peach

Peachy Chef Salad

Peachy Chef Salad

When you think about cooking with peaches, don’t limit yourself to desserts and jam. Peaches can pair well with savory dishes, too. I often use peaches for glazes and sauces for meats.

In this dish, I paired peaches with traditional chef salad ingredients. I tossed the peaches in a homemade honey French dressing, then spooned them over the salad. The result was wonderful- and a great lunch or dinner option for hot weather.

You can top the salad with cheese, meats or both. I like to add some nuts, too. I made it for lunch today and topped the salad with sharp cheddar cheese and bacon. I really liked the combination of the sweet fruit with the smoky bacon. Use what you like- and what you have on hand. A chef salad is a great way to use up that leftover grilled chicken or that open package of cheese. Add extra veggies, too, if you like.

 

 

Peachy Chef Salad

Honey French Dressing:
1/3 c. honey
1/4 c. white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 t. paprika
1 t. dry mustard
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. olive oil

3 cups chopped peaches

Salad:

6 c. torn salad greens
12 oz. cooked chicken, turkey, ham etc, cut into strips
1 c. cubed cheese

1/2 c. cashews, optional

To make the dressing, in blender, combine first five ingredients and start running machine on high. Add oil in a slow stream until mixture becomes thickened. Pour into bowl and stir in peaches and chill, several hours if you can. When ready to serve arrange greens on one large platter or on smaller salad plates. Arrange meat and cheese on platter or plates. Spoon over the peach/dressing mixture, add cashews, then serve. Serves 4-6.

 

Peachy Chef Salad with Cheese and Bacon

Peachy Chef Salad with Cheese and Bacon

Homemade Peach Ice Cream

Homemade Peach Ice Cream

I love peaches. For me, peaches always mean summer. My peaches aren’t ripe yet, but I found some at a produce market recently. They were nearly ripe, so I put them in a brown paper bag to help them finish ripening. A few days later, I have a bunch of super tasty, juicy peaches.

Since it is going to be unseasonably warm for the next week, I decided to use some to make ice cream.  I added some vanilla and orange zest for some extra flavor- but mostly just plenty of peaches.

 

Homemade Peach Ice Cream

3-4 ripe peaches

2 c. half and half

1 c. sugar, or to taste

1 T. vanilla

1 T.  orange zest

Peel and dice peaches. Cook in a small amount of water and a little sugar until tender. If you don’t precook the peaches they will be icy and hard in the ice cream. Cool and drain. In bowl combine half and half and sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Place in ice cream machine and process according to manufacturer’s directions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker place mixture in a shallow pan and freeze solid. Remove from freezer and allow to soften a little at room temperature then break up into chunks and place in a mixing bowl. Beat with a mixer until smooth and return to freezer. Makes 1 quart.

Peaches and Herb Sorbet

Peaches and Herb Sorbet

Sorbet is such a nice dessert for summer. Light, fruity and fresh. I try to keep a few different kinds on hand. So many fruits are abundant this time of year. They are the perfect start for a great sorbet.

This peach sorbet combines ripe peaches with both basil and mint from my garden. The combination worked well together. Adding herbs and other flavorings can make sorbet even more fun to eat.

You don’t need an ice cream machine to make it, either. You just puree the fruit with the other ingredients and freeze. The secret to a smooth sorbet is to puree the frozen mixture a time or two. I place the frozen sorbet in my food processor and run it until the sorbet looks creamy. Then I put it in the freezer again. For extra creamy sorbet , repeat this process a third time.  Easy to make, but there is wait time for the sorbet to freeze.

Here is the recipe for the peach sorbet. I thought the herbs added a really nice touch to the final product. Feel free to experiment with the flavors you like.

Peaches and Herb Sorbet

5-6 medium peaches, pitted. You can peel, if you like

honey to taste – I used 1/4 cup, but depends on how sweet the fruit it

3-4 basil leaves

2 sprigs of fresh mint

Puree all ingredients together until smooth. Adjust sweetener and seasonings. Mixture will taste less sweet after it freezes. Freeze until solid.  Remove from freezer and break into chunks. Process in a food processor until mixture looks creamy. Depending on how cold your freezer is, you might have to let the sorbet soften a few minutes before processing it. Place back in freezer until ready to serve. Makes about 1 quart.

