All things PEACH, including a pie

This is my summer of peach pie perfection. I am getting close! But first, a paean to the humble peach.

A good peach is really hard to beat. For starters, I adore their coloration. Peaches show that pinky-coral, yellow, and green marry winningly. Peaches are in a state of perennial blush, as if they are always in love and happy about it. 

I admire anything that continues to ripen once picked. It gives you a bit of stress-free leeway really. I mean, as much as anyone loves peaches, there are only so many of anything once can eat in a day. And so it's nice to know that a row of peaches sunning on a sill will be able to make you happy for many days on end.

Although I don't like to eat peach skin, I do love the way unpeeled peaches feel, especially if you've just picked them and they're still warm from the sun. They are soft, fuzzy in a lovely teddy-bearish way, firm but yielding (if not you've picked too soon, friend). They are irregularly shaped orbs of promise.

Peaches are great as is but they are also fabulous tossed in with more savory ingredients (see this wonderful salad of mine: Tomato, Peach, Chevre, and Herb Salad with Apple Vinaigrette) and grilled, roasted, stewed, and baked into things like pies and muffins. Two of my favorite ways to enjoy them cooked are in this Arugula Salad with Roasted Peaches, Pistachios, and Mozzarella, and simply grilled and topped with my Mint-Pistachio Pesto

Tomato, Peach, Chevre, and Herb Salad with Apple Vinaigrette

Tomato, Peach, Chevre, and Herb Salad with Apple Vinaigrette

Mint-Pistachio Pesto

Mint-Pistachio Pesto

Heck, now that I've gone down the wormhole, I'm remembering how much I love these Ginger Peach Muffins and also my Grilled Peach Crostini

Grilled Peach Crostini

Grilled Peach Crostini

And the jam possibilities are endless!

to-be Brandied Peaches

to-be Brandied Peaches

Clearly, I have a thing for peaches. And I am not ashamed.

Back to the pie. I have, over the years, worked on what is, in my opinion, the best representation of a number of pies: blackberry, apple, coconut, pecan. This summer, I set my sights on their peach cousin, and I think I'm nearly there.

It is, like my others, simple. It lets the primary fruit shine bright which is what the best pies do. I use peaches, sugar, lemon, and spices but have upped the ante slightly by including an apricot or two for a marvelous bit of tang and some muscovado sugar for depth (muscovado is a dark, unrefined brown sugar with a high level of molasses {in both content and flavor}. I use cinnamon and ground ginger and am considering using nutmeg, but we'll see. Peach Pie!

Paired with my crust, salty and flaky and perfect, the peaches shine. Which is just how it should be. 

Hours of cooking, beautiful food, misc

I tell you, spending hours picking fruit will surely keep you accountable in terms of not letting it go to waste! It's a race against time when you have fresh produce ripening in real time, and when you go slightly overboard with poundage schlepped home, well, get your cooking hands ready!

I was too slow for about a sixth of my blackberries, but the rest are safely frozen, jammed, or pied, and today I finished the raspberries. Lots of straight-up raspberry jam and also some raspberry-Grand Marnier. I'll be honest, y'all, while Grand Marnier is a heavenly substance, the plain old raspberry jam just can't be beat. I'm glad I made a majority of that.

I'm about half-through the peaches -which are scrumptious by the way- and have so far brandied seven pints and made a gorgeous pie. I'll deal with the rest tomorrow.

Also, tomatoes. Y'all know how I feel about summer's star. It's true love. This evening I made this caramelized tomato tarte tatin with slow-roasted Romas, caramelized onions, and puff pastry. It's like summer thinking of sliding into fall via cast iron pan. 

Tonight was a tough'ish night of parenting, and I was glad to have two episodes of The Americans to settle into when finally the boys' bedtime came. It is such a good show- Matthew Rhys and Keri Russel have delicious chemistry, and Frank Langella...Oh how I adore him. What an actor. 

Tomorrow I'm taking the boys to see Cirque du Soleil. Have y'all seen one of their performances? I never have and am looking forward to it!

For levity, food

What a week. What a sad, troubling week. America, there is work to be done. 

I'm tired and soon to bed, but y'all, I cannot even handle the beauty and flavor of summer produce. It just doesn't get better than this. And my garden this year? In a yard that actually receives all-day sun? Well, it's a winning combo.

Every day I pick handfuls of fresh tomatoes and herbs and yesterday plucked some zucchini blossoms and a dainty eggplant for a grilled pizza. 

Little makes me feel as warm and full as eating tomatoes still warm from the sun. This salad that I made up last summer is a great way to use some -and also summer peaches- and is as good as I remembered. 

Who said okra? My okra plants are thriving but are not yet ready to feed me the amount I want, so I supplemented today with these beauties. I cannot even talk about how much I love smothered okra nor about just how much of it I can eat at any one sitting. #havemercy #watchout 

I might eat your face if it were in this pot!

bacon + okra = win

bacon + okra = win

And then there's this guy, just livin' the life.

I hope you're well. Remember, it is so tremendous to read, educate ourselves, and use our voices to stand up for what's right. Have a good conversation, challenge a friend or colleague, hold others in the light!