Sunday, August 7, 2011

peach season! peach salsa and peach cobbler with cinnamon chip biscuits

peaches!

What is your favorite food?  Mine is peach pie.  Not any peach pie, but a pie made from scratch with a very generous amount of peaches.  You have to make the pie crust yourself and good pie crust must have at least some vegetable shortening involved.  At least Crisco is now free of trans fat, I know it freaks people out nutritionally but how often do you bake a pie?  Well, since Crisco is somehow not actually in my pantry that answer is:  not too often and not this weekend.  So with all my beautiful peaches I made salsa and cobbler.   Salsa because we were having Mexican dinner party round two for the extended Rogers family to view Kelly's European adventure slide show.  Cobbler because it is not a bad alternative to pie.  Especially when you had cinnamon chips to the biscuit dough and coarse sugar to top them.  My creative twists to a trusty recipe from Cooking Light.

Both recipes need peeled peaches.  The best way to preserve the most fruit is to bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare your peaches by rinsing them and scoring the non-stem end with an x-shape using a sharp knife.  I make my "x" using cuts about an inch long that just pierce the skin.  As long as you don't score deeply into the fruit you can't really do this wrong.  Drop the peaches carefully into the boiling water (big peaches displace water like a ten-year old doing a good cannonball into a pool, except the peaches splash boiling water which can be painful).  After about 2-3 minutes use a slotted spoon and remove the peaches from the pot into a colander.  Run cold water over the peaches in the colander in your sink.  The skins will slide or slough off with your fingers.  Works like a charm.  Sometimes I get distracted (imagine....) and the peaches are in the boiling water for five minutes.  Still works, you might get ragged peaches or they might be slightly cooked.  When you slice or chop them you won't be able to resist the slightly cooked peach's aroma or taste.  I really love peaches.  

Interesting fact:  peaches are on my list of cross-reactive foods to my grass allergy (they contain grass pollen-related proteins along with  celery, melons, tomatoes and oranges.  Super.  Bananas have ragweed  pollen-realted proteins the same as cantaloupe, zucchini and cucumber.  Since I take allergy medications 365 days a year, I don't really know if I shouldn't eat peaches.  Let's hope not.  That would be very sad.  I can tell you that all smoothies make my throat itch and almost all of them have fruits on my lists.  Just a little sidebar for readers that live on Zyrtec, Claritin or Singulair like me.  Better living through chemistry.  My dad's a pharmacist.  I come by it honestly. 

Alrighty then, we are ready for some recipes and photos.  The peach salsa was outstanding with tortilla chips and grilled chicken tenders with Sweet Mesquite seasoning.  The cobbler was heavenly and I'm looking forward to another bowl this evening.  Too much good food in the summer to pass it by.  Take another lap, play another set or whatever it takes to enjoy all the deliciousness of summer!

Peach Salsa

4 medium peaches, peeled and chopped
one-half sweet red onion, chopped
one jalapeno, seeded and chopped
one-half bunch cilantro, rinsed well, patted/spun dry and chopped fine
two limes, juiced
kosher salt to taste (start with 1/4 tsp)

Combine all ingredients and taste for lime and salt, adjusting as necessary.  Keep chilled if not serving immediately.
peach salsa


Peach Cobbler with Cinnamon Chip Biscuits

filling

8-10 medium or large peaches, peeled and sliced for 6-8 cups of fruit
3/4 C sugar
juice of one lemon

biscuits

1 C flour
3 T sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 T chilled butter, cut into small pieces
6 T low-fat buttermilk (or 6 T skim milk with 1 tsp lemon juice stirred in to curdle milk a bit)
1/4 C King Arthur cinnamon bits or cinnamon chips
coarse sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine peaches with sugar, pie enhancer (love that stuff, but cornstarch is fine if you stir it in to dissolve it with the peach juices) and lemon juice.  Spray a 2 to 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.  Pour the peach mixture in the dish and bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes to thicken.   
 
Combine the flour, sugar, soda and salt in a medium bowl.  Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Stir in the cinnamon bits/chips and buttermilk until just moistened (too much stirring = tough biscuits).  Now you can either drop the biscuit dough in heaping spoonfuls atop the peaches or turn the dough out onto a floured surface, knead it a couple of times and roll it out to about 1/4 inch thickness before cutting with a biscuit cutter.  Obviously, the drop biscuits are easier and you can see I took the easy way out this time.  If you roll your biscuits or drop them, place them atop the peaches leaving a little room for them to rise.  Sprinkle the biscuit tops with coarse sugar.   Bake the cobbler 18-20 minutes until the biscuits are lightly golden.  Serve warm.  Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.  


peaches with their little x's in their skin boiling on the stove

peeled and luscious (see, I scored the fruit and it was fine)

sliced and mixed with the filling ingredients

ready to bake just the filling

pastry blender waiting for me to finish working the magic

cinnamon chips

baked filling ready for biscuits

dropped biscuits

 all done, come on over!






 






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