This Past Week at La Domestique: The Peach

Peach (c)2011 LaDomestique.com

This past week at La Domestique was devoted to the perfect peach. Here in Colorado peach season is in full swing. We explored both sweet and savory ways to cook with peaches. While there’s nothing better than enjoying a peach just as it is, the tart sweet flavor and beautiful aroma of peaches is only intensified with exposure to a hot grill or oven. In this time of plenty it’s a great opportunity to explore new recipes with peaches.

In case you missed anything, I’ve got a recap for you!

Monday:  Announcing the peach as ingredient of the week on videocast.

Tuesday:  10 Ways Tuesday! Creative ways to use peaches in summer cooking.

Wednesday:  Cook in the moment with a recipe for Grilled Lamb and Peach Kebabs with Balsamic Wheat Berries.

Thursday:  The story behind the peach: growing, harvesting, cooking and flavor pairing.

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Peach Crepes

Today I’ve got something nice for you! It’s a simple, straightforward recipe for Peach Crepes that’s perfect for the heat of summer. No fancy techniques. No turning on the oven. Just a fantastic way to enjoy a perfectly ripe peach. When I decided to make peach crepes my mind was full of ideas on how to prepare the peaches: roast them in the oven, poach them in sugar syrup, etc. Then I thought about how many of you are suffering through 100+ degree temps of summer. I thought of the lazy days of summer and decided that the perfectly ripe peaches need no embellishment. We are not even going to peel them! What do you think about that? Awesome.

If you’ve never tried them, you should know that crepes are not a difficult thing to make. I don’t own a crepe pan, I own a nonstick skillet and it works just fine. Here I use a recipe from River Cottage Every Day but Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall also shares a recipe in the Guardian that uses all purpose flour. I’ve made both versions and they are equally tasty.

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Storyboard: The Peach

Peach StoryBoard (c)2011 LaDomestique.com

An article in the August issue of Food & Wine Magazine uses peaches as a symbol for the history of Chez Panisse and Alice Waters’ edible schoolyard project. Susan Choung writes that Alice Waters “believes a perfect peach can change the world.” In Chez Panisse Fruits the chapter devoted to peaches begins,

“. . . the perfect dessert after a rich and satisfying meal is a perfect piece of fruit, and the most perfect fruit has to be a perfect peach. Its texture is luscious, its aroma is intoxicating, its flavor is ravishing, and its juice runs everywhere.”

What is a Peach?

I learned from the Deluxe Food Lover’s Companion that peaches originally came from China. This tree fruit comes in different shapes, from round to doughnut. Its color can be orange blushing deep red or white/yellow blushing hot pink. The skin is fuzzy like velvet and the texture can be firm when ripe or softer and full of nectar. A ripe peach is fragrant with an intense peachy-floral aroma. Handle this fruit with care, as it bruises easily.

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Cook in the Moment: Grilled Lamb & Peach Kebabs

The sweet, floral, juicy peach is lovely on it’s own, but combine it with savory flavors and the peach really shines. Grilled peaches are a popular summer treat. I thought it would be fun to skewer the peaches and grill them alongside lamb kebabs. The flavor of lamb from the U.S. is sweet and rich, much milder than New Zealand lamb. The garlic and rosemary marinade brings a pungent, herbal note to the dish. I love the texture of chewy wheat berries, and thought it would be fantastic to dress them in a balsamic vinaigrette. Here you have a simple, satisfying and healthy supper or weekend lunch. It’s perfect for having friends over- especially if you cook the wheat berries the day before.

I took inspiration from Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Meat Book for cooking the lamb. Hugh is the ultimate guide for the intuitive cook, because he doesn’t really give you recipes- he shares techniques. After consulting the chapter on barbecuing I went with his lamb marinade of olive oil, garlic, and rosemary. No acid. No lemon or vinegar or wine. No worries. The meat grilled up moist and tender.

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10 Ways Tuesday: Peaches

Peach (c)2011 LaDomestique.com

I’ve got 10 fresh ideas for cooking with summer:

1.  BBQ Sauce

I found a recipe for Smoked Prime Rib with Peach-Chipotle Sauce in the June/July 2011 issue of Saveur: BBQ Nation. Pitmaster Charles Grund of NYC restaurant Country Barbecue uses chunky peach preserves, chipotle, cayenne, Worcestershire, and brown sugar in a tomato based BBQ sauce. You could use peaches to develop your own house barbecue sauce.

2.  Peaches Love Herbs

In Canal House Cooking Volume No. 1, the Peaches “Poached” in White Wine with Fresh Herbs seems like the perfect summer treat. The use of tarragon and lemon verbena makes the recipe fresh and new. Peaches also get along great with the herb basil. Eric Ripert shares a recipe for Grappa-Marinated Peach & Basil Salad in his book, A Return to Cooking.

3.  Peach Leaves

Chez Panisse Fruit contains instructions for making Vin de Pêche, a fortified wine made from the peach leaves. The recipe calls for steeping the leaves in red wine, Cognac, and sugar. After 1 month the liquid is strained and leaves removed. Vin de Pêche is served as an apéritif over ice. Another Vin de Pêche recipe can be found in Aperitif by Georgeanne Brennan.

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