bag (3 cups) Crawfish Boil
4 lemons, cut in half
1 stick butter
5 lbs red potatoes
6 ears sweet corn

Fill the crawfish pot 2/3 of the way with water and bring to a boil.  Add your seasoning, lemons, and butter.  Let the seasoned water come together for about 5 minutes, then carefully remove the inner basket.

daddy with crawfish

If your crawfish need to be purged, be sure to do so!  Fill a bucket (or cooler) with cold, very salty water, and add your un-purged crawfish.  Let them sit in the purging water for about 10 minutes before tossing them in the pot.

purging

Fill the basket with your crawfish, crabs and shrimp.

fillin up the pot

Carefully lower the basket of seafoody goodness into the pot, and cover.

all boiling

 

Let the pot boil for 7-10 minutes, then remove (enlist the help of 3-4 strong gentlemen) and pour your drained boil into a cooler.  Toss the crawdads with as much seasoning as you like/can handle (we used ~1/4 cup) and laissez le bon temps rouler!  You can pour ice over the seafood to cool it off before peeling.

In a separate large pot of boiling, salted water, cook your potatoes and sweet corn ~30 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender.  If you are brave, you can plop those potatoes and corn right in with the crawfish, but it will light you up, so take caution.

Drain your potatoes and corn, toss with salt and pepper, and throw the whole mess out on a newspaper-covered table so that everyone can dig in.  Or be a tad more civilized and serve the seafood in bowls.

finished product

Just be sure to have plenty of wet napkins lying around to towel off, a few trashcans strewn about to make cleanup easy, and remember- never touch your eyes!

Happy Peeling!
Liz

coconut cream pie

coconut cream pieHappy Pi Day, Hungry Texans! In celebration, I wanted to share a Lovett family favorite. We fell in love with this pie during childhood trips to Emeril’s Delmonico in New Orleans, and it wasn’t long before Big Daddy perfected it and this coconut cream pie became the dessert de résistance of every dinner party.

I took a couple creative liberties with Daddio’s classic – 3 mini pies instead of one big one (it’s the closest I could get to 3.14!) & adding coconut oil to the crust, but the core is the same and the proof is in the pudding…or in this case, the coconut custard!

Try it for yourself!coconute_pie_crust_ingredients

Coconut Crust

1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
½ tsp table salt
1 tbl sugar
6 tbl cold unsalted butter, cubed
¼ cup coconut oil
2 tbl vodka, cold
2 tbl cold water

Coconut Filling

Coconut Custard

2 ¼ cups whole milk
¾ cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup for the egg whites
3 egg yolks
¼ cup cornstarch
1 ½ tsp vanilla
2 cups toasted coconut
1 tbl butter

 

For your crust (which you can make a few days in advance if you’re feeling crafty!), start by pulsing sugar, 1/2 of your flour, and salt in a food processor. Add butter and coconut oil. Pulse, pulse, pulse and then add the rest of your flour. Remove from the food processor and transfer into a bowl. Trickle your water and vodka (vodka helps prevent pie crust from getting goopy & too sticky!) on top of your mixture and combine gently with a spatula. The coconut oil will give it a little bit of a crumblier texture, but it should get pretty smooth.

Next, press your dough between two sheets of plastic wrap and chill for at least 45 minutes in the fridge (or a quick 15 in the freezer). When you’re ready to bake, roll your dough out on a well-floured surface. I divided and rolled my dough into thirds for three itty bitty pies. Fold your dough into your lightly greased pie pan and then mold the crust to the pan (don’t forget to poke it!). Bake at 425 until golden brown. I admittedly could have used some pie weights for these itty bitty pies (my crusts won’t win a beauty contest!), but if your crusts start to rise, I recommend smooshing them down with the back of a spoon while they’re still warm.

Pie Crust Steps

Now, for the custard. This custard’s super simple and quite similar to the custard we made for our Mardi Gras King Cake. Start by heating your milk and sugar in a small saucepan until it starts to simmer. While your milk is heating, whisk your egg yolks together and set aside. When your milk is the desired temp, pour a little bit into your egg mixture to temper the eggs (we want to make sure we don’t scramble our yolks!). Stir, stir, stir, and then combine the egg and milk mixture completely.

coconut Custard

Return your milky-egg mixture to the heat and bring to a boil. Once it boils, add in your corn starch. Stir completely and then remove from heat. Allow mixture to cool slightly and then stir in vanilla & coconut! Let your custard cool completely before even thinking about filling your crusts (no one wants a soggy crust!). Once your custard has cooled, fill your crusts and refrigerate until ready to serve. Right before you’re ready to serve, top with whipped cream (or a meringue if you’re into that…these Hungry Texans prefer heavy whipping cream over egg whites, thank you very much!). Slice and enjoy, or if if you’re making the personal size – grab a fork and forget about swimsuit season!

custard filled crusts

three little pies

You’d be (coco)nuts not to love this pie!

xoxo,

HungryTexans

A Hungry Texans Inaugural Feast!

