Friday, July 31, 2009

Delicious and frugal Summer cobblers and crisps!

Two of my favorite desserts are cobblers and crisps. I love them because they are tasty, easy, frugal and less fattening than eating pie. Summer's bounty of fresh fruits makes it the perfect time to enjoy a myriad of tasty treats. I know I do...It probably contributes to me not losing that last 10 pounds of baby weight!:P It's tough when you're home all day and you love to cook. Here are some of my favorite cobbler and crisp recipes for your eating enjoyment.

Blueberry cobbler

(For the biscuit)

2C all purpose flour or half white flour half whole wheat flour

2Tbsp sugar

1Tbsp baking powder

1/2tsp salt

6Tbsp cold, unsalted butter

1C milk or buttermilk

Combine the flour, sugar and baking powder together in a large bowl. Cut the butter into 5 or 6 pieces and add it to the flour blend. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until the butter is the size of small peas. Pour in the milk or buttermilk and stir just until the dough comes together. You may need to add more flour. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and roll out 1 inch thick. Cut the dough into 8 biscuits. You will have to re-roll the scraps a couple of times. Place the biscuits on a plate and place in the fridge while you make the filling.

(For the filling)

3/4C sugar

3Tbsp cornstarch

1/2tsp salt

2 pounds fresh or frozen blueberries

2Tbsp lemon juice

Wash the blueberries and place them in a large bowl. Add the cornstarch, sugar, salt and lemon juice and toss with the blueberries until well combined. Scrape the mixture into a greased baking dish (I use a deep dish pie pan) and place the biscuits on top. You might have extra biscuits. I just place the extras on a baking sheet and bake them along with the cobbler. Bake the cobbler at 375 for 45 minutes. If you are also baking extra biscuits, remove them after about 15-20 minutes.

Fun Fruit Crisp
(For the topping)

1C flour

1C old fashioned rolled oats

1/2C brown sugar

1/4C white sugar

1/2tsp cinnamon

4-8Tbsp butter

Combine ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until crumbly. Refrigerate until ready to bake.
(For the filling)

6C fruit in bite size pieces (I'll give my favorite combinations at the end)

3-5Tbsp sugar

1Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1Tbsp lemon juice

(Assemble and bake)
In a greased baking dish, mix together the filling ingredients. Remove the topping from the fridge and sprinkle half of it evenly over the top. Bake the crisp in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining filling over the top. Bake for a further 20-25 minutes.
Some of my favorite crisps are: Apple crisp (add 1tsp cinnamon to the filling)
Peach crisp, mixed berry crisp, plum crisp

I usually serve the crisp with sweetened whipped cream, but that is certainly an optional ingredient!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The air conditioning company

I've been away for a while, because my downstairs air conditioner stopped working about 2 weeks ago and my computer is downstairs! Anyway, I wanted to write about my experience in getting it fixed, so that everyone will be warned of the possible perils out there.
My air conditioner stopped working while we were at the movies, so we came home and the house was inexplicably hot. I quickly figured out that my air conditioner was still running, but not blowing out cold air. I called an air conditioning repair place called, Connells heating and cooling. Technician one came out and told me that my problem was blown fuses, so he fixed the fuses, charged me $90 and left. 20 minutes after he left, my air conditioner stopped working AGAIN, so I called back, but connells was no longer open for the day. So I called back the next morning.
This is where my story takes a more sinister turn. Technician two came out and told me that I needed to get a whole new air compressor and that the new fuses were already blown He told me that my compressor had leaked freon, run out of it and burned up. He said that my compressor was still under warranty and that he would do me a huge favor and install the new one for $1400. I arranged for him to do it the next day. Then I called my dad and when I told him that the air conditioning company was charging me $1400 just for labor, he told me I was being overcharged and to call other air conditioning repair companies to compare what they would charge. So I did and THREE different companies told me they would charge about $650 to install a warranted air compressor. $650 instead of $1400! I quickly called Connells and cancelled my appointment and then I called one of the other places and arranged to have technician three come out the next day.
Technician three arrived and checked out my compressor. He told me that my unit was FULL of freon and that what was in fact wrong is that it had probably been struck by lightening. He told me he could replace it for....$570. Man am I glad I called around and didn't just go with that first company!