Aug 252010
Too many peaches (and nectarines)

I went just a little crazy at the fruit farm

I love peaches. My grandfather was a peach farmer and so I grew up associating summer with juicy South Carolina peaches. The last few years have been hit or miss for local peach farmers, with late freezes wiping out much of the crop, or drought leading to low yields and high prices.

But this year? While I don’t personally like that the weather in South Carolina turned hot early and never cooled off, it was great for the peach crop. (And my hydrangeas, but that’s irrelevant.)

So I’ve been taking advantage of the locally grown peaches and nectarines, and buying pecks and half bushels of them at a time. But most days I’m the only one eating them straight up  (just pitted, peeled and sliced), and I can only eat so many that way before they go bad. I thought I’d share 8 other ways to enjoy and use up a bumper crop of peaches. (Reading this post in winter? That’s okay. Numbers 3-7 would work great with frozen peaches!)

1. Grill them

Grilled Peach and Steak Salad is a great entree salad that you can make indoors or out.

2. Make salsa

Instead of using tomatoes, make a fresh salsa using peaches. Combine one finely diced onion (you can soak it in ice water for 10 minutes to tame the bite before draining and adding to the other ingredients), one finely diced green pepper, minced jalapeno to taste, a minced or pressed clove of garlic, a sprinkle each of cumin, chili powder, and salt, and the juice of half a lime to 3 or 4 peeled, pitted and diced peaches. Cover and chill for a few hours before serving with chicken, fish, or chips.

3. BBQ them

I’ll have a recipe post up for Peachy BBQ Chicken soon, with pictures, but it couldn’t be easier. Peel, pit, and dice about a half dozen peaches. Cook them down in a saucepan, maybe with a spoonful of peach preserves if you have them. Once they’re soft and cooked down, add the entire bottle of your favorite bbq sauce. Let simmer and reduce for a half hour or so over medium-low heat, then brush on to baking or grilling chicken about 2/3 of the way through cooking. Serve with additional sauce on the side.

4. Bake some scones

I love scones. I love peaches. This Peach Scone recipe on the King Arthur Flour website combines those two loves. (Disclosure: I haven’t made this exact recipe yet, but I own three of KAF’s cookbooks and have never had a problem with their recipes.)

5. Cobble something together

I haven’t tried this Southern Living Peach Cobbler recipe, but it’s in my To-Make pile. Very highly rated on the site, and looks easy-peasy. Hmm…I do have a few dozen peaches staring at me. Maybe I’ll make it this week.

6. Make bread

Use up some peaches and have some healthy whole grains while you’re at it. The Peach-Oatmeal bread from KAF’s Whole Grain Baking book is a great quick bread recipe. I’ve made it, but I didn’t take any pictures, and KAF doesn’t have the recipe on their site. So if you’d like to make it before I get around to posting pics and instructions, the Slow Like Honey blog has the recipe and photos.

7. Chill

What could be better than peach ice cream in a waffle cone? Almost like a portable peach pie. Again, Southern Living has a Peach Ice Cream recipe that looks scrumptious, though this one doesn’t have any reviews and I haven’t tried it so I can’t give you any guidance. Don’t have an ice cream maker? I have one, but have misplaced the freezer bowl, so I’m going to try the method developed by the blogger at Serious Eats. (You can also use their recipe and just add pureed peaches to the custard base.)

8. Give some to friends

Who wouldn’t love a little gift basket of peaches? If you really have more than you can use, spread the wealth! It beats overloading friends with zucchini from your garden!

How do you like to eat your peaches? Have any favorite recipes to share? Let me know in the comments!

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Jul 152010
The Best (and Easiest) Baked Potato Ever - Without Using Your Oven!

I live in the South. In case you didn’t know, it gets hot here. Hot and humid. The last thing I want to do is turn on the oven. But I have 20lbs of potatoes from Costco that I need to use up. (I made Shepherd’s Pie and Potato Soup for a friend last week, and bought more potatoes than I needed.) So I thought, “baked potatoes sound good. But I don’t want to heat up the house. I wonder if they’d cook in a slow cooker?”

A quick search on Google later and I was armed with a recipe (method, really) for cooking potatoes in a slow cooker or crock pot.