Saturday, August 17, 2013

Peach Tarte Tatin For A Cool Summer Evening

Pin It

Nothing could be simpler and more delicious than this peach tarte tatin.  It follows the same steps as its more famous sister, the apple tatin.  Enjoy it while you can.

There are lots of peach recipes on the blog, from peach crumb pie to peach chutney.  Check them out on the Master Recipe Index above.

The Sous Chef and I are going to take a few days off for a much needed rest from blogging.  You know she has issues pending, and so do I.  We will see you back here in the Fall.  Enjoy the rest of the Summer, if you can call it that. It's still raining here this weekend and it's cool.  We have the fireplace going.  It's the middle of August and this is the deep South.


Peach Tarte Tatin


6 Tablespoons butter
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
10 medium (about 3 3/4 pounds) slightly ripe peaches: peel, remove pit and cut in quarters
 Frozen puff pastry crust, thawed

 Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
• Heat the lemon juice, 1 cup sugar  and 6 tablespoons butter in a large iron or oven proof skillet over medium-high heat until the mixture boils.
• Place the peaches in the skillet and cook for 10 minutes. Carefully turn peaches over; cook 8 to 12 minutes longer until syrup is caramelized and thickened. (If peaches are really ripe, reduce cooking time.
• Place pastry on top of peaches, fold dough under to form a rim around edge of peaches. Cut 4 to 6 small slits in dough so steam can escape. Bake for approximately 25 minutes — until crust is golden.
• When tart is done, place large platter over top of tart. Quickly turn skillet upside down on the serving plate. Serve with vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream (with a dash of Bourbon).

All photos Lindaraxa

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Spiedini D'Agnello...Grilled Lamb Skewers

Pin It

We finally had a Friday night without thunder and rain, perfect for grilling these lamb kebabs I have been dreaming about.  The recipe comes from one of the only food magazines I still subscribe to, La Cucina Italiana.  If you are looking for authentic Italian dishes, this is where you will find them.

Spiedini is the Italian word for skewers and agnello is, of course, lamb.  I have to confess I have never made lamb skewers, although I have eaten them a couple of times and loved them.  The problem is that you must first buy a leg of lamb.  That is a major proposition but one that is easily justified.  A leg of lamb can be expensive and, if you are going to buy one,  it better be for a special occasion, like Christmas.  Well, I have news for you. I have done the math and it is no more expensive than a couple of steaks. The small leg I found was about 3 lbs, bone in,  and at $7.62/lbs came to approximately $22.00.  I used half and froze the rest for another day.   Four or five generous skewers can be made out of this leg for $6.00 a head, much less than the price of a good steak.

My daughter, who never raves about my cooking anymore, oohed and aahed throughout the entire meal.  I splurged further and accompanied with saffron rice and red peppers.  A little curry would have been great, but you know how she feels about curry.  We had a leftover artichoke which we marinaded in a vinaigrette sauce and grilled before the kebabs.  A peach crumble for dessert would have been nice at this time of the year but we are trying to be good and cut back on sweets.  Boring.....


One last thing, make sure you use yellow peppers.  They are milder and go best with the lamb.  If you must, orange or red are okay, but green ones are too strong.

As I am finishing this post, it is thundering again.  It figures, it is Saturday afternoon.  I'm so glad we had those skewers last night.

Spiedini d'Agnello
Lamb Skewers
Serves 4


1 3 lbs boneless leg of lamb, trimmed and cut in 1 inch pieces
Olive oil
Fresh rosemary
A few drops of Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and Pepper

Pancetta or slab bacon cut in 1 inch pieces (about 32 pieces)
2 to 3 Yellow Peppers
Cherry or grape tomatoes (optional)


Have the butcher debone the leg.  I didn't think of it at the time and now I'm kicking myself.  Make a good marinade of olive oil, plenty of fresh rosemary, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper.  The longer they marinade the better.  Wrap them in tinfoil and forget about them.

When ready to grill, alternate lamb, pancetta or bacon, and peppers.  I started with a tomato which takes less time to grill, and put one on each end.  Make sure you have at least five pieces of lamb in each skewer,   even if you have to break the pattern a bit.

Light your grill to medium high and cook the skewers in lightly oiled grill rack, turning occasionally, for 6 or 8 minutes for medium rare.  Only cover them if using a gas grill.  When ready, transfer to a plate and let rest about 5 minutes.  Enjoy!

Adapted from La Cucina Italiana magazine

Monday, August 5, 2013

Cheesy Summer Squash Casserole

Pin It

I know I have been a bit derelict in my summer cooking this year but we have had so much rain lately that outdoor meals have been few and far between.  Whatever grilling we have done has been quick and simple,  for fear of being rained out.

