Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Old-Fashioned Creamy French Vanilla Pudding

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This is, without a doubt, the best vanilla pudding I have ever eaten. It's everything you want in a pudding; light, creamy, smooth and delicious. This pudding is soft-set so if you want the pudding to hold it’s shape on a plate or in a pie crust, double the cornstarch.

Example: for every cup of milk, use 1 tbls cornstarch, 3 tbls sugar, 1 egg yolk, and 1 tbls butter. With the addition of ½ teaspoon vanilla and ½ teaspoon salt, you will have a perfect vanilla pudding.

Always use the best ingredients you can buy














All cooked and ready to chill














Recipe

Ingredients
3 large farm fresh egg yolks (I used eggs from A&M Farms)
9 tbls sugar
3 tbls cornstarch
3/8 tsp fine sea salt
¾ cup cream and 2¼ cups whole milk
3 tbls unsalted butter, room temperature
1½ tsp vanilla 

Garnish
lightly sweetened whipped cream, optional

Method
In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks with ¼ cup of milk until well combined. Reserve.

In a 3-quart saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt, and then slowly whisk in the cold milk and cream a little at a time to ensure no lumps form. Scrape the bottom and sides of the saucepan with a spatula.

Over medium heat, stirring constantly, bring to a bare simmer.

Ladle ½ cup of the hot pudding into the egg yolks and whisk rapidly. Now add the egg yolk mixture back to the saucepan. This tempers the egg and helps to prevent curdling.

Lower the heat to medium-low and continue stirring the pudding until it thickens to the point that it coats the back of the spatula, from 2-4 minutes (pudding will be thickening).

Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla until the butter is melted. Immediately pour the pudding into a medium mixing bowl or 4-cup glass measuring cup.

Alternatively, you can pour pudding directly into six ½-cup serving dishes.

Quickly press a small piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming.

Let cool, and then refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.

To serve, spoon pudding into six, ½-cup ramekins (if you didn’t do this earlier). Top each serving with a generous mound of whipped cream. Serve immediately.

Yield: about 3 cups, or six ½-cup servings.



















Recipe adapted from Luna's Cafe

Enjoy,
Mary


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Homemade English Muffins

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About 2 years ago I experimented with making my own English Muffins. While there are a lot of recipes out there, I adapted this one from King Arthur Flour. They are really easy to do and taste delicious. So much better than anything you can buy at the store.



























































Recipe

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups lukewarm milk
3 tbls. butter
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbls. granulated sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
2 tsp. instant yeast

Method
Using a stand mixer, beat the dough using the flat beater paddle until it starts coming away from the sides of the bowl, and is satin-smooth and shiny; this will take about 5 minutes at medium-high speed. The dough should be very stretchy.

Scrape the dough into a rough ball, and cover the bowl. Let the dough rise until it’s nice and puffy, about 1-2 hours.

Next prepare your griddle. I have a large electric griddle I used for this; spray well with cooking spray, then sprinkle well with cornmeal. Whatever you use; an electric griddle, stove-top griddle, frying pan, electric frying pan, sprinkle it heavily with the cornmeal

Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball, then flatten the balls until they’re about 3″ to 3 1/2″ in diameter.

Sprinkle a baking sheet heavily with cornmeal, and place the muffins on the sheet; they can be fairly close together. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with additional cornmeal

Cover the muffins with a clean kitchen towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes. They won’t rise much, but will puff a bit.

Using an electric griddle, heat it to 250 degrees and cook each muffin about 5-7 minutes per side or until the inside of the muffins are 200 degrees internally using a digital thermometer.

Let the muffins cool thoroughly before enjoying.

And remember: use a fork to split, not a knife to cut. Fork-split muffins will have wonderful nooks and crannies; knife-cut ones won’t.

















Enjoy,
Mary

© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta or Mini Pizza

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Almost nothing makes me happier than "fresh from the garden" produce. I particularly love we have some of these great Heirloom Pear and Cherry Tomatoes growing in our garden this year. They are perfect for popping in your mouth and eating fresh, topped on salads or topped on this Bruschetta.

Fresh Heirloom Pear and Cherry Tomatoes, marinated in Italian dressing, then topped on toasted Italian bread or English Muffins makes a wonderful Bruschetta or Mini Pizza. Serve as an appetizer or enjoy as a light lunch. Delicious!

