Tag Archives: peaches

Ginger Peach Muffins

Crystallized ginger is a beautiful thing to add to your baked goods. Sweet and spicy, biting into it offers a subtle heat that will make any ordinary treat extra special.

That’s why I knew these ginger peach muffins, adapted from my Food & Wine cookbook, would be a fun summer-meets-fall confection. The peaches are sauteed to caramelize their juices, then placed atop the whole-wheat ginger batter and baked. The slices ooze with sweetness and keep the whole muffin tender.

When I first baked these, I found them a bit too dry. Perhaps it was the whole-wheat flour, I thought. So I packaged them up and took them to the office, where my colleagues quickly dug in. And to my amazement, they had softened nicely overnight. The recipe recommends eating them within 2 days and I can see why – the peaches will quickly over-soften and possibly mold if left longer.

A fun and healthy treat for tea time or breakfast time…

Ginger Peach Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 T plus 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 small peaches, ripe but firm, cored, peeled and sliced
  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 1/2 c. whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 c. AP flour
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 c. whole milk
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 3 T finely chopped crystallized ginger

Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin tins.

In medium skillet, add butter, honey and 1 tsp grated ginger. Heat over medium to melt, stirring to combine until bubbling, 2 min. Add peaches, toss to coat, set aside.

Sift dry ingredients into large bowl. Set aside. Combine wet ingredients in large bowl, along with remaining fresh ginger and whisk to combine. Mix wet into dry ingredients until just combined.

Scoop batter into muffin cups.

Toss pan of peaches to coat them with the pan juices.

Lay two slices of peaches on each muffin, tucking in the top slice into the batter a little. Spoon pan juices over the peaches.

Bake 24-28 min., rotating pans halfway through. The peaches will start to caramelize and muffins with be light golden. Out of the oven, place each muffin on its side to cool – this will keep them from getting soggy.

Eat.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

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Peach and Blueberry Crisp

Absolutely nothing tastes more like summer than a perfectly ripe peach. Let the juices run down my arm and between my fingers in a sticky mess – it’s sweet and floral and heavenly.

Peach season has landed, so I am always looking for ways to use peaches about to become too ripe, but were so cheap at the grocery store that I couldn’t help myself.

Grant recently hosted a big Cabinpalooza at his mountain home in Virginia.

It turned out to be a big foodie fest/drinking fest/fishing contest. With so many fabulous cooks bringing fresh veggies, flowers and fruits straight from their gardens (blog post to come!), I decided to hang back in the wings and focus on dessert.

I made this peach and blueberry crisp. Blueberries add a bit of acidity to the super sweet peaches, and of course the color is fabulous. The crust is always the best part, in my opinion. Nobody was disappointed.

Adapted from Ina Garten.

Peach and Blueberry Crisp

Ingredients:

For the fruit:

  • 2 pounds firm, ripe peaches (6 to 8 peaches)
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (1/2 pint)

For the crumble:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Peel the peaches, slice them into thick wedges, and place them in a large bowl. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, granulated sugar, and flour. Toss well. Gently mix in the blueberries. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. Spoon the mixture into baking dish.

For the topping, combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and the butter in a food processor. Pulse until the butter is the size of peas. Rub the mixture with your fingertips until it’s in big crumbles, then sprinkle evenly over the fruit. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or foil and bake for 50-55 minutes, until the tops are browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly.

Mine didn’t get as browned on top as I desired, so I just broiled it a bit at the end for a nice crust.

Serve warm or at room temperature – goes very well with vanilla ice cream!

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Pork Belly and Peach Risotto

Have you missed my regular risotto recipes? Don’t worry, darlings, they’re back! I had a special night all to myself recently. The house was quiet and tidied, it was a beautiful night and I had plenty of food and wine. After making a large batch of pesto from the 1 lb. of basil in my CSA box, I made this deliciously decadent risotto that would surprise you.

