Friday, June 27, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: It's Almost July?

We hope your Friday has been just peachy! I'm linking up with Jen and all the rest for another edition of Seven Quick Takes!

1. One week ago, I let Emma have a sip of my coffee. Now, every morning since, she has been begging to drink from my coffee mug. Those familiar with her brother's long love affair with coffee will understand the significance of this. I just might have another coffee-addicted child on my hands. When Matthew saw me giving Emma a sip of coffee he began to scold: "No, no, Emma! Coffee is not for babies!" Says the kid whose first word was "coffee".

2. Matthew has really been into reciting everyone's full name - first, middle, and last. Then he realized that his Monkey did not have a middle name. So, my creative son has officially named is favorite stuffed friend "Monkey Brown". At least he is consistent in his nomenclature - he also named his goldfish "orange fish".

3. Matthew has a girlfriend. He met a little three-year-old named Tempie at the YMCA and the two have been lovebirds ever since. They are inseparable. Her grandmother brings her to the Y around the same time I bring my kids so they have been playing together for weeks now. Each time they are reunited, they both cry out "MY FRIEND!" and then proceed to hug and dance about. I've seen them holding hands while watching a movie together and coloring the same picture at the art table. True love.

4. Meet "Poofie". He's the little stuffed puppy Emma has been carrying around in order to copy how Matthew carries Monkey everywhere. She wakes up hugging it and has been taking it for car and stroller rides all week. We'll see how long she keeps this up before moving on to another toy.

5. Matthew and I finished his first 500 piece puzzle yesterday. It was a headache. He started out strong - helping find and put together all the border pieces and fill in about 1/2 of the puzzle before getting tired and frustrated. "This puzzle is TOO HARD, Mom!" he said with anguish. I had to majorly encourage him to help me with the rest of it. Paul came home to find us both frustrated trying to finish the last bit of it. It was a family effort by the end, but we finished it. And now I am never, ever taking it apart - we are gluing it and framing it because the picture is really gorgeous. Unfortunately, we bought it as a set and now have three other 500 piece puzzles just waiting for us to put together. Matthew has already forgotten his frustration and has been begging me to start a new puzzle. I might need a couple weeks before we do that again.

6. Our cat has been dragging dead mice still attached to the mousetrap that killed them. This is how a cat who is afraid of his own shadow hunts.

7. My parents are the best! They are coming over tomorrow to stay and watch our little munchkins for a couple days so Paul and I can have a little getaway. We are in dire need of it - Paul has been working so much lately that I feel we barely have a moment together. We're looking forward to having a 2-day long, completely kid-free date! Although I'm sure I'll start missing them the second we drive away. It's funny how two tiny little people can grate on your nerves while simultaneously tugging on your heart strings.

Head on over to Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Strawberry Chicken Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

The strawberry fields have opened for the summer and we took our first annual trip to the farm to load up on some juicy berries. This is something we look forward to every year!

The variety we picked this week were the early season strawberries - they are very small but also very sweet. I personally love the flavor of these berries the best, but you have to pick a ton of them to fill your basket.

Emma could not believe her little eyes - everywhere she looked were little bushes filled with her favorite snack. She could not stuff those strawberries into her mouth fast enough. I felt rather bad that she pretty much just binged on berries the whole time, but the owners did not seem to mind. We had a minor meltdown moment when she ate some of the straw grass surrounding the plants and had a major aversion to the texture. Otherwise, she probably would have kept eating it.

Matthew was not-so-helpful with the berry picking this year. He, like Emma, preferred to snack on the berries while Paul and I filled the basket. Paul was quite the workhorse. He could not be distracted from his berry picking. I think he was just overheating in the hot sun and trying to finish our mission as quickly as possible so he could get back inside to some air-conditioning.

Emma stained her clothes so badly with strawberry juice. Immediately after berry picking, we had to stop by the store to grab some groceries for dinner. Unfortunately, both our kids looked seriously mangy as we walked through. I was so embarrassed, I felt the need to explain the situation to everyone who stared at us.

Once we got home, the kids continued to eat so many berries that I was afraid we would not have any left before long! I confiscated what I could and made a strawberry pie for dessert. We then made this Strawberry Chicken Salad for dinner. I have always been a huge fan of sweet and savory salads and thought the combination of grilled chicken, crispy bacon, tangy blue cheese, salty pecans, and sweet strawberries all tied together with a rich balsamic vinaigrette would be a winning combination. We served it buffet style so everyone could customize their own salads with as many or as few ingredients as they liked. This works out great for the kids because Matthew would gag and refuse to eat his salad if he saw there was blue cheese on it, even though he loves strawberries, chicken, bacon, and pecans.