Heirloom tomatoes marinading in Italian dressing










All done and ready to eat













Recipe

Ingredients
1 doz. Heirloom Pear and Cherry Tomatoes, sliced (any small tomato will work)
2 tbls. Italian dressing (your choice)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup (or more) shredded mozzarella cheese
pinch salt
pinch pepper
pinch dried basil

Method
Slice tomatoes and place in a small bowl; add Italian dressing and let marinade 30 minutes to one hour.

Preheat oven to 350. Cut Italian bread into thick slices and brush both sides with melted butter.

Place slices on a cookie sheet lightly sprayed with baking spray, and bake until bread is lightly toasted.

Remove pan from the oven, top each piece of bread evenly with shredded mozzarella cheese, then top each with sliced, marinated tomatoes.

Return to the oven and bake 5-8 minutes or until cheese is melted. Finish by dusting each with salt, pepper and dried basil.

Remove from oven, place on a serving plate. Serve immediately.

Enjoy,
Mary

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Brandied Cherry Ice Cream

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This Brandied Cherry Ice Cream is creamy, smooth and delicious. Fresh cherries are simmered in brandy and a little sugar, then allowed to "mellow out" in the refrigerator for one week before making the ice-cream. Allowing them to sit longer would develop the flavor more, so feel free to do that if you want to.

Add brandied cherries juice and all during last 5 minutes of churning

Continue churning until cherries are all mixed in 























Recipe

Ingredients
24 fresh sweet cherries, pitted and quartered
1/2 cup brandy
3 tbls. sugar
4 farm fresh egg yolks
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 cups organic 1/2 and 1/2
2 cups organic heavy cream
1 tbls. vanilla paste

Method
In a small sauce pan simmer the cherries, sugar and brandy until cherries are juicy and slightly softened. Remove from heat and store in a covered container in your refrigerator at least one week, longer if desired.

When you're ready to make the ice-cream, put the egg yolks in a large bowl and whisk. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until thoroughly blended.  Pour mixture into a sauce pan and heat over medium low heat until mixture becomes a thin custard in consistency (thickens slightly). Remove from heat and cool completely in your refrigerator at least one hour.

Churn ice-cream in your ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. During the last 5 minutes of churning, add the brandied cherries, juice and all.

Once ice-cream is done churning, pack into freezer container and freeze until firm.






















Enjoy,
Mary

Homemade Buttermilk Waffles

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Homemade Buttermilk Waffles are delicious, simple and easy to make. This time I added about 1 cup of fresh blueberries I had in my freezer and they make for a great breakfast any day of the week.

This is the same batter I used for Old-Fashioned Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes, but the buttermilk is reduced by 1/4 cup to make a thicker batter.











Recipe

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
3 tbls. sugar
1 tsp. sea salt
1 3/4 cups buttermilk (make your own by adding 2-3 tsp. lemon juice to milk)
2 tbls. butter melted
2 large farm fresh eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
optional - add 1 cup fresh blueberries

Method
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt; set aside.

Combine milk with 2 tbls, butter, eggs and vanilla. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and gently combine. Batter should be fairly thick and lumpy, but pourable; avoid over-mixing.

Heat waffle iron and spray well with cooking spray to avoid sticking. Pour in amount of batter needed to fit your waffle maker and cook according to manufacturer's directions.

Serve with butter and syrup.


















Enjoy,
Mary


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Bourbon Brown Butter Peach Ice Cream

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This is another GREAT ice-cream recipe for adults only, because, hey, we deserve a treat once in awhile, right?

Made with fresh peaches and bourbon, brown sugar candied pecans, the taste is sensational.

Recipe adapted from Pastry Chef Joe Trull at Grits & Groceries, in Belton, South Carolina as seen in Garden and Gun Magazine

Peaches swirled in

Bourbon Brown Sugar Pecans

Churning






























Recipe

Ingredients
2 cups organic 1/2 and 1/2
2 cups organic heavy cream
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 egg yolks, use farm fresh eggs
4 tbls. butter
3/4 cup pecan pieces
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup bourbon
1 tbls. vanilla paste
2 cups fresh mashed organic peaches

Method
In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks; add 1/2 and 1/2 and sugar and mix. Stir in heavy cream. Add vanilla paste and mix thoroughly. Pour mixture into a sauce pan and cook over medium low heat until it becomes a thin custard consistency. Cool completely.

In a small sauce pan add butter, brown sugar, pecans and bourbon. Heat stirring constantly until about 200 degrees. Immediately strain mixture through a mesh colander, reserving pecans. Add the strained liquid to the cooled base and mix thoroughly. Churn mixture in ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.

