Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pluot and Browned Butter Skillet Cobbler

While I was gone on my 8 day, multiple state trip a neighbor dropped off some home grown pluots (cross between a plum and an apricot).  Kaitlin put them in my fridge, and then I had a surprise upon my return.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do with so many pluots.  Luckily, I came across a recipe that sounded perfect! I've never browned butter before.  Oh my goodness did add depth of flavor!  And it's not hard!

1 stick plus 2 tbsp (10 tbsp) salted butter, browned
1 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
3 medium ripe pluots sliced into 8 slices, or 2 cups of fresh berries

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a 10" cast iron skillet, melt and brown the butter (To brown your butter, place it in a skillet over medium heat.  Let it melt and cook down until just after it stops crackling.  That’s the water cooking out of the butter.  Once the crackling stops, the butter will begin to brown.  It’ll smell rich and nutty.).  Since cast iron is black bottomed, and you can't see the butter browning, be sure to keep a close eye on it, and remove the butter from the pan as soon as it browns.  If you keep the butter in the hot cast iron, it may continue to cook and burn.  Leave just a smidgen of butter in the cast iron pan to act as a non-stick agent.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk in the milk.  Whisk in the melted butter.
  4. Add the batter to the prepared cast iron skillet.
  5. Arrange the pluot slices around the batter.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes, until slightly golden and bubbling.
  7. Remove pan from the oven and sprinkle with 2 tbsp of sugar.  Return the pan to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes to finish cooking.  Remove pan when a cake tester inserted in the cobbler comes out clean.
  8. Serve slightly warm with vanilla ice cream.  Store covered, at room temperature for two to three days.
  • Browning butter = easy!
  • My cast iron skillet is 9", so it took a little longer to bake.
  • Oops, didn't realize that I was supposed to return it to the oven after sprinkling with sugar.  Oh, and I only used 1 tbsp sugar.
  • Next time I'm going to try it with whole wheat flour.  Why not?
  • Used 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 all purpose flour, worked out well!
  • Fruits I've used so far and liked in this cobbler:  pluots, peaches, plums, (frozen) blueberries
Thanks Joy for posting the recipe!

Chicken Marsala

Over the summer my parents hosted an intern from work.  She was sweet, and helpful, and just nice to have around.  One of her last few nights she asked if she could make us dinner.  My parents were already gone, so of course I took her up on it.  Christina made Chicken Marsala, something I've never even thought about making but love eating.  And she left me with her recipe.  :)

1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp Emeril's Essence
2 (6-8 oz.) boneless chicken breasts cut in half
1 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp butter
3 cups sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup marsala wine
1 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper
chives for garnish, optional

  1. In a shallow bowl or plate combine the flour and Essence and stir to combine thoroughly. Quickly dredge the chicken breast halves in the seasoned flour mixture, shaking to remove any excess flour.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and cook the chicken breasts until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter to the pan and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are golden brown around the edges and have given off their liquid.  Add the Marsala wine and bring to a boil, scraping to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  4. When the wine has reduced by half, add the chicken stock and cook for 3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  5. Lower the heat to medium and return the chicken breasts to the pan and continue to cook until they are cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, add salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Garnish with chopped chives and serve immediately.
Christina served it with an egg noodle, but any noodle would do. 


Strawberry Banana Bread

After Mom and Dad left on vacation, Kaitlin cleaned out their freezer.  And out came 14 frozen bananas.  No joke.  I had seen this recipe one another blog, which came with rave reviews, so I decided to try it myself.  I must admit, I was a bit disappointed.

2 eggs
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup mashed strawberries
1/2 cup mashed bananas
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Beat eggs until frothy.  Stir in oil, sugar, strawberries and bananas
  3. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking power, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients.  Stir just until moistened.
  5. Spoon into a greased loaf pan.  Bake for about 1 hour (or until inserted toothpick comes out clean).  Wrap well and allow to ripen for a day.
So here's my critique:
  • Next time I would use strawberry jam.
  • Something with the rolled oats seemed a bit much.  Maybe slightly blend them so their a little finer.
  • Maybe increase the amount of banana and strawberry by a little bit, I couldn't taste them as much as I would have liked.