Peaches sweeten the summer |

Peaches sweeten the summer

Chef Mick Rosacci
Chef Mick RossaciThere is nothing like fresh Colorado peaches - Mother Nature's special gift. Great in both savory and sweet dishes, the best peaches of the year are here now!

Hot days, cool nights and fresh water from the Colorado River make our local Palisade peaches some of the world’s finest. Fresh Colorado peaches are finally here, but sadly they’ll only last a few short weeks, so get your taste buds ready!

Now is the time to pig out on peaches, and don’t feel guilty. Not only delicious, the peach is a nutritional powerhouse – packing vitamins A, B and C, folic acid, calcium, fiber, potassium, zinc and beta carotene. Sweet treats were never so good for you.

The savvy shopper selects peaches that are slightly green, ripening them in a closed paper bag on the countertop. This mimics natural tree ripening conditions by concentrating the peaches’ ethylene gas and rewards the patient peach lover with sweet, ripe and beautiful peaches in a few short days.

Wonderfully flexible, peaches can be used in both savory and sweet dishes. They make a great sauce for pork or chicken and an exceptional salsa for appetizers, grilled meats and seafood. But it’s peach desserts that really steal the show.

When peaches reach their peak (usually about the time their price bottoms out), consider buying a whole case for the freezer. Peel, pit and freeze in Ziploc bags with just enough juice or simple syrup to protect from freezer burn and you’ll have magical sauces, desserts, and drinks all winter long!

Pig out on Colorado peaches while you can – soon they’ll be but a sweet memory!

2 cups ripe peaches, peeled and diced

1/2 cup sweet onion, diced

1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced

1/2 teaspoon jalapeno, minced

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lime juice or balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup fresh mint, minced

2-3 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated

brown sugar, to taste

salt and pepper, to taste

Combine peaches, onion, peppers, oil, lime juice, mint and ginger. Let flavors mellow for 30 minutes, tasting and adjusting with salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Serve with grilled meats and seafood.

1 cup peaches, sliced thin or chopped

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch ground cloves

pinch thyme

squeeze of lemon

1 tablespoons peach brandy, Calvados or brandy

3 tablespoons butter

24 Ritz crackers (1 cup crushed)

3-4 thick pork loin chops

peach preserves (optional)

Have your butcher cut pockets into pork chops.

Peel and slice or chop peaches and place in a bowl. Add sugar, spice, thyme, lemon and brandy and stir to mix, resting one hour if possible. In another bowl, melt butter and stir in crushed Ritz crackers, then add to peach mixture. Stuff into pork chops.

Roast or grill pork chops until they reach an internal temperature of 150 degrees, glazing the last few minutes with peach preserves if desired. Rest 5 minutes and serve.

4 large eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup milk

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 medium peaches – peeled, pitted and quartered

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a blender, combine the eggs with the cream, milk and flour. Add 1/2 cup of the sugar; blend until smooth.

In a large, heavy skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the peaches, sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender – about 4 minutes.

Butter a 10-inch round glass pie plate and pour one quarter of the batter. Spoon the peaches with their remaining liquid into the dish and pour the remaining batter on top. Set the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour, or until golden and just set. Transfer to a rack and cool to room temperature before serving.

For the filling:

3 cups fresh sliced peaches

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons corn starch

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated

1 cup water

Combine corn starch and sugar in saucepan. Add almond extract and lemon juice, zest and water. Bring to a boil, and when mixture begins to thicken, add peaches, remove from heat and stir gently. (Optional: add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.) Pour into 8-by-8-by-2 pan.

For the crust:

1 1/2 cups sifted enriched flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup shortening

1/2 cup milk

1 well-beaten egg

2 tablespoons sugar

Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Add milk and egg at once; stir until flour is just moistened – do not overmix. Spread dough over hot peaches. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake in hot oven, 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Serves eight.

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