The Peach Tree On The Southern Wall
The peach tree on the southern wall
Has basked so long beneath the sun,
Her score of peaches great and small
Bloom rosy, every one.
A peach for brothers, one for each,
A peach for you and a peach for me;
But the biggest, rosiest, downiest peach
For Grandmamma with her tea.
Christina Georgina Rossetti
I bought a bunch of peaches from Chilton County, Alabama (home of the best peaches on the planet) and decided that I wouldn’t save the best for Grandma’s tea but rather to make a cocktail.
Sweet and juicy, like the fruit itself. Be careful of the sneaky kick from the alcohol!
Fresh Peachy Tequila Cocktail
1 ripe peach, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 ounces tequila
1 ounce peach schnapps
1 tablespoon agave nectar
Toss the peach slices in the lime juice both for flavor and for them to keep their color. Place the peaches and the liquid and all other ingredients with about a cup of ice in a blender and blend until smooth.
Serve over ice.
I fired up the grill to do steaks for my Dad for Father’s Day and decided that we’d go pear shaped for dessert. I like baked pears (and apples) and figured wood smoke would be a delicious addition.
Not really knowing too much about pears, I just picked up some firm ones from the grocery. You need them to keep their shape, so don’t choose soft ones.
I filled the pears with a sweetened and flavored cream cheese, that I rolled into balls and then rolled the balls in chopped pecans.
Once the steaks were grilled and were resting, I put the pears on to get grill marks. I then closed off the vents and let the pears roast in a pan above the dying fire while we ate. Once we finished and the plates cleared, I pressed in the nut ball and served the grilled and filled pears.
Very simple and quite tasty!
Grilled and Filled Pears
2 tablespoons lemon juice mixed with 2 tablespoons water
4 ounces of cream cheese, softened
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup pecans, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
Cut pears in half and core. Rub the exposed surface with diluted lemon juice to keep from browning.
Combine cream cheese, brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll into balls the size of the cored cavities and then roll the ball in chopped pecans. Place into the fridge.
Place pear halves cut side down on the grill grates and roast for 5 minutes. Drop the butter into the aluminum pan and let melt. Use tongs to remove the halves to the pan and rub the cut sides in the butter. Leave the pears butter side down and place the pan on the grill away from the coals and continue to roast until tender, about 15 minutes more or until pears have softened and yield gently when squeezed.
When the pears are done, remove the nut balls from the fridge. Flip over the pears and press a nut ball into the cored cavity of each pear half. You can leave the pears on the fire to stay warm or remove pan from the grill and serve.
We opened a rather large bottle of Riunite Lambrusco to have with grilled steaks and didn’t manage to finish it that night.
So I decided to turn it into sangria. It makes a lightly effervescent and very refreshing drink. I basically used the fruit in the fridge – I would have added about a cup of grapes (peeled) had I had any or a banana. You want a mix of citrus and other mild fruit flavors that will commingle with liquids but still retain their shapes.
The basic rule of thumb is for every 2 cups of Lambrusco, add about 1 cup of other flavoring liquid – I like a mix of orange juice and triple sec. A full bottle of wine is about 3 cups.
The perfect accompaniment to the cicadas, katydids and laughter that were the music to our socially distant cocktail hour on a lovely June evening.
1 orange or 3 tangerines/clementines/satsumas, peeled and cut into rounds
1 apple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1 peach, peeled and cut into slices
½ cup cantaloupe chunks
3/4 cup orange juice
¼ cup triple sec
2 tablespoons agave nectar (more as necessary)
2 cups Lambrusco
In a pitcher, stir together the fruit pieces. Add in orange juice and orange liqueur and agave nectar. Let sit for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to marry.
Stir in Lambrusco and ice cubes. Stir vigorously and taste for sweetness. Add more agave nectar, if needed. If it isn’t effervescent enough, add a splash of club soda or sparkling water. Serve over ice, placing some of the fruit in each glass.
Only have a couple of over ripe bananas but really want banana pudding? Here is a recipe that works with only a couple of bananas and serves 4.
I like to wait until the bananas are getting rather brown and then mash them with a fork to mix in with the pudding. It makes for better banana taste throughout the dish, too.
