Posts Tagged ‘Peaches’

Measuring My Days in Peaches

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

Peaches Awaiting Purchase (and Consumption!) at Apex Orchards

Tuesday was National Eat a Peach Day, a day we were unable to celebrate last year in my neck of the woods. We had a very warm winter in 2016. The local peach trees got confused (as did the rest of us!) and started to blossom in February. A cold spell shut them down in a hurry and destroyed the year’s peach crop.

When August arrived, not a single local peach could be found at local stores and orchards. The dearth of peaches hit farms hard. It also made consumers like me realize how much we take for granted.

My summer is measured out by the arrival of different fruits—rhubarb, then strawberries, then raspberries, then blueberries, then peaches, and so forth. When one of these fails to appear in farm stands and in my kitchen, I’m thrown way off balance.

I missed those few weeks of peaches more than I can say last year. I know we’ll have other bad peach seasons, thanks to bad luck and climate change. So I am determined to make up for last year’s dearth by eating peaches pretty much constantly this year. Fortunately, we have a bumper crop of peaches in western Massachusetts in 2017 so I can feast on them to my heart’s content.

Of course, in addition to eating peaches, I cook with them! On Tuesday I appeared on Mass Appeal to show off a couple of simple recipes. My friends at Apex Orchards in Shelburne supplied glorious peaches for testing and cooking, and I thank them.

I tried peach chipotle sauce a few years ago. This recipe is simpler than the previous one. Really, if one has perfect peaches and a little chipotle (and, yes, sugar!), one doesn’t need to complicate the flavors.

And who doesn’t love a good shortcake? As I say in the video below, my family likes to eat only shortcake (either strawberry or peach) for supper once a year. This filling meal isn’t super healthy—but once a year, who the heck cares?

Whether you cook the fruit or not, don’t forget to EAT A PEACH!

Peach Chipotle Sauce

The combination of sweet and spicy in this recipe really pops. The sauce works well with pork or chicken—or over crackers with cream cheese.

Ingredients:

2 cups peach slices
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 pinch salt
1 to 2 canned chipotles in adobo sauce (plus a little of the sauce)
1 dab butter

Instructions:

In a nonreactive pot combine the fruit, a cup of the sugar, and the lemon juice. Let the mixture sit for an hour or so to allow the peaches to juice up.

Cook the peaches over low heat until tender. Add the remaining sugar, the salt, the chipotle, and the butter, and cook rapidly until thick, stirring frequently. Remove any foam you see. (There shouldn’t be too much, thanks to the butter.)

If you want jamlike consistency, the sauce will be ready when it sheets off a cold, stainless-steel spoon. If you don’t cook it that long, your sauce will just be a bit more liquid. (I like it slightly more liquid so I measure the sauce with an instant-read thermometer and turn off the heat when the thermometer reads about 215 degrees.) Really, you can’t go wrong.

Let the sauce cool for a few minutes; then pulverize it with a blender or immersion blender.

Refrigerate the sauce after it cools. Makes about 2 cups.

Peach Shortcake

Ingredients:

for the self-rising biscuits:

2 cups self-rising flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
a small amount of melted butter (optional)
coarse white sugar (optional)

for the filling:

4 cups peach slices (more if you can’t resist)
1/4 cup sugar (plus more to taste if your peaches are tart)
the juice of 1/2 lemon

for assembly:

sweetened whipped cream

Instructions:

Begin by making the biscuits. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Whisk together the flour and sugar. In a separate bowl (or a measuring cup!) combine the cream and the vanilla.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the cream mixture into the well, and gently stir until the mixture is combined, adding a little milk as needed to incorporate all the ingredients into the liquid.

Turn the dough onto a floured work surface, and sprinkle a little more flour on top. Fold the dough over several times; then pat it into a circle or rectangle that is about 1/2 inch thick.

Using a sharp biscuit cutter cut the dough into rounds, about 2 to 2-1/4 inches wide (or however wide you want them!). Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet (you may line the sheet with parchment or silicone if you’re paranoid about sticking). If you like, brush the tops of your biscuits with melted butter and sprinkle a little coarse sugar on top.

Bake the biscuits until they are golden brown (12 to 16 minutes). While they are baking combine the peaches, sugar, and lemon juice.

