Monday, August 31, 2009

Hatch Chile Week - Day Two: Hatch Mac'n Cheese

To whet your appetite today, some Chile Facts:

* One fresh medium-sized green chile pod has as much Vitamin C as six oranges.
* One teaspoon of dried red chile powder has the daily requirements of Vitamin A.
* Hot chile peppers burn calories by triggering a thermodynamic burn in the body, which speeds up the metabolism.
* Teas & lozenges are made with chile peppers for the treatment of a sore throat.
* Capsaicinoids, the chemical that make chile peppers hot, are used in muscle patches for sore and aching muscles.
* Chile peppers are relatives of tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants, all belonging to the nightshade family.
* The color extracted from very red chile pepper pods, oleoresin, is used in everything from lipstick to processed meats.
* There are 26 known species of chile pepper, five of which are domesticated.
Adapted from the New Mexico Chile Institutes’ “Chile Pepper Facts”& located on the Hatch Valley Chamber of Commerce Website
The last few Friday nights I have played the lucky (and willing) hostess for dinner for my family, this past Friday featured a Hatch Chile Macaroni and Cheese, a very simple (yet tasty) cucumber and tomato salad and a Ranch Pan Fried Chicken. The Mac and Cheese was met with resounding approval, to the tone of many second helpings around the table and will definitely be making many appearance on my menus.

Hatch Mac

1 1/2 Sticks Butter
3 Cups Milk
1 Tsp Garlic
1/2 Cup Minced Onion
1/2 Cups Flour
1 Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Nutmeg
2 Tsp Black Pepper
2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
6 Cups Monterrey Jack Cheese
3 Roasted, Chopped, Seeded and Rinsed Hatch Chiles
1 Lb Elbow Macaroni
6 Slices Cooked Bacon, Chopped
1/2 Cup Bread Crumbs
1 Tsp Olive Oil

1. Saute onion and garlic in a tsp of olive oil in a small skillet until onion is tender.
2. Heat milk over medium high in a sauce pan. While milk is heating, heat butter in a large skillet. When butter begins to bubble, add flour, garlic and onion, whisk until well incorporated.
3. Pour milk into butter, whisk until thick.
4. Remove from heat and season with black pepper, cayenne pepper, nutmeg and salt. Add 5 1/2 cups cheese and the chopped Hatch Chile and mix well.
5. Boil pasta until al dente. Preheat oven to 375.
6. Spray 9x13 casserole pan with vegetable oil. Place drained pasta in pan then pour cheese sauce over the top.
7. Sprinkle pasta mix with bread crumbs, bacon pieces and remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
8. Bake until brown and bubbling, approx. 30 minutes.

Not only did we have the delicious Hatch Mac but I got to use some very tasty gifts sent to me by Foodbuzz, a sampling of Emeril's Essence, Emeril's Chicken Seasoning, Emeril's Steak Seasoning and Emeril's 'Kicked Up Mustard.' This time I only used the chicken seasoning but it sure added a delicious 'kick' to our meal!

Ranch Pan-Fried Chicken
3 Chicken Breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
1 Cup Flour
1 Tbsp Bread Crumbs
2 Tbsp Emeril's Chicken Seasoning
1 Package Dry Ranch Dressing Mix
3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

1. Mix flour, bread crumbs, Emeril's and ranch mix. Heat large skillet with oil over medium-high heat.
2. Dredge chicken in flour mixture.
3. Cook chicken in pan until golden brown on both sides.

If you've enjoyed the looks of this cheesy-hatch dish, you'll really look forward to the entries Gloria Chadwick will get for her Hatch Chile Recipe Contest!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hatch Chile Week - Day One: Hatch 'al Pastor'

Each day this week I will be posting a recipe featuring Hatch Chiles, the delicious tasty treat seems to be all the buzz in the blogosphere right now, as evidenced by Gloria Chadwick's newest blog Hatch Heaven and her very cool Hatch-inspired contest,the proliferation of Hatch recipes you can find on sites like Foodbuzz and of course the presence of these beautiful chiles in local stores and on menus. I'm a lucky gal, being located in Texas means that New Mexico's finest chiles are close at hand, a local grocery chain (HEB/Central Market) and even one of my favorite Tex-Mex haunts celebrate Hatch Chile Festival as if we were actually in Hatch!