I’m really into the whole fruit-in-risotto thing. First the strawberry-lobster risotto, and now this: peaches and pork belly. It WORKS, I tell you. Saltiness from the pork, sweetness from the fruit, creaminess from the risotto. One could just eat and eat…

I’d like to point out that this is the first dish I made in my new Le Creuset kiwi-colored pan:

See my little LC salt and pepper shakers in the background? Cutes! Sigh, I’m as proud of this pan as … a car person would be about a shiny new vehicle. !

On to the recipe – again, I sorta made this up as I went, so please adjust to your liking.

Pork Belly and Peach Risotto

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz pork belly slab, or pancetta, cubed
  • 2 large peaches, peeled, pits removed and chopped into cubes
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 c. chicken stock
  • 1/2 c. dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 c. arborio rice
  • S&P
  • 1/4 c. Parm-Reg cheese
  • Fresh basil, for garnish

In medium saucepan, heat chicken stock to boil. Reduce to simmer and keep ready.

In large skillet or pan, heat over medium. Add pork and cook until much of the fat is rendered and is nicely browned. Remove to drain on paper towels. Add rice to pan and stir to coat in the bacon fat, reducing heat to low. Pull the thyme leaves off and mix them in, too.

Add wine and stir, scraping up browned bits at the bottom. Keep stirring until moisture is absorbed, then add 1/2 c. simmering chicken stock and stir constantly until absorbed. Repeat with the adding of chicken stock and stirring until the risotto is thick, creamy and has just lost its grainy bite – approx. 20 min. You will probably use all of the chicken stock.

Turn off the heat and add the cheese, stirring until melted, and add the bacon back in. Stir in the peach pieces and taste for seasonings (mine did not need any salt or pepper).

To serve, plate a large portion and sprinkle with basil leaves. I must insist on the basil. I at first added just as a color thing. But the taste! It really makes this something special, so I have included it in the recipe.

Ridiculous. Biting into the thick pork belly and then the peaches – a wonderful combination of textures and flavors.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Peach and almond galette

Ah, another peach dish. Another Semi-Homemade dish. How did I get here? I always wanted to be more Ina Garten than Sandra Lee, but now look at me. I am one recipe away from cooking exclusively with cream of mushroom soup and a packet of dried onion flakes.

Almonds are an interesting nut to bake with. I only started appreciating them later in life, when I started making things like Julia’s poached-pear tart with the almond frangipane and this pear-almond cake with chocolate chunks. Something about that almost chocolatey roasted flavor plays well with sweet, soft fruits and buttery pastry.

This Bon Appetit dish is semi-homemade because it uses store-bought pie crust. However, making the almond crumble requires a food processor, which is decidedly not Semi-Homemade. It was WONDERFUL. Again, I love almonds with fruit. And these peaches performed beautifully. We had it with soft vanilla ice cream and it was perfection.

Peach and Almond Galette

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup almond paste
  • 6 tablespoons all purpose flour, divided
  • 1/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust (half of 15-ounce package)
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 1 1/2 pounds peaches, halved, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • Vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line large baking sheet with parchment (I obviously forgot the parchment, so used foil). Combine 1/4 cup almonds, almond paste, 5 tablespoons flour, sugar, and salt in processor until almonds are ground. Add butter; pulse until almond topping begins to clump together. Transfer topping to medium bowl.
If necessary, roll pastry to 11-inch round. Transfer to prepared sheet. Brush crust with some beaten egg. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup almond topping. Toss peaches with 1 tablespoon flour in large bowl. Add 1/3 cup topping; toss again. Spoon peaches onto crust, leaving 1 1/4-inch border and mounding in center. Sprinkle remaining topping over peaches.
Fold crust up at edges, pleating as needed. Brush crust edges with beaten egg. Bake galette until crust is golden brown, peaches are tender, and juices are bubbling thickly, about 50 minutes. Transfer galette on paper to rack to cool. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon almonds over. Cool completely. Cut into wedges and serve.

Don’t forget the ice cream! This is a relatively easy dish that you can whip up on a week night. Who needs a special occasion to cook elegant dishes?

