peaches

Gluten-Free Peach Crisp

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Some summers the peaches are glorious.

And then there’s this year. I haven’t had an excellent peach or nectarine yet.

I bought a bunch a few times and they tasted ok, but not really flavorful. Some were cottony and mealy.

I used the cottony/mealy ones to make sauce — like applesauce only made with peaches (with a bit of cinnamon and a squirt of lemon juice). It was very good. We ate some and I used the rest for quickbread.

I used the sort-of-tasty ones for this peach crisp. This was perfect. Baking — plus some other stuff — brought out the best of the fruit.

And look how easy this dessert is!

Plus, it’s gluten-free, in case you need…

Gluten-Free Peach Crisp

Filling:

  • 6 ripe medium peaches

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 tablespoons minute tapioca

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Crust:

  • 1-1/2 cups quick cooking oats

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 6 tablespoons butter (margarine or solid coconut oil), cut into chunks

To make the filling: Lightly butter a baking dish. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the peaches and place the pieces in the baking dish. Add the sugar, tapioca and lemon juice, toss the ingredients and let rest for 15-20 minutes. 

To make the crust: Mix the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly. Place on top of the fruit. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Makes 6 servings

 

 

Hot and Fruity Barbecue Chicken

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Around this time of year, when BBQ season is in full gear (at least where I live), you might be in need of a new barbecue sauce.

It gets a little boring to flavor chicken and fish and whatever else you put on the grill the same way over and over.

Besides, with so much fresh, local fruit available, it’s the perfect time for a peach/nectarine/plum based sauce.

So, here one is. It’s a little jazzed up with chili pepper, but is not overly spicy.

Hot and Fruity Barbecue Sauce

  • 4-5 ripe peaches or nectarines, peeled

  • 2-4 ripe plums

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 serrano pepper (or other small chili pepper), deseeded and chopped

  • 1-1/4 cups ketchup

  • 1/3 cup orange or other fruit juice

  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar

  • 1/4 cup honey

  

Remove the pit from the peaches, chop the flesh and place it in a bowl. Cut the plums in half, remove the pit and scoop out the flesh. Add it to the peaches. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for one minute. Add the garlic and chili pepper and cook for another minute. Add the fruit, ketchup, juice, cider vinegar and honey. Stir to blend the ingredients thoroughly. Cook over low-medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until thickened. Let cool. Puree in a food processor. Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste.

Makes about one quart

 

 

Peach (or Nectarine) Galette

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At the end of every September I buy a bushel of Rhode Island Greening apples and bake at least a dozen pies over the course of a few days. It's a ritual for me, as constant as making mujadarah for my annual break-the-fast or makfrying latkes on Hanukkah.

But right now, it's the height of stone-fruit season and I bought so many peaches and nectarines! Way too many to have just as a snack. So of course I could make pies.

But I don't feel like baking pies.

I might make a crisp or two. Or maybe some chutney or barbecue sauce. Maybe make a roasted dessert or soaked fruit for weekend company.

Or maybe a pie-like but much easier galette. Yep, that's it! 

Nectarine or Peach Galette

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 8 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 4 cups sliced nectarines or peeled peaches
  • 6 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

For the crust: mix the flour, sugar, salt and lemon peel together in a bowl or food processor. Add the butter and shortening and cut the fat into the flour mixture with your hands or a pastry blender or by processing on pulse until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Add 5 tablespoons milk and mix to form a soft dough. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the dough on a lightly floured board into a circle about 14-inches in diameter (about 1/8-inch thick) and transfer the circle to the prepared baking sheet.

For the filling: slice the fruit into a large bowl. Add 6 tablespoons of the sugar, salt, lemon juice and flour and toss the ingredients to completely coat the fruit. Place the fruit on top of the dough circle, leaving a border of about 1-1/2-inches. Fold the dough over the fruit but not completely; leave a circle of fruit showing, about 7-8-inches. Pleat the dough to give it a rustic look. Brush the dough with the remaining tablespoon milk. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Let cool for at least 15 minutes. Best when served warm.

Makes 8 servings

Sweet Soaked Summer Fruit

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A few years ago I learned how to make khoshaf, a Muslim (primarily Egyptian) version of compote -- what my grandma called "kumput," (which she made by cooking dried prunes and apricots with sugar, lemon and cinnamon). Kumput was delicious, but sometimes a bit mushy.