Each year over Labor Day weekend the residents of Hatch, NM celebrate these delicious peppers with their annual Hatch Chile Festival. The first harvest typically begins at the end of July and farmers are able to continue to produce the peppers until the first frost, Labor Day provides a great long-weekend to celebrate the spicy of the local variety of peppers.

"Born from an extension of the Santa Fe Railroad Company in 1880, Hatch, New Mexico, began as an adobe post office and a railroad flag station. Named after General Edward Hatch, Commander of the Southwest military, the town grew until a flood in 1921 destroyed many of the adobe buildings constructed of earth and wood.
The village rebuilt, and continues to prosper as an agricultural community to this day." - Hatch Valley Chamber of Commerce website
For a town that claims to only have 1,600 residents they certainly are making a name for themselves!

To kick off my week of Hatch Chile Recipes I offer Hatch 'al Pastor' - I am cheating (or being very good, depends on how you look at this) because I am repurposing the leftovers from my Pineapple-Jalapeno Pork Tenderloin as a part of this recipe. If you don't have the tenderloin leftovers that's ok, this could easily be made with some freshly cooked cubed pork tenderloin, thinly sliced and chopped boneless tenderloin or chopped pork shoulder roast.

Hatch 'al Pastor'

3 Cups Cubed Jalapeno-Pineapple Pork Tenderloin (or comparable pork that has been cooked and seasoned with salt and pepper)
1 Can Crushed Pineapple
3 Roasted, Rinsed, Seeded and Chopped Hatch Chiles
A Handful of Freshly Chopped Cilantro (for garnish)
2 Tsp Chili Powder
1/4 Cup Diced Red Onion (for garnish)
Corn Tortillas
Fennel Slaw (to serve alongside the tacos)

1. Pour juice from pineapple into a skillet, add chili powder and hatch peppers. Saute peppers for a minute, add pork.
2. Once pork is coated thoroughly with juices and seasoning, remove from heat.
3. Place in tacos (be careful as too much of the juice will cause your tortillas to break apart).

Fennel Slaw
2 Cups Thinly Sliced Fresh Fennel Bulb
1 1/2 Cups Thinly Sliced Red Onion
2 Medium Carrots Cut into Match-stick size strips
1/2 Cups Chopped Cilantro
1/4 Cup Sherry Vinegar
1 Tsp Sugar
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Tsp Tajin Calsico Seasoning (con limon)
1 Tsp Ground Cumin
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Black Pepper

1. Placed sliced fennel, onion, carrot and cilantro in a large salad bowl.
2. Mix vinegar, sugar, olive oil, Tajin, cumin, salt and pepper together, pour over salad.
3. Refrigerate at least an hour, toss salad prior to serving to ensure even coverage of the dressing.

This is a pretty low-maintenance dinner but it's a tasty way to kick off the week!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Two for the price of one

I'm trying to post up a few things before I start off my week of Hatch (starting tomorrow hopefully), just some things that I have sitting around in the archives of dishes that I want to post about. The first is a pork tenderloin that was part of the September 09 bon appetit, I have to admit, the temperatures and timing for cooking made me skeptical but this was one o the tastiest, most moist pieces of tenderloin I've made in a long time, plus (big bonus) there were enough left overs to pull together into a really yummy hatch chile taco dish!


1 cup pineapple juice, divided
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped seeded red jalapeño chiles
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 3/4-pound pork tenderloins
Chopped fresh cilantro


1. Preheat oven to 500°F. Bring 3/4 cup pineapple juice and sugar to boil in heavy large saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cover; boil until syrup is deep brown, checking frequently to prevent burning, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Immediately swirl in remaining 1/4 cup pineapple juice, chiles, and allspice. When bubbling stops, whisk in lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Pour 1/4 cup glaze into small bowl and reserve.
2. Line baking sheet with foil; place rack in center of sheet. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper; place on rack. Brush with glaze from saucepan. Roast until thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 145°F, brushing occasionally with glaze from saucepan, about 15 minutes. Slice pork. Drizzle with reserved glaze and sprinkle with cilantro.