Paul cooked the bacon in a cast iron skillet on the charcoal grill and kept begging me to let him cook the chicken in the bacon fat. Since I'm all about avoiding cardiac arrest, I refused. That husband of mine has an unhealthy relationship with bacon grease.

This salad is the perfect summer meal. Simultaneously healthy and indulgent, it is a great non-dessert way to use fresh strawberries and perfect for al fresco dining. At least we imagine it would be. We were driven indoors by a ginormous thunderstorm that seemed to pop up out of nowhere. Paul was outside grilling as the clouds became more and more ominous and he was getting a quite nervous about being struck by lightening.

He survived to grill another day. Otherwise, the subject of this blog might have been a little more somber.

Strawberry Chicken Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serves 4 as a main dish

For the Vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup olive oil

For the Salad:
7 cups salad greens
2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced if large
1 pound chicken breasts, grilled and sliced
1/2 pound bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
1 cup roasted, salted/sugared pecans
1/2 red onion, sliced
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (we like Stella Danish Blue)

To make the vinaigrette, combine the honey through garlic in a blender and blend until everything is smooth. On the lowest speed setting, keep the blender running and slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Once all the olive oil is incorporated, turn up the speed a little bit until everything is emulsified. Refrigerate the dressing until ready to use.

Toss the salad greens with a little vinaigrette to moisten. Divide salad greens on individual plates and top with the desired amount of strawberries, chicken, bacon, pecans, onion, and blue cheese. Drizzle with extra dressing. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tomato Cobbler with Gruyere Biscuits

We set the sprinklers up in the backyard for Matthew to enjoy since it has started to become very hot and muggy during the day. While he enjoyed watching the tall sprays of water move back and forth across the lawn, he barely ventured close enough to allow even a single droplet to land on his silly little head. He even dressed in his Thomas swimming trunks just to dance around clearly out of reach of the water. Emma, whom we did not dress for sprinkler play, decided to show up her scaredy-cat brother by crawling right up to the water source and setting up camp. She did not seem to care when the water would spray her in the face - she wanted to be up close and personal with that sprinkler.

She was soaking wet and a little muddy by the time we pulled her out of there, but there was a huge grin on her face. The sink is the best place to give a little chubby girl a quick bath. She gets a big kick out of letting the water streaming from the faucet soak her toes.

We enjoyed a casual, relaxing weekend just hanging around the house. We have company over the next few weeks, so it was nice to enjoy being together before all the fun and chaos begins. One of the evenings, we enjoyed one of my favorite summertime meals: tomato cobbler. Now, although cobblers are normally made with sugar and a fruit of choice, they can also be savory. After all, an alternative name for "Chicken Pot Pie" could be "Chicken Cobbler."

Of course Emma did not get to enjoy her tomato cobbler because she was so tuckered out from playing in the sprinklers.

This tomato cobbler begins with a savory base of caramelized onions, cherry tomatoes, and fresh thyme. The vegetables are allowed to cook on the stovetop before being transferred to a baking pan and topped with gruyere biscuit dough. The entire dish is baked in the oven until the biscuits are golden. Delicious, delicious!

I have changed up the base by using sauteed onions, zucchini, and tomatoes - and both ways are equally delicious. I think any sauteed vegetables with some garlic and fresh herbs would work well. I'm thinking of using a mushroom, squash, and bell pepper filling next time.The biscuit recipe I use is for my favorite buttermilk biscuit, just with the cheese added in. Really, you could just use your favorite go-to biscuit recipe and the results should still be fantastic.

Tomato Cobbler with Gruyere Biscuits
adapted from Martha Stewart and Smitten Kitchen

For the Filling:
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs unsalted butter
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
3 pounds grape tomatoes
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Buttermilk-Gruyere Biscuits:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
9 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
3/4 cup cold buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

To make the filling, heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook until the mixture is simmering and the tomatoes are starting to burst. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm.

To make the biscuits, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Toss in the cheese using your fingertips. With a rubber spatula, stir in the cold buttermilk until the mixture comes together. Reach in with your hands and knead briefly.

Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and pat into 1/2-3/4 inch thickness. Use a biscuit cutter to cut into rounds.