Just before it's finished churning, pour in the peaches and pecans. Once done, store in ice-cream containers in your freezer until set.

Yield: about 2 quarts

Enjoy,
Mary

Monday, July 13, 2015

Schweinebraten - German Style Roast Pork

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On a quest to replicate a German Pork Roast we enjoyed while living in Germany, I poured over my Bavarian Cookbook, looked at several variations online, and came up with this based on what I remember. This is the perfect pork roast for a large family gathering or Sunday supper, and one where the roast slices, rather than shreds, into pieces.

Of course I used pasture raised pork from a local farm, where the pigs are not given any antibiotics or added growth hormones. It is, I believe, a far superior product than anything mass-produced.

This recipe is known by different names in different countries. In the Czech Republic this dish is known as Veprova Ppecene. In Poland, it is called Pieczen Wieprzowa. The total cooking time depends on the size of the roast, so using a digital thermometer is important. Be sure to remove the roast from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature before roasting.

All rubbed down with the oil, spices, and grainy mustard



















All roasted and ready to carve





















Recipe

Ingredients
4 - 6 lbs bone-in pork shoulder or pork picnic roast
1-2 tsp. thyme leaves
1-2 tsp. garlic powder
grainy mustard (I used Oktoberfest Beer Mustard)
1 tbls. salt
2 tsp. ground pepper
2 tbls. cooking oil
3 medium onions, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 cups beer
2 -3 tbls. flour
2 -3 tbls. butter

Method
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Score fat side of pork roast in diamond pattern. Rub the entire roast all over with the oil, seasonings, and spoon on and spread the grainy mustard all over the top. Let stand for one hour.

Spray your roasting pan with cooking spray. Place the vegetables into roasting pan and pour in beer. Place the roast in the roasting pan on top of the vegetables. Cover tightly and roast for one hour.

Remove cover and continue roasting for approximately 2 hours, uncovered, or until meat thermometer reads 145-165 (depends on how well-done you want the roast).

Remove from oven and place on a large carving board; cover with foil and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and save the vegetables to serve on the side (or discard).

Put some hot water in the pan with the juices, scraping up the bits and pieces. Add enough to make 2 cups. Make a roux by blending the flour and butter together very well in a saucepan; add the pan juices and bring to a simmer, whisking to blend well. For additional richness, the gravy may be finished with a little more butter, cream or sour cream. The gravy will be rich, dark and delicious.

Slice the roast thinly and serve with the gravy. Refrigerate or freeze leftover slices.

Save the bone to make a delicious bone broth.

Serves: 6-8

Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures

Enjoy,
Mary

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Steamed Clams in White Wine

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I grew up much of my childhood in New England where we had access to an abundance of fresh salt water seafood all the time.















Our house was just a few blocks from the dock where the boats came in to offload their catch, and many times my dad walked down, picked out some clams, lobsters or other delicacy fresh off the boat, and that was supper. So darn good.

Of course this included steamer clams many times. We either had them as steamed clams, or my dad would steam some up and make his famous clam chowder. No matter which way they were prepared, they were always delicious.



















Recipe

Ingredients
3 tablespoons butter
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
1-2 dozen Littleneck clams, rinsed and cleaned
1 tbls. fresh parsley, chopped
*Optional - serve with fresh corn-on-the-cob

Method
Melt butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until garlic is fragrant but not burned.

Add wine and increase heat to medium-high until wine is brought to a simmering boil. Add clams and cooked covered for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until clams have opened. Discard any clams still closed.

Add parsley and give the pot a quick stir. Transfer clams and broth to a large serving bowl.

Don’t forget to have some nice crusty bread to dip into the clam broth.


















Enjoy,
Mary

Friday, July 10, 2015

Yummly Publisher

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Exciting news everyone! See the "yum" button at the top of this post? I am now a Yummly publisher, so you can save my recipes to your very own recipe box on Yummly by clicking the "yum" button I've added to each recipe on my web site.

How does Yummly work?
Yummly puts every recipe in the world in your pocket. The most powerful recipe search, the recipe sites you love, your digital recipe box, recipe recommendations just for you, and a smart shopping list - all with you wherever you go. Yummly has the #1 iPhone, iPad and Android apps in addition to millions of website visitors.

Yummly: The Best Site For Recipes, Recommendations ...
www.yummly.com/

Search for recipes by ingredient, diet, allergy, nutrition, taste, calories, fat, price, cuisine, time, course and source.

Check out my Yummly Publisher Page:
 cookingwithmaryandfriends

Start saving recipes online today via the YUM button!

