Delaware City Peach Pie

September 28, 2014


Delaware City Peach Pie

Delaware City Peach Pie


Start with fresh peaches
I hadn't planned on baking a pie but as I was running errands yesterday I came across the most beautiful, ripe peaches I have ever seen.  I couldn't pass them up so this just had to happen!

I know that when most people think of peaches, they probably think of the Georgia Peach.  What many people don't know is that Delaware was the one of the country's leading producers of peaches during the early part of the nineteenth century.  Between 1840 and 1880, Delaware City, in particular, was famous for providing most of the East Coast with peaches.  The would ship right from Major's Wharf in Delaware City to ports all up and down the coast.  Isn't that cool?  So in honor of our beautiful little city, I am calling this recipe Delaware City Peach Pie.

A pie is a great "go-to" recipe for when you're
Peeled and sliced peaches
expecting company or going to a potluck because they're completely freestyle.  You just do what you feel!  Take some fruit, sugar, flour, a bit of spice, throw it in a crust and bake until it's done.  If you haven't tried to bake one before, try it!  You may surprise yourself, your family and your friends.

One of the reasons I love this pie so much is that you need practically nothing extra to make it perfect.  Just the smallest amount of cinnamon and nutmeg are there to counter the brightness of the peaches and the sweetness of the sugar.  Simple and natural ingredients.

I started with about 8 giant fresh peaches.  I cut them off of the pit, peeled them, sliced them into a large bowl.  Don't worry if they're all exact.  Just slice them so they're relatively the same thickness.  For this pie, I used about 1/2" slices.  Add some fresh lemon juice to the peaches to prevent them from turning brown.

In a separate bowl, I combined sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  I sprinkled that down onto the the peaches, then folded it in, gently so I didn't mash the peaches.
Poke bottom crust with a fork


I rolled out the crust and transferred it into the pie plate.  Don't worry about leaving the edges of crust hanging off the plate.  We'll take care of them at the end.   Note:  Do not oil or prepare the pie plate in any way.


Transfer peaches and dot with butter
Transfer the peach mixture into the pie plate and dot with a few tablespoons of butter.

Roll out the top crust and transfer it to the pie.   Fold all the overhanging cedes of crust under, then flute moving in one direction until it is sealed all the way around.  Using a sharp paring knife, cut a shape into the top crust. This will allow steam to release, and will also provide a release for the juices that will bubble up.  Sprinkle the top with sugar.

Transfer pie to a baking sheet and pop into an oven that has been preheated to 350F.  I usually cover my crust for the first 15-20 minutes, then remove the cover and allow it to cook the rest of the way.
Add top crust and flute edges
Carve a shape into top crust and sprinkle with sugar
Delaware City Peach Pie


Allow to bake 350F oven until the crust is golden brown, it smells delicious, and the insides are actively bubbling up through the vents in the pie. It should look something like the photo when done - but not exactly like the photo because every pair of hands creates a different look.  Just as no two people are the same, no two pies will come out looking the same and that's a beautiful thing.

Now - if you happen to have been inspired to try this pie, please respond in the comments and let me know how you make out.








Easy Weekly Family Dinner Menu / Meal Plan Week 3

September 28, 2014


This week in Mrs. Kane's Kitchen

It's going to be a busy week, so I have to be sure to plan everything in out well in advance.  I've planned some easy nights (deli night, two crock pot nights, and grilled chicken) to help me get through it all.  Don't forget to check out the recipe for Delaware City Peach Pie.

As always, please respond in the comments if you have any questions or suggestions.  


Sunday
Home made stuffed shells in Marinara sauce topped with fresh mozzarella and julienned basil.  Garlic bread on the side.  Dessert is fresh Delaware City Peach Pie

Monday
Chicken quesadillas on pan fried flat breads served with fresh salsa, sour cream, and guacamole and tortilla chips on the side.

Tuesday
Flank steak tacos in the crockpot served with fresh salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.

Wednesday
Deli night served with oven-warmed potato chips and creamy barbecue dip

Thursday
London broil in the crock pot served with mashed potatoes and dinner rolls

Friday
Grilled Pork chops served with twice baked potatoes and fresh green beans

Saturday
Chipotle grilled chicken, grilled zucchini, and fluffy white rice

It's a crisis of WiFi...

