Sunday, December 4, 2011

The College Gastronome is moving!

Be sure to check out my new blog, Shauna E's Easy Eats!

Same format, and I'll still be answering all your food questions and positing simple, delicious, and cost-effective recipes.

Check me out!



Sunday, August 21, 2011

Peaches Part Deux

Last night I attempted to make my very first chowder. We had lobster meat from Land and Sea that was just begging to be paired with white wine, potatoes, corn, and a creamy, thick broth. My only experience with chowder as a kid was heating my father's can of Campbell's condensed clam chowder-- and boy, did it stink!

That being said, the chowder was a disaster. Okay, maybe I'm being overly critical, but it was a far cry from the thick, steamy masterpiece I was envisioning in my head. My fiance was a doll and ate two bowls in an effort to convince me it was a good first try. I was unconvinced.

The star of the night really ended up being the peach-blueberry crisp I threw together while the chowder was simmering. It uses fresh, in-season peaches and blueberries and several items you probably already have in your pantry. Lovely on its own but definitely a 10 when you pair it with vanilla ice cream.

Peach-Blueberry Crisp
Serves 4 (or 2 dessert-hungry people)

2 firm peaches
1 1/2c fresh blueberries
2 tsp candied ginger, grated*

2/3c rolled oats
2/3c white flour
1/4c brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4c vegetable oil
1/2c chopped nuts (optional)

(*Candied ginger can be substituted for fresh or dried ginger mixed with a little white sugar)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Slice peaches down the seam and twist. Remove the pit and any pit pieces. Slice peach into 8 slices, or dice if you want a more homogenized crisp.

Mix the blueberries, peaches, and grated candied ginger in a bowl. Coat the bottom of a shallow baking dish with oil or butter spray and arrange into even layers.

In another bowl, mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Add oil and stir to coat. Gently fold in the nuts.

Spread the mixture evenly on top of the fruits and bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until the top is dry and golden brown.

Serve warm with ice cream.

Simple, delicious, done!

What's your favorite dessert?

XOXO, Shauna aka the college gastronome

Quick and Dirty with TCG

1) What the heck is candied ginger?!

Candied ginger is slices of ginger that have been dried and rolled in sugar. The texture is almost like marzipan and it is great to use in many different desserts and drinks. You can find candied ginger in the international foods aisle of your megamart, usually with the Asian spices/noodles. A small box will run you $1.50 for about 1 ounce.

Candied ginger is also great to eat on it's own. Careful though, it's spicy! I like to suck on it sometimes; it aids in easing an upset stomach.

Don't worry if you can't find it! Merely mix dried or fresh ginger with a little white sugar.

2) The grocery store was out of peaches, or it's the off season. What should I do?

This recipe is great with any and all types of fruit. You could substitute plums for the peaches, or raspberries for the blueberries. If you're dead-set on recreating this dessert in it's entirety, simply use frozen peaches and blueberries. Frozen fruits are picked at their peak of ripeness, then quick frozen to maintain their texture. If you do substitute fresh for frozen, be sure to thaw them out first. You can do this by either running the frozen goodies under warm water, or arrange on a plate at room temperature for 1 hour.

Questions? Comment below.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Peachy Keen

My fiance is a bit of a picky eater. Oh, I've watched him eat escargot and steak tartar, but put most fruits or veggies in front of him and watch his mouth bolt itself shut!

That being said, my local chain grocery store had the most incredible fuzzy peaches on sale this week. Firm, sweet and ready to eat, I decided to grill them in the hopes of tricking my beloved into putting something healthy in his mouth. Paired with vanilla ice cream or pound cake (we had both), this amazingly simple dessert is the perfect end to any long summer day.

Simply Grilled Peaches
(Serves 2 or 4 depending on serving size)

2 firm-to-touch peaches
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Vanilla ice cream, pound cake, or whipped cream

Preheat a grill, grill-pan, or griddle to 350 or medium.

Carefully halve each peach along the seam and remove any pits inside.
Brush lightly with the oil and lay cut-side down on the hot grill.
Cook for 5 minutes or until the flesh is charred.
Tent the pan with aluminum foil and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the outside of the peach is warm and soft.
Remove peaches from the grill and lightly sprinkle with brown sugar.
Allow brown sugar to melt into the peaches while you plate the ice cream or other accompaniments.
Enjoy! :)
Yields 1 peach or 1/2 peach per serving.

Simple, delicious, done!

XOXO Shauna, aka the College Gastronome.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rainy Afternoon Beef Stew

It stormed all afternoon today, an odd occurrence for end of March in the Sunshine State. Also, my fiancé is sick and I didn’t feel like messing with a lot of pots and pans to make dinner tonight. Rain makes me feel sluggish, lazy and also makes me crave the comfort foods of my childhood. Therefor, I made a big steamy pot of stew for dinner, and paired it with a lovely loaf of Cuban bread (soft and chewy with a nice crust) and some salted cream butter.

I love making soups and stews because all you really need is one large pot, a knife and a cutting board.

I went to our local meat market and found the most beautiful cuts of stew beef. Stew beef is chunks of the tougher parts of the cow, such as the leg, shoulder, and butt, that become super tender and buttery when you slow cook them. In the supermarket, this cut of meat may also be called chuck, and beef for stew. Most supermarkets will have it already shrink-packaged and cut into bite-sized chunks, but if you are unsure, definitely ask your butcher! And remember: If there's no butcher, don't buy from there!

Rainy Afternoon Beef Stew
Serves 6-8

You will need:
1 to 2 pounds stew beef
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons oil (I used olive but vegetable would be fine as well)
3 cups cold water
1 package Beef Stew seasoning pack (optional)
5 cups vegetables such as mushrooms, celery, carrots, potatoes, and onion, cut into quarters.
Wash and cut all the vegetables into quarters. Make sure the stew beef is cut into small cubes and not huge chunks.

Heat a large soup pot with the oil.

Salt and pepper the beef, then dredge in the flour. Add the garlic and sauté until soft, about 1 minute. Add the flour-coated beef to the hot pot, and sauté until all sides are brown.

Add the 3 cups of water, and seasoning pack (if using) and stir, paying careful attention to anything sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Bring to a boil, then drop the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour (you will add the veggies later).

Add the vegetables, stir and cook for another 45 minutes or until veggies are tender.

Serve with buttered bread or crackers. Leftovers will store refrigerated for 1 week, frozen indefinitely.

Simple, delicious, done!

What is your favorite meal on a rainy day?


Shauna AKA, The College Gastronome

Quick and Dirty Q&A with TCG

Why do I need to dredge the beef in flour? Doesn't that seem like an unnecessary extra step?

Dredging the beef in flour and sauteing it in a little fat (oil) helps to create a mini roux that thickens the stew later when the water is added. Skipping this step would cause you to have more of a brothy soup than a thick, rich stew.

Why should/shouldn't I use a packet of beef stew seasoning?

I am a huge advocate of short cuts that will make things tastier. A beef seasoning packet will add so much extra flavor to your meal. They contain salt, pepper, dried herbs, garlic, beef seasoning and also cornstarch for a little extra thickness. If you want to omit this, the stew will taste just as good but I definitely recommend adding extra salt and pepper, and maybe even a little garlic and onion powder as well.

Questions? Comment below! XOXO

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pizza for dessert???

In an epic combination of creativity and "inspiration", this happened:

Much thanks to Nicole Miller over at Evict These Words for the excellent night. Recipe to follow and new posts to begin next Sunday!