Enjoy,
Mary


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Cherry Crunch Dessert

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You all know I love easy, and this is a very easy dessert you can mix up and bake in under an hour. Use your food processor on the pulse setting to incorporate the butter into the rolled oats, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon mixture to speed things up. This would also be great with blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or apples.

















Recipe

Ingredients
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
3⁄4 cup brown sugar
1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1⁄2 cup butter
4 cups sweet cherries, pitted and cut in half

Method
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the rolled oats, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut butter into mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Spray a 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Sprinkle one half of the crumb mixture in the bottom of the baking dish. Cover with cherries, and sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over top.

Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.

Serve warm topped with vanilla ice-cream or whipped cream if desired.


















Enjoy,
Mary

Irish Cream and Kahlua Chocolate Ice-Cream

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My husband makes the best homemade ice-cream. This is a very rich and creamy adult chocolate ice-cream, with the smooth taste of Kahlua and Irish Cream Liqueur. It's a great treat anytime of the year, and is wonderful served as a float or milkshake.

Add the Kahlua

And the Irish Cream Liqueur

Just our of the churner and ready for the freezer


































































Recipe

Ingredients
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 pint organic heavy cream
1 cup organic 1/2 and 1/2
1/3 cup Kahlua
1/2 cup Irish Cream Liqueur
6 heaping tablespoons cocoa
2 handfuls chopped pecans (optional)

Method
In a large mixing bowl whisk eggs until well blended. Add sugar and beat well. Add heavy cream and 1/2 and 1/2 stirring to mix well. Stir in Kahlua and Irish Cream Liqueur.

Transfer mixture to a large sauce pan; add cocoa and heat over low to medium heat,  mixing well until cocoa is all blended in and mixture is smooth. This may take up to 30 minutes. Do not boil.

Remove from heat, pour into mixing bowl and chill at least 1 hour in your refrigerator.

Add mixture to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's directions. Put pecan pieces in during the last 10 minutes of churning.

Freeze immediately.

NOTE - Mixture may take longer to churn due to alcohol content.


Enjoy,
Mary

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Grilled Pizza Zucchini Boats

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I’m a big fan of all types of veggies, but my husband is not so much. Oh he eats them alright, but has never been one to experiment much with them, so you can imagine his reaction when I said I was going to make these Grilled Pizza Zucchini Boats. Yep, he was thrilled … not, but I assured him he would like them. I mean, really what’s not to like about pizza sauce and ooey gooey melted mozzarella cheese. Who knew something so easy would be so delicious.

Did you know?

Zucchini is super low in calories – Zucchini makes the perfect light side dish for a heavy meal: One cup of sliced zucchini has about 19 calories. That’s 40 to 50% lower than the same serving size for other low-cal green veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts. And because it’s so versatile, you can enjoy this low-calorie food in so many different recipes, from baked fries to pesto roll-ups, or grilled as I did.

You can eat the blossoms – Even though zucchini is served as a vegetable, it’s technically a fruit because it comes from a flower: it grows from a golden blossom that blooms under the leaves. They don’t normally sell the blooms in the grocery store, but you can find them at farmers’ markets. And these beauties aren’t just for looking at—you can eat them, too. The most popular way to prepare them is fried or stuffed, but our friends at Sunset magazine have a unique salad recipe to try. Check out Squash Blossom, Avocado, and Butter Lettuce Salad.

It may be good for your heart – Zucchini has a good amount of potassium: 295 milligrams per cup, or 8% of your recommended daily value. According to the American Heart Association, potassium can help control blood pressure because it lessens the harmful effects of salt on your body. Studies suggest boosting your potassium intake (while also curbing sodium) can slash your stroke risk and may also lower your odds of developing heart disease. Zucchini is also high in the antioxidant vitamin C, which may help the lining of your blood cells function better, lowering blood pressure and protecting against clogged arteries. One cup of sliced zucchini has 20 milligrams, or about 33% of your daily value.

You can substitute it for pasta – Sure, you can add zucchini to your spaghetti recipes, but you can also use it in place of noodles altogether. So-called “zoodles” are a great pasta alternative, and they’re easy to make with the help of some kitchen gadgets. With a mandolin or a spiral slicer, you secure the zucchini on prongs and push the veggie toward the blades. Not only does it make things easy, but it’s also kind of cool to see dozens of noodles cranked out at once. A smaller and less expensive option is a julienne peeler, which has a serrated blade to create thin strips.