I can't recommend this enough, the tenderloin was delicious, I pulled this together on a week night and just served it with some roasted Yukon gold potatoes.

My second (completely unrelated) recipe of the day is sinfully delicious, a chocolate chip-cherry cookie bar! Inspired by a chocolate-chip oatmeal cookie with dried cherries that is listed in the same issue of bon appetit (on the same page no less!) this cookie bar was amazing if I do say so myself. I had dinner for the family at my house last night and served this as dessert, today it was augmented by my new favorite ice cream, HEB's Toasted Coconut, and is as tasty as ever.


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups (6-oz. pkg.) Tart Cherries
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips


1. Preheat oven to 375° F.

2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and cherries.

3. Grease a 9 x 13 pan. Spread dough into pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.

Make a pan of these tonight and watch them disappear!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Comfort in a tomato sauce

Sometimes a long and arduous day at work can be soothed by a good glass of wine, sometimes by the presence of friends and family and sometimes by the cooking (and eating) of a homemade delicious comfort food. Towards the end of a month (and more so at the end of a quarter) things kick into high-stress mode at my office, deadlines seem to be 'yesterday', everyone seems a little frayed and generally things are a little edgy. My respite is coming home and cooking, even if I have to work after hours from home having a hot meal and taking the time to prepare it seems to center me. As the end of August approaches I have started feeling that tension again, it may be a thousand degrees outside here in Austin but spaghetti and steaming hot meatballs sounded so good to me I just couldn't resist!

Turkey Meatballs & Super Veggie Sauce

1/2 Lb Ground Turkey
1/2 Lb Lean Italian Sausage (pork)
2 Tbsp Freshly Chopped Flat Parsley
1 Clove Minced Garlic
1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
1/4 Cup Romano Cheese
1/4 Cup Bread Crumbs

3 Tsp Olive Oil
2 Cups Chopped Onion
1 Large Red Bell Pepper, Chopped
1 Large Yellow Bell Pepper, Chopped
1 Small Package Mushrooms, Sliced
1 Clove Minced Garlic
1/2 Cup Red Wine
1 28 oz can Whole Peeled Tomatoes, undrained, halved or quartered

1. Mix meatball ingredients together in a bowl. Wet your hand, then form mixture into appx 20 meatballs (2tbsp each), depending on size you may have a different amount.
2. Heat oven to 350 F, place meatballs in a large glass baking dish and bake until browned (appx 30-45 minutes).
3. Add oil to pan, then put onion, bell pepper, mushroom and garlic into the pan. Cook until tender, stirring often. Add wine, cook until almost completely dissolved.
4. Add tomatoes and meatballs; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened.
5. Pour sauce over individual servings of noodles, top with cheese.Because the meatballs cook in the oven I had time to do some work on the side but still got to enjoy a delicious home cooked meal. Now, if I can just survive through the 31st things will be good!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mom's B-Day

August 3 was my mother's birthday (yup this post is a bit belated), for the past few years I've made a point to cook whatever she requests for her because for the last twenty something years she's done the same for me. This year was no exception, actually it was quite the homecoming of sorts since it was the first time in five years that mom, dad, my sister and I have all be in the same country for her birthday.

Mom has always liked the Penne Rustica at Macaroni Grill, who can blame her, shrimp, prosciutto, cream sauce...damn what a way to serve pasta! So this year she requested that I make a pasta dish similar to Penne Rustica, so I set to work...yes there are a few short cuts in here, I didn't make my own alfredo sauce, but I did substantially improve on the store bought stuff!

