Sunday, July 29, 2012

You Gon Learn Today!

See that title up there? Yep, the one that says "You Gon Learn Today!"  That's my motto for clooking Granny's peach cobbler.
I know cooking peach cobbler is not what Kevin Hart had in mind when he coined that phrase, but anyhow, I digress...
I did not spell clook wrong.  It's the word I'm coining to describe how I learn to cook like Granny.  She cooks.  I look. So, we clook!
I digress again...

The crust of the cobbler is something that's given me trouble for a long time now (okay so it's just the 4 months I've been blogging).
Remember this atrocity? My attempt at the crust is on the left and Granny's is on the right...duh!
It's the same crust that's used to make cherry cobbler as well as fried peach pies.
CLICK HERE for a printable version of Granny's Peach Cobbler.
Each time I clook this crust with Granny I get a little more insight as to how to make it just like hers. 
Granny starts by gathering the ingredients for the crust  (... still haven't learned them yet? You gon learn today!) and the filling.

For the crust:                                                        For the filling:
2 cups All purpose flour                                        6-7 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
3 tbsp. vegetable shortening (heaping)                   1 ½ c. sugar
1 ½ tbsp. butter                                                    ½ tsp. vanilla flavor
½ salt                                                                   dash ground cloves
                                                                            ½ c. butter

Start by washing, peeling, and slicing the peaches.
Add sugar to pot with peaches and cook on low-medium heat. 
Stir occasionally.
We clook the peaches until the sugar has melted into a syrupy liquid. Drop in the stick of butter.
Remove the peaches from the heat and add vanilla and cloves.
Set aside.
Time to start clooking the crust. I had Granny measure the butter and Crisco this time since I always seem to mess those up.
She was not happy about stopping to measure, but what can I say? ...This girl gon learn today!
Begin mixing ingredients for the crust.  
Once it's rolled out nice and thin, line the dish with crust and add half of the peaches.
Granny likes to add a little dough between the peach layers.  
Top with remaining peaches. 
Fold the dough over to swaddle those peaches.
 Bake in a 425° oven just until the crust is golden brown.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Cake Boss

July 21 is Granny & Paw's anniversary.  This year makes 56 years of wedded bliss for my grandparents.  That also means Granny's kitchen is closed for the whole entire weekend!!!!
So I had to go elsewhere for my lesson.  Elsewhere just happens to be Sweetwise, where I, along with my teaching buddies, Amy & Heather, spent the morning (and a little of the afternoon) becoming cake bosses.  I'm usually quite modest but take a look at our beginner skills:

I know, unbelievable right?
Some [instructors] might even think we I had done cake decorating before (take that Heather!), but it really was our first time. 
We realize that most people have cakes that turn out like the following on their first go at cake decorating:

Ok, ok so the above may have been what our cakes really looked like and I may have stolen the other cake picture from .
But, as our lesson progressed
we practiced
and became bosses at cake decorating.
Amy, the leaf cake boss
Heather, the flower cake boss
Me, the border cake boss
 And even though things sometimes got a bit ugly...
and 1 or 3 of us may have needed a little help saving from the instructor cake doctor,

we stepped away and took deep breaths,
and remembered to just have fun!

And before long (it may have been after a long time, I lost track of time) we were on our way to becoming cake bosses.

The Cake Bosses
Happy Birthday Heather!!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pizza in my Hut

Most weekends I can be found getting a cooking lesson from Granny and having Sunday Dinner at her & PawPaw's house.  That changed when Granny decided she wasn't going to cook Sunday Dinner.  Her decision made me brainstorm all the dishes she'd taught me. I then scoured Pinterest to see what new recipe I could try.  All of that hard work lead me and my mom to .... Outback.
Yep, failure!!!Granny would never do that (she'd go to Logan's).
Even though I usually don't eat out a ton, my visit to Outback opened the floodgates (or at least the doors) to many other restaurants including Loveless Cafe (again), Camino Real, Cori's Dog House, McDonald's, Baskin-Robbins....
I was determined to get back into my kitchen, even though one of my friends insisted I try Pizza Hut's new Garlic Bread Pizza.  Instead of ordering one from Pizza Hut I made my own, because that's what Granny would do.
All I had to do was:
Top a few slices of Texas Garlic Toast with tomato sauce.
Sprinkle on some mozzarella.
Add a few pepperonis (I used turkey pepperoni).
Lastly, bake  for 12 minutes on 425°.
It was so easy and dinner was ready to plate in less than 20 minutes and cost less than 8.99! Pretty sure Granny would be proud considering I did this without a recipe.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Before and After

