Enjoy summer peaches before season ends

These delectable fruits are not only delicious in desserts, they are key ingredients in main dishes, drinks

    Peaches can still be found in abundance at area grocery stores, giving us a few more weeks to enjoy the sunny flavor of this summertime fruit.
    While they are popular in sweets, such as pies, cobblers, shortcakes and other treats, peaches are just as delicious in more savory dishes, such as salads. They’re also delicious in chutney and other sides, providing a sweet note to meats such as pork roasts.
    A simple salad can be made by layering thinly sliced peaches and prosciutto, then topping them with chunks of burrata or fresh mozzarella. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with thinly sliced basil.
    Because peaches spoil easily, it is best to purchase only as many as you can eat in a short time. Select fruit that are fragrant and that give slightly to pressure, and avoid peaches with blemishes, bruises or green coloring.
    Peaches can be brightly hued, but don’t shy away from paler fruit. Avoid those with green skin, which is a sign that they were picked too soon.
    Select peaches that are heavy for their size — that’s usually an indication the fruit will be juicy.
    Store ripe peaches in the refrigerator for three to five days, and unripe peaches at room temperature. Bring refrigerated fruit to room temperature before eating it.
    Peaches can be ripened at room temperature. That’s best done by laying them on their stem side in a single layer, but to speed the process, you can place the fruit in a paper bag and leave it on the countertop.
    One pound of peaches equals approximately four medium whole peaches, 2 cups peeled and sliced or 1-1/2 cups puréed.
    To prevent cut peaches from browning, dipping the fruit into a mixture of 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
    To easily remove the skin, plunge peaches into boiling hot water for about 30 seconds, then quickly place them in ice water for a minute. The skin should slip off. If it doesn’t, the peaches probably aren’t ripe enough and you’ll need to use a paring knife instead.
    To bake a peach, remove the pit and place the fruit on an ungreased baking sheet with the cut side facing up. Place 1 teaspoon butter in center of each peach half, if desired, then place two to three tablespoons water in the pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 15 to 30 minutes, until they are soft with slight browning.
    Following are recipes for fresh peaches from thepeachtruck.com.


    the peach truck.com

No Bake Fresh Peach Pie

1 10-inch graham cracker pie crust
1 3-ounce package peach-flavored gelatin  
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Zest of one lemon
1 cup boiling water
7 peaches
Whipped cream, optional

    Place the peach-flavored gelatin, sugar and lemon zest in small mixing bowl, Add boiling water and stir until sugar and gelatin are dissolved. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
    Bring medium saucepan of water to a boil and prepare a bowl of ice water. Using the tip of a paring knife, make a small X through the skin on the bottom of the peach, taking care to not cut deep into the flesh. Using a slotted spoon, place the peach in boiling water for 10 to 15 seconds, then place in the ice water. Once cool, the skin will easily peel away with a paring knife, starting at the corners of the X and peeling towards the stem.  
    When all the peaches are peeled, remove the pit, cut into thin slices and place in a large mixing bowl. Pour cooled gelatin mixture over the peaches, toss to combine fully and transfer to the pie crust. Arrange peaches to evenly fill the crust, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two to three hours, until fully set.  
    Slice with a sharp knife dipped in hot water and serve with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

Party Peach Mojitos

4 to 5 peaches, pitted and roughly-chopped
8 limes
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves
2 cups light rum
4 cups chilled club soda or sparkling water
Additional mint sprigs for garnish

    Zest one lime and juice all eight limes.
    Place peaches, sugar, lime zest and lime juice in the jar of a blender. Blend until very smooth. Using a rubber spatula, press the finished puree through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Discard any remaining solids.  
    Add rum and fresh mint leaves to a large pitcher. Using a wooden spoon or muddler, crush the mint leaves against the bottom and sides of pitcher, then add the peach puree. Stir to combine before adding club soda and serving over ice with a sprig of mint for garnish.


Fresh Peach Summer Rolls

Fresh peaches
Rice paper wrappers
Fresh mint
Fresh Thai basil
Fresh cilantro
For dipping sauce:
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
A few drops toasted sesame oil

    Blend dipping sauce ingredients together. Set aside.
    Wash and pit the peaches, then slice them into thin slices. Cut cucumber and jicama into thin strips. Pluck leaves from the fresh herbs and set aside.
    Place a clean damp towel on your work surface and fill a large, shallow dish with room temperature water. Working with one wrapper at a time, submerge it in the water and place it flat on the damp towel. Quickly place a few peach slices in a row just above the center of the wrapper, leaving about 1-1/2 inches of space on the sides. Layer a few pinches of cucumber and jicama on the peaches, then place leaves of mint, basil and cilantro on top.
    Fold the bottom half of the wrapper up to cover the filling. Holding it firmly in your hand, fold the sides over the filling and press firmly while rolling the entire wrapper from the bottom up. Place on a platter and cover loosely with plastic wrap while assembling the rest of the rolls.
    Serve with dipping sauce on the side.

Peach Smoothie Bowl With Maple Pecan Granola

For smoothie:
6 peaches, sliced and frozen
2 bananas, sliced and frozen
1 scoop plant protein powder
2 tablespoons flax seeds
3/4 cup coconut milk
For granola:
2 cups rolled oats
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup fresh pecans

    Combine smoothie ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy, adding more coconut milk if needed. Once smooth, pour into bowl.
    In a medium bowl, combine oats, cinnamon, sea salt, coconut oil and maple syrup. Fold in pecans. Spread mixture in an even layer onto a baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes, sprinkle and serve.
    The protein powder helps to make the smoothie thick, but can be eliminated if desired.


