Thursday, July 19, 2012

Feelin' Peachy!

Is there anything prettier than a fresh peach? Maybe two...

Over 150 Peach Recipes

The Working Homekeeper got me craving fresh peaches by posting three recipes using North Carolina peaches:  Peach Ice Cream (without an ice cream maker)Peach Pie from scratch, and Peach Jam. They all sounded delicious, but my favorite way to eat a peach is simply washed and sliced. I rarely feel the urge to embellish it further. But if you do, or you have lots of peaches to use up, like Jamie probably did, follow these links to over 150 mouth-watering peach recipes:

How to Choose Peaches

According to my 1959 edition of The Culinary Arts Institute's Encyclopedic Cookbook, peaches "should be free from blemishes, firm, fresh-appearing with white or yellowish ground color. Green ground color indicates fruit was picked too soon to allow ripening."

Growing a Peach Tree From a Peach Pit

Dickey Farms offers instructions on how to plant a peach pit and, within three years, grow your own peach tree!  I'd love to try that, but my gardening success has been limited to herbs! Even with a fence, the deer and other critters have always managed to eat everything else I've planted. If you try it, I'd love to hear how it turns out.

A Peach is a Peach- Right?

OK. I did know that there are two types of peaches- white and yellow (the color of the flesh). But The Family Circle Dessert and Fruit Cookbook (1954) from my collection explains that peaches can be further subdivided beyond color into freestones (the stone pulls easily away from the flesh) and clingstones (the flesh clings closely to the stone). I can remember watching the episode of All in the Family where Edith talks about "cling peaches" and never really knew what she meant! Now I do, thanks to my vintage cookbook collection.

 The Best Way to Drink a Peach

I couldn't possible close this peachy post without mentioning my very favorite cocktail- the Bellini! Created by Harry Cipriani at Harry's Bar in Venice, and named for an Italian impressionist painter, the proper Bellini is made with prosecco sparkling wine and fresh white peach puree. I fell in love with this pink, effervescent drink at Harry Cipriani on Fifth Avenue in New York last summer. Since then, I've learned that most restaurants do not make them the same way. Probably because most bartenders do not happen to have fresh   white peaches lying around behind the bar just waiting for someone to order a Bellini. Some substitute peach concentrate or syrup, which is not as frothy as fresh white peach puree, but acceptable. And some substitute champagne for the prosecco, which isn't incredibly different unless you're a sparkling wine expert. But don't waste your time on a Bellini made with peach liqueur. It's not even close!

If you want to try making Bellinis at home, here's Mario Batali's Bellini recipewhich sounds authentic. 

What's your favorite way with peaches?

P.S. I'm still having a little trouble with random, involuntary highlighting of text! Please excuse it when you see it...

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