Small Batch Banana Pudding
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
dash of salt
2 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 overripe bananas, mashed with a fork
about 20 Nilla Wafers
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine ¼ cup sugar, flour and salt in top of double boiler. Stir in 2 egg yolks and milk. Whisk to combine. Cook, uncovered, over boiling water, stirring constantly until thickened, about 10 minutes.
Beat egg whites on high speed until they begin to thicken. Add the 2 tablespoons sugar and continue to beat until soft peaks form.
Remove pudding from heat; add vanilla and mashed banana. Stir well.
Crumble up 10 Nilla Wafers and scatter in the bottom of 4 medium ramekins. Place 4 whole Nilla Wafers along the outside.
Spoon banana pudding evenly between the four ramekins. Place meringue on top, spreading to the edge to cover the pudding. Crumble four more wafers and sprinkle over the top of the meringue.
Place ramekins on a baking tray and bake in an oven for 10 minutes. Let cool before putting in the refrigerator to chill completely before serving.
I found some Louisiana strawberries on sale on my last grocery run so I bought several packages for us and the neighbors. Now, I have a craving for strawberry shortcake.
I confess I’m going to cheat and use frozen biscuits. You could, of course, make your own. I’ve got a few recipes that you can use – Recipe or this Recipe . Or use your favorite recipe.
I did the slicing and sugaring the strawberries as soon as I got home. If you do it the night before, they will get super juicy. Doing the prep early also helps the dessert come together quickly before serving. But even in the 20 minutes it took my biscuits to go from frozen to baked, the strawberries released plenty of liquid.
If you don’t want to adultify your whipped cream, add a teaspoon of vanilla instead.
Super strawberry flavor and the light orange flavor to the whipped cream is great.
1 lb (about 2 cups when sliced) fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons Grand Mariner
In large bowl, mix strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar; set aside to macerate. The sugar will draw the moisture out of the fruit, creating a sweetly fruity syrup.
Make biscuits if you’re doing so. Warm them if already made. Cut in half.
Using a mixer, beat the heavy cream and sugar until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Add in liquor and beat for a minute more.
Spoon some of the strawberries with their juice onto each shortcake bottom. Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream and a few more strawberry and then the shortcake top. Spoon more strawberries and their juices over the top and then a final layer of whipped cream.
I love baked apples and when we came across a bunch of pears on sale, I just knew that baking them would be just as tasty. Very yummy and can be eaten along with the meal as a side dish or saved for dessert by whipping up some cream to dollop on them (you can also use dollops of yogurt).
I bet you can guess how I served them!
4 pears, peeled, halved and cored
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon light rum (or brandy or bourbon)
Place the pear halves in a greased pie plate or casserole dish, arranged like spokes with narrow ends pointed towards the center.
In a small bowl combine the butter and brown sugar and spices. Mix thoroughly to break up any lumps in the brown sugar. Spread the mixture evenly over the pears.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Test with a skewer, it should pierce easily. Flip the pears to be evenly colored. Serve warm, with drizzles of the cooking liquid.
To top with whipped cream – beat the cream until it begins to stiffen. Slowly add the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Whip in the rum and place a dollop or two on top of the warm pears.
We came back from our weekend away to a very brown and spotted banana that had been left on the counter when we headed out of town. It looked especially forlorn next to the new bananas we had picked up on the way home.
One banana isn’t enough for making bread or pudding but it is a perfect amount for making a small batch of pancakes. The recipe below is perfect for 2 or three people as it makes 8 pancakes. You can easily double the recipe if you have more diners (and more over ripe bananas). Freeze any leftovers and rewarm in a toaster oven.
The riper the banana, the sweeter the pancakes will be. We hardly needed any maple syrup as our banana was so ripe!
Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
3/4 cups milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large ripe banana, mashed
½ cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate morsels
In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and whisk together.
Place the milk in another bowl and add the egg, oil, vanilla extract and mashed banana. Whisk until well combined.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Whisk until just combined, then scrape down the sides to make sure all the flour is incorporated and whisk again. There will be some lumps, just no really large ones. Try to avoid overworking the batter.
