Tag Archives: peach


I’ve mentioned before that Samhain (or Halloween) is very important to me.  It is the night when the veil between us and the spirit world is thinnest, allowing us to better communicate with our departed loved ones.  While looking forward to new beginnings, we enter the dark half of the year and mark the end of the harvest.  Samhain dinner last year was cancelled when a foot of snow fell in Connecticut just days before the holiday, causing power outages and making travel difficult.  It was considered unsafe for children in most towns to trick-or-treat because of downed trees and power lines.  This year while Hurricane Sandy was threatening to cause the same scene, I was thinking that Samhain dinner might be Chinese food by candle light again.

I’m happy to report that wasn’t the case, and that Lane and I enjoyed a nice dinner at home before watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and enjoying this barmbrack for dessert.  Barmbrack is a traditional Irish bread studded with raisins that would usually have charms like a ring and a coin baked into it.  Guests who received a charm were said to be receiving a fortune.  For example, receiving a slice with a coin in it meant the recipient would have wealth in the coming year.  I didn’t bake charms into mine, but it was delicious all the same.  I’ve seen versions of this that call for yeast and the end result is sweeter than sandwich bread but not as rich as a cake.  For the version here, self-rising flour is used and the end result is like a loaf cake.  This is delicious sliced and slathered with butter.  It also toasts well, and keeps well in an air tight container.  I like Earl Grey tea for this because it gives the barmbrack a citrusy flavor, but any tea will work.  If you don’t want to use whiskey, you can substitute tea for the whiskey.  I used a mixture of dried apples, dried apricots, cranberries, raisins, and dried peaches, but you can feel free to use whatever mixture of fruit you like, as long as it adds up to two and a half cups total.



  • 1 C. raisins
  • 1 1/2 C. dried fruit (such as apples, apricots, peaches, plums, cranberries, cherries), coarsely chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 C. hot, strong brewed Earl Grey or black tea
  • 1/4 C. whiskey or Cointreau
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 3/4 C. self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 C. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice


Put the raisins, dried fruit and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl (one that’s big enough to mix all of the ingredients later on).

Pour the tea and whiskey over the dried fruit mixture and allow the fruit to soak for at least one hour, or as long as overnight.

When you’re ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.

Add the beaten egg, flour, sugar, cinnamon and allspice to the fruit and tea mixture.

Stir well until everything is just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Serve warm (or lightly toasted) with butter.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Source: Modified from Edible Ireland, originally from Forgotten Skills of Cooking, by Darina Allen

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Yesterday’s Olympic events saw Russian gymnast Aliya Mustafina win a gold medal in the women’s uneven bars. US all-around gold medal winner Gabby Douglas missed an element of her routine, bringing her score too low to make the podium for this event. Great Britain took another equestrian gold, in the team jumping event. Ukrainian weight lifter Oleksiy Torokhtiy won the first weightlifting gold medal of the 2012 London Games, and Grenada won its first medal ever when Kirani James won gold in the men’s 400m track event.

The 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, were the first games where all 179 National Olympic Committees were represented. Softball, lightweight rowing, mountain biking, and beach volleyball were introduced. Many people remember the Opening Ceremonies, where Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic Flame and received a gold medal to replace the one he threw away upon his return to the United States following the 1960 Summer Olympics as a reaction to the way African-Americans were being treated in the US at the time. Another memorable moment was when gymnast Kerri Strugg landed her second vault on one foot after breaking her ankle on her first vault in an effort to help the United States win a team all-around gold in women’s gymnastics. The team did win the first United States team gold medal for the event, but it was later discovered that Strugg’s second vault wasn’t needed in order to do so.

I checked with my youngest sister to ask what food I should make to represent Atlanta in this series. I knew there were a lot of possibilities for this but I wasn’t shocked when peach hand pies from The Varsity were mentioned. The Varsity is something of an Atlanta institution, boasting up to 30,000 customers at times and the world’s largest drive-in. I’ve never been there, so I can’t comment on how close these fried peach hand pies are to the original, but my sister noted that the glaze is what makes the ones at The Varsity so addictive. I found a recipe that claimed to be an original, but it called for using canned biscuit dough as the crust. I found that hard to believe when The Varsity’s website indicates that the original owner insisted on three to six deliveries a day in order to offer customers the freshest ingredients and that 5000 fried pies are made from scratch daily. I decided to use The Pastry Queen’s recipe and I wasn’t disappointed.


Fried Peach Hand Pies


for pies:

  • 1/3 C. very cold butter
  • 2 peaches
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 2 C. flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 C. ice water
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

for glaze:

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract


Heat 2 inches of oil in a large pan to 375 degrees.

Cut peaches into 1/2 inch cubes.

Toss peaches and 1 Tbsp. of the sugar in a bowl and set aside.

Using the grater blade of a food processor, grate the butter.

