Individual Peach Pies

I think you are such a peach!

Individual Peach Pie

On this Hollymead Monday I thought I would share with you something that I might have a mild obsession with. I really like peaches. I REALLY like peaches! I have always been a fan of all things peach and peach flavored. You would usually find me with peach lip gloss in my pocket as a teen or perhaps peach scented lotion on my hands. My favorite non-chocolate candy is peach-o’s. For some reason it has always been my favorite fruit. I guess it has to do with the fact that they are so sweet! The sad part about peaches is that you can’t get them year round, at least not in their freshest form. The fact that they are seasonal makes me want them more. You always want the things you can’t have…or at least can’t have all year round.

Peaches

My grandmother had 3 recipes for peach pie, 3 different recipes! I am going to guess she loved peaches just like me. Running an inn in Virginia probably meant she had an ability to get fresh local peaches. In fact, I know that you can find Donut Peaches in Charlottesville. I even ate donuts made by the donut peach and donut peach cider. I am going to guess my grandma had a taste of those in her days down there or maybe she was able to get her hands on the really sweet peaches that were making their way up from the Carolina’s or further south.

Prepping the pies

I took a look at all of her recipes and decided to create this version based on the recipes she had for a fresh peach pie and an individual deep dish pie. This recipe most closely resembles her Deep Dish Pie recipe but I made some adjustments based on my personal preference. I like a dash of cinnamon in my peach pie and a little kick of vanilla. I went ahead and added those to this version and I don’t think grandma would mind one bit. Let’s just take a second to acknowledge that grandma was obviously an entertainer since she decided to create a recipe for individual pies. If I were staying at an inn and they brought me my very own pie for dessert I would have a hard time leaving. I am going to assume it was all part of that southern hospitality.

Peach Pie

Whenever I think about peaches I think about the south. I think about the summer in Savannah or some other place with Spanish Moss and big wooden porches with rocking chairs. I know it sounds so crazy to have such a strong visual when thinking about something as simple as a peach. I guess I love the peach as much as I love the romantic visuals of the south.

Individual Pie #2

These individual peach pies are like the peach cobblers you might find in Atlanta. The peach is the star and everything else is just extra. You want to make sure you are using ripe and sweet peaches. If you decide to make these for a crowd I know your guests will feel loved and cherished. I think they would be the perfect complement to a summer evening and especially as we approach the close of summer, it is the best way to savor the best summer has to offer. Grab your ice cream and a spoon!

Individual Pie #3

Individual Peach Pies

Yields 3-4 Pies

Ingredients:

4-5 Peaches Peeled and Diced (see note below)
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
1 Tsp. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla
2 Tbsp. Flour
Dough for pie crust (1) (store bought is ok!)
2 Tbsp. Butter divided
1 Egg
1 Tbsp. Water

Instructions
Preheat oven to 400. Place diced peaches in a bowl. Add sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and flour to peaches. Stir to combine. Set peaches aside while you prep your baking dish and crust.

Pies are best baked in a 3 inch oven proof ramekins. Roll out pie crust so that there is enough to cut 4 crusts that are 1/2 inch larger than the diameter of your ramekin. Spoon the peach filling in to each ramekin and fill to the top. Place a piece of butter on the top of each ramekin. Top each ramekin with one pie crust, gently press down to seal the crust over the ramekin and peach filling. Create a decorative edge by pinching the crust between your forefinger and thumb and index finger of your other hand. Cut slits in the crust to allow air to escape as the pie bakes.

Brush the top of the pie with an egg wash, one egg beaten with 1 tbsp of water. Sprinkle the tops with sugar and bake in the oven until the crust is golden brown 30-40 minutes. Serve with a scoop of ice cream and enjoy!

Delicious Bites of Peach Pie

Zucchini Bread

Were you looking for something to do with all of that zucchini you got at the Farmers Market this weekend?

Zucchini Bread

When I was a kid we had the most amazing garden in our backyard. Our house looked like a barn and our backyard was probably more garden than yard. We didn’t have any livestock running around but we always managed to have some creatures making a home in our garden our under our deck. I should make sure to tell you more about the groundhog from hell. We grew all sorts of delicious things in that garden. I think you know where this is going…

Fresh Zucchini

Obviously we grew zucchini in that garden. As a little girl I really looked forward to going out to the garden and picking up the large squash and watching how big things could grow in such a short amount of time. I remember putting things in a basket (yes, we used a basket) and carrying them in to the house. My mom always knew what she was going to do with the bounty of our garden. Lucky for her I wasn’t a picky eater. Writing this is making me long for those simple days in the backyard – damn you adulthood!