Heat a griddle or skillet to medium hot and spread some butter on it. Using a 1/3 cup measure, pour a serving of batter over the buttered area of the griddle. Sprinkle a few chocolate chips over the pancake. Flip once the top bubbles start to pop and the edges look dry. Cook until the other side is golden brown. Repeat until all pancakes are made. Keep cooked pancakes warm in a 200 degree F oven while fixing the rest.
Serve with maple syrup.
I’m cooking out of the freezer and fridge as my house is about to be fumigated for termites, so in searching around the crisper drawers, I found several slightly bruised Granny Smith apples and medium onion. Instead of sweet applesauce to go with a pork loin I found, I decided to do an apple and onion accompaniment.
Slicing the onions thin allows them to become sweetly caramelized in a fairly short cooking time. They are a perfect way to tone down the sour apples without adding sugar. Michelle thought a sprinkle of pepper would be a good taste and I think she’s right, so I added pepper to the to taste seasonings.
Pork Loin with Apple and Onions
1 – 3 lb pork loin
⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2-3 Granny Smith apples, diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste
Make a marinade by mixing together apple cider vinegar, olive oil, garlic, honey, lime juice, Creole seasoning and rosemary. Put loin in zip top bag and pour marinade over pork. Seal and marinate for at least an hour and as long as 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Discard marinade. Brown all side of pork in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat in a skillet. Place pork in roasting pan and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until meat thermometer registers 140 degrees F.
Deglaze the skillet with with 1 cup of water. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes. Add the apples to the pan and cook over medium heat until apples soften and onions are golden and all the water has steamed away. Add 2 tablespoons butter and stir until melted. Continue to cook until apples are fork tender. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary.
Remove loin from oven when done and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Spoon apple and onion mixture over top.
We had some cherries that we needed to do something with, so Michelle made a pie filling base with them by pitting and boiling them with some water, lemon juice, and sugar. She did this the night before so it would be chilled before adding to the top of the warm cheesecake.
We then used as a stepping off point the basic no-bake recipe from the Punta Clara Kitchen Cookbook on Cherry Cream Cheese Delights. If you’re ever in Point Clear, Alabama stop by for some of their delicious candy.
As Michelle doesn’t really care for sweetened condensed milk (I think she’s actually from another planet), we went with a more traditional baked cheesecake with Greek yogurt. We added two hits of chocolate with some semi-sweet morsels and some sweet ground chocolate.
While I’m not usually a fan of combining (adulterating) chocolate and fruit, these are a perfect match of deep chocolate flavor with creamy cheesecake and sweet-tart cherries!
Cherry Pie Filling
4 cups fresh pitted cherries, about 2 1/2 pounds
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cherries, water, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.
Cool slightly before using as a topping.
We used a little more than half the recipe of cherry filling in the bars. The rest we are putting in the Chocolate Pound Cake!
Chocolate Cherry Cream Cheese Bars
1 cups graham crackers
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 – 8 ounce package cream cheese
1/2 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa
1/4 cup Greek yogurt, plain
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 recipe (or can) of cherry pie filling
Melt the butter in an 8×8 dish as the oven warms to 350 degrees F. Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs evenly over the melted butter and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and scatter the chocolate morsels over the warm crust to begin melting.
Beat together the cream cheese and ground chocolate. Mix in the Greek yogurt, egg, vanilla and salt. Beat in flour. Pour over graham cracker crust and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before covering the top with the cherry pie filling. Cool in the fridge before cutting and serving.
Michelle’s parents have some very fruitful peach trees and after she had sliced and frozen 20 quart bags and 24 pint bags and dehydrated another 6 pint bags of peaches, there were still plenty left. She gave two 5 gallon buckets worth to a cousin and I decided to use some of the very ripe ones to make a frozen treat.
These pops taste like peaches and cream but are made with milk and Greek yogurt. This recipe can be made with 2 cups frozen peaches, just thaw them out to chop some and dice the others.
Adjust the agave nectar up or down depending on the tartness of the peaches and how sweet you like your pops.
1 cup of peaches, roughly chopped
½ cup peaches, diced
6 tablespoons milk
2/3 cups Greek yogurt
– I used plain but vanilla is good, too
2 tablespoons agave nectar
In a blender, puree the 1 cup of chopped peaches. Add milk, yogurt and agave nectar and blend until smooth.
Stir in diced peaches. Fill your pops molds.
Freeze at least 4 hours.