Vanilla Bean Infused Peach Slices #fijchallenge #CanItForward

Just shortly after I returned from Ireland a friend let me in on a little secret: There were some excellent blueberries to be had in town and if I was lucky the person selling them may just have some plump Georgia pecans too. Unfortunately by the time I managed to get out the door the pecans were all gone, but I lucked out and in addition to my blueberries I was able to bring home a bushel of over-ripe Georgia peaches for half off. Never one to pass up a deal, especially on peaches, I happily handed over my hard earned money and spent the next few days finding creative ways to preserve them.

And then I ran out of steam... What was I thinking buying 48 pounds of peaches?

After making two cases of pie filling in a variety of flavors and playing around with a new flavor of peach applesauce I decided to cut my creative endeavors short. Everything I had left got sliced up and preserved with a vanilla bean infused syrup, which just may be one of the simplest ways to preserve peaches. 

Vanilla Bean Infused Peach Slices | Not Starving Yet

Vanilla Bean Infused Peaches


makes 9 pints


Ingredients

6½ cups water
¾ cup sugar
4½ vanilla beans, cut in half and sliced down the center (see notes)
11 pounds yellow peaches
Lots of ice, to help with peeling

Directions

  • Before beginning, sterilize your jars and rings in the dishwasher. As per the new canning guidelines lids no longer need to be sterilized if they'll be in the water bath for more than 10 minutes.
  • Prepare a light syrup made of water and sugar in a large saucepan, bring the mixture to a boil, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the vanilla beans to the hot syrup, turn off the heat, and allow the vanilla beans to infuse while you peel your peaches.
  • Dip the peaches in a large pot of boiling water for 30 - 60 seconds, or until the skins start to loosen. Quickly drop the peaches in a bowl of ice water and slip the skins off. Cut the peaches in half, remove the pit, then slice into equal-sized pieces. 
  • Add the peach slices to the sugar syrup and bring to a boil. Fill your sterilized jars with fruit and a slice of vanilla bean. Once the jars are full add syrup, making sure to leave ½ inch headspace at the top of the jar. 
  • Tap the jars gently to remove any air bubbles that may have become trapped, wipe the rims of the jars to remove any access syrup, then add a new canning lid. Make sure to tighten the ring securely before placing the jars in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes (pint jars) or 25 minutes (quart jars.)
  • Remove the jars from the water bath and set them on a dish towel to cool. After the jars have cooled completely check the seals and refrigerate any jars that do not have a good seal.

Notes

I have occasionally run out of syrup when canning peaches, but it's easy to make more as needed without making up a full batch of syrup. 1 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and ½ a vanilla bean is usually enough to fill the last jar should you run out. Any extra syrup can be refrigerated and used later, as long as you remember to bring the refrigerated syrup to a full boil.

If you want to put up a large amount of peaches I suggest trying to find the freestone variety, the pits practically fall out when you cut the peaches in half which saves a surprising amount of time. 

Lemon Pound Cake

I like cake. It doesn't matter what flavor—chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, salted caramel—I enjoy them all, but I'm especially fond of lemon pound cake. This is largely due to its simplicity as it's one of those rare cakes that doesn't need to be drowned in frosting to make it delicious. A thick slice coupled with a cup of coffee (or better yet some vanilla bean ice cream) has the power to make even the worst day a little brighter.

The trouble is, I don't often find myself with enough time for baking.

The good news is that pound cake can be made in advance and the flavor only improves as the days go by. I've been known to make one of these cakes, enjoy a small piece, then save the rest for a rainy day (or for those last minute guests that tend to turn up at my table on a regular basis.)

If you want my advice, if life hands you lemons don't waste them on lemonade, make a pound cake instead. Cake makes everything better.

Lemon Pound Cake

Lemon Pound Cake


makes 1 loaf


1½ cups sugar
2 sticks salted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons lemon zest
4 large eggs
¾ cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter the insides of a loaf pan, line the bottom with parchment paper and set it aside.
  • In a mixing bowl cream together sugar and room temperature butter. Add lemon zest, eggs, buttermilk, and lemon juice then continue to mix until well incorporated. 
  • In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until smooth.
  • Transfer the batter to the greased loaf pan and bake for 65 - 75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes away clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a cake platter or plate.

