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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Spaghetti Squash with Tomato, Pumpkin & Vegetable Sauce

Spaghetti squash with Pumpkin Tomato Vegetable Sauce
UPDATED:  SEPTEMBER 21, 2016 - As timely today as when I first discovered how wonderful a spaghetti squash could be.  Now that they are in season and are a great price - typically, $2-$3 for a decent sized squash, go ahead and buy one to try.  Look for a squash that's about the size of NERF Football, or small football.  It should feel heavy for its size and be blemish free.

One of my favorite produce vendors, Viereck Farms, will be having all sorts of winter squash at their stand at the Collingswood Farmers' Market.  I noticed that he had spaghetti squash along with acorn and butternuts.  These hold well in your refrigerator for several weeks, so if you buy one and can't decide what to do with these hearty fall and winter vegetables, you can store it in the bottom of your refrigerator.

At a Weight Watchers which I used to attend, our Leader, Pat, brought up the topic of healthy food choices. She had a slew of products and items to share with the group, one of which was her favorite, pumpkin puree. She mentioned that she adds it to her oatmeal, which adds fiber, flavor and a vegetable to her morning meal. AHA! I thought, a chance to discuss some recipe ideas. I mentioned a few to the group, telling them I mixed pumpkin, tomato sauce and taco seasonings together for a Mexican Enchilada Sauce; added pumpkin to vegetarian chili; I added pumpkin to a pork stew and pumpkin stew; and lastly, to tomato sauce, or "gravy" over whole wheat pasta.

Inspiration had hit me and the need to write a recipe was in the making. I've made this dish several times in the Fall, one time adding the last bit of pumpkin from a left-over can. Here I've recreated it again, with photos and a conscious effort to make it a heart and weight watchers healthy recipe. I love how the tomato sauce is packed with vegetables, adding in at least 2 servings of the daily requirement. Plus, depending on how finely they are grated, the carrots and squash seem to blend into the sauce. The carrots add a bit of sweetness and the zucchini a bit of texture. Ever since I came home from Italy the summer of 2007, I've been finding ways to make tomato sauces simpler and more fresh tasting - this is definitely one worth trying.

If you have your one tomatoes that you have put up or have frozen, by all means, use them! This would also be great with a batch of fresh tomatoes that you can crush or puree at use - I'd suggest cooking them down for a bit longer then this recipe calls for doing.



Spaghetti Squash with Pumpkin, Vegetable Tomato Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1 Small/Medium Spaghetti Squash (about a pound 1/2) - cut in half, seeds removed
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion - Small Dice
  • 2 Garlic Cloves - finely minced
  • 2 Medium Carrots - Grated
  • 1 Medium Zucchini - Grated
  • 1 Medium Yellow Squash - Grated
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Hot Red Pepper Flakes - or more or less to taste
  • 1 Large Can (about 20 ounce) Crushed Italian Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • Salt and Pepper - to taste
Directions:

  1. To cook the Spaghetti Squash - Cut spaghetti squash in half, and remove seeds.
  2. Place the squash, cut side down in a microwave safe bowl with about an inch or two of water in the bottom of the bowl.
  3. Microwave the squash for two- 10 minute intervals; after 20 minutes, carefully pierce the squash with a knife to see if it is tender throughout. If it is still unyielding, microwave for another 5-8 minutes.
  4. Cover the squash in the bowl with plastic wrap to finish steaming and to cool.
  5. When the squash is cool enough to handle, remove from the bowl, discard the steaming water; use a fork to scrap out the squash membranes into spaghetti like strands.
  6. Discard the outer peel of the squash and set the spaghetti squash strands aside, covered to keep warm.
  7. To make the Tomato Sauce - Wash and prepare the other vegetables as directed. In a stock or 4 quart pot, heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat until it shimmers. Add in the diced onions and minced garlic and saute until translucent - about 2 minutes.
  8. Add in the grated carrots and saute another 2 minutes.
  9. Add in the grated zucchini and yellow squash and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  10. Add the Italian seasonings and hot pepper flakes and saute to bring out the herbs flavors.
  11. Add in the tomato sauce and the pumpkin puree. If the mixture appears to be too thick, add 1 cup cold water to the mixture, stirring to combine all the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a low boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes. Taste, adding salt and pepper and adjust seasonings as needed.  If it needs more flavor, I like to add in a dash of a good balsamic vinegar to amp up the flavors, as opposed to adding more salt, oil or other fats.
  12. Serve hot over spaghetti squash or you can use a cooked, whole wheat pasta
This post was originally published on January 9, 2008.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What to do with Kale & Basil (and other abundant herbs!)