Khoshaf isn't cooked -- you pour simmering, seasoned, sweet syrup over the dried fruit and let it macerate for a while. The fruit becomes tender but never gets soggy.

The khoshaf was such a success that I never went back to "kumput."

So, I figured that the soaking/macerating method would work on fresh fruit too.

I was right.

This simple dish -- cut up fruit steeped in a seasoned, sweetened syrup -- is the perfect ending to a meal on a hot summer day, especially when you want a dairy-free dessert. Of course you could always top the fruit with ice cream or whipped cream. But sorbet would be fine too.

I like it plain, as-is, with a small amount of boiled-down, thickened syrup.

 

SOAKED SUMMER FRUIT

  • 2 pounds stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots), approximately
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 vanilla bean, broken
  • 2 orange slices, about 1/4-inch thick
  • 4-5 slices crystallized ginger

Cut the fruit in half and remove the pits. Cut the fruit into bite-size chunks and place in a dish deep enough to hold the pieces plus liquid. In a saucepan, combine the water, honey, vanilla bean, orange slices and crystallized ginger and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Pour the contents of the saucepan through a strainer over the fruit. Let soak for at least 2 hours. Serve as-is or strain the fluids, boil the fluids for 6-8 minutes or until thickened, and pour over the fruit (or let cool first).

Makes 8 servings

 

 

Chicken and Peach Salad

The last place I would expect to find a great-tasting peach would be a warehouse club like Costco. But there I was the other day to stock up on paper towels and detergent and as I drifted through the food aisles, lo and behold! I saw this box of huge, gorgeous-looking fresh peaches. 
 The fruit was photo-beautiful and the peaches had that “give” at the stem end to mark them ripe. They had a floral fragrance too, so I bought the 5-pound box (about $10). 
 I have no idea whether these were “local.” They were not organic. 
 But they were unbelievably tasty and juicy. 
 I am going back for another box. 
 These were definitely eating-out-of-hand fruit, not to be spoiled in a fussy recipe. 
 But I did have some leftover chicken, so I actually sacrificed half a peach to use in enough chicken salad for one person. A bit of scallion, fresh herbs, some olive oil and lime juice and lunch that day was divine. 
 Thanks Costco! 

 Chicken and Peach Salad 
 2 to 2-1/2 cups diced cooked chicken 
 3 scallions, chopped 
 1 large peach, skinned and chopped 
 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint 
 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves 
 2 tablespoons olive oil 
 3 tablespoons lime juice 
  2 tablespoons white wine vinegar  
  freshly ground black pepper to taste  

  Combine the chicken, scallions, peach, mint and thyme in a bowl and toss the ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice and white wine vinegar. Pour over the salad and toss to coat the ingredients with the dressing. Sprinkle with black pepper to taste. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.  
  Makes 2-4 servings

The last place I would expect to find a great-tasting peach would be a warehouse club like Costco. But there I was the other day to stock up on paper towels and detergent and as I drifted through the food aisles, lo and behold! I saw this box of huge, gorgeous-looking fresh peaches.

The fruit was photo-beautiful and the peaches had that “give” at the stem end to mark them ripe. They had a floral fragrance too, so I bought the 5-pound box (about $10).

I have no idea whether these were “local.” They were not organic.

But they were unbelievably tasty and juicy.

I am going back for another box.

These were definitely eating-out-of-hand fruit, not to be spoiled in a fussy recipe.

But I did have some leftover chicken, so I actually sacrificed half a peach to use in enough chicken salad for one person. A bit of scallion, fresh herbs, some olive oil and lime juice and lunch that day was divine.

Thanks Costco!

Chicken and Peach Salad

2 to 2-1/2 cups diced cooked chicken

3 scallions, chopped

1 large peach, skinned and chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine the chicken, scallions, peach, mint and thyme in a bowl and toss the ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice and white wine vinegar. Pour over the salad and toss to coat the ingredients with the dressing. Sprinkle with black pepper to taste. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 2-4 servings

Peach Chutney

Whether you shop in an old time grocery store, a roadside stand or your town’s weekly farmer’s market, you’re going to see lots of peaches for the next couple of weeks. Oh, the glory of end-of-summer fruit, especially peaches! There’s so much out there that you can get in enough to eat out of hand but still have enough to “put by” for during the winter.

