Summer Upside Down Peach Cake

Summer Peach CakeSo my dad’s absolute favourite dessert is peach pie, peach cake, peach cobbler… well, anything peach based! We made a peach cobbler for him last year that he just loved, but of course, now I can’t seem to find the recipe! Luckily, I’m never without another peach substitute! This dessert will be a big hit and looks absolutely beautiful. To peel the peaches, you can either do it with a knife or peeler… or the “professional” way by lightly blanching the peaches in boiling water for 30-45 seconds, then dropping them in an ice bath. The high temperature followed by the shock of the ice water will make the peels come off easily. Another tip, it helps if you score them gently first with a sharp knife!

Ingredients:

¾ cup unsalted butter, divided*
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1½ cups packed brown sugar, divided
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk*
6 large, juicy peaches, divided: 3 peeled, pitted and roughly chopped; 3 peeled, pitted and sliced into crescents

* If you want to make this cake non-dairy, simply substitute margarine for the butter, and click here to learn how to make non-dairy buttermilk.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt ¼ cup butter and pour into an un-greased 9-in. round baking pan. Sprinkle with ¼ – ½ cup of the brown sugar. Arrange peach slices in single layer over sugar.

In a mixing bowl, sift the flour with the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking soda. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the remaining butter and remaining brown sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until incorporated.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the batter, alternating between the two. Mix until the batter is smooth. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the roughly chopped peaches.

Pour the batter into the pan, on top of your sliced peaches, smoothing it as evenly as possible.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Serve warm.

Roasted Asparagus, Avocado and Arugula Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette

Asparagus, Avocado & Arugula SaladThis is a gorgeous green salad that will serve 6 easily. You can also substitute the arugula for baby spinach or baby kale. If you’re having a dairy meal, try shaving some strips of parmesan over this salad for a finishing touch!

Ingredients:

⅓ cup minced shallots (about 2 large)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel**
2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar (you can substitute with red or white wine vinegar)
1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound slender asparagus, tough ends trimmed*
6 cups (lightly packed) arugula (about 5 ounces)*
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives*
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 ripe avocado
⅓ cup pine nuts or hazelnuts (optional)

* Click here to learn about cleaning asparagus, arugula and chives.
** Click here for my tips on zesting lemons.

Directions:

Whisk first 5 in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in oil. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper. If you would like to make this ahead of time, it can be done a day in advance. Just cover and chill, then let stand at room temperature 30 minutes and re-whisk before using.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place asparagus spears on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle ¼ cup vinaigrette over and turn to coat, then spread in single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast asparagus until just crisp-tender, about 12-15 minutes.

While the asparagus is cooking, place the pine nuts into a small skillet over medium heat and toast them for a few minutes till they turn golden brown and aromatic. Be careful, stir constantly, and keep a close eye once they start to brown—they can go from brown to burned very quickly. Once they’ve turned golden, pour them into a small bowl and reserve.

When the asparagus has finished cooking, remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Cut each stalk into 4-5 pieces each. Discard any overly tough ends that did not get tender during roasting. Cut the avocado into small cubes.

Combine arugula, chives, avocado and asparagus in large bowl. Add remaining vinaigrette and toss to coat. Transfer salad to platter; sprinkle with salt, pepper and toasted nuts. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Mea Culpa!

Mea CuplaFirst off I want to apologize to my loyal readers for not posting so far this week. I came down with a wicked case of Stomach Flu, and those that have been there can imagine that food was the last thing I wanted to be thinking, or writing, about. But, the worst is pass, and I’m well on the way to recovery. So that’s my first apology. My second is to all the dads out there! I did a whole week tribute to moms for Mother’s Day, and I kinda am lacking for the same homage to dads. So for that, I am sorry, and please don’t think that I think any less of fathers than I do mothers. I’m lucky, I have both and amazing dad and amazing mom, so win-win!

Seeing as there are only two days left for me to post before Father’s Day hits, I thought I’d give you two recipes today and two tomorrow. Today’s will be a side dish and a dessert, both that we made last year for our Father’s Day BBQ. They were a hit! I hope you like them too!