Shredded Zucchini

When we had an excess of zucchini my mom would reach for her trusty zucchini bread recipe. I love this recipe and we were pretty expert at making loaves of bread that we would give away to neighbors or freeze until the Fall. Tip: If you are mom of a picky eater this bread exists for you!

Zucchini Bread Inside

Anything that hides a vegetable is amazing. This bread will do just that. I love that you can shred up the zucchini, skin and all, throw it in to a bowl with all the right kind of goodness (read: sugar). It makes the most delicious bread, one that almost rivals its well-known cousin, the banana bread. You can make your own combination with nuts or chocolate chips. I actually did make a few with chocolate chips and let me tell you…(disclaimer: I only took pictures of the non-choco bread because I had already started eating the chocolate chip version before remembering to take pictures #foodbloggerproblems)

Throw a slice of chocolate chip zucchini bread in the microwave for 15 seconds and you have the most delicious snack, complete with melting chocolate as one should desire to have when indulging in a healthy snack.

I made you wait long enough…

Zucchini Bread #2

My Mom’s Amazing Zucchini Bread

Yields 1 Loaf
or
4 Small Loaves (perfect for sharing)

Ingredients:
3 Eggs
1 Cup Oil (canola or vegetable)
2 1/4 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Raw Zucchini (Grated)
3 Cups Flour
3 Tsp. Vanilla
3 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
3 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp. Baking Powder
1 Cup Nuts or Chocolate Chips (optional)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350. Grease bread pan(s) with non-stick baking spray or butter.

In a mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment beat eggs until thick. Add oil, sugar, zucchini and vanilla. Continue to mix until everything is combined.

In a small bowl sift together all of the dry ingredients, omitting the nuts or chocolate chips. Add the dry ingredients to your wet ingredients in 3 batches, mixing well after each addition. Once all is added mix until everything is combined.

Pour batter in to prepared bread pan(s) and bake. If using a large bread pan bake time is approximately 2 hours or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. If baking in smaller pans bake time is 45-60 minutes. Check half way to make sure bread is baking and rotate.

Italian Chicken over Polenta

Comfort food is sometimes the simplest food…

Italian Chicken over Polenta

When we were growing up my parents always managed to have a home cooked meal on the table. I know now that they had some go to dishes that were easy to put together and would easily feed our family of six. When I come home I sometimes struggle to think of something to make that will just feed the two of us. Why is it soooooo hard?!?! It’s not coming up with a recipe that is challenging, it is trying to pick something that is simple enough to cook so that we are not eating dinner at 10:00PM. I sometimes suck at kitchen time management. I seriously doubt I could ever compete on a timed cooking show…

Polenta Cakes

When I recall the meals we ate as a kid during the week I think of dishes that my mom could put together in minutes. These are some of the dishes that created sensory memory. I remember the smells they generated in the house. It is a strange thing when I stand in front of the stove cooking away; I don’t smell the aromas as strongly as those who walk through the door. I am almost envious of them for being able to smell the food in a way I can’t. The smell is something that can linger and generate a feeling or a memory. There was one dish I remember that smelled like it must have taken all day to cook. I don’t know what it was called but perhaps it was mom’s version of chicken cacciatore, a well known Italian dish made with tomatoes and peppers. Maybe it was the shortcut version that mom could whip together fast enough to feed us all. Whatever it was it was delicious!

Chicken Thighs

As I reflect on this dish I am immediately taken back to those nights at our large dining room table. My mom would not typically make a dish with polenta since there were picky eaters among us. I wouldn’t say that I was the picky one, I was actually known for eating pretty adventurous things for a little kid. There wasn’t a piece of cheese that I wouldn’t eat or a pickled vegetable that I did not hesitate to devour. I decided to prepare this with polenta as I have come to see polenta as Italian comfort food and you are probably reading this going “duh” but you’ll just have to cut me some slack for not being wise to all of those Italian comfort meals out there!

Italian Chicken

Anyhow, this dish is simple, delicious and comforting (I think you picked up on this already). Something you can quickly assemble on a weeknight and maybe even something the kids will enjoy!