Like in peach pie or crisp/cobbler (freeze for up to 6 months) or chutney.

I’ve posted several recipes over the years for Peach ice cream, Peach pie, BBQ Sauce and Peach Crisp, and some others. All can be cooked and frozen and enjoyed in the depths of December.

So many of these and other recipes say “peel the peaches” and most don’t tell you how. Including mine.

So right here, in case you want to make any of those recipes I mentioned or the peach chutney I am posting here, are the how-tos of peeling peaches:

Wash the peaches (photo 1). Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the peaches (photo 2). Cook for 20 seconds. Drain under cold water. With the tip of a sharp knife, pierce the skin at the stem end and pull down the skin, which will come off easily (photo 3). When all the skin has been removed, cut the peach in hlf (photo 4), remove the pit and slice, chop, etc.

Peach Chutney

  • 4 pounds ripe peaches, peeled and cut into slices
  • 1-1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup dried currants
  • 1 small red bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seed
  • 1 ounce crystallized ginger, crushed
  • 2 dried red chili peppers

Place the peach slices and cider vinegar into a saucepan and bring the ingredients to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes. Add the sugar, onion, raisins, currants and bell pepper. Stir to combine ingredients. Add the mustard seed, ginger and chili peppers. Cook mixture at a bare simmer for about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until the mixture is thick, stirring occasionally. Remove the chili peppers if desired. Pack into hot, sterilized jars according to manufacturer’s instructions, or refrigerate in tightly closed plastic containers. Keeps for about 2 months in the refrigerator.

Makes about 3 pints

Grilled Peach and Fig Melba with Yogurt, Honey, Nuts and Mint

By the time the end of August comes around I’ve spent the summer grilling everything there is to grill. Steak, burgers, fish and chicken. Vegetables too.  I live in Connecticut where the winters can be blowy, snowy and cold. And when that happens I am not going outside to cook. So I have to get it all in now before the next season starts.  But because I’ve grilled everything else throughout the summer, my last bit of outdoor cooking before the cover goes on for good (or at least 7 months) will include fruit. There’s so much terrific, ripe, flavorful, juicy fruit available now. I like to do all sorts of things with it, including scorching the surface on hot grids to give them some crispness and color. It also caramelizes the sugars deliciously.  Recently I decided to make a grilled version of one of my favorite desserts, Peach Melba. And, in addition, because fresh figs are absolutely gorgeous and perfect right now, I added some of those.   Grilled Peach and Fig Melba with Yogurt, Honey, Nuts and Mint   2 large ripe peaches  4 large fresh figs  3 tablespoons melted butter  2 tablespoons sugar  5-6 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt  2 tablespoons honey  2 tablespoons chopped walnuts or toasted almonds  1-1/2 tablespoons chopped mint  Preheat an outdoor grill or oven broiler. Cut the peaches in half and remove and discard the pits. Cut the figs in half. Brush the peaches and figs with the melted butter. Dust with the all but 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Grill, cut side down, for 2 minutes. Turn the fruit over and grill for another 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove the fruit. Mash the raspberries with the remaining teaspoon sugar. Spoon the mashed berries evenly over 4 dessert plates. Place a half peach, cut side up, on each of the plates. Place two fig halves on each plate. Place equal quantities of yogurt in the centers of the peach halves. Drizzle with equal amounts of honey. Sprinkle with the nuts and mint.  Makes 4 servings.

By the time the end of August comes around I’ve spent the summer grilling everything there is to grill. Steak, burgers, fish and chicken. Vegetables too.

I live in Connecticut where the winters can be blowy, snowy and cold. And when that happens I am not going outside to cook. So I have to get it all in now before the next season starts.

But because I’ve grilled everything else throughout the summer, my last bit of outdoor cooking before the cover goes on for good (or at least 7 months) will include fruit. There’s so much terrific, ripe, flavorful, juicy fruit available now. I like to do all sorts of things with it, including scorching the surface on hot grids to give them some crispness and color. It also caramelizes the sugars deliciously.

Recently I decided to make a grilled version of one of my favorite desserts, Peach Melba. And, in addition, because fresh figs are absolutely gorgeous and perfect right now, I added some of those.