September 25, 2014

It's all about the WiFi

My babies spending some quality "family time" together a few years back

We’re having a crisis of WiFi at our house, and I’m afraid the kids might not make it through.  While I admit, the following story might not have unfolded exactly like this, perception is a funny thing.  If you ask me, this is how it all went down.

As I’ve said before, I have children coming out of my ears.  Two upstairs, two downstairs.  There are kids just about everywhere in my house!  Thankfully,  I'm usually able to sit for a bit after dinner and get lost in internet travels on my phone while I wait for the dishwasher to finish up.  Lately that's not been possible.

Over the past few weeks, we've had problems with our Wifi dropping connections randomly, and my peaceful evenings are when it seems to strike the most.  Just the other day, I was sitting on the couch blissfully surfing away while my husband was working on his laptop.  Out of the blue, my connection dropped.  As always, his laptop was unaffected.  My belief is that his WiFi is piped in by the government or some clandestine black ops agency no one knows about because he never seems to have these problems.

Within seconds of my dropped connection, I heard the thundering THUMP-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM BOOM of my 16 year-old, Ryan, stomping down the stairs.  As he flings himself onto the couch next to me and moans,

"MOMMMM, CAN'T YOU CALL THEM AND HAVE THEM RESET OUR MODEM AGAINNN?  THIS IS FREAKIN RIDICULOUSSSS!  THIS IS HAPPENING ALLLLL THE TIME!  WHAT DID THEY DO WHEN THEY CAME HERE TO FIX THIS THE OTHER DAYYY?" 

By the way, this is exactly how he sounds to me.  I swear everything that child says is in all caps.  As I'm processing what he said and deciding how to respond,  I hear the quick-step rhythm of 4 feet.  This time, coming up from below.

“so um yeah the wifi keeps going out and did you ever find out what was going on with this do we need to call them to come out to the house again I need wifi for homework and by the way we need to go to the mall to get a new outfit for career day at school and I forgot to tell you I'm staying after school again tomorrow so I will need a ride home”.

This is coming from the Amanda sisters.  They either talk in unison or finish each other’s sentences like some kind of crazy twin-speak.  They remind me of the LGMs (little green men) from Toy Story because they are always of one mind.  Not gonna lie.  It's a little creepy.  The only difference is the LGMs weren't teenage girls so they were much less...we'll say scary.  Everything the girls say is usually fast, unpunctuated, mumbled and of the utmost importance.
A full five minutes later my baby Austin, also known as Joe Cool, saunters into the room like a silent ninja.

“Sooooo.  Are ya watchin’ TV”?

This one always has to have an ice breaker.  He never just comes clean with what’s on his mind.  I can't count the number of times he's told me that he liked the outfit I wore to work and then slipped in, "by the way do you know what's for dinner?"

He lowers the boom a little quicker than normal and says,

“I’m sure you probably know this, but my WiFi went out a little while ago.  So I guess we're paying for it, just not getting it, right?"

He's trying to appeal to my logical, fiscally responsible side.  The force is strong in that one.

Old Fashioned Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

September 23, 2014

Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup


Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

There is no better way to welcome Autumn than with a nice hot bowl of homemade soup.  So in honor of the first day of Fall today, I made a big pot of this comforting, hearty soup.  The thing that makes this such a great recipe to fall back on (no pun intended) is the simple list of ingredients.  I almost always have these staples on hand and can throw it all together with very little effort.


Ingredients for Chicken Noodle Soup





All you need is some chicken, broth, noodles, and a handful of onion, carrots, celery, parsley, and rosemary.  That's it.  Yes, I'm serious.  Ok, I'm done talking to myself now.










Sautée Mirepoix in a stockpot with butter




Start with the veggies.  These three veggies, when used together are famous.  They are referred to as a Mirepoix. 

I threw about 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter (not shown in photo) in the stockpot and let it get bubbly before adding in the onions and sautéeing for about 3 minutes over medium heat.   I added the celery and let that sautée for a few minutes before finally throwing in the carrots.








Chicken and broth added to stockpot
Once the mirepoix has sautéed to the point where the onions and celery are translucent, add the chicken to the pot and top with the broth followed by enough water cover the chicken.  

Add some crushed black pepper, fresh parsley and a small amount of finely chopped rosemary.  Bring the chicken to a boil for about 5-10 minutes, then simmer, covered, until chicken is tender (about an hour or so).