Switch to the dough blade and add the flour, baking soda, salt, and remaining 2 Tbsp. of sugar.

Pulse a few times to combine, then turn the food processor on and stream the ice water into the mixture.

Process just until the dough forms a ball and turn out onto a floured surface.

Roll the dough out to 1/16 of an inch thick, then cut into approximately 5 inch rounds. Re-roll the scraps and continue until all dough has been used (I made 6 hand pies).

Place a heaping tablespoon of peach mixture into the center of each round, then, using a finger, wet the edge of one half of the dough round.

Fold the dough over to make a half circle, pressing the edges to seal. Use a fork dipped in flour to crimp the edges.

Carefully put the pies in the hot oil and fry them for 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown. You may have to do this in batches depending on the size of the pan. If this is the case, fry a batch, then wait for the oil to return to 375 degrees in between each batch.

Remove the pies from the oil using a slotted spoon or spatula and place them on a paper towel lined plate.

To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla then brush over the warm pies.

Makes 6 hand pies.

Source: adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride, originally from The Pastry Queen

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Peach Fuzz

With a little help from The Oatmeal, this is how I feel about Sriracha:


Any questions?  Okay, good, then I won’t have to explain again why I love Sriracha so much.  Whenever Lane wears his Sriracha t-shirt to the local amusement park, he gets compliment after compliment, so I know we are not alone in this.

When I came across a recipe for a pork chop marinade involving Sriracha and peaches, I only wondered how I hadn’t thought of it on my own.  The pork chops sit in a marinade of pureed peaches, Sriracha, soy sauce and garlic and then you can cook them any way you like.  I’m sure these would be amazing grilled, but that wasn’t an option so I cooked them for 3-4 minutes per side in a skillet and they were pretty tasty that way as well.  I’m going to try this marinade on some chicken and report back soon.  Oh, and my favorite part?  You don’t bother with peeling the peaches- they went right into the food processor, fuzz and all.

Sriracha Peach Marinated Pork Chops


  • 2 medium peaches, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium lime, juiced (2 Tbsp. lime juice)
  • 1/4 C. reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Sriracha
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 lb. boneless pork chops


Place all ingredients except for the pork chops into a blender or food processor.

Process until smooth and transfer to a resealable plastic bag.

Add the pork chops, seal the bag, and move the bag around so the marinade coats the pork chops.

Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes (or up to 12 hours in the refrigerator).

Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Cook the pork chops 3-4 minutes per side, until cooked through.

Serves 4.

Source: adapted from  Sheknows

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Biscuit Power

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Memorial Day.  I spent the day with Lane and his kids at a local amusement park and it was a great day.  Today, we have another holiday to celebrate.  It might not be on your calendars, but it deserves some attention just the same.  Today is National Biscuit Day.

Now, because I was busy this past weekend, National Biscuit Day snuck up on me, and I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare.  Sadly, this isn’t going to be a post where I tell you how to make fantastic buttermilk biscuits.  What I can tell you is how to make a biscuit that comes from a can (thank you to the fine folks at Pillsbury) and make it into a fantastic summer dessert.  This dessert goes against my campaign to make things at home, from scratch, whenever possible.  What this recipe does support is the idea that sometimes a shortcut is okay, and that if you have leftover biscuits from dinner and the kitchen is already one hundred degrees, you can still have dessert.  I did use reduced-fat canned biscuits, if that makes it any better.

Oh, I should mention that I used whipped cream out of a can.  Hey, I said this was a quick, shortcut for dessert that starts as biscuits out of a can.  Also, there is no mixer of any kind at Lane’s, and I wanted dessert, dammit.  If you’d like to whip your own cream, that would make this even better.

Quick  Strawberry Peach Shortcake


  • 1 can reduced-fat buttermilk biscuits (such as Pillsbury), 8 biscuit size
  • 2 C. strawberries, sliced
  • 4 small peaches, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • whipped cream (I used canned light whipped cream)


Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put the sugar in a shallow dish.

Remove the biscuits from the package and dip one side of them into the sugar.

Place the biscuits sugar-side-up on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes (or as directed on the package), until biscuits are golden brown.

Allow the biscuits to cool.

**If you’re using biscuits that are leftover from a meal and didn’t dip them in sugar before baking, brush each biscuit with a little melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

While the biscuits are baking and cooling, combine the strawberries and peaches in a large bowl.

Add the remaining sugar from the shallow dish to the fruit (this should be about 2 Tbsp., you can use more or less to suit your tastes).

Stir to combine.

Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

When ready to serve, cut the biscuits in half.

Place one half of each biscuit onto a plate and top the biscuit halves evenly with the strawberry mixture.

Add whipped cream as desired, then top with the remaining half of each biscuit.

Makes 8 servings.

Source:  My dad used to make strawberry shortcake out of leftover biscuits this way.

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