Mom's Birthday Penne

1/2 Cup White Wine
2 Tbsp Butter
5 slices Pancetta
2 lbs Chicken Tenders
6 oz Mushrooms
6 oz Roasted Red Bell Pepper Strips (from jar)
8 oz Artichoke Hearts (from can)
Rosemary (for garnish)
12 oz Alfredo Sauce
1 tsp Cayenne
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Garlic Powder
Black Pepper
1 tsp White Pepper
1/2 lb White Penne
1/2 lb Red Penne
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
6 oz shredded romano cheese

1. Slice pancetta into small bite-sized pieces, saute until crisp in skillet. Remove from pan and set aside
2. Cut chicken tenders into thirds, saute in oil from pancetta and season with garlic powder, black pepper and salt. Remove chicken from skillet, place in bottom of a 13 x9 casserole dish with the pancetta.
2. In the same pan, sautee mushrooms in butter, until almost tender. Add sliced red bell pepper to skillet, saute 1 minute.
3. In a large sauce pan, add alfredo sauce, add white wine, mix until well combined. Season with nutmeg, white pepper, cayenne pepper and 1/4 cup of each of the cheeses. Allow to come up to a simmer.
4. While the sauce is simmering, boil pasta until al dente. Preheat oven to 350 F.
5. Drain pasta, place in casserole dish with meat, mix and add vegetables so they are evenly distributed. Pour alfredo sauce over the pasta, meat and vegetable mix. Sprinkle liberally with a mix of the romano and mozzarella cheeses.
6. Bake until brown and bubbling.

Mom loved my version of the Rustica. For dessert we had vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting! Happy Belated B-day to my Mom!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

As promised...

Here is the photo from the pita making excursion (yes I will totally be doing this again) and the recipe that went alongside pitas turned out a little smaller and denser than a typical pita but I liked that about them - I used them alongside food instead of as the sandwich bread that they seem to be best suited for from the grocery store. They were delicious when reheated in the toaster oven.

Skillet Chicken Souvlaki

* 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
* 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, thinly sliced
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1 1/2 cups vertically sliced onion (about 1 medium)
* 1 cup thinly sliced green bell pepper (about 1)
* 2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 cup grated English cucumber
* 1/4 cup 2% Greek-style yogurt (such as Fage)
* 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
* 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
* 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 4 (6-inch) whole-wheat soft pitas, cut in half
* 2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced

1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Add chicken to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until done. Remove from pan.

2. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 3 minutes. Add chicken, garlic, and oregano; cook 30 seconds.

3. Combine cucumber and next 6 ingredients (through 1/8 teaspoon salt). Serve chicken mixture with yogurt sauce, warmed pita, and tomato slices.

Salad: Combine 5 cups torn romaine lettuce, 1/3 cup sliced red onion, and 3 sliced pepperoncini peppers. Combine 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss with salad. Top with 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese and 3 tablespoons halved kalamata olives.

*Skillet Chicken Souvlaki ala Cooking Light's August 09 Issue

It was a great accompaniment to the pitas and it made some very tasty leftovers!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Confessions of a Top Chef Junkie...

My name is Lauren and I'm a Top Chef Addict, no I don't just watch the new episodes, I watch the old ones in marathon, I DVR it and watch it, I even have watched Top Chef Masters religiously, if it came out on DVD I'd probably buy it, oh and yes I really want the cookbook....some people have much more harmful addictions, I'll admit, but this one is pretty bad. To the point that I go in to work the next day and have discussions with co-workers/friends who are also addicts....yes, we are a strange lot. I've been sucked into my Wednesday night TV and haven't looked back, which may not be the best thing on the planet but I figure it's not that bad, right? Or is that what I tell myself because I'm an addict?

The worst thing about all of this is that it further inspires me to whip up things I might not need and certainly didn't plan on - like last weekend's Pita Bread. While watching some DVR'd Top Chef Masters I decided I wanted Greek food, which would be ok without pita but since I had the stuff for it...pita too.

1 package of yeast, or quick rising yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup lukewarm water

1. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until water is frothy.
2. Combine flour and salt in large bowl.
3. Make a small depression in the middle of flour and pour yeast water in depression.
4. Slowly add 1 cup of warm water, and stir with wooden spoon or rubber spatula until elastic.
5. Place dough on floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. When the dough is no longer stick and is smooth and elastic, it has been successfully kneaded.
6. Coat large bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl. Turn dough upside down so all of the dough is coated.
7. Allow to sit in a warm place for about 3 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
8. Once doubled, roll out in a rope, and pinch off 10-12 small pieces. Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 500 deg F. and make sure rack is at the very bottom of oven. Be sure to preheat your baking sheet also.
9. Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles. Each should be about 5-6 inches across and 1/4 inch thick.
10. Bake each circle for 4 minutes until the bread puffs up. Turn over and bake for 2 minutes.
11. Remove each pita with a spatula from the baking sheet and add additional pitas for baking.
12. Take spatula and gently push down puff. Immediately place in storage bags.

