Archives for August 2014

Bourbon Roasted Peaches

There is nothing quite like a fresh peach.  One bite into the soft fuzzy skin and I am in heaven!  Full of juice and sweet fruity flesh, peaches remind me of warm summer evenings no matter what the time of year may be.  This summer has been particularly amazing for peaches and now is the time to enjoy.  Many stores and farmers markets are overflowing with fresh peaches and have them on sale.

While I love peach pie and peach cobbler, sometimes I like to keep things simple.  This recipe for Bourbon Roasted Peaches is what I make when I want a decadent dessert without all the fussing of pie crusts or crumbles.  Served fresh from the oven, with an added boozy kick of bourbon, this is the perfect dessert when you want a little slice of summer.

peach closeup

If you are new to bourbon and don’t have a fancy bottle in your cabinet, don’t worry!  Simply pick up a 50mL single-serving bottle at your local liquor store (they are usually found at the checkout counter).  I have made these treasures with both Maker’s Mark and Jesse James Bourbon with wonderful results.

Once cooked down, the sharp bite of the bourbon is diffused and you are left with the sweet and rich flavors of oak and honey.  This serves as the base for glaze.  Blended with creamy butter and the woody flavor of maple syrup, the rich glaze protects the flesh of the peach while roasting.  Add a dash of sea salt and you have the perfect blend of salty and sweet.

Serve with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream, garnish with some mint leaves and enjoy!

Additional Tip:  If peaches are firm when you buy, placed them in a paper bag for 1-2 days to help them ripen.

Bourbon Roasted Peaches

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 2

Serving Size: One peach


  • 2 peaches, washed
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Bourbon
  • 1/4 cup Grade A Maple Syrup
  • A dash of sea salt
  • 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream
  • Mint leaves (optional for garnish)


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut peaches in half lengthwise and remove pit. Place face down in oven safe dish.
  3. In a small sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in bourbon, maple syrup and salt.
  4. Bring liquid to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Allow mixture to reduce down to a thick syrup, approximately 6-8 minutes.
  5. Pour over peaches and place dish in oven.
  6. After 10 minutes, remove pan and turn peaches over. Spoon the glaze over the fruit and into the hollow making sure the flesh is covered with glaze. Return pan to oven.
  7. Continue to roast until fruit is tender, approximately 20-25 minutes total.
  8. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serve with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Don’t Fear the Double Dip


Oh the dreaded “double dip”!  We have all seen it happen. You are at a party and someone takes a half-eaten chip or vegetable and dunks it back into a bowl of dip that is being shared with a group.  Some people are oblivious to the fact that they are doing it while others are aware but try to covertly cover up their actions. No body wants to be “that guy” but sometimes you can’t just resist- especially when the dip is good!

So how do you eliminate this social faux pas at your next get-together?  Create individual serving cups that allow your guests to grab as they please without the fear of a party foul! Not only are they fun and easy to handle but they make a great conversation starter as well.


Preparing:  Pick up some 1-ounce plastic shot glasses (available in packages of 50 and 100pcs) from your local party supply or dollar store.  Make your dip as per the directions and then scoop into the individual serving cups.  Don’t let their small size fool you!  Each serving will have more than enough dip for 8-10 pieces of sliced vegetables.  They are wide enough to accommodate cherry tomatoes and baby carrots, but I suggest cutting your vegetables into stalks whenever possible.


Serving: Arrange the small cups on a interesting cutting board, tray or large platter.  The beauty of the cups is that they are portable, disposable, and also allow you to put out more than one dip if you please.  A great way to differentiate between dip flavors is by adding a small garnish to the top of each serving.  They can also be prepared ahead of time.  Make 2-3 cups per guest to start and wrap any extra servings in the refrigerator until needed.

