Sunday, May 17, 2015

Super Easy Peach Tart

1/2 cup softened Earth Balance vegan butter
5 very firm peaches*
1 cup wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar plus 2 T
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
1 T vanilla extract
1 T ground cinnamon

*this dessert can easily substitute peaches with pears or apples; 

Grease 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.
Peel and slice peaches into 1/4 inch slices, discarding pit

In small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. 
With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add almond extract until smooth.

Add the flour mixture a little at a time, mixing at low until batter is just blended together. Spread batter into the bottom of the springform pan, using a rubber spatula to even it out. Wrap and chill for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, mix 2 Tbsp sugar with cinnamon. Sprinkle over peaches.

Remove dough from the refrigerator and arrange peaches in tight concentric circles on top of dough, gently pushing down approximately 1/4-1/2 inch.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until edges are golden and center is set. 

Cool tart in pan for 10 minutes. Run sharp knife around edge and remove sides of pan.
Top with vanilla ice cream or your favorite sorbet.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Cheater's Chicken Noodle Soup

Almost every culture has its own variation on chicken soup, and rightly so - it's one of the most gratifying dishes on the face of the Earth. 

Culture is partly influenced by how we spend our time, the pressures we face and the society we live in.  Sometimes that means finding ways to cut corners and time, but I hate sacrificing good taste. I love a good homemade chicken soup but I don't always have time to make a good broth from scratch. With the convenience of the local supermarket or Costco pre-roasted chicken, this recipe cuts that time in half.

1 whole chicken or large chicken breast, pre-roasted from your local grocery deli or Costco
8 cups water
6 celery stalks, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 T dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
32 oz. box chicken broth
1/2 pound dried bow tie (farfalle) pasta

Place roasted chicken in large stockpot and add the water. I usually use a whole chicken, but our deli had this large chicken breast and since I end up throwing away most of the dark meat anyway, I tried it with just the breast.  It turned out great.

Heat to a gentle boil and continue cooking for approximately 30 minutes or until meat easily separates from the bones.  Using large tongs, carefully lift chicken out of pot and place on a large cutting board.  Pull off skin, remove bones and discard. Separate meat into large chunks, and return meat to chicken stock.  

Add carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and herbs.  Return to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally and cook for approximately 10 more minutes.

Add chicken broth and farfalle pasta to the soup and cook 6-7 minutes until pasta is al dente. Remove bay leaf.