Now is the time to start stocking up on your herbs and using them in creative ways. I've been experimenting with pesto recipes lately.  My basic recipe usually omits the cheese and garlic, making a "base" of pesto to which you can add cheese and garlic later, or not at all.  I've made pesto with other a mix of herbs such as mint, parsley, cilantro, dill, chives, tarragon, or whatever is growing in my herb boxes. Mint and basil and parsley are my stand-by herbs, because they are available in abundance and they play well together.  Swapping out the nuts is another favorite thing to do - you don't always have to use pine nuts; walnuts, almonds, cashews, and pistachios work beautifully as well, so long as you toast the nuts before adding to the pesto.  The other thing I like to do is either blanch or roast the garlic that I'm using, to tame it's sharp, bitter edge.

By adding in kale or spinach, you are boosting the nutritional qualities and adding a much needed chlorophyll component to keeping your pesto bright green.  It's also a fantastic way to stretch you pesto without adding fat calories.  Plus, when you're stuck with a bunch of kale from your CSA or latest farmers' market purchase, it's a nice way to use that kale in a healthy and useful way.

To make the fully-finished batch of pesto vegan, I simply omitted the cheese and instead used a generous helping of mustard powder as the binding agent.  Herbs, spinach or kale, olive oil, roasted or blanched garlic, a nut of choice, salt and pepper and a dash of red or white wine vinegar makes a most inviting pesto that will keep you and many meals happy for weeks or even months to come.  I store my pesto in small jars/containers, often freezing them so that I have them on hand for months to come.

As for other ways to use the herbs that are flourishing in your's and the farmers' market gardens, making a batch of basil or other herb oils is key; freezing and drying herbs is also an option.  For fragrant but delicate herbs like basil and mint, fill small zip-lock sandwich sized bags with cleaned and dried herbs; press out most of the air that you can, and freeze flat in your freezer.  You can break off pieces of the frozen basil or mint as you need it for your cooking dishes.  The herbs will look dark and muddy but their fragrant "oomph" will be there for you as soon as the herbs hit the warmer air or saute pan.  Drying these two herbs will only diminish and ruin them.  They just are not the same and are not worth keeping as dried herbs in your pantry.

Herbs that do best as dried are oregano - and according to my favorite blogger and Instagramer - PhillyFoodist, oregano only comes to life once it's dried.  Take bunches of the herb, tie or bind it by the stems and hang upside down somewhere dark and cool for a few days, or alternatively, dry the oregano in your oven, on a sheet pan, while the oven is off, overnight.

Rosemary, tarragon, dill and chives can be dried or frozen - they all work well either way.  Cilantro and Parsley I prefer to be fresh but freshly dried is infinitely better than almost any store brand.  How I handle my parsely is to clean it, dry it in a clean tea towel, then roughly chop it.  I then put the chopped parsley onto a sheet pan or dish and allow it to dry out overnight.  It retains a fresh bright green hue and it's snap too.  It works well as a dash of "confetti' over a finished dish or in a pasta at serving.

Here's my new version of vegan Kale and Herb Pesto.  For my other many pesto recipes, here are some links to check out:  Kale, Basil and Herb - Traditional Pesto.  Spinach and Basil Pesto (the spinach keeps the pest bright green, stretches it and ads loads of nutrition!).  A whole wheat pasta and vegetable medley with pesto (recipe meal ideas here!)