Italian Chicken 2

Italian Chicken Over Polenta
Yields 4-5 servings

Ingredients:
4-5 Chicken Thighs (skinless and boneless preferred)
Italian Seasoning or All Purpose Seasoning
1 Jar (26oz) Marinara Sauce
1 Pkg. Polenta (Pre-cooked)
2 Tbsp. Butter
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil divided
Salt & Pepper
Italian Cheese

Instructions:
Preheat oven 375. Season chicken thighs on both sides with Italian seasoning or all-purpose seasoning. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tbsp. olive oil to the pan. Swirl to coat the pan. Place the chicken thighs in the pan and sear to golden brown on both sides. Remove chicken from pan and place in a baking dish. Cover with marinara sauce. Cover baking dish with foil and place in the oven to continue baking for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked all the way through.

While chicken is baking heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Take pre-cooked polenta and cut in to 5-6 1/2 inch disks, season with salt and pepper on both sides then set aside until ready for use.  Add butter and remaining 2 tbsp. of olive oil to the pan swirling to coat the pan. Place the polenta disks in the pan and sear until golden brown on one side, flip and repeat the step on the other side. Remove disks and place on a plate with a paper towel to allow for the excess butter and oil to drain before serving.

Remove chicken from oven. Depending on the type of chicken used you can chop the chicken in to smaller pieces or you can serve a whole piece over the polenta, I shredded the chicken before serving.

Place the polenta on the plate and then top with chicken. Drizzle extra sauce over the dish and garnish with your favorite italian cheese.

French Silk Chocolate Pie

This makes every Monday better!

French Silk Chocolate Pie

It’s another Hollymead Monday! This weekend we celebrated the hub’s 30th birthday. He is a big chocolate lover so I consulted the Hollymead recipe box and look what I found…

French Silk Chocolate Pie is something to behold and love. It is perfect for any and all chocolate lovers in your life. I have to make a small confession about this recipe in particular. The recipe card were this recipe was written also states that it comes from the kitchen Mrs. Roger C. Davis.

Recipe Card - French Silk Pie

Another Hollymead mystery is in front of us. Who is Mrs. Roger C. Davis and why is her French Silk Chocolate Pie recipe among the recipes carried on by my grandmother? I posed this question to my dad who couldn’t recall who this person was. He quickly took to the internet (as we all do) to try to unravel the mystery.

Whipped Butter and Sugar

Turns out that Mr. Roger C. Davis was an Associate Professor in the Architecture School (A-School) at the University of Virginia in the 1970’s. My guess is that my grandma probably met his wife as a result of being connected to the university or perhaps they were frequent diners at the inn. My grandparents often entertained members of the university community at the Inn. I don’t know if I ever told you this but, my grandmother was also a cook for two of the fraternities on grounds. It is very cool to think about all of the people who ate her food and might have been impacted by her hospitality. There are probably so many people out there who ate her food and might even have stories I have yet to hear.

Melted Chocolate

I wonder if the Davis family knows of this French Silk Pie that apparently must have been notable enough for my grandmother to have obtained a copy of it in her repertoire. If you are reading this and you it turns out you know something about Roger C. Davis or his wife, please send me a note. I would love to learn more!!

French Silk Chocolate Pie #2

French Silk Chocolate Pie

Serves 8-10

Ingredients:
1 Pie Shell (Baked)
1 Cup Butter (2 Sticks)
1 1/2 Cup Sugar
4 Oz. Unsweetened Chocolate
2 Tsp. Vanilla
4 Eggs
Whipped Cream

Instructions:

It should be noted that I used a store-bought pie crust. You can certainly make your own but this recipe is so easy that I didn’t even want to fuss with making my own crust. Whatever crust you use place it in a pie pan and bake until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow the crust to cool as you prepare the filling.

Melt chocolate using a microwave or double boiler. If using the microwave it is best to put the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat it for 15-30 second intervals. Stirring after each to ensure that the chocolate evenly melts and you don’t end up burning the chocolate.

Place butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Cream (mix) butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl every now and then to make sure all of the mixture is getting properly mixed. Pour in the melted chocolate and vanilla, continue to mix until the chocolate has been thoroughly incorporated.

Add eggs in one at a time, mix for 3-5 minutes after adding each one*. Blend the pie mixture until it is light and fluffy, transfer to the pre-baked pie crust. Cover and place in the fridge for 3 hours at minimum. The longer the pie is in the fridge the better chance it has to firm up.

