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Grazing with Gary

Perfectly peachy summer

By: Gary Gilligan
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Well summer is in full bloom and that means the local farmers’ markets are bursting will summer treats.

Peaches are my favorite fruit and they are ready to eat. I have already begun to freeze peach slices, peach puree and diced peaches for making jams and jellies later.

Today our recipes come from PlacerGrown and if you visit their website, they have a ton of recipes for summer produce.

All the farmers’ markets are now open and almost every day of the week there is one in Placer County. Follow me on Facebook at Grazing with Gary.

 

Roasted Peaches with Bacon, Balsamic and Blue Cheese

Serves 6; Recipe by Courtney McDonald for PlacerGrown

Ingredients:

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

3 firm-ripe freestone peaches, pitted and cut into quarters

6 sprigs fresh thyme

1 teaspoon olive oil

6 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch strips

1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

2 cups baby spinach, washed and dried (optional)

salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange the peach quarters in a glass baking dish. Place half sprig of thyme onto each peach quarter and set aside.

In a small skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil with the bacon strips. Cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is cooked to your liking. Drain the fat from the bacon and set bacon pieces aside — keep the bacon fat!

Pour bacon fat over the peaches in the baking dish. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar over the peaches, season to taste with salt and pepper and roast in the oven until peaches are just softened — about 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.

While peaches are cooling: reduce the remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar with the balsamic vinegar over medium heat in a small pot until the vinegar is syrupy. Be careful not to over reduce or the vinegar will taste burnt. Set aside.

If using the baby spinach, arrange it on a medium-sized platter. Place the warm peaches on top of the spinach topped with the bacon pieces. Crumble the blue cheese over the top and drizzle with the reduced balsamic vinegar.

Serve as a side dish for grilled pork or chicken. Enjoy!

 

BBQ Peaches

From PlacerGrown

Ingredients:

8 fresh yet firm tree ripened freestone peaches

Juice of 1 lemon

1/3 cup walnut pieces

½ pound Gorgonzola cheese

Optional: 1 ½ ounces thinly sliced prosciutto or good bacon

 

Preheat grill to medium heat. Cup the peaches in half and pit. Drizzle the cut peach section with the lemon juice. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden, about 15 minutes. Coarsely chop the walnuts and mix with the Gorgonzola cheese until combined. Place peaches, cut sides down, on grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill for about 3 minutes or until soft and slightly browned. Turn and put a teaspoon of the Gorgonzola-walnut mixture into the middle of each peach and cook 2 minutes or until heated through. Alternatively, fill the hollow of each peach with a teaspoon of the Gorgonzola-walnut mixture, wrap each half with a single layer of prosciutto or bacon, and secure with a toothpick, if needed. Place on barbecue and grill for about 4–5 minutes, until cheese is melted and bacon in crisp. Place on a bed of arugula and serve at once.

 

Cold Peach Soup

Ingredients

4 medium to large fresh peaches

1/4 cup frozen orange-peach-mango juice concentrate

1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk (unsweetened)

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons lime juice, scant

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup sliced strawberries, approximately

 

Bring a medium pan of water to boil. Place peaches in boiling water for 40 seconds.

Using a slotted spoon, remove peaches from water and place in a colander. Rinse briefly with cold water. (Or you can plunge them in ice water for a few seconds.)

When peaches are cool enough to handle, remove the skins. The skins should peel off easily. (You may want to make a small incision in the skin with a knife to get it started.)

Cut peaches into large slices, discarding the pit. Place peaches into a blender jar.

Add all remaining ingredients, except strawberries, and blend until very smooth.

Place in refrigerator for 20 minutes to 2 hours to chill.

Garnish with sliced strawberries before serving.

Notes: Don't substitute orange juice for the orange peach mango juice; orange juice adds too much tangy tartness to the soup. If you absolutely can't find orange peach mango juice concentrate, you can use pineapple juice concentrate, but the results are so much better with mango!