Butter Lettuce Salad With Peach-Pistachio Viniagrete

2 heads butter lettuce, rinsed, dried, roughly chopped and chilled
1/2 cup shaved Manchego cheese
1 cup pistachio nutmeats
3 fresh peaches
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons sorghum or 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar

    For vinaigrette, peel and pit one peach and place in a blender. Add olive oil, salt, sugar and vinegar, then blend to combine. Once smooth, add mustard and 1/2 cup pistachios. Pulse blender a few times to emulsify, leaving pieces of the pistachios intact.
    Place cold lettuce in a serving bowl and sprinkle  shaved cheese and remaining pistachios on top. Pit and slice the remaining peaches and add to the salad.
    Serve with dressing on the side or toss lightly just before serving, as butter lettuce will quickly wilt once dressed.


Peach Ricotta Cheesecake With Pecan Crust

3 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons tapioca starch or gluten free flour  
6 fresh peaches
1 32-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh mint for garnish, optional

    Place ricotta cheese in a cheesecloth-lined colander. Place colander in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place a large pan of water on the bottom rack.
    Pulsing pecans and brown sugar in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a  bowl and add 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1 tablespoon tapioca starch and melted butter. Stir to combine, then set aside.
    Place drained ricotta cheese in a food processor. Wash, peel and pit one peach and add to the ricotta. Pulse 30 seconds. Scrape down sides before adding cream cheese, sugar, remaining tapioca starch and eggs. Pulse 30 seconds. Scrape down sides and add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract, almond extract, salt and remaining cardamom. Puree until smooth, scraping down sides occasionally.
    Coat a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick pan spray. Transfer pecan crust mixture to the pan, spread evenly and press down with the back of a spoon. Fill with batter and place in the center rack of a 350-degree  oven and a pan of water on the bottom rack. Bake approximately one hour, until the top puffs up and begins to brown. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool.
    Wash and pit remaining peaches. Slice thinly, then place in a bowl and toss with remaining fresh lemon juice.
    Top cheesecake with sliced peaches and garnish with fresh mint before serving.


Peach Pizza With Prosciutto and Mozzarella

1 pound prepared pizza dough
6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup ricotta
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh pepper
4 ounces shaved prosciutto
1 to 2 peaches

    Spread pizza dough on an oiled pan or pizza stone.
    Mix together ricotta, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread evenly over the pizza dough. Wash, pit and thinly slice the peaches, then evenly distribute them on the pizza. Tear pieces of prosciutto and place around the peach slices. Slice mozzarella and place pieces across the surface of the pizza.
    Place in the center rack of a 375-degree oven and bake 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is browned.


Peach Stuffed French Toast

1 loaf challah or brioche bread
6 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for cooking
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablepoons maple syrup
4 to 5 fresh peaches
For topping:
Powdered sugar
Whipped cream
Maple syrup

    Mix together eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and melted butter in a blender. Transfer to a flat-bottomed baking dish or cake pan and set aside.
    In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and 2 tablespoons maple syrup until smooth. Set aside.
    Wash, pit and slice the peaches. Set aside.
    Cut eight 1/2-inch slices bread. Take two slices at a time and open them like a book so they fit back together as one slice. Spread one-quarter of the cream cheese mixture onto the inside surface of each set of slices. Arrange peach slices on one side, covering the entire surface, then close the sandwich and press the two sides together lightly. Repeat with remaining bread slices.
    One at a time, place the French toast in batter and press lightly to help absorb the batter. Flip over and lightly press, then place in a buttered skillet over medium-low heat. Cook until browned on one side, then turn over to cook the other side.
    Place cooked French toast on a serving platter. Arrange any extra slices of peaches around them. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream and maple syrup.


Spicy Jerk Chicken With Peach Chutney

For chutney:
1 cup finely-diced onion
1 cup finely-diced red bell pepper
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup golden raisins
6 to 8 peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into cubes
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoon honey
For chicken:
2 pounds chicken breast tenderloins
For jerk seasoning:
1/8 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil

    Place vinegar, lemon juice, sugar and brown sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, add onion, red pepper, jalapeño, garlic, ginger, raisins salt and honey and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Add peaches and stir to combine. Return to a simmer and cook an additional 15 minutes, until liquid is thick and syrupy. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. If making in advance, transfer to a glass container and refrigerate until needed.
    Make seasoning by blending all the ingredients together in a small bowl until fully combined. Coat chicken tenderloins with the seasoning and marinate in refrigerator one hour.
    Place chicken on skewers and grill over medium-high heat for three to four minutes  per side, until chicken is cooked through. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with peach chutney.

Grilled Kale With Ricotta and Peaches

3 fresh peaches
1/2 cup high-quality olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
18 large curly kale leaves
1 16-ounce container whole milk ricotta

    Wash and pat dry kale leaves. Brush both sides of the leaves lightly with 1/4 cup olive oil. Set aside.
    Place remaining olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey and thyme in a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Wash, pit and thinly slice peaches with a serrated knife, then add to the bowl of vinaigrette and toss to combine. Set aside.
    Grill the kale leaves over a medium-hot charcoal or gas grill for two to three minutes, turning once, until slightly charred and crispy around the edges. Transfer the cooked leaves to a work surface and season lightly with salt and pepper. Trim and discard the stems and tear the leaves into smaller pieces.
    Stir ricotta to loosen it and spread along on the bottom of a serving platter. Toss grilled kale with the peaches and vinaigrette, check for seasoning and arrange over the ricotta.
    Makes eight servings.



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