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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Berry Good Season

First I must apologize for not mentioning that I would be out of town last Thursday.  I had to pick up my daughter and two other girls from the Texas Longhorn Swimcamp.  Six dedicated swimmers from the Jonesboro Jets Swim team attended the week long camp where they worked hard, learned alot, met 8 Olympians and had fun.  Watching these kids swim laps in a 50 yard pool inspires me to step up my own fitness routine.  Maybe not to their level but I'm going to work harder.

Last week I was making fun of myself and the unusual food I like to try.  This week will be about the normal food we do eat with a focus on the wonderful berries now in season.  I have a couple of must try recipes for you.  Sometimes I try new dishes even though I don't have the recipe and the results vary.  I was flipping through a Harry and David catalogue recently and saw a picture of a luscious looking pie.  Instead of ordering it, I decided I could create the recipe from the description in the catalogue.  The results were sublime and a new family favorite pie was born.  I'll bet your family will agree.

Very Berry Peach Pie
1 pie crust, homemade or storebought
1 cup fresh blueberries, raspberries or blackberries, combining them works well
1 quart sliced peaches, fresh or frozen, with 3/4 cup sugar added
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
Place pie crust in dish and bake according to recipe or package directions.  Let cool.  Sprinkle berries evenly in bottom of pie crust.  Put peaches in a medium sauce pan and heat over medium high heat.  Stir in cornstarch and sugar.  Heat till boiling, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat and simmer till juice thickens.  Pour peaches over berries.  Top with crumb topping and bake at 375 about 10 to 12 minutes until crumb is light brown.  Chill several hours and serve with a dollop of whip cream.
Crumb topping
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsp. butter
Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl.  Chop butter into small pea sized pieces and combine with flour mixture.  Spread over peaches and bake.  

It was a great summer dessert; light and filled with fruit at the peak of ripeness.  Try it while fruit is in season.

I happen to love sweet potatoes almost anyway you can cook them.  My family, especially my husband, has not always been so enthusiastic but they are slowly changing their minds.  Barry never liked the heavy, too sweet,  casseroles that are a staple of Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Sweet potatoes are full of every imaginable thing good for you so give this next recipe a try.  It went well with the pork tenderloin we smoked. 

Spicy Sweet Potatoes
4 to 5 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 pinch cayenne
Put potatoes in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil.  Mix spices and sugar together and sprinkle over potatoes.  Toss to coat well.  Place potatoes in a lightly greased baking dish, spreading evenly in the bottom.  Bake for 15 minutes at 425; stir and continue baking an additional 15 minutes or until tender. 

My family enjoyed this version of sweet potatoes.  Next time, I will add more chili powder and a tiny bit more cayenne.  Inspite of our recent bad experience with the chipolte peppers, I thought it needed more kick.

Thursday I will continue with the berry theme.  I have some of the largest blackberries that I'm about to experiment with so we'll see what happens.        

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