Note: For even creamier sorbet- process a another time or two- refreezing after each time.

 

 

Homemade Peach Vanilla Ice Cream

Homemade Peach Vanilla Ice Cream

I love peaches. For me, peaches always mean summer. We had a couple of peach trees at my parent’s house. I remember a few summers when my Father had to prop up the branches because there were so many peaches. He knew the ripe fruit could break branches under their weight.

It is too early for local peaches around here, but I found some southern peaches at a produce market recently. They were nearly ripe already, so I put the peaches in a brown paper bag to help them finish ripening.

A few days later, I had a bunch of super tasty, juicy peaches.

Since it was unseasonably warm last week, I decided to use some of the peaches to make ice cream. It doesn’t have to be hot for me to want ice cream- I just want it even more when the thermometer is hitting 90!!

 

I added some vanilla and orange zest for some extra flavor- plus plenty of peaches.

 

Homemade Peach Vanilla Ice Cream

3-4 ripe peaches

2 c. half and half

1 c. sugar, or to taste

1 T. vanilla

1 T.  orange zest

Peel and dice peaches. Cook in a small amount of water and a little sugar until tender. If you don’t precook the peaches they will be icy and hard in the ice cream. Cool and drain. In bowl combine half and half and sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Place in ice cream machine and process according to manufacturer’s directions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker place mixture in a shallow pan and freeze solid. Remove from freezer and allow to soften a little at room temperature then break up into chunks and place in a mixing bowl. Beat with a mixer until smooth and return to freezer. Makes 1 quart.

Homemade Peach Ice Cream

Homemade Peach Ice Cream

Homemade Peach Ice Cream

I love peaches. For me, peaches always mean summer. It is too early for local peaches around here, but I found some at a produce market recently. They were nearly ripe already, so I put them in a brown paper bag to help them finish ripening. A few days later, I have a bunch of super tasty, juicy peaches. Since it is going to be unseasonably warm for the next week, I decided to use some to make ice cream.  I added some vanilla and orange zest for some extra flavor- but mostly just plenty of peaches.

 

Homemade Peach Ice Cream

3-4 ripe peaches

2 c. half and half

1 c. sugar, or to taste

1 T. vanilla

1 T.  orange zest

Peel and dice peaches. Cook in a small amount of water and a little sugar until tender. If you don’t precook the peaches they will be icy and hard in the ice cream. Cool and drain. In bowl combine half and half and sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Place in ice cream machine and process according to manufacturer’s directions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker place mixture in a shallow pan and freeze solid. Remove from freezer and allow to soften a little at room temperature then break up into chunks and place in a mixing bowl. Beat with a mixer until smooth and return to freezer. Makes 1 quart.

Homemade Peach Brandy

Homemade Peach Brandy

Homemade Peach Brandy

I like to think of making flavored brandy and other liqueurs as just one more type of food preservation. I make jams and jelly with seasonal fruit, so why not preserve some of Summer’s bounty in alcohol?  Peach brandy is one of my favorites. Pretty simple, really. Just combine peaches with brandy and allow the mixture to steep. Once enough time had passed, drain out the fruit. After straining out the fruit I also filter the brandy through either coffee filters or cheesecloth to get it nice and clear. Sweetening is optional. Poured into pretty bottles, they can make fun gifts, too.

 

 

Peach Brandy

10 medium sized ripe peaches
3 c. brandy
1 c. sugar syrup – optional – recipe follows*

Peel and pit peaches reserving only the fruit. Place in jar with brandy and steep at least a week, shaking several times. You can leave the fruit in for up to two weeks. Strain, squeezing out as much juice from the fruit as possible. Filter through cheesecloth, fine mesh strainer or coffee filters for a clearer product. Add sugar syrup, if desired,  and mature 4-6 weeks. Makes 4 cups.

*Sweetening– Simple syrup is made from 1 cup of sugar and ½ cup of water. Bring to a boil, then cool. You will have 1 cup of syrup. Some recipes call for plain sugar and others for honey. Watch when you substitute honey for sugar, as it is sweeter and stronger flavored. Better to use orange or clover honey.

 

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