DSC_0245If you have any leftovers, or are looking for an healthy snack on the go: Grab a pint sized wide-mouth mason jar with a lid.  Fill with sliced veggies and drop a single serving of dip into the jar.  The lid keeps everything in place and you can throw into your bag for a perfect snack at the park or pick-me-up at the office.


Zucchini and Sausage Orzo


The end of August is one of my favorite times of the year.  With summer crops in full swing, our garden is overflowing with amazing fruits and vegetables and the farmers markets are flush with produce that is as sweet as candy.  It is easy to overstock your refrigerator when the choices are endless and the prices are cheap!

If I had to pick one recipe that defines summer for me it would be my mom’s zucchini casserole.  When I was little, it was a staple meal in our house and one that my brother and I adored!  As soon as the zucchinis were ripe on the vine, my mom would start to cook.  Simple and fresh, with only four main ingredients, it was easy to whip up whenever we asked (and we asked for it a lot)!

This recipe for Zucchini and Sausage Orzo is inspired by that dish.  Most people think that zucchinis are bland and boring.  I disagree!  Once cooked they have a mildly sweet flavor that adapts well to spices and compliments the flavors you are cooking with.  Cooked in a spicy tomato sauce, the zucchini in this dish adds a crisp and refreshing twist when paired with sausage and orzo pasta.

From the Garden

The beauty of this meal is that you cook the orzo pasta in the same pot as the sauce.  Not only do the flavors blend seamlessly together as they simmer together, but you are eliminating extra steps and minimizing clean up (if you skip the sausage, you actually have a one-pot dinner that is just as delicious!).


The trick to this recipe is using a bottle of stewed tomatoes to create the sauce. Because stewed tomatoes have higher water content than a thick tomato sauce it allows for the pasta to absorb liquid and cook properly.   I like to make this recipe using stewed tomatoes that we made and canned ourselves (I will post that recipe soon) but if you do not have fresh stewed tomatoes, don’t fret!  You can pick up a can at your local supermarket and they work just as well.  Whether I am using tomatoes that I prepared myself or ones from a can, I always like to add a couple of fresh diced tomatoes to my sauce.  This helps to add a little extra sweetness to the sauce.

cooking 2

A couple of tips:

  • Zucchinis vary in size. If you have a zucchini with a particularly large end and a thin top, you will need to chop accordingly.  While you probably cut the smaller pieces in half, the bottom pieces may require multiple cuts to make a similar size.
  • When adding the orzo pasta to your pot, make sure that there is enough liquid in the pan for the pasta to cook properly.  You want to have little puddles of liquid and all the pasta should be mixed into the sauce (see photo above).
  • If during the first 5 minutes of adding the pasta you notice there is not enough liquid in the pan, simply stir in more water in 1/4 cup increments.  The liquid should be simmering around the edges of the pan.
  • Let the pasta sit for 5 minutes without a cover before serving and any stray liquid should be absorbed.

Zucchini and Sausage Orzo

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 6


  • 1 lb ground sausage
  • 16oz stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 of a large zucchini, washed and sliced into 1/2" chunks (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tomatoes, washed and chopped
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup water (if needed)
  • 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. In a small skillet, brown sausage over medium heat stirring occasionally so that meat does not stick.
  2. While sausage is browning, warm oil in large pan and add zucchini and chopped tomato. Stir until edges start to brown.
  3. Add stewed tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce to the vegetables. Bring liquid to a boil.
  4. Add orzo and reduce heat to simmer. If the sauce is too thick, add water. You want to make sure that orzo is completely covered in the mixture and there is extra liquid for the pasta to absorb.
  5. Cover and let simmer on low for 5 minutes. Add browned sausage and continue to simmer and stir until pasta is cooked thoroughly, an additional 5-7 minutes.
  6. Let sit 5 minutes before serving for sauce to thicken.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.


The sauce will thicken as the pasta cooks. If during the first 5 minutes of adding the pasta you notice the sauce getting too thick, add water in 1/4 cup increments. There should be enough liquid that you can watch it simmering.