Hearth & Home

Hearth and Home by Daphne Ross

Sweet are the summer days

Summer is the sweetest of our seasons; the fresh picked produce, fun-in-the-sun water activities, and family reunion picnics at the park. Music moves well when outdoor jamming, and the echoing laughter at a late night campfire chuckles the trees that surrounds.

What I love most about my summer is outdoor grilling for dinner, wearing flip flops, and having so many to choose from. I enjoy treasure hunting for shop goods with my husband on an early weekend morning, and then having a hearty breakfast at a small town diner.

My childhood summers were spent family camping every weekend. We had a few different circles of friends that enjoyed camping as well, not very often did we ever camp on our own. We camped with church friends along the Mohican River, we camped with my grandparents near West Salem, and we camped with just camping friends all around Ohio.

My husband grew up in the city of Orrville, his summers were spent riding his bike all over town, working on cars and motors in the driveway, traveling to the hills of West Virginia, and listening to his extended family play music every chance they got. His late summer evenings were spent cruising in his muscle car, that's how we met, and that, is a whole other story. But I will say this it was one of the best summers of my life.

Before I opened my shop four years ago, I provided daycare in my home; my summers were spent caring for other people's children, my friend's children and my children's friends. Long days were spent outside and many lunches were actually picnics.

Those were the summers when the tree swings were always swinging, now it is only the breeze that sways them. The grass grows thick and green, where once small feet would drag the ground to stop. And the only toys that lay about the yard are chewed up rubber dog toys and sticks that would have been soldier swords are now just fallen, broken branches.

A couple days ago was the first time I actually cat napped in our rope hammock. It was an easy going sway, birds were chirping in what seemed to be an orchestrated number, and the tall shading trees overhead blocked the sun from my near perfect rest.

But my sweet slumber was interrupted by a few trying to be sneaky mosquitoes, and a man, power grinding in the garage across the yard. I swung a few swats, a then had to smile because the man was working on something for me, and with great disregard I kept enjoying my shaded summer sway. Sweet are summer days indeed. Enjoy them while they last.

When a hot day is in the forecast, cool morning cooking is a good plan. What do you cook in the a.m. and re-heat for dinner? Send recipes to: Hearth & Home, 5973 Blachleyville Rd., Wooster, OH, 44691. Emails are always welcome: thewritecook@sssnet.com

Fresh Peach Cobbler
4 cups peeled, sliced peaches
2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Mix together peaches, 1 cup sugar, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Place butter into a 3-quart baking dish, melt in oven. Slowly mix remaining 1 cup sugar, flour, and milk. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit on top, gently pour in syrup. Batter will rise to top during baking. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Sweet Fresh Peach Cake
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 large ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Grease a 9-inch square baking pan. Beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed, then add sour cream and vanilla; mix until the batter is smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. On low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan. Top with half of the peaches; sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture. Spread the remaining batter on top, arrange rest of peaches on top; sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and the pecans. Bake the cake at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes.

Grilled Fresh Peaches
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch salt
4 ripe peaches, halved and pitted
Canola oil
In a small bowl add the butter and stir until smooth. Add the cinnamon, granulated sugar and salt and mix until combined.  Heat grill to high. Brush peaches with oil and grill until golden brown and just cooked through. Top each with a few teaspoons of the butter.

Raspberry Peach Crisp
12 large, ripe peaches
1 orange, zested
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups plus 2 to 3 tablespoons flour
1/2 pint raspberries
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
Butter a 10 x 15 x 2 baking dish. Immerse peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds, place them in cold water. Peel peaches and slice into thick wedges and place them into a large bowl. Add orange zest, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons flour. Toss well. Gently mix in raspberries. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes. If there is a lot of liquid, add 1 more tablespoon of flour. Pour the peaches into baking dish, gently smooth the top. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup  sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, salt, oatmeal, and the cold, diced butter using an electric mixer. Mix on low speed until the butter is pea-sized and the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly on top of peaches and raspberries. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, until the top is browned and crisp and juices are bubbly.

Double Crust Peach Cobbler
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 to 6 tablespoons ice water
Peach Filling:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch salt
10 ripe peaches, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Place flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor for 5 seconds. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add water, a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough just comes together. Remove dough and knead lightly on a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half and form into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Once dough is chilled, roll each disk into a 9-inch square approximately 1/4-inch thick. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.
Melt butter over medium heat. Add sugar and water; cook until sugar is dissolved. Add nutmeg, salt, peaches, and flour; cook for 5 minutes. Place half of the peach mixture in the bottom of a 9-inch square buttered baking dish using a slotted spoon. Top the peaches with 1 layer of dough. Place on a baking sheet and bake until the crust is light golden brown. Remove from the oven and top the crust with the remaining peaches and cover with second crust. Brush the top crust with heavy cream, sprinkle with sugar; return to the oven. Bake at 375 degrees until the crust is golden brown and juices are bubbly. Let set for 30 minutes.

Crock-Pot Cobbler
6 ounces brown sugar
3 1/2 ounces rolled oats
4 ounces flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
20 ounces frozen peach slices
Combine the sugar, oats, flour, baking powder, allspice, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and work into the dry ingredients until a crumbly texture is formed. Fold in the peach slices. Butter the bottom and sides of a 3-quart crock-pot. Add the mixture to the slow cooker and cook on low for 3 hours. Serve immediately.

Blueberry Peach Cobbler
1 prepared pie crust
2 (1 pound) bags frozen peaches, slightly thawed and coarsely chopped
1 pint fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced cold
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Fit pie crust into a 2-quart oval baking dish. In a large bowl, combine peaches and blueberries. Mix in flour, sugar, nutmeg, vanilla and butter cubes. Pour into the baking dish and cover with pastry. Using a fork cut off excess dough, pinch together edges; vent. Brush on egg wash and dust with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes until golden brown on top and edges are bubbly.

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