I don’t want to live in a world without peaches. Really. And I only like canned peaches pureed into Bellini Soup (is there such a thing?) or on top of cottage cheese for lunch in the winter if I’m just desperate and out of time and am feeling tres fat. And while, “Sorry don’t get it done, Dude,” is one of the more famous John Wayne quotes, I often remember him in front of a campfire, “Open me up a can of those peaches.” Poor cowboys. They didn’t have fresh peaches. Just cooked, peeled, old canned things.
In St. Paul, we’ve had peaches from several places for a few weeks. And some of them have been glorious. We’re still waiting for Colorado western-slope, but that’s as it should be. Having lived in Colorado for years, I’m not addicted to those peaches. In fact, I like peaches from other states better. (These are fighting words, I know. Sorry, Colorado.) There’s just not enough rain in Colorado for fruit trees. Around Penrose, (south of Colorado Springs) there are some apple orchards that nearly bite the dust every few years despite large-scale irrigation.
Here are some of my favorite ways with peaches:
|Unadorned and sweetly loved|
|Into a salsa for fish or pork or chicken or as a salad all alone with avocado||.|
Here’s the link for the salsa recipe here at More Time at the Table.
|Grilled with a little fresh cheese, thyme and a squiggle of honey|
|Here’s the salsa served with a grilled pork chop and my mustard tarragon green bean salad.|
This year, I’ve been baking in the wee, small hours of the morning. (Don’t you love that song?) It’s the only way to get something in and out of the oven without adding to the heat index. I tried Peaches, Cream, and Cake in two varieties, taking each to friends’ houses for dinner. I can always be counted on to bring dessert. Besides, it transports easily.
First off was Peach Shortcake and I recommend it highly if only because the shortcakes bake quickly and you could even do them in a counter top oven should you be blessed enough to have one. I am not. Second was Elvis Presley’s Favorite Cake with Peaches and (homemade) Ginger Ice Cream. For some reason (not wanting to appear the forever blogger at dinner)–I only have a pic of the cake. But you’ll get the idea.
Peach-Ginger Shortcake with Vanilla Ice Cream
First make the shortcakes, which are much like biscuits, but a tad sweeter:
|Use a light hand with the dough. Don’t pat or reform too much.|
|I like to bake them in a glass pie dish so you can see the bottoms. You want them barely done.|
|Slice them in half and layer with the peaches.|
Fluffy Shortcakes from THE FANNY FARMER BAKING BOOK by Marion Cunningham
(Don’t bother to reinvent Marion Cunningham’s wheel.–That book is out of print, I think, but you might find a used one. There is nothing like it. It’s a veritable, perfect baking bible without any froofroo. BTW, her biscuit recipe is love in a bite and comes from years of testing/working with James Beard.)
2 cups cake flour (I’ve used all-purpose flour for years..just noticed she said “cake”)
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
8T (1 stick or 1/2 cup) butter
1 egg, well beaten
1/3 milk or cream, plus droplets more if needed
1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Get out two 8 or 9″ cake pans or a large baking sheet, but do not grease. (I like glass pie pans for these and for biscuits, too.)
2. Combine the cake flour, salt, baking powder, cream of tartar, and sugar in a mixing bowl, and stir and toss them together with a fork or wire whisk. Cut the butter into bits and add it to the dry ingredients. Then, using two knives or a pastry blender, or your fingertips (Dorie Greenspan would approve), work the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a mixture of fine, irregular crumbs that resemble fresh bread crumbs. (I do this all in the food processor and have for years.)
3. Add the beaten egg and the milk all at once, and stir with a fork just until the dough holds together.
4. Turn out (it will probably be very sticky) onto a smooth, well-floured surface, and knead 12-14 times. Pat into a rectangle (I do a circle) 1/2″ thick . Cut the dough into squares or rectangles (I do circles), using a knife or into rounds with a 2″ cookie cutter. (Like I said.) Place the biscuits, touching each other in the pans or on the baking sheet.
4. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until very lightly browned. (Do not overbake.) makes 16
|Minced fresh ginger mm|
For the peaches and ginger (1 peach per serving)
Peel and slice about one ripe, but firm peach per person. To easily peel peaches, gently drop them in boiling water for 30 seconds, retrieve using a slotted spoon, cool a bit and the peel will slide right off when coaxed with a sharp knife. If not, put the peach back in the water for another 10 seconds or so. You could use an ice bath to cool the peaches, but I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary.
Add about 1tsp freshly minced ginger for each 4 peaches. Stir together.
Squeeze the juice from half a lemon over all and stir again. Set aside until needed or refrigerate if not using within an hour or so. (The lemon will keep the peaches from turning brown so quickly.)
For each serving: Slice a shortcake in half. Place bottom half in a small bowl and top with gingered peaches. Add the top half and spoon the rest of the peaches on top. You’ll use about 3/4-1 c of peaches (1 large peach) per person. If you’re flush with peaches, slice and use more!
Scoop up some great vanilla ice cream (I like Haagen Dazs 5 or make your own) and nestle it to the side or on top of the peaches and shortcake. Whipped cream would be nice if you had some. Not needed, though, unless you skip the ice cream.
|Grilled lake trout filet salad at The Angry Trout|