Return the filling to a simmer and then quickly stir in the flour, crushed red pepper, and approximately 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper (or to taste). Transfer filling to a 2-quart baking dish and top with the biscuit rounds. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the biscuits are lightly browned. Serve warm!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sausage Egg Strata: Paul's Favorite Breakfast

Today's post is going to be short and to the point. I have five little ones in my care today and they have graciously given me a few precious moments to check my email and type this out while they are temporarily mesmerized with an afternoon movie. I had them outside all morning long in the sweltering heat and now they are all lying on the floor near the A/C vents trying to recover. It's really hot outside today - but I'm not complaining because I LOVE summer!

I wanted to share this recipe for a simple Sausage Egg Strata. I've had this recipe scribbled down on a ratty recipe card and have no idea where it came from. I imagine that I probably got it from my Mom since she always made a strata of some sort on Christmas Eve. No matter the source, this has become our family's go-to breakfast bake because it is Paul's favorite. It is incredibly easy, requires very few ingredients, and is completely delicious. Matthew is also a major sausage-lover (he just calls it "pig") so this casserole is always a big hit with him as well. We usually make this for special occasions, like Christmas morning, Father's Day, or Easter Sunday. I love that everything is done the night before so that all you have to do the next morning is slide it in the oven to bake while you enjoy a cup of coffee while perusing the morning paper. Serve generous slices of this strata with a fruit salad and tall glasses of orange juice.

Sausage Egg Strata

6 ounces white bread, cubed
1 pound pork sausage (we like hot breakfast sausage)
2 cups milk
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt (or less depending on the saltiness of your sausage)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar

Cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain on paper towels.

Meanwhile, whisk together the milk, eggs, salt, mustard, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the bread cubes and gently fold into the egg mixture with a rubber spatula. Fold in the sausage.

Grease a 8x8" glass baking pan with cooking oil. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and smooth the top. Cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.

The morning you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Let the strata sit out at room temperature as the oven heats up. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack before serving.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Blueberry Buckle with Walnut Crumb Topping

Sunday mornings breakfasts are always a bit of challenge. We go to Mass first thing in the morning and everyone is pretty hungry and cranky by the time we get home. I normally like to make something a little special on Sundays, but anything that requires too long of a wait is usually out of the question. However, this past Sunday being Father's Day, we had to make Paul his favorite breakfast which meant that we were all going to have to deal with eating a little bit later in the morning. The best way to distract hungry, grumpy children? Ask for their help in the kitchen.

They were so excited to hear that we would be making blueberry buckle. Or rather, they were so excited to hear that we had fresh blueberries in the fridge.

They weren't much help. They were too busy greedily stuffing as many berries into their fat little cheeks as possible. And I thought I had two little chefs in the making.

There were barely any blueberries left for the cake! I had to fight them off with my whisk to salvage the two cups of berries needed for this recipe.

Matthew would like to point out to everyone that blueberries have holes.

By the time we popped this cake in the oven, my counters were soiled with blueberry juice and several berries were squashed on the floor. Not to mention, the two kiddos had purple-stained mouths and cheeks. But they were happy and we were having fun.

An hour later, we all sat down to enjoy a breakfast feast celebrating Paul (the "Alpha Male", "Big Buck", "Keeper of the Charcoal Flame", and all-around-wonderful husband and father). Paul had specifically requested blueberry buckle because it is his favorite coffeecake. I knew we were a match made in heaven, for blueberry buckle is also my favorite breakfast ever. We have tried several recipes for blueberry buckle over the years, and this is hands-down our absolute favorite. The moist buttermilk cake is chock-full of juicy blueberries and topped with a salty-sweet walnut crumb topping that is deliciously addicting. Emma ate the crumb topping off her cake first - it was her favorite part!

Looking for the perfect breakfast treat? Seriously, this is it.

Blueberry Buckle
barely adapted from Baking from My Home To Yours

For the Crumb Topping:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnnuts

For the Cake:
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
6 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center position. Grease an 8x8 glass pan.

To make the crumbs: pulse together the butter, white sugar, brown sugar, flour, and salt in the bowl of a food processor until the mixture forms clumps and holds together when pressed. Remove to a medium bowl, stir in the walnuts, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use. The crumb mixture can be made up to three days in advance.

To make the cake: Toss the blueberries with the 2 teaspoons of flour and set aside. Rub the lemon zest into the 2/3 cup sugar until fragrant and the lemon oils have been released.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until cream, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla.

Turn the mixer to the lowest speed and add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the buttermilk (start and end with the flour). When the flour is just moist, turn off the mixer and fold the blueberries into the batter gently. Scrape the batter in to the prepared pan. Top evenly with the reserved crumb mixture and press down very slightly to adhere them to the batter.