I've always wanted to get a complete makeover.  So far it hasn't happened, but I'm not giving up hope.  I have had a partial mental makeover... or a change of thinking when it comes to Pretzel Salad.  I thought one way about it before I consumed it (BC) and I had a whole new way of thinking about it after I devoured it (AD). Let me elaborate by sharing my thoughts about Pretzel Salad BC and AD.

BC Pretzel Salad thoughts:
"that sounds disgusting!"
"that looks disgusting!"
"I'm not eating that!"
"ugh!!!!! Granny made that crap again!"

Now for the AD Pretzel salad thoughts:
"that sounds gross!"
"OMG! that looks sooooo good!"
"I'm gonna have some more pretzel salad"
"Granny, please make a pretzel salad!"

Here's how to make a pretzel salad:

bottom layer:
2 c. pretzels (we found Kroger brand is the best at staying crunchy)
1½ sticks butter
3 Tbsp. sugar

middle layer:
1 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 c. sugar
1 small tub whipped topping

top layer:
1 large box strawberry gelatin
2 c. boiling water
1 qt. frozen strawberries

For the bottom layer mix slightly crush the pretzels.  

Mix the pretzels with melted butter and sugar.  pour the mix into a casserole dish.  
Bake for 10 minutes in a 350° oven.  Let cool completely.
For middle layer mix cream cheese and sugar.  When cheese & sugar are well mixed, fold in whipped topping. 
Spread mixture over cooled pretzels.  
For top layer add gelatin to boiling water.  Add frozen berries to the water.  The berries will cause the mixture to set. Pour over the cream cheese layer.
Finally, DEVOUR!
In our family pretzel salad leftovers are considered miraculous.  But there are usually at least 8 or 9 of us to devour it.  I convinced Granny to make this cool treat for our 4th of July Cookout.  With the temperature reaching a record setting
102° there weren't any leftovers this time either.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Just Peachy!

Peaches just might be might be my favorite fruit ever.  Needless to say I'm always so excited when peach season finally arrives in Tennessee. I think I could seriously eat a fresh peach (or two) at every meal.
Lucky for me peaches are in season now!  Yippee!!!
PawPaw went to the peach orchard and picked plenty pecks of pretty  peaches (say that 5x fast)!
After I ate one (or two) I reminded Granny about a recent conversation we had.
It went something like this:
Me: It's been a really long time since you made peach preserves.
Granny: Naw, I haven't.
Me: They have peach preserves at Loveless.
Granny: Oh yeah.
Me: You should make some this year.
Granny: I guess I can.

Yep, she was pretty excited about making peach preserves.
Fast forward to the next day I arrived at Granny's just as the clock was striking 12 (since that's what time she told me to arrive) to get started making the peach preserves.

There only seemed to be one little problem:
Granny wasn't home.  Nor did she arrive for another hour.
But nevertheless, we began making the preserves promptly.

It turns out making peach preserves is very similar to making strawberry preserves.  Since Granny doesn't make the peach preserves as often as the strawberry she had to look at the recipe.
Just like last time the recipe comes inside the box of Sure Jell.

 The recipe is pretty easy.  The most work comes in prepping the peaches by washing, peeling, pitting, slicing, and mashing. Granny and I used 9 peaches, which turned out to be too many.  6 or 7 should be enough.

Step 1: Wash
Step 2: Peel, slice & remove the seed
Step 3: Mash (a certain Girl may opt for a blender or food processor here)
Small bits of fruit should be present once the peaches are mashed.
Now that the peaches are ready add the Sure Jell and boil.
Next add the sugar and boil.
Lastly, put the peachy, sugary concoction in the jars.
Once Granny got things going I managed to coax her into letting me finish up the preserves.  I think I did a pretty good job (even if I do say so myself).  Granny's only complaint was that I didn't fill the jars enough. We made 7 jars of jelly (probably would have been 6 if Granny was doing it).

My opinion is the jar is more than half full and that's just peachy with me!