Slice pie and serve with a healthy dollop of whipped cream and shaved chocolate.

*This recipe contains uncooked (raw) eggs. In my research I have found that most of the French Silk Pie recipes are constructed the same way. I don’t believe there is a high risk of food-borne illness but if you have concerns you can consult the internet on other methods for preparing this dish.

Blueberry Orange Bread

I feel like starting something new…

Blueberry Orange Bread #1

If you follow me you know that I have spent a good portion of this blog creating recipes that come from my late grandmother Peggy. I have attributed those recipes to the time my grandparents ran Hollymead Inn down in Charlottesville, VA. I realized that up to this point I have just randomly featured those recipes whenever I felt like going through her cards and something jumped out at me. I don’t think I am truly doing her recipes justice or giving them the right amount of attention.

Flour Coated Blueberries

With that being said, I would like to start a new weekly method of blogging here on Haute Pepper Bites. I would like to start by dedicating Monday’s to her recipes. We will call it Hollymead Mondays. I wish I could have come up with some clever alliteration but in this case we will be true to what it is.

Bread Batter

These are her recipes and these are the dishes that might have been spotted while dining at the inn. I find myself still learning about the time they spent running Hollymead. I never tire of hearing stories from my dad or finding treasures that they held on to over the years. Recently I found myself sorting through boxes of photo albums and pictures, looking for anything and everything that captured our family history with food. When I came across the Hollymead “archives” I was again in awe of what they accomplished and what they spent many happy years doing.

Look at these two! How cute are they?

Look at these two! How cute are they?

My grandparents were amazing! I am so fortunate to have a great history on both sides of my family. Feeling like a very lucky girl! I have also spent some time digging more and more into my mom’s side of the family. You have already seen some of her Southern roots make their way to this blog here. I started this blog because I knew that food was a huge element of my life and it didn’t take long for me to learn that this was not by accident. I have parents who grew up surrounded by traditions and hospitality.

Bread Batter Ready for Baking

Both grandparents ran establishments where they focused on making others feel at home by cooking them comfort dishes and food that was simple but satisfying. The wonderful thing is that they found a way to do it without too much fuss and they were known for their specialities. On my mom’s side it is the famous beef ribs that my grandfather still makes for his admirers in San Francisco. My grandmother was famous for her Beef Wellington which I am still working up the courage to create. When I think about it, this is what I love to do. I love to cook and make it simple. I want it to be comforting and easy. I want to watch you eat and tell me how much you love it before I even take a bite. I cook because I love it, the way they love it, the way they show their love to others.

Blueberry Orange Bread #2

So, each Monday I will feature a dish from the Hollymead collection. They could be vintage and silly or they could become your next favorite dish. I will do this to carry on the memory of my grandmother in a way that I feel I have failed to do so far. It turns out that this one is a great way to get the ball rolling.

Blueberry Orange bread is something I don’t think I have come across but it is certainly something that you could enjoy alongside your morning coffee. It is a wonderful vehicle for showcasing the bountiful blueberries and tweaking things ever so slightly by mixing in orange juice. A wonderful summer bread and I am sure it was a huge hit at the inn.

Blueberry Orange Bread #3

Blueberry Orange Bread*

Yields 1 Loaf

Ingredients:
3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
3/4 Cups Sugar
3 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tsp. Salt
3 Eggs
1/2 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Butter (melted)
1 Tbsp. Grated Orange Peel
2/3 Cup Orange Juice
1 Cup Blueberries (rinsed)
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts (Optional)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x5x3 bread pan using a non-stick spray or butter.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in to a large mixing bowl. Combine sugar and stir to combine. Sprinkle 2 tbsp. of flour over the rinsed blueberries, this will help to make sure they don’t sink to the bottom when baking.

In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, orange peel and orange juice. Slowly add melted butter, whisk as you add in the butter.

Place your mixer on low-speed and begin to add the liquid mixture to the flour. Slowly combine until all of the liquid has been added and the dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overwork the batter or you risk the bread coming out very dense.

Fold in the blueberries (and nuts) in to the batter, careful not to overwork the batter. Fill your greased bread pan with the batter and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Remove bread from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack. You can enjoy the bread now or store overnight in the fridge before slicing and enjoying in the morning. If you do store it in the fridge you can warm up the slices before eating.

*The original recipe calls this Blueberry Orange Nut bread, I don’t happen to be a huge fan of nuts in my baked goods but feel free to add them to your version.