Bake in the preheated oven for 55-60 minutes. Be careful not to overbake! When a small knife inserted into the center comes out clean, the cake is ready! Allow cake to cool until just warm before serving or, if you're anything like us, don't wait that long and dig right in!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

To My Dad

I have so many fond and wonderful memories of time spent with my Dad that it is difficult to pinpoint one in particular to write about. Many of these memories are not particularly momentous but meant a lot to me in all their simplicity. One memory in particular that comes to mind is the afternoon during the spring of my 10th year that I spent helping my Dad clean the garage out in preparation for a yard sale. He had a radio set up in the garage and was blaring music from the local classic rock station. I began asking my Dad questions about the various songs being played and, being a trivia guru, he would tell me interesting tidbits about the lives of the songwriters or a little background about the inspiration for the song. While he may not recall our conversation, it was significant to me because it marked the beginning of a long love affair with the music of the Beatles, Billy Joel, Elton John, and (sadly) David Bowie. I would listen to my vinyl recordings of the songs of the 1960s over and over on my record player while my peers were blaring the latest hits from Ricky Martin, NSync, Britney Spears, and the Backstreet Boys. When my piano teacher, in an effort to select a couple modern pieces for me to play, asked what sort of music I enjoyed listening to, the first artist I listed off was "Herman's Hermits." He seemed a little dumbfounded by my response - apparently he did not have the sheet music to "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter" readily on hand. 

What can I say? I am my father's daughter.

I have many similar memories of my father that helped shape my ideals, tastes, behavior, and desires. However, my favorite memory of all occurred on my wedding day just minutes before my Dad led me down the aisle to marry my Paul. We were standing in the foyer of the church waiting for our queue from the wedding coordinator to begin our march down the aisle. The rest of the wedding party had been ushered into a line and my Dad and I were alone for a few precious minutes. I remember he held the long, heavy train of my wedding gown and seemed a bit nervous. Now that I have my own children, I understand why - I was the first of his eleven to be married. Dad's thoughts must have paralleled those of George Banks, played by Steve Martin in the classic film Father of the Bride, as he led his daughter to the altar: "This was the moment I'd been dreading for the past six months. Well, actually for the past 22 years."

He gave me a hug and began telling me how incredibly proud he was of me and how happy and confident he and my mother were that I was making the right decision in choosing to marry Paul. It meant so much to me to hear those words, to know that I had his blessing and his love. As we began that long walk down the aisle to the altar where I would begin my vocational call as a wife and mother, my heart resolved to continue to make him proud.

Our photographer did capture a picture of this moment, though I do not need an image to remember it. It is a memory that is forever etched in my heart, one I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

I love you, Dad. Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Antipasto Chopped Salad with Oregano Dressing

This salad is man-pleasing. Man-pleasing, I tell you.

This salad made Paul pause before making one of his disgusting braunschweiger sandwiches before heading to work and say: "Hmmm...maybe I should take the leftover salad instead!"

This salad is heavy with punchy, bold, Italian flavors thanks to the generous amount of provolone, salami, pepperonicini, and garbanzo beans all tied together by an addictive oregano dressing.

"Delicious, honey, delicious!" Paul kept saying as he ate more and more. See? Man-pleasing.

It's also gal-pleasing. Antipasto is one of my favorite dishes to order at an Italian restaurant and this salad was every bit as good if not better. The only thing I would do differently next time is throw in some black olives or maybe even some marinated artichokes. Then it would be perfect.

We couldn't get Matthew to touch it other than picking out the tomatoes. He kept fiddling around at his seat, not eating, and randomly saying things like "Mommy, you're so cute" or "You're so silly, Daddy" which is incredibly sweet except for the fact that I know he only says stuff like that when he's stalling for time. Emma was a bit more adventurous - she happily gobbled down the meat, garbanzo beans, and cheese. Baby-pleasing!

How 'bout that toothy grin? You can almost hear her saying "Arrrrr!"

Make this, make this, make this. It would be an incredible first course at an Italian-themed dinner party or eaten as a main dish. Man-pleasing, gal-pleasing, baby-pleasing, crowd-pleasing. Just maybe not toddler-pleasing. But toddlers are super weird about their eating habits.

Antipasto Chopped Salad (aka Nancy's Chopped Salad)
adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen

For the Oregano Dressing:
4 large cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons dried oregano (it sounds like a lot but the oregano is really supposed to stand out. Decrease it if you're scared!)