Remove the chicken from the stockpot and set aside to cool.  Allow the broth to continue to simmer on lowest setting covered.

When chicken is cool, pull off bone and and cut into bite-size chunks.  Add the meat back into the stockpot.

Just about 10 minutes before you're ready to serve, bring broth back up to a boil and add noodles to stockpot.  Allow to boil over medium low heat for about 10 minutes.  If you let it sit too long with the noodles in it - even if the heat is turned off, the noodles loose their form and become mushy, so don't do that.  

Oh yeah one last thing...serve this with fresh French baguette warm from the oven.  It is the perfect accompaniment to this soup.  You'll be glad you did.



Recipe For Old Fashioned Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup


Ingredients
4 large bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
2 large onions, finely chopped
4 small stalks of celery, finely chopped
2 large carrots julienned, coarsely
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 32 oz box of chicken broth
cracked black pepper, to taste


Directions
1.  Add butter to large stockpot and heat over medium until it gets bubbly.  Add onions followed by celery, followed by carrots and sautée until translucent.  

2.  Add chicken and broth to the pot followed by enough water cover the chicken.  Add crushed black pepper, fresh parsley chopped rosemary.  

3.  Bring the chicken to a boil for about 5-10 minutes, then simmer, covered, until chicken is tender (about an hour or so).

4.  Remove the chicken from the stockpot and set aside to cool.  Allow the broth to continue to simmer on lowest setting covered.  When chicken is cool, pull off bone and and cut into bite-size chunks.  Add the meat back into the stockpot.

5. About 10 minutes before you're ready to serve, bring broth back up to a boil and add noodles to stockpot.  Allow to boil over medium low heat for about 10 minutes



Easy Weekly Family Dinner Menu / Meal Plan Week 2

September 22, 2014

This week in Mrs. Kane's Kitchen...


While I didn't get this posted as early as I had hoped to, here is the next installment of family dinner ideas.   Here in Delaware, the weather is just on the edge of turning into full-blown Autumn, and I am trying to push it right over the edge with a few cool weather favorites mixed in with the standard weeknight fare.


Sunday
Homemade beef stew,  a fresh French baguette, and blueberry coffee cake

Monday
Savory roasted chicken breasts, green beans, apple-sausage dressing, and dinner rolls

Tuesday
Grilled sliders served with thinly sliced red onions, shredded lettuce, pickles, and hand cut french fries.  These fries are labor intensive, but oh-so-worth the effort!  

Wednesday
~ Survivor Night!~

Thursday
Garlic and herb roasted pork loin served with the Pioneer Woman's Crash Potatoes

Friday
Chicago style grilled hot dogs, fresh fruit, and potato chips

Saturday
Soup and sandwiches

The Best Smelling Homemade Laundry Soap / Detergent

September 12, 2014

The Best Smelling Homemade Laundry Soap / Detergent


Homemade laundry soap with scent beads
Laundry Soap can get expensive in a house with four children, two of whom are teenage girls.  The only people on earth who make more laundry than teenage girls are teenage boys and I have one of those, (as well as a preteen) too.  Needless to say, we go through a lot of laundry detergent.

I've tried the generic brands as well as the store brands but they just don't do it for me.  I'm addicted to the fresh fragrance of clean clothes, and those cheaper brands just don't have any fragrance in my opinion once things come out of the dryer. 

So about a year ago my sister and best friend, Tiff turned me on to her version of homemade laundry detergent.  While I loved it, and it's fragrance, I've upped some things, and left out others out completely to optimize it to my taste,  but I will forever be grateful to her because I estimate she has saved me over $100 in the past year.  The recipe below is my adapted recipe, and will fits nicely into a 5-gallon bucket (available at Lowe's or Home Depot) 

When I make this, I buy double the ingredients and make two 5-gallon buckets FULL.  As I said, we do a lot of laundry!  Although we only use about 1/2 cup per load, we still go through both buckets every five months.

Home-made laundry soap
1 - 4lb 12oz. box Borax
2 - 3lb 7oz box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1 - 3lb box Oxyclean
1 - 4lb box Baking Soda
5-  bottles Downey Unstoppables Scent Boosters

Directions:
Open all boxes/bottles and pour half of each into a large container.  Mix thoroughly with a large wooden spoon.  Empty remainder of boxes/bottles and mix thoroughly once again.