Vegan Kale Basil Parsley and Mint Pesto Ingredients:  Updated from a June 23, 2014 Post
  • 2-3 Cups (loosely packed; about 1 small/medium bunch) Fresh Kale Leaves - cleaned, de-stemmed of woody/tough center rib
  • 1 Bunch Basil (about 1 cup loosely packed)- cleaned and leaves removed from stems
  • 1/2 Cup Parsley - cleaned and stems removed
  • 1/4 to 1/2 Cup Fresh Mint Leaves - cleaned and leaves removed from stems
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 Cup of other Herbs of choice, such as Tarragon, Dill and Chives (optional)
  • 4 Garlic Cloves - peeled & blanched or roasted
  • 1/2 to 3/4 Cup Olive Oil - or more as needed
  • 1/4 Cup Toasted Walnuts, or Almonds. or Pine nuts, or Cashews or Pistachios
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper - to taste
  • 1/4 Cup Dry Ground Mustard Powder - such as Colemans.  Use a mild mustard, not a spicy one
  • 1 Tablespoon White or Red Wine Vinegar

Equipment Needed:
  • Food Processor or Blender
  • Rubber Spatula
  • small sauce pot and sieve or fine mesh strainer
Directions:
1. Clean the kale, basil, parsley and mint and other herbs you are using.  Set aside.


2. Bring a large pot of  water to a rolling boil.  Add in a tablespoon of salt.  Next, add in the de-stemmed kale leaves and cook for 5 minutes.  Add in the garlic after 5 minutes and cook for 1 minute more.




3.  Put the basil leaves, parsley and mint into a colander and then drain the blanched kale leaves and garlic in that same colander, pouring the hot  water over the herb leaves.  Drain, and then immediately run cold water over everything to stop the cooking process.  Squeeze the kale and herbs dry, wringing out as much water as possible.

4. Add the blanched kale, garlic and herbs, (basil and parsley, etc),  into the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment or into a large/heavy duty blender.  Pulse a few times to get the leaves to start forming a paste. Keep the the lid on the blender or food processor and the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil in a slow stream through the pin-hole or removable lid of the blender or food processor.  The mixture should form a paste.  If need be, turn off the machine, and scrape down the sides of the work bowl. Replace lid and turn the machine back on and continue adding in the oil.  The mixture should be thick, not runny, but should also be a bit loose.  

5. Scrap down the sides of the work bowl or blender and add in the toasted and cooled nuts , then season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pulse a few more times to grind the nuts.  Lastly, add in the dry mustard powder and the vinegar and pulse a few more times.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  
6. Store the pesto tightly covered and refrigerated.  Pesto without the cheese added to it can be frozen for up to 3 months.  This pesto will keep, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.  Adding the kale to it will help maintain its intense green colour. Makes 2 cups of pesto or more, depending on how generous you are with your handfuls and bunches!

Add more of each, kale, basil, parsley, mint, oil, as needed.  My recipes, as usual, are a casual affair.  I usually toss in ingredients until I think they are where I want them to be!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Bourbon Summer Orange Kiss

I'm always trying to dream up new cocktails, it's my thing.  Went to Pizzeria Vetri on Chancellor Street in Center City Philadelphia a few weeks back, and we were there in time to take advantage of Center City Sips Happy Hour specials - $5 cocktails, $5 apps, and $3 beers.  Their summer cocktail, a combination of whiskey, lemonade and rosemary simple syrup was refreshing and not too sweet. Went down smooth. I made myself have only one, but my friends enjoyed several more.  Inspired by this combination, I sought to make something similar at home but I discovered I had no lemons.  We did have limes, clementines and several lovely bottles of flavored syrups and shrubs.  I grabbed the lavender syrup and whipped up this sweet bourbon kiss. 


You can use oranges instead of clementines, but I do suggest you use either a lavender simple syrup or something that's infused with citrus, lavender, rosemary, or mint.  A lighter bourbon will work with this drink, something mild, light and smooth.  Basil Hayden was a Christmas gift and I love it straight up.  It also makes a nice light cocktail.  Orange bitters round out the flavor components, perfuming the entire drink.


Summer Orange Kiss Ingredients:
  • Ice - For cocktail shaker and for rocks glass
  • 2 Dashes Orange Bitters
  • 1 Clementine - Juice of half  (about 1 tablespoon orange juice); Peel off a section of zest for garnish; use the reserved half of clementine and slice off a piece (about 1-inch worth) to muddle in cocktail shaker
  • 1 Small Lime - cut in half and juice,(about 1 tablespoon lime juice), reserve other half for another use 
  • 1 Jigger of Bourbon - 1.5 - 2 ounces approximately
  • 1 Tablespoon Lavender Infused Simple Syrup **

Directions:
  1. Add a slice of clementine to a cocktail shaker and add in 2 dashes of orange bitters.  Muddle the orange segment to release its juices and essence.
  2. Add ice to the cocktail shaker and the juice of half of a Clementine, juice of half of a lime, a jigger of light bourbon and a tablespoon of lavender syrup. Close shaker and shake vigorously.  
  3. Strain and serve the drink in a rocks glass filled with 2 ice cubes or preferably a large round or square ice cube.  Garnish with the zest of the clementine.
  4. Makes one drink!