For the Salad:
1/2 pound salami, chopped into small cubes
1/2 pound provolone cheese (soft), chopped into cubes
1./2 cup pepperoncini, diced
2-3 large tomatoes, cored, seeds removed, and cut into cubes
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 small red onion, sliced
1 medium sized head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 head radicchio, chopped

To make the dressing, combine the garlic through the pepper into a blender. Blend everything until smooth then turn it down to a low speed and drizzle in the olive oil. Continue blending until emulsified. Stir in the oregano. Set aside.

Toss everything together for the salad. Drizzle with the dressing. Toss together again. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Peaches and Cream Pie

Peaches, nectarines, plums, and other stone fruit have finally made their way into the produce section at the store. Paul, the kids, and I were out shopping last week and saw the grocers busily unpacking the peaches and placing them carefully on the front display. They had a sample display set up so you could taste the different varieties being stocked and Paul gave Emma and Matthew a taste of each. Last year, we could not get Matthew to eat a peach because they were a little too "juicy" for him. His tastes do not make much sense to me considering he's always been able to eat a beefsteak tomato out of hand without an issue. This year, however, both kids instantly fell in love with the taste of peaches. Emma, in particular, after having her first taste could not get enough. So, Paul had them each "pick out" their own peaches to enjoy as an after dinner treat. At $2.49/pound, they are still a bit of a luxury.

Luckily, peaches went on sale this week for $0.99/pound and we greedily stocked up. The kids have been enjoying peaches in their morning oatmeal, as an afternoon snack, and as a reward for finishing their dinners. Matthew especially liked discovering that each peach has "a brain" after Paul cut one in half to show him the pit. That sort of thing would have grossed me out as a kid and hampered my liking of the fruit. In Matthew's weird little mind, I think it only helped him like it more.

Peaches also happen to be Paul's favorite fruit and with Father's Day coming up, I know I will be making something peach-related to serve for dessert. I will probably be making some sort of Peach Cobbler come Sunday, but decided to try this new recipe for Peaches and Cream Pie as a weeknight surprise for Paul. His favorite way to eat peaches are cut up and tossed with a generous splash of heavy cream (and by "splash" I mean "about a cup or so" - much to my horror!) so this pie seemed right up his alley.

There is very little hands-on time for this recipe other than making the pie dough itself. If you have some pie dough already frozen (like me), this will come together pretty easily. There is a lot of waiting time because you have to roast the peaches and par-bake the pie crust before whisking the cream filling together and assembling everything for the final bake. However, all the steps are really, really simple. I was able to do most of this with a whining, teething Emma wrapped around my right leg.

This is a beautiful pie. Waiting three hours to cut into it would have been torturous were it not for the fact that I made it for Paul and it just would have been wrong to have a slice without him. When we did finally cut into it, I had to take a pretty picture for all of you. Problem was, I had to fight Emma off the whole entire time. That girl really wanted some peach pie!

There really isn't much to say about this pie other than it is absolutely delicious. Light and not-too-sweet, I liked how the peaches were truly the star of the show. Paul LOVED it - he was so happy when I cut him a piece larger than his face. I like to make him feel special in between my teasings. This recipe is going into our "favorites" file. 

Make this pie soon before all the summer peaches disappear!!

Peaches and Cream Pie
from Cook's Country, June/July 2011

1 recipe for single crust 9-inch pie dough (use your favorite recipe or buy some from the store!)
2 pounds ripe but firm peaches, peeled, halved, and pitted
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Gently roll pie dough out and fit into a 9-inch glass pie pan. Flute the edges and lightly cover the shell with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 40 minutes, then freeze for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 375 degrees. Once the pie shell is chilled, line with foil and fill with pie weights (I use dried pinto beans).

Place peach halves cut side up on aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake peaches on upper-middle rack until softened and juice is released, about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through baking.

After 30 minutes, place the chilled pie crust on lower-middle rack (while peaches continue to roast) and bake until edges are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove crust from oven and carefully remove foil and weights. Continue to bake until bottom of crust is light brown and peaches are caramelized, about 5 minutes longer. Cool crust and peaches for 15 minutes on a wire rack.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Cut peaches lengthwise into quarters. Arrange peaches in single layer over crust. Combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar, flour, and salt in bowl. Whisk in cream, egg yolks, and vanilla until smooth. Pour cream mixture over peaches. Bake until filling is light golden brown and firm in center, about 45-55 minutes.

Cool pie on wire rack for at least 3 hours before slicing and serving.