It’s not always green – You may be used to seeing a vegetable that’s green and speckled, but there’s a yellow variety of zucchini, and it’s easy to confuse with yellow squash, a different type. The easiest way to tell the difference is to look at the shape. Yellow squash usually has a tapered neck, either crooked or straight, whereas zucchini of any color looks like a cylinder from end to end. Though not much is known about the difference between the varieties, some say golden zucchini has a sweeter flavor than the green kind. Because it retains its color after cooking, it also makes a sunny addition to any dish.

It has an international pedigree – Italians are thought to have bred modern zucchini from the squash they picked up in colonial America—zucca is actually the Italian word for squash. That’s why you’ll see zucchini referred to as “Italian squash” in some recipes. Still, both summer squash has been around for quite some time. The crop dates back to 5500 B.C. where it was integral in the diets of people living in Central America and South America, according to the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. (And if you’re in Europe, it may appear on menus as “courgette”). (source: health.com)

These have quickly become a family favorite and one we prepare many times over the summer. They are a great side dish to grilled meats, or a fun little snack to add to any backyard cookout. Buy the freshest zucchini you can, preferably from a local farmers’ market for this dish. Look for squash that’s small, just 6- to 8-inches in length and still relatively thin. The zucchini should feel heavy for its size. The skin should be dark green and smooth and free of blemishes. If the skin looks slightly shriveled, it probably hasn’t been freshly picked.














Recipe

Ingredients
4 medium zucchini, cut in half length-wise
1 tbls. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
4 tbls. pizza sauce (make your own pizza sauce)
Shredded Asiago or mozzarella cheese

Method
Coat cut zucchini liberally with olive oil and dust with salt and pepper. Grill cut side down 3 to 4 minutes on medium direct high heat.

Turn zucchini cut side up, brush tops with pizza sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Close grill cover and cook just a few more minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve immediately with your choice of grilled meats.

























Enjoy,
Mary

© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Easy Blueberry Cobbler

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We had an abundance of fresh blueberries recently, and since my husband loves a good Blueberry Cobbler, I made this Easy Blueberry Cobbler ... so easy and feeds a crowd. My favorite kind of recipe is easy! Really good served warm with some vanilla ice-cream on top.

Just for fun, here's a bit of information about "cobblers"
Cobblers originated in the early British American colonies. English settlers were unable to make traditional suet puddings due to lack of suitable ingredients and cooking equipment, so instead covered a stewed filling with a layer of uncooked plain biscuits or dumplings, fitted together.

The origin of the name cobbler is uncertain, although it may be related to the now archaic word cobeler, meaning "wooden bowl."  In the United States, varieties of cobbler include the Betty, the Grump, the Slump, the Dump, the Buckle, and the Sonker. The Crisp or Crumble differ from the cobbler in that their top layers are generally made with oatmeal. Grunts, Pandowdy, and Slumps are a New England variety of cobbler, typically cooked on the stove-top or cooked in an iron skillet or pan with the dough on top in the shape of dumplings - they reportedly take their name from the grunting sound they make while cooking.

A Buckle is made with yellow batter (like cake batter), with the filling sprinkled over top of the batter. Apple pan dowdy is an apple cobbler whose crust has been broken and perhaps stirred back into the filling. The Sonker is unique to North Carolina: it is a deep-dish version of the American cobbler. In the Deep South, cobblers most commonly come in single fruit varieties and are named as such, such as blackberry, blueberry, and peach cobbler. The Deep South tradition also gives the option of topping the fruit cobbler with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream.

Recipe
Ingredients
1 stick melted butter
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp.salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (depends on how sweet you want it)
1 1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups approx. fresh or frozen blueberries
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup sugar

Method
Place blueberries in a bowl. Sprinkle scant 1/3 cup water over blueberries. Sprinkle 3/4 cup sugar over moistened blueberries.Turn GENTLY a couple times with large spoon trying to not mash berries. Let sit for a while (30 minutes or so).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 1 1/2 quart baking dish or 9 x 13-inch pan with baking spray. Pour melted butter into bottom. In a mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, vanilla extract, and milk. Pour evenly over the melted butter in bottom of baking dish. Spoon/pour sweetened blueberries evenly over batter, but do not stir.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until crust is brown and berries are bubbly.

Enjoy,
Mary

© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Watsonia Farms - Organic Peaches and More!

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On the last Saturday in June we were off again to visit another South Carolina farm. This time we were on our way to see Watsonia Farms, a USDA Certified Organic Farm, which began in 1918. We were excited to see this lovely fruit and vegetable farm, hear the history of the farm, and learn about their farming practices.