Notes


 

Loaf pans come in several different sizes, for this recipe you'll need a 1.5lb loaf pan like this one from Nordic Ware.

This cake is tasty when paired with ice cream (I'm partial to lemon and lavender or vanilla bean) but it's also quite good eaten on its own or topped with sliced strawberries and fresh whipped cream.
 

Disclosure
 


This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

 

How To Keep Your Cutting Board from Slipping

I don't know a single person who doesn't love to save money, which is why I've spent the last few weeks sharing some of my favorite kitchen tips to help you be a little more economical in the kitchen. If you somehow managed to miss them make sure to check out my favorite way to use up old vegetables in a quick weeknight friendly meal aka The Poorman's Meal or this suggestion for getting the most our of your bunch of green onions. Did you know you can regrow them on the counter with nothing more than a jar and some water?

Pretty cool, right?

This week I've got another great tip: How to keep your cutting board from slipping while you're slicing through your bounty of summer vegetables. While it's not strictly a tip in economy, it will save you a trip to the E.R. and we all know how expensive that can be, even with insurance.

How to Keep Your Cutting Board From Slipping

A cutting board that doesn't stay put is an accident waiting to happen, so if you find this is a problem for you all you need to do is take a silicone baking mat, like this one from Silpat and place it underneath your board. As long as the mat is roughly the same size as your cutting board it will hold it firmly in place.

If you don't happen to have a silicone mat laying around the kitchen and don't want to purchase one, don't worry, you can still use a damp paper towel or tea towel to accomplish roughly the same thing. 

If you take away nothing else from today's post, remember sometimes economy in the kitchen is as simple as finding a second use for a seemingly one-use item.
 

Also pictured:

 

Arte Legno Bread Board and Cutting Board
✦ Happy Source Scrap Trap
✦ RSVP Endurance Magnetic Knife Bar
✦ Victorinox Curved Bread Knife
✦ Wüsthof Classic Ikon Knife Set
✦ Dealzip PVC-Coated Steel Wire Clips
 

Disclosure

 


This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

Quick and Easy Oven Roasted Vegetables

Today's recipe is proof that healthy food doesn't need to be complicated or time consuming to make, something I think that many of us forget from time to time. A few minutes with a sharp knife (or better yet, a mandoline) and you can turn your bounty of fresh produce into a meal fit for a king. Serve these tasty vegetables along side baked chicken or fish, add them to pasta with a smattering of olive oil and fresh parmesan, or eat them straight off the hot pan. No matter how you choose to serve them they'll be delicious.

If you happened to buy your vegetables precut from the grocery store instead of fussing with a sharp knife, we don't judge. Just remember, as long as you hide the wrapper no one will ever know you didn't slave away over the cutting board to get dinner on the table.

Quick and Easy Oven Roasted Vegetables | Not Starving Yet

Oven Roasted Vegetables
 

makes 6 - 8 servings

 

Ingredients


1 red bell pepper, cut into 1½ inch pieces
2 shallots, sliced
1 yellow squash, cut into ¼ inch slices
1 zucchini, cut into ¼ inch slices
1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
garlic sea salt and pepper, to taste

Directions


 

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut the vegetables into uniform pieces, place in a large mixing bowl, then add olive oil, garlic sea salt, and pepper. Toss the vegetables so the oil and seasonings are evenly distributed, then transfer the vegetables to a foil lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20 - 30 minutes, or until the onions have caramelized and have slightly darkened edges. 

Notes
 

 

This recipe is fairly flexible, so you can substitute many of your favorite vegetables for those that I've listed above. Just keep in mind that some vegetables take longer to cook. You'll want to put things like potatoes, carrots, or winter squash on a separate baking sheet or leave them out entirely since they can take upwards of 45 minutes to cook.

For more even browning remove the baking sheet after 10 minutes, give the vegetables a good stir, then continue to cook for an additional 10 - 20 minutes. I usually skip this step because I'm forgetful, but the zucchini does cook more evenly when you remember.