The Remains Of The Season
At about this time each year, the panic sets in when I realize that it will be nine months before I again get to taste peaches, plums, tomatoes, corn and all of the other delights that the summer months bring. In response, I typically spend these last few weeks buying summer produce in excess and I am never at a loss for ways to use it.
This week, the peaches have been screaming the loudest (perhaps because it was just this week that they seem to have reached the pinnacle of perfection) and as a result I cooked with them a lot. It all started with a batch of thick peach preserves that was ubiquitously served — spooned onto pillowy, buttermilk biscuits, stirred into warm breakfast oatmeal, dolloped on top of thick Greek yogurt and pooled alongside roasted pork tenderloin, a combination so perfect, that it deserves designation as the new 'pork chops and applesauce'.
I also made sure to freeze a bunch of the fragrant golden, goodness so that I may sneak in a quick remembrance of this summer's bounty at anytime during the dreary, gray days of winter.
My peach preoccupation did not end there, however. There was a peach and tomato salad composed of pale orange and crimson red crescent wedges, accentuated by aged balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, a smattering of tangy goat cheese and fresh, fragrant basil. There were also white peach and raspberry pancakes, so ethereal and delicate, that I could almost hear the sigh of escaping air as I cut into them.
And then there was the pie — quite possibly the best I've ever made. The crust was so flaky that upon the gentlest of bites, it shattered into a million tiny pieces. The peaches, boasting the hues of a Hawaiian sunset, were as flavorful as they were colorful. The intensity of the oven was no threat and nestled beneath the swelling crust, the thickly sliced peaches retained their shape, releasing just enough juice to create a luscious, thick nectar. Fresh vanilla bean scrapings, a squeeze of lemon and a touch of brown sugar were the only additions to the filling, each contributing a different layer of flavor to the pie. Certainly the home made vanilla ice cream didn't hurt things either.
If I'm lucky, peaches will remain in their glory for a few days more, but perhaps instead, I should turn my focus to corn custards, plum compote and fresh tomato sandwiches.