** To make your own simple syrup, it is truly simple to do.  
  • Take 1 cup of white, granulated sugar and 1 cup of fresh water.  Add them to a small sauce pan and over medium heat, heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves into the water and the water turns clear and syrupy - about 5-6 minutes.  
  • To infuse the syrup with a flavor, add in cleaned pieces of: sprigs of rosemary, or a handful of mint leaves lightly crushed, or a few springs/stalks of clean lavender.  Allow the herb of choice to steep in the syrup for 15-20 minutes over low, barely simmering heat, do not boil or allow the mixture to reduce down.  
  • Let the syrup cool then then remove the herbs and discard them. Strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer to remove any particles and decant into a clean glass jar or bottle.  Cover and refrigerate. 
  • The syrup will keep for at least a month in the refrigerator.  
  • To keep it longer, add in several drops or a teaspoon of a neutral spirit such as vodka, to keep any bacteria from forming.  Discard if the syrup looks cloudy, moldy or funky!
  • Syrup can be used to flavor iced tea or iced coffees.



Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Peach Pie Contest at the C'Wood Farmers' Market

video
The 14th Annual Peach Pie Contest was held on Saturday, August 6, 2016. There were 11 pies entered and five hungry judges set forth to taste and taste and taste each and every entry until we were all about to pass out from the sugar high!  In past contests there have been upwards of 20 pies entered.  I love pie, but eating more than 12 sample tastes would really set me over the edge.

Best over-all Peach Pie winner, Jane Walker
The pie categories were:  Best Presentation; Classic; Anything Goes; Best over-all Pie aka, The Pie You Most Want to Take Home!  We had cross-over winners in each category.  We had family entries.  We had returning bakers.  We had Dads and kids who baked.  And we had bakers with so much talent that their pies deserved to be on magazine covers.
Life's a Peach submitted by Natasha Zirbel
I brought along my son and helper, Nate, who couldn't wait to be a part of the tasting crew.
Tally Taker, Erin, from Collingswood Board Co. gave Nate a job, to keep him occupied and focused. Nate was on trash duty, collecting the judges used spoons and plates.  A 6 1/2 year old can only taste so many pies before he gets bored.   My helper gave his opinion on which pies he thought tasted best allowing me to narrow down the choices.  At times we were in complete agreement and then our taste buds disagreed.  A bit of opposition is a good thing in making tasting judgments.

As far as our discernment on the best looking presentation, Nate was in complete agreement with the five judges, Peach Pie entry No. 9, " Life's a Peach", which was decorated with peach slices in concentric circles to create a floral pattern, was the clear winner.  It was technically perfect, pretty and colourful.  I especially loved the decorations around the spring-form pan - using decorative papers and mini flags to spell out Life's a Peach.  Pie no. 9 was one of the more original pies.  A no-bake pie, it had a pretzel toffee crumb crust, a tangy peach, cinnamon and sour-cream/whipped cream filling that was crowned with peach slices.



Other intricately designed pies such as entry no. 11 - with a beautiful star-pointed flower and leaf and flower embellished nutty crumb crust, and pie no. 6, was a lattice, braided lattice and flower on flower crust took my breath away.  The hard work that went into these pies was impressive.  Tasting these pies was also a treat.  I ate many helpings of each, enjoying the fillings were were near perfect as were the tender sweet crusts.  The crusts alone could stand out as gorgeous dessert offerings.

I was sorry to have over-looked pie 6 for presentation, I was so focused on the Life's a Peach pie.  Any omissions were soon corrected because that pie baker nearly swept the contest!  Returning contributor, Jane Walker, won handily in the Classic category as well as for over-all presentation.  Her daughter, Emily Thompson's, Anything Goes Pie No. 11 took first place.

