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Savoring the Seasons

Savoring the Seasons: Peach possibilities, now and later

By MARY MCCLINTOCK

Peaches!

Hooray for fresh, local, juice dripping down your chin and arm all the way to your elbow PEACHES!

Are you eating peaches every day like I am? For now, I’m eating peaches as is, with no preparation, and cutting them up into my morning oatmeal.

Later, in the winter, I love pulling bags of frozen peaches from the freezer and making peach crisp (or peach and blueberry crisp using blueberries I’ve frozen). And, I love peach chutney with local lamb or chicken.

I’ve been peeling, slicing, and freezing peaches for future crisps. A friend from Seattle, Pat, is visiting in October (she’s never seen New England fall foliage) and we love cooking together. I’m freezing extra bags of peaches so we can make peach chutney while she’s here. Pat sent me two peach recipes she’s enjoying this summer (see below).

When I saw the Almond-Crisped Peaches recipe, I thought “it’s gilding the lily to cook fresh peaches.”

Then, I tried the recipe.

It is indeed gilding the lily ... and that gild tastes mighty fine!

Run, do not walk, to Clarkdale Fruit Farms or Apex Orchards or Bear Path Farm or local farmers markets and farmstands, get peaches, savor them now, and preserve some for later.

Greenfield Food Study: Results of two years of student research in GCC’s Farm and Food Systems program and six months of compiling and refining data available now at:

http://issuu.com/greenfield_food_study

The Kitchen Garden’s 6th Annual Chilifest: Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 14 and 15, noon to 5 p.m., 81 Rocky Hill Road, Hadley. Celebrating all things spicy! Chili cook-off, cooking demos, local food and beer, live music, local art. $5 admission, kids under 5 free. For information, visit www.kitchengardenfarm.com.

This week we’re eating ...

ALMOND-CRISPED PEACHES

By Pat Lively, Seattle (adapted from “Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard” by Nigel Slater)

4 ripe peaches

1/3 C. whole almonds

1/4 C. sugar

3 T. cold unsalted butter, cubed

Optional: 1/4 C. rolled oats, 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon, pinch of sea salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Halve peaches, remove pits. Place fruit cut side up in baking dish. In food processor, grind almonds and sugar together until coarsely ground (with a few pebbles left). Add oats and other flavorings, if using, then butter, pulsing machine until ingredients are just blended. Spoon almond mixture into center of each peach, press it flat, as if icing tops of peaches. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour (baking time varies with peach size), until top is brown, crisp and you can easily slice through fruit with fork or spoon. Serve warm or at room temperature, with creme fraiche, lightly sweetened whipped cream, or plain yogurt, cold, for breakfast.

Without food processor: Use equivalent weight of almond meal or finely chopped almonds, stir in sugar and any other ingredients, then same volume of butter, melted.

PEACH, APRICOT,

NECTARINE CHUTNEY

By Pat Lively, Seattle, (adapted from “Field of Greens: New Vegetarian Recipes from the Celebrated Greens Restaurant” by Annie Somerville)

Yield: 2½ cups

Select sweet, ripe fruit and cook it lightly.

1 pound (about 3 C.) peaches, pitted, cut 1” pieces

1/3 C. sugar

1/4 C. small sweet onion, finely chopped

1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated

1/4 tsp. cinnamon, ground

2 pinches ground cloves

2 pinches ground mace

1 pinch cayenne pepper

2 pinches kosher salt

Combine fruit and sugar in medium-size saucepan; cook over medium heat until peaches (nectarines, apricots) begin to release their juices, about 2-3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat for 10-12 minutes, until fruit is tender. Transfer to bowl and add sugar, if needed. Cool and allow to sit for 1-2 hours before serving.

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