When you are ready to assemble your shortcakes, cut the biscuits in half horizontally. Decorate the bottom halves with the cooked filling followed by the strawberries; then dollop on whipped cream. Top with the biscuit tops.

Serves 6 to 8, depending on the size of your biscuits and the hunger of your guests.

And now the videos:

Tinky Makes Peach Chipotle Sauce on Mass Appeal

Tinky Makes Peach Shortcake on Mass Appeal

Loving Local Peach Crumble

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

 
I thought I’d get one more quick post in during the Loving Local Blogathon. I could go on and on about all the reasons for loving fresh, local peaches—but do I really have to?
 
They’re fresh, local peaches, for goodness’ sake!
 
Nothing is sweeter, juicier, or more beautiful. Their delicate consistency embodies the fleeting summer days. Their color reflects the August sun.

I am actually a little loath to cook them since they’re so wonderful raw, but yesterday for variety I threw together a crumble. I love crumbles; they’re easier than pies and lighter than crisps. 

Make this, and you too will Love Local.

This post is part of the Loving Local Blogathon, taking place from August 22 to 28 as part of Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week.
 
Hosted by this very blog with help from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and Mass Farmers Markets, the Blogathon celebrates the flavors of the Bay State and raises awareness of the bounty all around us. 

It also raises funds for Mass Farmers Markets, a charitable nonprofit organization that helps farmers markets throughout Massachusetts. Please support this worthy cause if you can; here’s the donation link.

 
 
A note about the spices: personally, I’m not a big fan of peaches and ginger as a combination. I think the ginger overwhelms the peaches. So if you’re like me, you may omit the ginger. I include it for all those peachy ginger fans out there in the blogosphere.
 
Ingredients:
 
5 to 6 cups peach slices
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger (optional)
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) sweet butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
 
Instructions:
 
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the fruit in a 9-inch pie pan. (Make sure you have a cookie sheet under the pan; those peaches can be juicy!)
 
Sprinkle on the sugar and spices. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in the butter with knives or a pastry blender. (Your hands will do in a pinch.) Add the brown sugar and mix again until crumbly. 

Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the peaches, pressing down lightly. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Serves 6 to 8. This crumble may be served warm or cold.


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Peachy Keen

Friday, August 21st, 2009
Jan likes to think about what she's going to do with orchard-fresh peaches.

Jan likes to think about what she's going to do with orchard-fresh peaches.

 
I can’t stop eating peaches!
 
These gorgeous fruits symbolize the color of this time of year. In August everything around us takes on a golden hue. The light seems deeper and more yellow. Black-eyed susans, sunflowers, and goldenrod fill the fields.
 
Lush yellow peaches give us a literal taste of that glow. It’s not just their color that puts summer’s gold into our mouths. Their juice and their texture–not soft but not hard, just yielding–help our teeth sink into the season.
 
A couple of years ago a frost hit just as peach blossoms came out. It ruined the peach crop in local orchards. I remember feeling as though summer hadn’t really taken place that year. (I’m sure our peach growers felt this lack even more strongly!) Since then I’ve never been able to take peaches for granted. They are a special summer gift.
 
We are lucky enough to have several peach orchards in Franklin County, Massachusetts. I bought the peaches for this recipe at Clarkdale Fruit Farms in South Deerfield, where Tom and Becky Clark were proudly displaying photos of their sojourn at Woodstock40 years ago. The Clarks are wonderful orchardists–caring about their community and full of information about their fruit.
 
Of course, mostly I just eat the peaches (messy but SO GOOD). Company always provides an excuse to bake, however, so here is a simple cake that gently and richly enrobes the peaches.
 
Summer Peach Pound Cake
 
I gave some of this cake to a friend, Helen-Marie Goff. She reported that her children were disappointed that the cake had no frosting … up until the moment they took a bite of the buttery mixture! It is a lovely cake–rich, sweet, and very fruity.
 
Ingredients:
 
1 cup (2 sticks) sweet butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
2 cups chopped fresh peaches
 
Instructions:
 
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.
 
In a mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar, and beat until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Beat in the baking powder and salt.
 
On a low speed blend in the flour until it is incorporated. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the fruit into the batter. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
 
Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Then turn the cake out onto the rack and let it cool completely. Serves 10 to 12.
 
peach pound cake web