Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summer is just a Peach (or maybe 14 or 15 of them...)

 We had a large gathering of many of the Longsworth clan over at my house this past weekend. In my childhood one of the many things I can remember about visiting the Longsworth house in the summer was all the fresh seasonal fruit that was always available. Blackberries, Peaches, Blueberries, and many more. we had fruit with ice cream, fruit pies, and most importantly, fruit cobblers!!! 

Cobbler is like sweat bread or scones, mixed with the best fresh fruit. how can one go wrong with that!

So for this gathering I decided to make a Peach Cobbler. Mine was a bit runny since I omitted alot of the Sugar and Flour, so my recommendation is NOT to reduce the amounts on this recipe by too much or you will have basically just fruits and bread (equally as delicious, but not quite a cobbler...).

also note, if you want to make more dumplings for the top, by all means go for it! I personally like my cobbler covered with dumplings, but that is not how I made them this time. The dumplings in the picture are not cooked yet, but once they are cooked they don't expand or anything, they just brown a bit.

Peach Cobbler


12-15 FRESH Peaches, peeled and thinly sliced

¼ to 1/3 c. Sugar (depends on how sweet you want it)

1/3 c. Flour

4 Tbsp Butter
3 1/3 c. Bisquick mix (to make at least 20 dumplings) (you could use Jiffy, but it is not soy free)

15 Tbsp (a little less than 1 c.) Milk

Cinnamon to taste (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 F

Slice the peaches into an ungreased 9x13 baking pan

Sprinkle Sugar evenly over surface

Cut Butter into slices and place ontop of Peaches at even intervals

Sprinkle Flour evenly on top

For Dumplings, mix the Milk and Bisquick into a soft dough and drop in 20 Dumplings evenly over the top of the cobbler

Bake at 350 F uncovered for about 20 minutes or until Dumplings are golden brown on top

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Two brief Vacations: Indiana and Wisconsin

ok, perhaps I should put these in two separate posts instead of one fairly long one, but I am trying to keep the lifeposts to a minimum and maximize my cooking ones, so, here is a rapid fire update of the past life events

I got to go on a camping trip with a very very good friend. Since she lives in Wisconsin still, we decided to meet in the middle at Indiana Dunes State Park. We had a couple scares before we even got to the park, first the weather was predicted to be thunderstorming and in the 90s...then a car broke down and one of us had to take the bus to get there! Agh! but it all ended up being ok, we got there and we are troopers (if I do say so myself) so we thought we could tough out any weather that came our way.

The first day was only about 90, we set up camp and took a short walk down to the beach to just sit and watch the water and talk for ages. Too hot for a campfire we ate our hotdogs panfried style and skipped the s'mores before lying in our tent and watching the heat lightning flash off the lake.

it LOOKS cold...not so

Day two we woke early, as one is wont to do whilst camping since the sun is up and there are no window shades in tents. We took a long walk through some woods (VERY buggy, we had to apply bugspray several times) and then along the beach for at least 2 miles, stopping along the way to have our Rye Crisp and Mustard lunch (campfood we both fell in love with due to a boundary waters trip together). It was not so hot this day and the sun was behind foggy clouds all day so the temperature stayed down at a tolerable 85 or so. We took a lovely nap at the campsite in the later afternoon, and had fun watching other people afterwards while we played Canasta and Speed. One thing I must say is that this campground has NO privacy, the sites are so close together and there are few trees, when we first arrived we were not even sure which site was ours they were so much on top of each other.

games, fruits from Trader Joe's, Clif Bars. What more does one need?

Day three was our final full day at the Dunes. We took the morning to do some real dune hiking and jumping before the sand heated up too much for our feet to stand.

By lunchtime it had reached 99 so we booked it to the air conditioned visitor center and watched a couple videos on how the dunes were special and how they were formed etc. We then drove to Mt. Baldy (the biggest dune around, it is 'alive' moving inland at 15 feet a year!) and ate lunch in the parking lot in the shade of the car. Even though it was now probably 100 and the heat of the day, we decided to hike up the 'mountain' (its only 180 feet high) of a dune, the really nice thing was it was very close to Lake Michigan, so we just ran down it and straight into the VERY pleasant water to swim and cool off for an hour before heading back to camp.

No fire again that night, we instead ate some of the best hummos I have ever had before lying in the tent attempting to fall asleep. This was difficult seeing as there was absolutely no breeze and it was still so hot that you sweated even doing nothing. Oh well, we continually talked about how we were such good campers (despite the fact we took showers every night, drove around in an air conditioned car, had ice water...ya know, real backwoodsy camping). It was a blast of a time, and really nice to spend some time camping! despite the heat it was great and I do love camping, even when there are not showers, but if they are there, capitalize on them right?!

