TEDDI A. WOHLFORD — FOR THE TELEGRAPH
Patience is a virtue, right? Don’t know about you, but my patience begins to wear thin long before peaches come in season.
When are peaches in season? Now, and practically all summer long there is a variety of peach in season all over our glorious state.
I bought my first half-bushel in the middle of June (a birthday present to myself!) and I’ve been eating peaches almost daily since then. I have been absolutely blown away by the peaches I’ve had this year.
Is it just me, or do the peaches seem their absolute BEST to you as well? Aren’t they bigger, juicier and peachier than ever?
Today I will share with you some ideas and some of my recipes to enjoy peaches at their best.
FROZEN PEACH DAIQUIRI
A frozen cocktail comes to the rescue on the hottest of days — like our average daily high of 95 degrees for the past two months! Don’t resort to using peaches from the freezer section of the grocery store. Instead, peel and slice those extra peaches that you have on hand and freeze until firm in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, store in zip-top plastic freezer bags for use within one year. (Remember to label and date that package!)
Use any leftover peaches from last year that you find in the freezer to make homemade jam. If you find any that are more than a year old, just toss them out. Fresh frozen peach slices can be used in recipes throughout the year, bringing with them the taste of pure Georgia sunshine.
Frozen peach slices are great thrown into fruit smoothies, of course, but you can also add a couple slices to a glass of iced tea (instead of using ice) or add a few slices to a bowl of cold cereal or a bowl of oatmeal just a minute or so before serving.
And be sure to save some to make a special peach pie or cobbler in the cold of winter. How fabulous that would be!
FRESH PEACH SALSA
My peach salsa recipe is absolutely wonderful and as pretty to look at as it is to eat. The taste and texture of this salsa really begs to be paired with grilled chicken, pork, fish and shellfish. But it’s also a crowd pleaser when served with tortilla chips along with guacamole and some yummy white cheese dip.
PEACHY GRILLED CHICKEN
This is an updated version of one of my family’s favorite recipes. The marinade is a concoction of bourbon, honey, soy sauce, Dijon mustard and some other ingredients. What I feel really sets this apart is the addition of a White Balsamic Peach vinegar that we sell at Robinson Home in downtown Macon (where I also teach cooking classes).
Some of the prepared marinade is for the chicken and some is to season the peaches, as they get grilled, too.
PEACH MACAROON TARTS
C’mon! What’s for dessert? We can’t have all these great peach recipes without a great dessert, can we? Remember, as I stated earlier, patience is a virtue.
For dessert, you have to try my recipe for Peach Macaroon Tarts. Individual macaroon tart crusts are baked until crisp on the outside and still slightly soft-set in the center. A sweetened cream cheese mixture gets spread onto the crusts, before being piled high with fresh peach slices, and crowned with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and a slight dusting of freshly grated nutmeg.
Talk about a beautiful celebration dessert focusing on our famed Georgia peaches!
Summer may seem like it’s going to last forever, but one thing is certain: Our fresh Georgia peaches won’t last forever.
Make plans to visit your favorite local peach orchard or packing house, farmers market, tailgate market or roadside stand. Remember: Buy fresh and buy local.
Frozen Peach Daiquiri
1 pound (peeled) frozen peach slices
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light rum
1/2 cup peach nectar
Grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 medium lime
3 cups crushed ice
Serves four to six.
Place ingredients in blender in order of listing. Process until slushy. Enjoy.
Fresh Peach Salsa
2 2/3 cups coarsely chopped peeled yellow peaches (about 2 pounds)
1 medium diced red bell pepper
1 medium diced yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1 cup chopped fresh arugula
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed (finely diced)
2 cloves garlic minced
Sea salt or kosher salt to taste
Combine all ingredients and stir to blend. Store in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or
up to 3 hours before serving.
Serve as a traditional salsa or as a topping for grilled chicken, fish or shellfish.
Peachy Grilled Chicken
1/3 cup bourbon
1/3 cup peach white balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup honey
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
6 medium firm fresh peaches
Marinade: Whisk together all ingredients and blend well. Place marinade in a zip-top plastic food storage bag, reserving 1/2 cup for use later in the recipe. Add chicken to the bag and massage marinade onto the chicken.
Seal bag shut, removing as much air as possible from the bag. Store in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours ahead of grilling.
Grilling: Heat grill to medium-high. While grill heats up, remove chicken from marinade and discard this portion of the marinade.
Peel the peaches and cut in half, removing the pits. Grill the chicken until cooked through, turning halfway through grilling. Cook until 160 degrees. Transfer chicken to a platter and cover loosely with foil.
Let chicken rest while you grill the peach halves, brushing the peaches with the reserved portion of marinade. Surround the chicken on the platter with the grilled peaches to serve.
Peach Macaroon Tarts
3 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
30 Ritz crackers, coarsely crushed
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
4 large or 6 medium peaches, thinly sliced (peeled, if preferred)
1/2 cup melted peach preserves or jam
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Garnish, Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
Crusts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat egg whites until frothy. Gradually add sugar, beating continuously. Beat until stiff peaks form. Stir in the remaining crust ingredients.
Draw six 5-inch circles on a piece of baking parchment. Turn parchment over and place on a baking sheet. Divide meringue evenly among the 6 circles, spreading to fill the circles. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely on parchment. Once cooled, store airtight until serving time. Can be prepared earlier in the day.
Filling: Combine filling ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Peaches: Combine ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, stirring gently to coat the peaches. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour
Topping: Combine ingredients and beat until stiff peaks form. Cover and refrigerate.
Assembly: Place macaroon crusts on individual dessert plates. Evenly distribute the filling over the crusts and spread to the edge. Spoon peaches over the filling. Top each tart with a dollop of topping. Garnish each serving with nutmeg, if desired.