*Pictures will appear when I post the remainder of my Greek dinner...hopefully tomorrow.

Oh no, I didn't stop there, why stop baking with one item when you can whip together many more?? After the pita I dug around and found some unsweetened baking chocolate bars and pistachios, unsure of what I wanted to do with them, brownie cookies were born...

Pistachio Brownie Cookies

2 oz. (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter; more for the pan
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 oz. (1/3 cup) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
4 oz. (1 cup) chopped pistachios
1 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Position an oven rack on the center rung. Heat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment (or grease and flour the pan).
2. In a double boiler over simmering water, melt the butter and baking chocolate. Stir to combine; let cool. In an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium high 3 to 4 min. Take the bowl off the mixer. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and the vanilla; stir to combine. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Stir the flour mixture and the nuts and chocolate chips into the batter.
3. Spoon the batter onto the prepared baking sheet.
4. Bake the first until the cookies are puffed and cracked and the tops barely spring back when pressed, 8 to 10 min. The cracks should be moist but not wet. Cool the cookies on a wire rack.

*Mine seemed to have the best flavor when stored in the fridge, they were very fudgy and dense.

I can't help but to comment on my favorite show for a minute, if you watch it at all, did you see the last episode (not this week, but last week)? Wow - some major disparities in leadership style there (the re-run of last week is on right now which is prompting me to type this). I couldn't believe what a jerk Michael Chiarello looked like....yikes, tv can be a bit revealing, can't it? Ok - no more ranting for now, Top Chef Las Vegas is about to premier, and yes it needs my full attention.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Post-Move In Pantry Clean-out

As many who read my blog know, I am a very proud dog owner, until the parent's return from Mexico I watched over my own dog (Jack) and my parents dog (Molly). Now, post-move, Jack and I are the only ones. In the absence of his 'mommy' Molly, Jack has taken on a number of new habits....most quite silly in nature. Two of Jack's new favorite locations are today's feature photos...exhibit A, Jack ala master bedroom closet:

Exhibit B, Jack in the pink please excuse any dirty look to the chair, it's been around for quite sometime but for the last year or so it has been hidden by a denim slip cover (it's currently between slip covers) that left a mild blue tint to the corners:

You'd think that a recent move would mean I am starting off with bare cupboards, but you'd be wrong....I transported lots of spices, dry goods and a handful of freezer foods that I feel the need to use lately. SO, pasta seems to be the flavor of the hour, no seriously in the last six days I've eaten pasta probably five nights (some being leftovers). That's pretty unusual for me, but it's been a nice change of pace.

Tonight, inspired by fresh herbs and a recent Panna Cotta post on the Chef Fresco's blog I pulled together a Chicken Margharita Pasta and Panna Cotta with Honey Balsamic Vinegar.

Chicken Margharita Pasta

2 Cubed Chicken Breasts
3 Chopped Tomatoes
1 Clove Sliced Garlic
3 Tbsp Chopped Basil
Angel Hair Pasta
Olive Oil
5 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2.5 Tbsp Honey

1. Crisp garlic slices in olive oil. Remove from oil, set aside.
2. Saute chicken pieces with olive oil, salt and pepper. Boil pasta while chicken cooks.
3. Once chicken is cooked, toss chopped tomato and garlic with chicken, heat until tomato is just warm.
4. In small sauce pan, reduce vinegar and honey together until syrupy (about 3-5 minutes).
5. Drain pasta. Set serving size of pasta on plate, layer chicken, tomato and garlic over the pasta. Drizzle vinegar reduction over the top then garnish with basil.

