Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cherry Berry Cobbler for the 4th of July

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It never quite feels like summer has arrived until the 4th of July rolls around. Something about the parades, fireworks, patriotic shindigs, barbecues, and general merriment just makes the season, for lack of a better word, start.

Friends of ours hosted a 4th of July party (actually, as they call it, a 4th of Ju-Luau party, with a Hawaiian theme), and my contribution to the festivities was a cherry berry cobbler - sort of a variation on my mixed berry pie, in cobbler form, with a tweak or two.

Cobblers, as it turns out, are considered to be a pretty American dessert. Early European settlers used whatever ingredients were at hand in an attempt to make some of the familiar dishes from their homelands, and as such there are as many variations on cobblers as there were variations on settlers. In general, the requirements are some kind of fruit filling topped with some kind of crust, either a crumbly crust, a biscuity crust, or some combination thereof. Once upon a time, cobblers were served as main dishes for breakfast, or a first course for other meals. Eventually, they were relegated to the dessert category, and we sure do still love them!

This recipe was particularly nice to put together, as I still had a lot of cherries, black raspberries, and blueberries frozen from last summer, and this allowed me to make some room in the freezer.

For more great American-themed recipes and party ideas, check out's 4th of July Fun blog post!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Zucchini Stew with Tomatoes and Onions

Wow, I did not mean to go more than two whole months without posting any new recipes! But school's finally out for summer, and I have a few things up my sleeve to share.

It's still a little early in my neck of the woods for most of our local produce to make an appearance, but one vegetable that has a recurring role at my dinner table is zucchini. There are many, many ways to prepare this veggie, but my favorite (and one of the few ways my husband will willingly eat it), is a sort of Italian-style stew with onions and tomatoes. My mom used to make this all the time when I was a kid, and for some reason we referred to it as "fixed" zucchini. Not necessarily because other ways of cooking zucchini were "broken", of course, but I think because it was "fixed up" with herbs and such.

This family recipe is very easy and can be adjusted for any number of servings. If you serve it with some nice crusty bread, it can stand in as a light main course, perhaps for lunch. It also pairs well with grilled chicken as a side dish. I still recommend crusty bread to sop up all the juices.