The next weekend, my family and I drove up to WI for my Dad's Tae Kwon Do second dan Black Belt Test. We first visited Sam at Epic Systems in Madison where he works now. Epic is awesome! It is a huge bunch of buildings that are all themed, so there is the 'dragon slayers building' and the 'rainforest building' etc. there is a slide to get from one floor to another, and swings near the huge treehouse where some meetings are held, there is a 'castle' room and a giant rocking horse, and the best part is there are no signs that say not to touch or anything! It is great! If I worked there, I would rarely get any work done I think...

After Epic we went to Sam's apartment, a really nice one I thought, good for one or even three people living together, though not so great if those people are not related...no roommate space, but Sam lives alone at this point so that was ok.

Day two we left Madison and went over the the Cedarburg area to visit some old friends, we didn't get to go around town too much which was sort of dissapointing, but you can't fit everything in right?

Day three we headed up to Sheboygan Falls for the test. It did not take as long as they were expecting which was a pleasant surprise. It was really amazing to see all of these people (alot of whom I know well) testing for their black belts of various levels. I remember when it was amazing to even see a black belt, and now here they all are, no big deal, testing for sixth dans...it was fun. I was also extremely proud of my Dad, he has advanced so much since I was last able to really watch him do Tae Kwon Do. Since there is no school here in Ohio, it is also that much more amazing that he has had the drive to continue for the past nine months all on his lonesome at home.

the hosinsool

After the test (which went really well except for the breaking, it was too humid) we all went to a cabin of some friends for a delicious dinner of fresh-from-the-lake, caught-by-Don-this-morning Salmon and some great company. We then spent the night in this wonderful rustic little cabin before heading out early the next morning for Ohio again, but we did not leave without getting loads of corn from Witties Vegetable and Fruits (near Cedarburg they have the best corn in the world. In. The. WORLD!) and the Java House (best coffee in Wisconsin for 6 years running).

What a whilrwind, packed chock full of happenings it was too short a trip, next time I shall have to go up for a bit longer than a weekend, its just not enough time to fit everything in!

This was supposedly the 'door to Hell' in the lower level of one of the Epic buildings. It was closed...perhaps I will tryback some time

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dessert 'Snails': What to do with too much leftover Pie Crust

These are a dish I remember from my childhood. When my mom would make pies (particularly the kind with only a bottom crust) she would occasionally have not quite enough extra dough to make another crust, but just enough extra dough to use for something else. This invention we dubber 'Snails'. We would literally sit in front of the toaster and watch these babies cook, drooling more and more as their smell wafted out around us. I think that perhaps it was through the smell that we actually figured out when they were sufficiently cooked, we just knew what they were 'supposed' to smell like to get that perfect golden and flakey texture without going over to the browning or blackened burn. This is a simple and YUMMY way to use that extra crust and they are really fun to make for kids. After all, who doesn't want to brag that their kid eats snails willingly right?

Dessert Snails


Pie crust
-          3 c. Flour plus 2 Tbsp
-          1 c. cold Butter (2 sticks)
-          1 tsp Salt
     Up to ¼ c. ice cold water (only  enough to make a dough)

Some very soft Butter
Brown Sugar


-          To make the crust: Combine flour and salt in a bowl, cut butter into manageable chunks and use a fork to smash and work it into the flour until you have a crumbly dough with no large butter lumps. Then, add the ice water a little bit at a time, just until the dough comes together (it will still be very crumbly) you probably won’t need the full ¼ cup of water to achieve this.

-          Roll out the crust into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick (about the same as you would for any pie you were making)

-          Spread enough soft butter over the dough that the sugar will have enough to stick to

-          Sprinkle the buttery dough with brown sugar, enough to coat it well

-          Sprinkle with desired amount of Cinnamon

-          Roll the dough into a roll (similar technique to cinnamon rolls) and cut into circular pieces about 1 inch high

-          Place on well greased baking sheet and bake in preheated oven at 400 F for 8-10 minutes or until very slightly golden.

-          Cool and serve!


     Obviously if you already have a crust from a pie, just roll it into a ball again and roll it out to make it flat, then begin with the cinnamon and sugar etc.

     Also, if you don't want the extra step of making them into spirals, just cooking the dough as a flat sheet with the sugar and cinnamon on top works as well (this version is similar to 'elephant ears')