Note:  It is very difficult to mix powders at these quantities.  I typically do this outside so I don't get any powder on the floor, and mixing each half separately helps makes it a little easier.  If you dump everything in at once, it's not likely that you'll be able to get to the bottom of the container and blend the ingredients well.

Also, I usually make each batch with matching scent booster beads - but this past time, I combined blue and pink ones, and I just love the layered scent effect it's giving our laundry.  Try it sometime!



The Perfect Deep Dish Apple Pie

September 8, 2014

Deep Dish Apple Pie (recipe below)



I'm really in the mood for Autumn to hurry up and get here, so I'm trying to encourage it by doing Autumn-y things like putting out my fall linens ad decorations in the dining room and baking Apple Pie.

This Apple pie is so easy to make and tastes delicious - equal parts tart and sweet with the perfect balance of cinnamon.

Truth be told, I never use a recipe for pies of any kind - I just throw it all together and hope for the best.  I admit that this is not the best approach.  While most turn out just fine, I have had my share of soupy pies.

The trick of it all is to trust yourself and know how it's supposed to look at the various stages.

Step one: is always start with fresh apples.   I prefer the tartness of Granny Smith for my pies, but I have been known to throw any kind of apple into my pies if they're on hand.

I slice each apple off of the core into about 4 large pieces then peel the pieces. I feel like they're easier to handle when they're in pieces that way.

After all the pieces are peeled, I cut each piece into slices that are around 1/2" wide and put them in a large bowl.

Once all the apples are sliced in the bowl, I dump sugar on them, followed by cinnamon until it looks right (don't worry! the actual recipe is going to follow).

When the sugar/cinnamon ratio is right, I add flour until it appears a bit sticky.  If you get this part right, you won't have a watery pie.
                                     



  

Step 2:  For this pie, I used refrigerated pie crusts.  Roll the bottom crust out to the point it is bigger than the pie plate you plan to use and then transfer it into the pie plate allowing it to hang over the edges.

Poke the bottom crust with the tines of a fork and add the apples and a few chunks of butter.  Don't worry if the apples are mounded up in the center because they will melt down in the oven.

You can either add strips to the top for a woven lattice effect or simple add the entire top whole and cut slits in it.  The important part is to allow them to hang over the edges.  Don't try to trim it or make it even.  You'll clean it up in the next step.
Step 3:  Take all the crust that is hanging over the edges and fold it under.  Pinch around the edges with your thumb and finger to create the fluted effect shown to the left.

Before putting it into the oven, I add some crust protectors so the crust doesn't burn.  

Pop it into a preheated oven (on a cookie sheet in case it bubbles over) at 350F and bake it.  I usually remove the crust guards after about 30 minutes, and then return it to the oven until it begins to smell good and I can see at least a little bubbling.
This is the end result.  Good luck - and if you decide to try it, or if you have any questions, please be sure to let me know!

Deep Dish Apple Pie Recipe
This makes a 10" pie

Ingredients
8-10 granny smith apples peeled and sliced
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons butter cut into chunks
1 package prepared pie crust 

Step 1
Add sliced apples into a large bowl.   Add sugar and cinnamon and fold it all together carefully until it's well mixed.  Sprinkle the flour in and again fold carefully until well mixed.

Step 2
Roll bottom crust into pie pan, pierce with a fork.  Transfer apples into bottom crust and top with butter chunks .  Place top crust on pie.

Step 3
Bake at 350F for 45-60 minutes or until crust is golden brown and apples are soft.  (If you watch for bubbling within the syrupy part of the pie you won't go wrong).  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.








Easy Weekly Family Dinner Menu / Meal Plan Week 1

September 7, 2014


This week in Mrs. Kane's Kitchen...

One of the things I do to keep my sanity with this big family is to plan my menu a week ahead of time.  Honestly, between field hockey, football, orthodontist appointments, and work there is no time for floundering around trying to figure out what to eat.  Not to mention that the kids don't want to hear how busy your life is.  They just want dinner on the table.  The alternative to having a plan is to have quick junk food or fast food - something I hate to do.  We call convenience foods and fast food plastic food in my house because of all the chemicals, stabilizers, and preservatives in it.  Have you ever seen photos of a McDonalds hamburger and fries that have been left out for years?  It looks the same - because it's fake food!