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Sour cream pound cake with lavender peaches

Peach season here stretches from late April to … September, apparently. You can’t go to a farm stand without finding these fuzzy beauties, ready for poaching, baking, pureeing and eating raw. I recently used a batch of white peaches to serve with this splendid sour-cream pound cake specked with vanilla seeds.

While the cake bakes, you make a simple vanilla/lavender syrup, saving some for the whipped cream and then bubbling the syrup further with sliced peaches. Served over the soft, creamy pound cake, the peaches create a lovely perfume with the lavender – something you could bottle and sell if you didn’t eat it so fast.

This was my first time making pound cake and while it’s not as good as my mother’s, it’s still quite tasty.

From Bon Appetit:

Sour cream pound cake

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c. plus 1 T flour
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 10 T unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. sour cream

Preheat oven to 325. Butter a metal loaf pan (8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 3/4 inch). Dust  pan with flour; tap out excess.

Sift 3/4 c. plus 1 T flour, cornstarch, baking  powder, and salt into medium bowl. Set aside.

Combine sugar and butter in large bowl; scrape in seeds from vanilla bean (reserve bean for lavender syrup). Using electric mixer, beat sugar mixture until fluffy. Add egg, egg white, and vanilla extract; beat until mixture is pale and thick, about 2 minutes. Beat in sour  cream. Add flour mixture; beat just until blended. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 56-58 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Turn cake out, then turn top side up (this can be tricky!). Cool  completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in foil and store at room temperature.)

Lavender syrup and peaches

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3 T dried lavender blossoms
  • 4 medium firm but ripe peaches, pitted, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch wedges
  • 3 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 c. chilled heavy whipping cream

Combine 2 1/4 c. water, sugar, lavender, and reserved vanilla bean in saucepan.  Boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; cover and let steep 10 minutes. Strain syrup into medium bowl; discard lavender. Pour 2 T lavender syrup into small bowl; reserve for whipped cream. Cover and chill.

Return remaining syrup to same saucepan; add peaches and lemon juice and bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer about 5 minutes. Transfer peaches to bowl.

Boil syrup in pan until reduced to 1 c., 12-14 minutes. Pour over  peaches. Chill uncovered 2 hours.

Beat cream and 2 T reserved syrup in medium bowl to soft peaks. Slice cake. Serve with peaches, syrup, and cream.

You will absolutely love this unique and inspiring peach recipe. Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Peach-bourbon hand pies

Me: “These pie crusts are made with sour cream. Do you think I can use creme fraiche?”

Mom: “Do they have butter?”

Me: “Yeah, two sticks.”

Mom: “Oh…how’s your waistline?”

My mom was joking, but the deliciousness in these little pies is no laughing matter. And I must say they are better a day or two after baking – somehow the crust is better flavored.

The combination of peaches, vanilla and bourbon is magical. The two-day process of making the crust is intolerable cruelty. But the end result will get you rave reviews from those who matter.

My reco: make these on a weekend, when you have all the time in the world. And bring them on your next road trip – they hold up surprisingly well!

This is adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Peach-bourbon hand pies

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 16 T unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 c. creme fraiche (or sour cream)
  • 4 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. ice water

For the filling:

  • 5 ripe peaches, skinned, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp bourbon
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • One egg beaten with 2 T water

To make pastry… in a bowl, combine flour and salt. Put butter in another bowl. Put both bowls in freezer for 1 hour. Remove from freezer, combine and blend with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal – this took a while for me, maybe 10 min., because the butter is frozen! Make a well in the center. In another bowl, combine creme fraiche, lemon and water. Add  half to well and mix with your fingertips. Gradually add rest of the water mixture and mix/gently knead until a soft ball comes together. Cover in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour, or overnight.

Divide cold dough in half. On a floured space, roll out one half to 1/8 inch thickness. Using a 4.5-inch bowl (because I don’t have a cookie cutter that size), cut rounds in the dough and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. Roll out the scraps and continue with second half, then refrigerate rounds for 30 min.

Now, make the filling: Mix peaches with flour, sugar, salt, bourbon and vanilla. Taste it, so good…

To assemble: Let chilled dough rounds stand at room temp for 2 min., then spoon 2 T of the peach filling in the center (I put in as much filling as it could fit).

