While the early summer produce seemed to be behind, I believe that heat wave got us back on track.
On a recent visit to Baugher’s for some salad staples, I realized my basket was getting heavier without me adding anything. Looking down, I saw my 2-year-old son was grabbing the biggest peaches he could find and tipping them over the edge of my basket to sit atop the cucumbers and zucchinis I had chosen, with a big happy look on his face.
Both of my sons love peaches, though sadly, the canned variety are their favorite (which we only started buying so they could enjoy peaches in the winter and now that’s what they prefer). In a way I understand why: canned peaches are already skinless, have no remnants of peach pits stuck to them, and have a pretty consistent consistency.
I find fresh peaches difficult to time for ripeness, difficult to peel, and difficult to remove from the pit (which is I guess why I should pay more attention to whether they are “cling” or “non-cling” peaches).
Let’s just say that my sliced peaches become quite a mess. Well, with today’s three recipes, that’s not a problem! If peaches are going to be boiled, baked, or brewed, their shape is no longer important.
First up, a honey chipotle peach relish. They called this a relish, but if you hit the food processor a few more times, I’d say it’s a salsa. It’s a pretty simple recipe, getting some nice, smoky flavor from canned chipotle peppers in adobe sauce and some honey to give it a balance of heat and sweet. This would work great with tortilla chips, any kind of pork, grilled chicken, maybe even some salmon. And it’s pretty much ready to eat after 30 minutes on the stove and some time to cool down.
Next, for the baked peaches, I found this recipe for peach cornmeal muffins. I think little chunks of peaches in a sweet cornbread would taste delicious. This recipe also uses a combination of butter and yogurt (or buttermilk) for the fat, which is my favorite way to make a muffin too. My kids are going to love these!
And as for brewing, I thought a homemade recipe for peach iced tea would hit the spot. You can do this one as a cold brew if you’ve got the time to let it steep for six to 12 hours. Orange peel, a few sprigs of mint, and using Earl Grey tea bags will give it a distinguished, can’t quite place your finger on what you’re tasting flavor. Leave the peach pieces in the pitcher for extra flavor, or strain them out if you prefer a clearer tea.
Core and dice your peaches. Place them in a medium pot. Stir in chipotle peppers with the adobo sauce, honey, vinegar, and salt.
Briskly simmer, uncovered. The juices will thicken after about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, stir in your chopped onion, salt, and simmer again for an additional 10 minutes. Remove and let cool. Relish will thicken more as it cools.
Once cooled, process into a relish texture. Place content into a food processor or blender and pulse a few times to mix and chop peaches and chipotles into smaller pieces. The more you blend, the thinner the texture. For thicker peach relish, skip the food processor and just make sure all your fresh ingredients are finely chopped before cooking.
3 small peaches, peeled and diced (about ¾ cup once chopped)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line six muffin cups with muffin liners or grease them very well to avoid sticking.
Sift the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt, if using. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar with a hand mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat again.
Add the yogurt along with a couple of tablespoons of the flour mixture (to prevent the batter from curdling) and stir. Add the rest of the flour mixture and beat gently to combine. The batter will be thick.
Fold in the peach pieces and you'll find the juices help the batter thin out a little. Divide equally into the prepared muffin cups and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until browned and a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove and cool on a wire rack.