When I create my menu each week, I start with a digital photo-frame that has something to do with the season or a birthday we're celebrating.  In the frame I write the days of the week and their corresponding date.  I also add any sports activities and appointments.  When I print it out, it goes into a modified frame I bought from the dollar store (see photo above).  I removed the glass, and velcroed it to the side of my refrigerator.  Each week a new menu goes in front of the old one.  I never thought the kids would care about this one way or the other.  After all, I'm using this as a tool to help me be prepared - but they love it!  They can't wait to see whats coming when I post it each Sunday and will actually cheer if one of their favorite meals is coming up in the week.  So it ended up being a win-win for us.

A few last comments about my menus are 1.  The disclaimer.  I have a disclaimer printed right on the top of each and every menu.  It reads - Please note:  All menu items are subject to change without notice.  I cannot even imagine the chaos that would ensue without the disclaimer.  What?  You promised that we were having fried chicken on Tuesday!  Followed by all sorts of attitudes and pouts.  Now, all I have to do is wave a finger at my disclaimer, and it takes all the steam out of their revolt.  2.  I have at least one and often two "Survivor Nights".  These are nights where leftovers are encouraged, but I tell them to imagine they were on a deserted island.  What could they cobble together to make a meal?  This is a night for them to stretch their own skills and learn some independence too.  I guess I should mention that the kids absolutely hate Survivor nights.  They're used to fresh home-cooking and aren't shy about complaining.   I tell them that they're probably getting more home-cooked meals than any else they know so a night or two each week shouldn't kill them.  So far, they're not buying it.

Sunday
Linguine with home-made marinara sauce, and meatballs.  Served with crusty garlic bread.  Deep-dish apple pie for dessert.  (I'll link the recipe here when it's complete.)

Monday
Marinated, grilled pork chops served & baked potatoes served with sour cream and fresh chives

Tuesday
Crock pot Beef fajitas, onions and peppers served with warmed tortillas, tostada chips, and home-made salsa

Wednesday
~ Survivor night ~

Thursday
Mango-Jalepeno grilled chicken served with fluffy white rice

Friday
Home-made pizza with choice of toppings:  cheese, pepperoni, Italian sausage crumbles and/or bacon

Saturday
~ Survivor night ~

Buttermilk Bundt Cake with Salted Caramel Glaze

September 6, 2014

Buttermilk Bundt Cake with Salted Caramel Glaze


Oh my god!  This cake is so good.  I was looking for an easy "go-to" cake recipe that didn't come from a box, but used things I often have on hand.  This cake fits that bill perfectly.

The best thing about this recipe is that you can change it in so many ways and completely alter the outcome.  For instance, you can substitute almond extract for the vanilla for an amazing almond cake.  I have also added lemon extract and some lemon zest to the vanilla when I want to focus on the more citrusy flavors.

I have substituted sour cream and 1% milk for the buttermilk when I didn't have any on hand, and it still came out delicious.  You're only limited to your own imagination here, so go wild!

I have to say, that the above photo was my first attempt at this cake, and I allowed the glaze to cool off too much before putting it on the cake - it turns out much nicer when the glaze is really warm.  I also didn't know I was going to blog this photo initially, but I decided to just go for it.

If anyone out there tries this, please let me know how it turns out!

Buttermilk Bundt Cake
1 cup unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 baking soda
1/2 teaspoons flaky sea salt
1 cup buttermilk

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Generously butter and flour a Bundt pan (cooking spray doesn't work for me with this cake and it ends up sticking).
  2. In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy (about 3 minutes), scraping bowl down as necessary.
  3. Beat in eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each egg before moving on to the next.
  4. Beat in vanilla.
  5. In a separate medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk in at least 3 additions.
  7. Spread into the prepared Bundt pan and bake 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then invert on a rack.
Salted Caramel Glaze
4 tablespoons of butter, cubed
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Steps:
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the butter, brown sugar, and cream.  Bring this to a boil, stirring constantly.  
  2. Remove from heat and transfer to a medium bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment.  
  3. Sprinkle sea salt over the surface and turn mixer to moderately high (about 7 or 8) for about 2 minutes.
  4. Turn mixer off and add confectioner's sugar a little at a time, on very low until it is fully incorporated, scraping sides of bowl as necessary.  Once it is fully incorporated, turn back to moderately high for another 2 minutes.
  5. Drizzle this glaze - while still warm - over the cake.  Allow it to set up before serving
Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs