Friday, June 12, 2009

A Recipe for Your Coffee Break

I created a delightful dish last week that I want to share with you. It's perfect for tired moms on the go. Most of us don't feel much like turning on the oven in June, and by the time we sit down at the end of the day, we really don't want to be baking anyway. This lovely little delight cooks in the microwave in minutes and takes advantage of fresh fruit in season. In addition to all of these advantages, it's low in calories and a healthy choice that you can feel good about serving to your family.

Cooked fruit dishes bring out the taste of coffee and enhance its more subtle notes. Light roast and Columbian coffees are great choices for fruit desserts. If you are a tea lover, then I recommend a light afternoon tea with this or one that has fruit flavors in it. Constant Comment, lemon flavored tea, or a fruity herbal tea would be a good companion.

Quick Peach Crumble:

3-4 medium sized, fresh peaches
1 cup toasted wheat germ
1/4 cup apple juice (can substitute other juices)
2 tablespoons of your preferred sweetener
sprinkle of salt

Slice the peaches into a shallow, glass, microwaveable dish. A pie pan is perfect, but a dish any size and shape will work. Put the toasted wheat germ and sweetener into a small mixing bowl. Sprinkle salt over it, just one light pass. Add the apple juice and blend the wheat germ with it. The mixture should be wet, clumpy, and crumbly -- not as mushy as muffin batter, but not dry either. Add more juice (or water) by the tablespoon until you get the right consistency. If your sweetener is a liquid, like honey, just add it with the apple juice, but start with 3 tablespoons of apple juice instead of 1/4 cup. Use your hands to sprinkle the wheat germ topping over the peaches. Cook on high in the microwave for 3 minutes. My microwave is strong, so some of you might need to cook your peach crumble for 4-5 minutes. The end result should produce topping that is cooked but still crumbly, and peaches that taste poached but are fairly firm, not mushy. Part of the charm of this recipe is that the peaches are not completely cooked, yet warm and steamy. Let the peach crumble sit on the counter while you make the coffee or tea.

Serving suggestions:

If you are making it for more people, figure on one average-size peach per person, as a minimum. You should increase the cooking time by one minute for each additional peach. If you are cooking more than eight peaches, you will need to divide your recipe into two dishes and cook them separately. Microwaves don't cook larger amounts as well as they do smaller dishes.

If the crumble is not sweet enough, you can sprinkle a tablespoon or two of sweetener over the top. The idea is to make it taste pleasant, just slightly sweet. Some peaches are more sour than others and you may need to adjust the sweetener slightly each time. If you want to add a fancy touch, you can put whipped cream, ice cream, or a dash of powdered sugar on top. Serve on a pretty plate and savor!

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