Grilled Peach and Fig Melba with Yogurt, Honey, Nuts and Mint

2 large ripe peaches

4 large fresh figs

3 tablespoons melted butter

2 tablespoons sugar

5-6 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts or toasted almonds

1-1/2 tablespoons chopped mint

Preheat an outdoor grill or oven broiler. Cut the peaches in half and remove and discard the pits. Cut the figs in half. Brush the peaches and figs with the melted butter. Dust with the all but 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Grill, cut side down, for 2 minutes. Turn the fruit over and grill for another 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove the fruit. Mash the raspberries with the remaining teaspoon sugar. Spoon the mashed berries evenly over 4 dessert plates. Place a half peach, cut side up, on each of the plates. Place two fig halves on each plate. Place equal quantities of yogurt in the centers of the peach halves. Drizzle with equal amounts of honey. Sprinkle with the nuts and mint.

Makes 4 servings.

Peach Streusel Cake

Some recipes are easy to change and for the sake of variety in my life, I change them. This is one of the areas that my Mom, a really good cook, and I, didn’t see eye to eye. Her philosophy was that if you have a good recipe you should make it over and over because, well, it’s a good recipe. 
 But I like to tamper and see what happens if … 
 So, the worst thing that can happen is that whatever it is you are making doesn’t come out good. Or not as good as you wanted, but still fine. This is the way new recipes get invented (along with maybe some thrown-out stuff along the way). 
 The other day I needed to bring a coffee cake to a neighbor, so I got out my tried-and-true recipe for Blueberry Streusel Cake. Only I didn’t have blueberries. So I made it with peaches and it was just as good as ever, in part thanks to the wondeful peaches this year. 
 Here’s the recipe. Play around with it if you like. For instance, use almond extract in the batter or make it with plums or mixed berries. Or add some grated nutmeg or grated fresh orange peel. 
  Peach Streusel Cake  
 the streusel: 
  2/3 cup sugar  
  1/2 cup flour  
  1 teaspoon cinnamon  
  4 tablespoons cold butter  
  1 cup finely chopped nuts, optional  
     
  the   cake:  
  1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled  
  2 cups all-purpose flour  
  1/2 cup sugar  
  1 tablespoon baking powder  
  1/2 teaspoon baking soda  
  1 teaspoon salt  
  2 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel  
  2 large eggs  
  1 cup milk  
  4 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced  
     
  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9”x13” cake pan.   To make the streusel, place ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal. You can also do this by hand, by mixing dry ingredients and working in the butter with your fingers or two knives.  
  To make the cake, melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon peel in the bowl of an electric mixer. In another bowl, combine the eggs, milk and melted butter. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ones and stir only to combine: do not overbeat. Turn the batter into the prepared cake pan. Top with the peaches and press them down into the batter gently. Cover with the streusel. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Makes 12-16 servings  
   

Some recipes are easy to change and for the sake of variety in my life, I change them. This is one of the areas that my Mom, a really good cook, and I, didn’t see eye to eye. Her philosophy was that if you have a good recipe you should make it over and over because, well, it’s a good recipe.

But I like to tamper and see what happens if …

So, the worst thing that can happen is that whatever it is you are making doesn’t come out good. Or not as good as you wanted, but still fine. This is the way new recipes get invented (along with maybe some thrown-out stuff along the way).

The other day I needed to bring a coffee cake to a neighbor, so I got out my tried-and-true recipe for Blueberry Streusel Cake. Only I didn’t have blueberries. So I made it with peaches and it was just as good as ever, in part thanks to the wondeful peaches this year.

Here’s the recipe. Play around with it if you like. For instance, use almond extract in the batter or make it with plums or mixed berries. Or add some grated nutmeg or grated fresh orange peel.

Peach Streusel Cake

the streusel:

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons cold butter

1 cup finely chopped nuts, optional

 

the cake:

1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

4 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9”x13” cake pan. To make the streusel, place ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal. You can also do this by hand, by mixing dry ingredients and working in the butter with your fingers or two knives.

To make the cake, melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon peel in the bowl of an electric mixer. In another bowl, combine the eggs, milk and melted butter. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ones and stir only to combine: do not overbeat. Turn the batter into the prepared cake pan. Top with the peaches and press them down into the batter gently. Cover with the streusel. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Makes 12-16 servings