My name is Thomas Lott. I am a proud husband and father of two. Two of my favorite things are football and cooking. I'm no expert in either, but I certainly like to fool around with both. I’ve been a home cook for about 10 years, and been around football since I was 4 years old. This fall, perhaps I’ll find out which one I know better! So I'll be checking in periodically to make a pick - or picks (even I'm allowed a bye week here and there!). Again, I'm no expert, so please don’t go betting the mortgage on my humble picks! From that, I’ll make a dish that has something to do with the game - who I think will win, a star/key player, or other story line. Don’t worry - I’m a home cook so it won’t be anything you can’t do - I promise. I’m still learning so most of these will come from my stash of cookbooks or another recipe floating around the internet. I won’t pawn anything off as my own or pretend there’s some super-secret family recipe that I can't share. Most of these I will probably have made before, others might be an experiment. I hope all will go well, but some may go from stovetop right to the dumpster! I'll be sharing my successes, mishaps, and maybe even a few gratuitous shots of my crew of sous chefs and tasters :-)

I'm always a work in progress, so my food won't *always* be pretty (or healthy!), but it's going to taste good--and if it doesn't I'll tell you that, too. And just so you know, it's also a mathematical certainty that I'll whiff on some of my football picks, too. The whole point is to get better at both! So I hope you keep up with me this fall as I have some fun with the kitchen and the pigskin! I welcome all comments, suggestions, requests and discussions on all things pigskin and kitchen!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Week 1 - Peach Buckle

I think most of us can agree the Game of the Week to be the #8 Clemson Tigers versus #5 Georgia Bulldogs. These teams have two things in common: they will always ALWAYS break your heart and they have “proud” programs with lofty expectations that come from one good season in the 80s. I don’t think there is any question this will be quite the athletic display, but don’t be fooled into thinking that you are watching a potential national champion! A few years ago, I did a pick challenge of sorts with a group of friends (along with my wife who won the whole thing). Two teams we used to always get mad at were Georgia and Pitt. They always lay down at the most inopportune times and screw up everyone’s picks because you could never predict when that stinker was coming. 

Georgia for the most part usually seems to starts out OK. It’s that whole, conference schedule/high expectations thing they tend to struggle with. Clemson is #8 and I think that’s largely due to Tajh Boyd. I will say this: if nothing else, we will find out if Jadeveon Clowney’s accusation of him being “scared” is legitimate because I fully expect UGA to come after him and you can't hide fear on the field. By the way "coming after him" is not the same thing as playing sound, disciplined defense! If this were anywhere but Death Valley, I might lean toward the Dogs. But with college football being such an emotional sport largely played by 18-21 year olds, home field is much more of a factor than in any other sport. That in addition to UGAs history of undisciplined play (e.g. penalties/blown assignments), I think Clemson will actually get Georgia this week. I don't trust either team, but I trust Georgia a little less this week. I'm thinking Clemson by at least 6.

With Georgia invoved this week and it being the tail end of summer, I've got no choice but to make a peach dish while I still can! I'm going to be trying something I haven't made before: a Fresh Peach Buckle. A buckle is something like a cobbler, but also has a crumb topping. This recipe comes from Real Cajun by Donald Link. It's one of my few cookbooks I bought brand new. Sometimes with a cookbook, you just "know" and Mr. Link is the real deal. I've made cobbler before, so I am anxious to see how this guy turns out! (Recipe is at the bottom of the page)





Fresh Peach Buckle

Here's our five peeled medium peaches (which by the way was like trying to peel a greased pig):




The recipe calls for 5 peaches/3 cups. Looked a little heavy to me, so I tipped my waitress...




So to work on the batter. First cream the butter and sugar. I dont have a paddle attachment yet, but the beaters work just fine:



Now to build the batter. Add the dry and wet ingredients alternatively, making sure to begin and end with the dry:





Gently fold in your peaches:







And spread into your generously buttered 13 x 9 pan:




 
Add your crumb topping, then pop in a 350 oven for about 45 mins:








And here we have it!







We love cobbler just as much as anybody, but what sets this apart from the usual cobbler is that cinnamon crumb topping. This was actually so good I forgot to serve it with ice cream! My wife also made a very interesting point that because of the topping, this could actually serve as a peach coffee cake of sorts. Always thinking outside the box--that's why I keep her around! Chef Donald also agrees this would go well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a strong cup of coffee.

Another point about the crumb topping: while it tasted the part, I think that I should have mixed it a little more so it would be a little more crumb like. I also wonder in hingsight if maybe the mixture could have used just a tad more butter to help it mix better. Just a thought for next time...

So Donald Link's Peach Buckle was definitely a success and will be revisited in the future. We'll see how the season shakes out...there's a good chance we may be returning to his book soon, too!

Have a great week!

Fresh Peach Buckle
From Real Cajun by Donald Link

Batter
1 C Milk
4 Eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 C Sugar
5 medium peaches, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch cubes (about 3 cups)

Crumble Topping
1 C all-purpose flour
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 C Sugar
1/4 C brown sugar (I used dark)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1)Preheat oven to 350, butter a 13 x 9 baking dish
2)In a small bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and vanilla. In a second bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
3)In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes (he says to use a paddle attachment – I don’t have one so just used regular beaters)
4)Reduce speed to low and alternatively add dry and wet ingredients (beginning and ending with dry), until batter is smooth. Add peaches and stir by hand until just combined.
5)Scrape batter into prepared baking dish. In a small bowl, use a fork or your fingers to combine the crumble topping ingredients. Crumble the topping over the batter and bake for about 45 minutes, until the buckle is golden on top and springy to the touch. Serve warm or at room temperature.