One of my favorite pies, an Anything Goes entry, No. 8, was a amalgamation of cobbler and pie, filled with blueberries, raspberries and peaches.  The crumb topping and soft crust enveloped the filling in a way that made this my favorite new comfort-food dessert.  The pie was still warm, because contestant, Cherry Pope, rushed her pie to the table moments before we started the judging!  I think the warm pie was a clincher for me.  I also loved pie no. 7 - a near classic entry embellished with blueberries in its center and along its edge. Had pie no. 7  not been topped with blueberries, it would have been a sublime entry for the classic category.



Dylan, Greg and Julia, with their caramel and crumb topped peach pie

Nate's favorite pie was in the Classic category, entered by Greg Dollak *** along with his son, Dylan and daughter, Julia.  They are a family we often see at the Farmers' Market.  Nice to see familiar faces of families that enjoy cooking together. According to Greg, this is their 3rd year entering the Peach Pie Contest.  20014, 20015 and noe 2016, which was a charm to us!  Greg's pie, a classic entry was a crumb-topped pie, enhanced with caramel generously drizzled over the entire pie.  I'm sure Nate enjoyed it because it was pure sweet decadence.



As we greedily indulged in the pie devouring tasting, I was struck by how often a look of a pie can belie its true nature.  Not all pies tasted equal in looks vs flavors and some of the modest-looking comfort-food pies turned out to be fan favorites.  Some pies suffered from being a tad runny inside, juices not quite holding together.  A few pies had a nutmeg bite that hit your tongue on the first taste.  Salt, usually a necessary ingredient to balance the sweet and tart was at times too apparent.  All the pies, from the gorgeous to the humble were good and I'd have been pleased to take any one of them home with me.


From buttery, warm, comfort-food like, to close to perfect, all of the the returning and first time contestants truly know how to bake, decorate, and present blue-ribbon winning pies.

Meredith , Greg, Jane, and Greg's kids, Julia and Dylan - all winners!

The winners in each category were as follows:

Best Presentation:
1st Place:   No. 9 - Natasha Zirbel
2nd Place - A Tie!:  Jane Walker and Emily Thompson - mother and daughter team

Classic Peach Pie:
1st Place: Jane Walker
2nd Place: Meredith Linneth
3rd Place: Greg Dollak

Anything Goes:
1st Place:  Emily Thompson
2nd Place: Cherry Pope
3rd Place:  Charles Rockland

Over-All Winner aka The Pie You Want to Take Home:
Grand Prize Winner: Jane Walker

***Corrections made to clear up misspellings and incorrect names!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Tipsy Coffee Cakelettes


On my previous post, I talked about making a bourbon infused peach coffee cake, using a box cake mix.  Oh the horrors! Using a box mix? Well, yes, a box mix.  I like mixes.  I like the convenience and knowing that the cake will turn out fine every time.  I like knowing you can alter ingredients, making a cake with only one ingredient, or lowering the fat content.  Box mixes give me a lot of baking freedom in that the leg work has been done for me.  Now not all mixes are created equal nor are they priced accordingly. Fancier mixes from gourmet shops will set you back at least $15.  I'm not sure a $15 box of Sprinkles Cup Cake mixes, Stonewall Kitchens', or even my favorite, Williams-Sonoma, have ingredients that are any better than the good ole supermarket standbys - Duncan, Betty and the Doughboy.  An upscale mix from Wegmans Supermarket might set you back $5 - which isn't a lot of money when you think about the per-price cost of a piece of cake or cupcake.

My new favorite choice for an economical commercial box mix is this new line by Pillsbury.  Let me be clear, I have not received anything in exchange for my opinion.  I really like this new line because it has very few ingredients, no additives, no artificial coloring's, no unpronounceable words.  I wish all mixes were made this way.  It reminds me of Heinz's Simply Heinz Ketchup - why not make all ketchup with just the needed ingredients? Why do we need to have high fructose corn syrup?  Why the colourings?   I don't mind paying an extra dollar for products that taste and are better for you.  The Pillsbury Purely Simple mix has been used twice now with fantastic results.  The first time I used the white cake mix I just added vanilla bean paste and followed the instructions.  The cake turned out beautifully.

