Food Columnist Judi Leaming takes a break from the kitchen and reads up on three recipes she'd like to try: Cinnamon Lover’s Snickerdoodle Blondies, Ricotta Stuffed Tomatoes, and Peach Clafouti.


Last week was our annual “family week” in Cape May, N.J. — the town where Spicer was born and raised — and the town to which our branch of the Leaming family has an annual August migration. We manage to cram our daughters, their spouses, their children and any friends and/or relatives who want to come along into a grand old airy three-story Victorian home (complete with wrap-around porch for lazy afternoon reading) that is close enough to the beach to accommodate the children. Our RV comes too and fits into a side-yard spot so that I am near — but not too near — all of the goings and comings of our very busy family.

After years of trying to decide who cooks what and when, daughter Ami and her very gracious and kitchen-handy husband Tim generously determined that it was much easier on everyone if they took over the kitchen duties. What a relief for me! Of course that means that instead of testing recipes during this week, my only requirement regarding food is to eat and enjoy what is prepared and to search for recipes to test when we return home.

Therefore in this column I’ll be sharing with you recipes that I’ve been reading about on various blogs but that I have not had time to test for you.

Most food bloggers include very specific instructions illustrated with their own step-by-step photographs as they cook so you will probably pick up some useful cooking tips as well as good recipes when you visit their blog spots.

Just to get you started I suggest that you visit http://asoutherngrace.blogspot.comwhich is where I found the recipe for the very tempting cinnamon lover’s snickerdoodles blondies. Then you can move on to http://fortheloveofcooking-recipes.blogspot.com and try the ricotta stuffed tomatoes (the comments included with this recipe are those of the blogger). And last but certainly not least is a favorite blogspot of mine that is compiled by a gracious group of Mennonite ladies from both Canada and the United States. You will find their wonderful collection of recipes at http://mennonitegirlscancook.blogspot.com This is where I found this recipe for peach clafouti along with the contributor’s comments about it. These ladies have just published a cookbook so you may find that information noteworthy, too.

In closing this column I want to note that 47 years ago today Spicer and I became the parents of our oldest daughter Jennifer. She and her husband Larry are the parents of 11 of our 18 grandchildren and we are incredibly proud of these parents and the children that they are raising. Happy birthday, Jennifer!

Cinnamon lover’s snickerdoodle blondies
http://asoutherngrace.blogspot.com
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour?
1 teaspoon baking powder?
1/2 teaspoon salt?
1 teaspoon cinnamon?
1 cup brown sugar, tightly packed?
1/2 cup butter, softened?
1 egg, at room temperature?
1 teaspoon vanilla?
1 cup cinnamon chips?
1 tablespoon sugar?
1 tablespoon cinnamon??
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray down an 8-by-8-inch pan. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar; beat in the egg and vanilla until smooth. Combine the flour mixture and the wet mixture and mix until well-blended. Stir in the cinnamon chips. Spread the thick batter evenly in the prepared pan (and do it quickly so you’re not tempted to eat it all before it’s baked). Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a little bowl and evenly sprinkle the mixture over the top of the batter. Bake 25 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed. Cool slightly. While still warm, cut into bars with a sharp knife.

Ricotta Stuffed Tomatoes
http://fortheloveofcooking-recipes.blogspot.com
I remember seeing these stuffed tomatoes on the Pioneer Woman’s site a long time ago and they looked so good. I recently saw them again on Stacey’s Snacks and knew I would make them. These stuffed tomatoes were quite easy to make and very, very tasty. My children weren’t huge fans but my husband and I loved them. I really enjoyed the sweetened tomatoes, the creamy texture of the filling and the crispy panko on top. They truly made my mouth happy.
4 tomatoes, cut in half (I used 2 Roma and 2 vine ripened)?
1 cup of ricotta cheese (I used non-fat)?
2 to 3 tablespoons asiago cheese, grated?
10-15 fresh basil leaves, chopped?
1/2 teaspoon oregano?
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper?
2 garlic cloves, minced?
Italian style panko crumbs??
Cut your tomatoes in half and scoop out the pulp and seeds with a spoon. Season each tomato cavity with sea salt then turn the tomato halves upside down on paper towels to drain out the moisture. I let them sit for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the ricotta cheese, asiago cheese, fresh chopped basil, minced garlic, oregano, sea salt and pepper to taste. Mix filling and taste, re-season if needed. Spoon your tomato halves with the ricotta mixture. Pour your panko crumbs in a small bowl, dip the ricotta filled tomatoes in the panko crumbs then place on a tin foil lined baking sheet that has been coated with olive oil cooking spray. Spray the tops of each tomato with olive oil cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil. Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Let rest a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Peach Clafouti
www.mennonitegirlscancook.blogspot.com
Here’s a new-to-us treat that we discovered recently. This classic French country dessert is rather like an oven-baked pancake — custardy and delicious — and called clafouti (kla-foo-tee). It’s great with berries, but our favorite is this peaches and cream version.
3 to 4 cups of sliced peaches
1 cup whole milk (or light cream)
3 eggs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
Generously butter a deep-dish, 9-inch pie plate or a quiche pan. Place sliced peaches in dish. Put remaining ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth and creamy. Pour the mixture over the peaches. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 45 minutes or until clafouti is puffed up and golden. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar) if desired. Let cool, but serve when it is slightly warm topped with whipped cream.