Panna Cotta
1 Envelope Unflavored Gelatin
1/4 Cup Cold Water
1/4 Cup Sugar
2 Cup Whipping Cream
2/3 Cup Half and Half
1/3 Cup Sour Cream
1/3 Cup Berries
Honey-Balsamic Vinegar Reduction (see instructions below)

1. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small saucepan and let stand 3 to 4 minutes; stir in sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar and gelatin are dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Whisk whipping cream, half and half and sour cream together until smooth in a small bowl; whisk in gelatin mixture. Pour mixture into 6 stemmed glasses or small bowls. Regigerate until set, 3 to 4 hours.
3. Spoon berries on top of Panna Cotta and drizzle with Honey-Balsamic Vinegar Reduction.

Honey-Balsamic Vinegar Reduction
3 Tbsp Honey
3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

Heat honey and vinegar to boiling in small saucepan; reduce heat and simmer until thickened to a syrupy consistency (2-3 minutes). Cool and refrigerate.

My first experience with Panna Cotta was making it for my grandmother's birthday a few years back, her birthday is in October and in Texas it can be unseasonably hot then still (not unlike today when it's 105!) I searched for a chilled dessert that wouldn't be too heavy tasting. This is a very easy dessert and quite tasty, it reminds me almost of a yogurt in flavor but with the berries and honey-balsamic reduction it's got just the right ratio of tart to sweet.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Just Peachy

So originally I blamed my bout of blog lameness on being in the midst/aftermath of a move, but now that I'm unpacked I don't have a good reason (or bad one), I've just been lazy...ok I've been working, I unpacked, I had family over for a BBQ and then Mom (Aug 3) and Dad (July 27) had B-days, not to mention that the first two and a half weeks of July there were varied family members yea not really a good reason but I've been lame and not blogging. I swear I'm going to change, I promise I'll bring it back into my routine! So here I am, bringing it back :)

Earlier this summer when peach season was really really at it's best (they are still good but they were fantastic in mid-June) we had a big pile of peaches and I had to find some way to use them up...ripe peaches just can't sit around and there were too many for four of us to eat within a few days! So, with my mom's assistance (yup she did the crust), I whipped up a rustic and easy peach tart with a tasty sour cream topping.

Now I am very partial to the orange and white on the tart (and have made the same dish with apricots to continue the theme) but I'm certain that the Longhorn color scheme won't detract from the taste if you're not a Horns fan :)

3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
2 tbps. butter
1/4 c. water
2 tbsp. lemon juice

Peaches, halved, enough to fill pie shell
1 1/3 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 stick well-chilled Butter Flavored Crisco
3 to 6 tablespoons ice cold water
2 Tsp Sugar

Tasty Topping
1 Cup Light Sour Cream
1 Tsp Vanilla
3 Tbsp Powdered Sugar

Crust Directions:
1. Blend flour and sugar in medium mixing bowl.
2. Cut chilled shortening into 1/2-inch cubes. Cut in chilled shortening cubes into flour mixture, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some small pea-sized pieces remaining.
3.Sprinkle half the maximum recommended amount of ice cold water over the flour mixture. Using a fork, stir and draw flour from bottom of bowl to the top, distributing moisture evenly into flour. Press chunks down to bottom of bowl with fork. Add more water by the tablespoon, until dough is moist enough to hold together when pressed together.
4. Shape dough into a ball, flatten ball into 1/2-inch thick round disk(s).
5. Roll dough from center outward with steady pressure on a lightly floured work surface (or between two sheets of wax or parchment paper) into a circle just slightly wider than your tart/pie pan. Transfer dough to pie plate by loosely rolling around rolling pin. Center the rolling pin over the pie plate, and then unroll, easing dough into pie plate.
6. Shape dough into the pie plate.

Filling instructions:
1. Mix sugar, flour, and butter. Put half of mix in bottom of pie shell.
2. Fill pie shell with sliced peach halves.
3. Put rest of mix over peaches. Mix water and lemon juice and pour over pie.
4. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes then 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Sour Cream Topping Instructions:
Blend vanilla, sugar and sour cream together with fork until smooth....serve over the top!