Hungry Texans Seal(1)Ah, America.  It’s a good time to live in DC, a district buzzing with excitement for the 57th Inauguration.  The Secret Service is in their dry-run stage for Monday’s big event, but we’ve already put together our Inauguration menu fit for the president himself.  Sure, we could have gone with a red, white & blue theme or made 12 versions of apples pie (trust us, we could have).  But we think this POTUS is just about the cutest thing since President Bartlett, so we decided to draw on inspiration from Obama himself.  A man who governed in food-loving Chicago, steals away to his native Hawaii for vacations, and now calls our very own DC his home.  A president who escapes the White House for crowd-drawing trips to Ben’s Chili Bowl and Komi, and, with his lovely Michelle, has reinstated the important White House garden (the produce from which is used not only in the family’s own dinners, but also donated to Miriam’s Kitchen- go WH!)  Yes, I’d say we’ve got quite the foodie president on our hands.

So we created a menu that incorporates many of the POTUS’s foodie roots- from the Windy city to the Big Island.  To escape the crowded Mall (or before you head to a ball), try this Hungry Texans Inaugural Feast!

Inauguration Feast

Featuring:

Chicago Style Half Smokes

Hawaiian Deep-Dish Pizza

Coconut & Pineapple Cupcakes

inauguration dinner hungry texans

Chicago-Style Half Smokes

chicago style half smokes

In honor of Obama’s re-inauguration, we set out to create a Barack-inspired dish that highlighted his ties to both Chicago and our lovely DC.  This Chicago-Style Half Smoke combines the prez’s roots in Chi-City with his new home in DC.

The half smoke is an interesting sausage, popularized by DC’s Ben’s Chili Bowl and named aptly because it is usually half pork, half beef.  We found a half smoke that was produced in the DMV, and the nutrition facts are kindly out of focus, just like my mind treats all sausage.

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So what happens when you load a DC-native half smoke onto a poppy seed bun and heap on Chicagoan toppings?  A culinary mixture fit for the President himself!

You’ll need:

8 Poppy Seed buns (make your own with our recipe here!)
8 half smoke sausages
Tomatoes
Atomic relish
Dill pickle spears
Chopped onion
Yellow mustard

Once your poppy seed buns are out of the oven, this recipe is really all about assembly.  Heat the half smokes on a grill or on the stovetop, just until they have a bit of color and are heated through.  Then pile your Chi-Town toppings- tomatoes, relish, yellow mustard, a dill pickle spear, and chopped onion.

Since we couldn’t decide between a 312 and a DC Brau, we treated ourselves to both!

Poppyseed Hot Dog Buns

Well Hot Dog, these buns are delicious.  The best part?  You get to personalize the bun size.  And everyone deserves a perfectly sized bun for their sausage.  We adapted this recipe from Serious Eats and pulled our dough together in a Kitchen-Aid mixer, although you could use your hands!

You’ll need:

1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup instant mashed potato
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup semolina flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
Poppy seeds
Egg wash

To start, combine your water, yeast, sugar, and instant potatoes in your stand mixer.  Let this mixture stand for 15 minutes to allow the yeast to activate.  Then, add the salt and flours, kneading until the dough is smooth.

yeast and mixture

Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for about 20 minutes.  Knead the olive oil into the dough, cover the bowl again, and let the dough rest for about 30 minutes, until it has doubled in size.  DSC_0199

When the dough has doubled, knead it on a floured surface, then divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.

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Form these 8 pieces into cylinders, then brush with egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds.  You’ll notice that we tried a few different sizes, not really knowing how each would expand or contract during baking.  It really depends on the size of your sausage, but we liked how  the shorter, fatter buns turned out.

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Pop the buns into a 350 oven for about 30 minutes, then slice down the middle and fill with your favorite sausage-y treats.

DSC_0329xoxo,

Hungry Texans