Although this casserole is somewhat similar to mine, it is simpler and quicker and perfect for a midweek meal.  I have changed the oil to olive oil and added the chopped red peppers.  You can substitute a small can of pimientos. The bake time has been increased to 30 minutes and I suggest that if it is not browning, like mine didn't, raise the temperature to 375 during the last 10 minutes.  Remember all ovens are different, so check after 20 minutes.

Serves 6 - to 8


1 tablespoon olive oil

6 medium yellow summer squash, thinly sliced

1 large Vidalia onion, thinly sliced

1/2 large red pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar

1/2 cup sour cream

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 sleeve crackers, crushed medium to fine (recommended: Ritz)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the squash, onion, red peppers and butter until soft. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan, Cheddar, and sour cream. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Place in the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle the cracker crumbs evenly over the top. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden and bubbly.

Adapted from Paula Deen
 Reprise from My Kitchen By the Lake, July 2010

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The View From My The Sous Chef

Pin It

Things are going amok at Lindaraxa's so I've decided to take matters in hand.  To begin with, there is a cat in the house.  Not only that, she is the spitting feline cat version of me.  My Mom and my sister both think she is cool.  I think she is arrogant, cocky and catty.   She has taken over the house from front door to  back porch.  Now she is lying on the floor in Mom's study pretending to help with the blog.  Ha!

This is the one I'm stuck with

It all started last week.  Well, you know the story.  Two cats occupying our front door, my gateway to freedom! Everything has changed now, all for the worse.  Cats rule the front, we puppies are delegated to the back.  But we were here first.  I thought we had seniority, whatever that means.  Everything now is "Here Coco", "Cute Coco", "Come Coco".  Coco? Whoever thought of that stupid name! Yikes.

I'm so depressed I just can't get out of bed

I have been the lady I'm not supposed to be.  I did try to chase her but she is fast...Boy is she fast.  She has been spending lots of time going around the house and snooping around.  I think she is staking out some safe hiding spots   Yesterday she got on top of Mom's dining room table.  Can you imagine if I had done that! Mom just smiled and said "Cute Coco" and picked her off the table.  Cute Coco....wait til Madame Mere hears about that.  I think she will be a good ally.  If only I knew how to use the phone.  What's an area code?

My new chilling out place

 On top of that she has driven off the yard all my favorite things to chase.  Remember the bunnies who ate Mom's hostas? Not a one in sight.   I wonder where the family in the front bushes relocated to.  Maybe that's where I should go.  I know! I will escape for a couple of hours and pretend I am lost.  Make them sweat it out and miss me.  Lily is no help.  She's a wimp, a softie and a traitor, just like Mom.  She grew up with a kitty so she is perturbed.  Her name was Willow and she was here when I arrived.  I hated Willow but I pretended to like her for my big sister's sake.  I adore my two legged sister, she is so-o-o-o cool.

Happier Times

For awhile there I thought it was all temporary and things would get back to normal in no time.  Mom hates cats.  She used to be our biggest ally.  But things have changed.  Mom has changed.  I think she's getting old and softie.  Yesterday she went to Petsmart and came back with two cat collars, one for day and another with sparkly things for night.   I knew then I was a dead Westie.  She didn't even take me and I love to go to Petsmart with her.  I could have shown her where the kitty stuff was...way in a corner in back, about a quarter of the dogs stuff.  Even the fish have a bigger area. That's how high Petsmart thinks of cats.  We take up half the store.  And we have Grooming and Obedience School all to ourselves.  Ever heard of Obedience School for Cats? They are useless and docile and boring.  So they catch mice...big deal.  Dogs Rule!

My favorite Christmas sweater in Reggie D Retail Red

But she can't compete with me in the wardrobe area.  I have more collars than she does, at least one for every season of the year;  plus activity collars, like my favorite swimming collar.  Oh, and I have a coat for winter and a raincoat for rainy days, in plaid and red .  But she has a bell on her collar.  Boy is that annoying.  At least I know where she is.  Wait til Mom goes out...Chase is on!

Here she is with that damn bell

So dear readers, I am appealing to you to intervene on my behalf for I don't know how much longer I can keep on pretending.  Keep in mind my nature is to chase and torment cats, squirrels and anything that moves fast.  That's what we were bred for.  A cat's worst nightmare, not the other way around.  And remember who picks those recipes you like so much.  And who nixes the bad ones.  And boy, does she have bummers.  Chicken livers (yuck). Bet the cat will encourage her to do more of those....and there goes the blog, and my reputation.

I just ignore her...maybe she'll go poof!

I know our readers will probably be mad about getting a cat story instead of a recipe; but until things change I have no alternative but to go on strike.  How can I think of food and new recipes when my world has been turned upside down by a cat!  This cat!

Please help restore the honor of a proud West Highland White Terrier...

Occupy Lindaraxa and make her get rid of that cat! 

Pin It button on image hover