We started out on our journey with partly cloudy skies. Wouldn't you know, no sooner did we set out, it poured buckets. Thankfully, that was very short lived, and as we drove west, the skies cleared and the sun began to shine.


A bit over an hour after our start, we arrived at our destination. There we were met by Lynn Connon, the facility manager/sales and marketing for the Watsonia Farms at the South Carolina State Farmer's Market, and my contact person who had worked tirelessly with me to set up this day. We were greeted under a tent area with picnic tables adjacent to a small store and restaurant featuring some of the farms products on their daily menu, and in resale products available.


Shortly after we arrived, we met Pam Watson, sister to the owners of the farm, who joined us to tell us her family farm history.

" Watsonia Farms is presently owned and operated by brothers Jerry and Joe Watson, and Joe's son, Jeph. We are proud to say that we enjoy the reputation of being forerunners in the industry, using cutting-edge agricultural practices such as trickle irrigation, plastic mulch for vegetable growing, computer technology, IPM (integrated pest management), and consumer product safety programs. We have a strong working relationship with the horticulturists at Clemson University, who use our farm for researching innovative practices as well as varietal test blocks. Watsonia has earned GAP and GHP Food Safety Certifications through USDA and Primus, and also Organic Certification from the Clemson University Department of Plant Industry and USDA National Organic Program. We are currently growing organic yellow and white peaches; yellow, zucchini and winter squash; slicer cucumbers; bell peppers; asparagus; eggplant; slicer and grape tomatoes; sweet potatoes; collards; strawberries; plums; persimmons; nectarines and muscadines.

The first major crop grown on our farm was asparagus, with our grandfather and great-grand-father, Joe H. Watson, serving as the manager of the Monetta Asparagus Association. He led the industry by planting the first asparagus in Monetta, South Carolina - afterwards considered the asparagus capital of the world. Around 1925, he gathered five leading farmers of the area and asked them to plant 60 acres of peaches each. This was the start of the commercial peach industry on the "Ridge" section of South Carolina.

Joe H. Watson died in 1939, and his wife Mary, operated the farm until her son, Jerrold, returned in 1945 after World War II. He successfully operated the farm for over 50 years. Jerrold's older son, Jerrold, Jr. (Jerry), returned in 1973 after graduating from college. Joe H. II returned in 1975 after college, and his son, Joseph III (Jeph), joined the business after college in 2003 to become the fourth generation family member. Since its inception, our farm has become diversified, successfully growing 550 acres of apples, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, pears, plums, nectarines and strawberries. Peaches remain our main crop, with over 900 acres currently in production.

We feel very proud to have maintained a reputation of quality produce and productive business connections through the years, and we look forward to many more years of providing the safest, freshest and tastiest fruits and vegetables we can offer to our customers."



After learning all about the history of the farm, it was time to try some Soft Serve Peach Ice-Cream, shared with us by the farm, learn about the small restaurant where the menu is based on the season and produce availability, and watch some of the trucks coming and going from the packing plant.



And then it was time to get our delicious PEACHES and other produce. Oh my goodness, just look at them.


They are amazing! All the other produce offered was equally impressive, so much so it was hard to decide where to begin.








We had all agreed to purchase 1/2 bushels of #2 Organic Yellow Peaches. Now #2 simply means they might have a blemish, or nick in the skin, but the price is significantly less than the cost for #1, so when you are buying fruit in bulk consider buying the "less than the best." I really don't know how much better the peaches could be, because the ones I brought home with me are awesome, juicy and delicious.


And so we gathered our peaches, and a few other fresh veggies, and it was time to head out. With hugs all around, and waves good-bye, cars loaded with cases of peaches and fresh produce, we were on our way home.

Now what did I do with all those peaches? 
Well I made:


If you would like some organic peaches, or other produce from Watsonia Farms, please contact:

Watsonia Farms at the South Carolina Farmer’s Market
Lynn Connon
Facility Manager/ Sales and Marketing
214 wholesale Lane
West Columbia, SC 29172
Office # 803-926-0058

Once again I was happy to learn about another family farm in South Carolina, and marvel at the abundance of fresh food products we have right outside our back door. It may be off the beaten path, or down the road apiece, but family farms are literally everywhere in the state, striving to provide you and me with the best product they can.

For me, it's been a wonderful journey, and I am happy to call many of these farmers friend.

Until next time!

Enjoy,
Mary