Brush a little water around the dough edge, then fold in half and seal with your fingers. Press edges with a fork; repeat with remaining rounds. Now, put these back in the fridge to chill yet another 30 min.

Finally…

Preheat oven to 375. Remove hand pies from fridge, cut small slit on each top, then brush with egg wash. Sprinkle sugar over the top and place in oven. Bake until pies are golden brown and just slightly cracked, about 35-45 min. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.

Look at those layers!

Amazing.

The only way these could be better is with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce…but don’t go crazy!

Enjoy your taste of summer, friends! xoxo

Peach and creme fraiche pie

Peaches and the Sunday Times

On the eve of Summer Solstice, I found myself curled on a wooden garden bench, looking up at delicate paper lanterns strung like glowing peaches hanging from a young tree. The terraced garden sparkled with glass-held candles expertly placed between geraniums, hostas, hydrangeas and others. A few cicada cries competed with the swaying summer music and fireflies burned green-yellow blurs near the grass’ edge.

Nights like these are well met with a juicy glass of wine and a thick slice of fresh peach pie cradled by the flakiest of crusts. You’ll want a crust so flaky that the fork competes with it, as if the crust wants you to work for that perfect bite of buttery pastry, sweet peach and creamy creme fraiche … but of course, you’ll be eating a peach and creme fraiche pie. And once you have this pie, you won’t go back to normal peach pies, which are often too sweet and with “soggy bottoms,” as Julia Child would say.

In all honesty, a lifetime of bad peach pies had turned me against the beauty of a really perfect peach pie. A pie unlike the others. A pie for non-pie-makers. A pie from Martha Stewart.

So came Smitten Kitchen, whose food pictures flirt with me daily. Smitten is very sensitive to people plagiarizing her recipes, so I’ll let you print it off yourself by clicking here for the crust recipe. All-butter pie crust? Lord! I’ve never had a crust like this before. Maybe I toasted it a bit too much, but it was so nice to have a crust with some integrity.

Once you make that, preferably the day ahead, prepare the pie filling with streusel topping. You will think that the creme fraiche has made it too watery, that it won’t set up. Have faith – it works like a dream, and the creme is such a perfect, slightly sour friend to the peaches. Like peaches and cream, but better.

Before you do anything, you must get really great peaches that are nice and ripe.

We traveled down to peach country, on the way to the Carolina beaches, through small towns with names like Wind Blow. While you’re at it, stop at one of those road-side stands for peach ice cream. The treat is worth standing in line behind 12 children in various stages of temper tantrums.

Peaches you get off a farm are covered with a much thicker fuzz. But don’t worry, you’ll remove it before you make this…

And slice it into this…

Flaky, flaky flaky!

Eat it, and feel all peachy, friends! xoxo

A story about chitlins

The day before the end, lightning danced across clouds in a dimming sky. Two 20-somethings watched it, bleary-eyed and hungry, while a black cat between them grew restless in her cage.

They were rounding out 2,800 miles – from the juniper forests of Central Oregon, through the Grand Tetons and ending in a southern state on the Atlantic coast. Their meals consisted mainly of cold-cut sandwiches from the coolers, Goldfish crackers, Wheat Thins and granola bars. This is what people eat when they quit their jobs and move across the country.

But when the heat lightning welcomed these travelers to their new home, they promised to treat themselves. Finally.

The next night, after a full day of unpacking the truck in soggy heat, they went to a local microbrewery in downtown Winston-Salem. Foothills Brewery, presumably named for the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. Or the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The brewery was like Deschutes Brewery meets Merenda Restaurant & Wine Bar. They ordered a few brews:

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And an appetizer of onion rings (thick slices of sweet yellow onion):

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And dinner of buffalo chicken wraps, which tasted just like buffalo wings (yum!). Later, they bought peaches, just because, you know, it’s The South.

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Also at the grocery store: an entire refrigerated case of chitlins, or chitterlings. Pig intestines. Some body parts just shouldn’t be eaten.