For my coffee cakes, I embellished the mix and doubled the batch.  Herewith is my recipe for one batch. Double it if you need.  I baked them in 3x5 mini loaf pans, and with the double batch, I yielded 12 mini loaves.  One times the recipe should yield 6 mini loaves

The peaches I used had been soaking in a jar of bourbon that I was turning into Peach Bourbon.  Those need to soak at least 1 week.  Mine soaked for about 3 months - but truly, a week's infusion is fine.  Once I strained the peaches from the bourbon, I saved them in a zip-lock baggie and put them into the freezer.  Because the peaches had been in alcohol, they never truly froze, but became semi-slushy.  I kept them in the freezer for almost a year!  At the time of usage, I chopped up the peaches and used the liquid that was in the bag to drizzle over the cakes before baking. That liquid was full of peach and bourbon flavors - too good to go to waste, hence the moniker, Tipsy Cakelettes.  A sort of riff on the infamous famous Lynchburg Cake and Candy Company's Jack Daniels' Tipsy Cakes out of Kentucky.

Tipsy Coffee Cakeletts Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons All-Purpose Unbleached Flour
  • 2 Ripe Peaches - pitted and small dice
  • 3 Bourbon-Soaked Peaches - small dice (To make bourbon soaked peaches, place peach slices into a clean glass jar and cover with bourbon of choice, it can be an inexpensive brand.  Seal jar and place in a cool dark place for at least a week or up to 1 month.  Strain out the peaches, and use these for tipsy cakeletts and use the reserved peach infused bourbon for a Peach Old Fashioned.) - Reserve any liquid that the peaches give off for drizzling over cake batter.
  • 1 Box Pillsbury Purely Simple White Cake Mix
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter - softened
  • 3 Large Eggs - lightly beaten
  • 3/4  Cup Milk - Whole, Low-Fat or Non-Fat it's your choice
  • 1/2 Cup Plain Non-Fat Greet Yogurt (or other plain yogurt, but the Greek-style is best)
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Bean Paste
  • 2 Tablespoons Bourbon or Reserved Peach Bourbon Liquid - for drizzling (optional)

Streusel Topping:

  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Unbleached Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar 
  • 1 Cup Quick Cook Oats
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter - cold and cut into small pieces
  • Pinch Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare your cake pans - spraying/buttering them and flouring them.  Set aside
  3. Make Streusel topping first - in a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, oatmeal, butter cubes, pinch of salt and cinnamon and combine with your hands or with a pastry cutter, to create the streusel topping.  Cut the ingredients together to create a "sandy-textured coarse meal".  The topping should be slightly chunky or the size of peas.  You can make this in a food processor, pulsing the mixture a few times to combine.  The final texture needs to be coarse and wet-sand like.  Set aside and refrigerate until ready to use.  You can make this ahead of time and the mixture can be frozen for up to 2 months.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, add the diced fresh peaches and the diced bourbon soaked peaches and toss the three tablespoons of flour over them, tossing to combine.  If the peaches are supper juice/wet, use another tablespoon of flour on them.  Set aside.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the Pillsbury cake mix with the soften butter and beat on low in either a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand-mixer on low speed - for two minutes.  
  6. Add in the beaten eggs, milk, yogurt, and vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste.  Mix the batter on medium speed for four minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure the batter is thoroughly mixed.  
  7. After the batter is mixed gently fold in the peaches until they are combined with the cake batter.
  8. Pour the batter into prepared pans - Six 3x5' loaf pans or One 9 inch loaf pan.  Scatter the streusel topping over the cake batter.  If using, pour the two tablespoons of bourbon or peach bourbon liquid over the streusel topped cake batter, the place loaves/loaf pan onto a sheet tray and place in the pre-heated oven.
  9. Bake in the middle rack in the oven for 30-40 minutes, rotating the pans after 20 minutes, and check to see if the cakes are done after 30 minutes but inserting a long thin knife or skewer into the center of the cakes.  When a knife or skewer come out clean, the cakes are done.  It won't be enough to tell the cakes are done merely by looking - the cakes may look golden brown and the streusel topping will be brown and crunchy but the cakes need to be cooked all the way through to the center.
  10. Allow cake/cakes to cool on a rack in the pan/pans, then turn the cakes out and allow to cool completely before cutting or storing - about an hour.  
  11. Cakes will keep three to five days wrapped and refrigerated or can be frozen for up to three months if tightly wrapped and placed into a freezer bag.
  12. Yeilds One 9-inch loaf or Six 3/x mini loaves.