Monthly Archives: August 2007

Peaches and Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

After searching the net for a copy cat recipe of this lavish coffee cake, discovered at the café “Peaches” in North Conway, NH, a thought occurred to me, a memory actually. I had eaten this before, in fact I have even made this cake in my previous life (BC, “Before Children…”) My roommate in college gave me this recipe after she successfully served it to her three starving roomies. I did tweak the recipe a bit so that it lined up more with what I sampled at “Peaches”. The result was perfect. I accomplished a coup d’etat of their famous, guarded recipe. Or maybe I am not so clever and the recipe has been lurking in housewives’ recipe boxes for generations as it had mine for the last eighteen years. Que sera sera!
The recipe…
Grease the bottom of a 9″ square baking pan
3/4 cup flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
3 1/4 oz box vanilla non instant pudding
3 T. butter
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/8 t. anise extract
Combine in a large mixing bowl and beat for two minutes at medium speed and pour into prepared pan. Drain a can of peach halves (reserve the juice), you will need 5 halves sliced very thinly and placed evenly over the batter. In the same mixing bowl (no need to mess another), mix one 8 ounce brick of cream cheese, 3 tablespoons of the reserved juice, and 1/2 cup of sugar. Pour this over the peaches with in one inch of the edge of the pan. Sprinkle top with cinnamon and a little sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is still soft but a little bubbly. Eat warm and store in fridge and reheat as needed.

How To: Start Your Own Gourmet Club

Ah, Gourmet Club! Amazing themed nights with food and drink to the extreme. This particular picture is of delicious pizza toppings including, sautéed onions and peppers, barbequed chicken, sliced meatballs, and ham and pineapple, just to name a few. My husband Dan and I hosted the “Food Court Night.” We dressed like various mall employees (Rindy and James in black and white stripes for Foot Locker, Eddie and Sabrina in Olive Garden aprons, and Amy and Jerry looking quite “Gap-ish” ) and ate food such as make your own California Pizza Kitchen Pizza, Joe’s Crab Shack cocktails, and Olive Garden Salad. All recipes found at We have been doing this for four years and have done various themes such as: Sock Hop, a Hawaiian Luau, a Murder Mystery, Red Neck Night, Kentucky Derby, Low Country Crab Boil, and the list goes on. Here is how to start your own.

  1. Get with a fellow foodie and choose who and how many people you want in your club. Eight is a good number. Always best to choose other food enthusiasts with adventurous palates.
  2. Decide when and how many times a year you plan to meet, with each host rotating through the dates. Commit to these dates and plan ahead with your babysitters if needed.
  3. Two weeks prior to the event the host will send out the “Top Secret” file. This file contains the revealed theme, what each quest is to cook including recipes, and expected attire. Keeping it all secret lends to great anticipation among the gourmands.
  4. Create a scrapbook or binder to include recipes, tips, thank you notes, wine lists, and pictures from each event.
  5. At each place setting supply a “question”, this gets the conversation going and always adds to laughs and memories. Ex. If you could do anything successfully, what would you do? Who would play you in a movie? What was your first job? Describe your first kiss?
  6. Be sure to have each quest bring storage containers to share the leftovers– if any!

Summer Produce

Finally! I said we were on the map when Starbucks showed up in our local strip. I said we were really on the map when Clyde’s opened up it’s flagship restaurant just a few blocks down from our house. Oh, and Bonefish Grill– we’ve arrived!
But what I think what really puts a community on the map is the arrival of the Saturday Farmer’s Market. And this past Saturday it finally happened– on the back lot of our neighborhood community center, Farmer John (I kid you not) pulled up his pick up trucks and unloaded palettes of locally-grown produce. I grabbed Graham and we loaded up on squash, beefsteak tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peaches, and a dozen ears of corn. Here’s a little tip– be sure to inspect the ears of corn your five-year-old picks out, they may come with extra, slightly wormy, protein.

I’m also excited about the produce that I’ve managed to get going in my own garden this year. First, there’s an herb garden of thyme, sage, basil, and rosemary. So far I’ve only used the basil and rosemary as I haven’t been cooking as much this summer as thought I would. I will have to remedy that.

Of course, what’s a garden without tomatoes. I’m trying out some giant, heirloom beefsteaks. The plant started out a little slow, but midway through the summer it exploded in size and in blooms. It’s finally loaded up with fruit and I’m having visions of tomato, mozzarella, and basil salads in my future.

The biggest surprise was my single jalapeño plant. I’ve harvested quite a few peppers from that plant and it seems I haven’t made a dent. There’s enough there to try a little experimentation. I think I’m going to try putting a bunch in the smoker and make some of my own chipotle sauce. I’ll document how that goes– it’s going to be spicy!

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