July 17, 2007


I just had a fun time in the kitchen- note, my children were taking naps :) Cooking can sometimes be very stressful when the kiddies are trying to 'help'.

Nearby there is a large peach orchard that's going out of business so to say, and anyone can come pick all the peaches they want. My mom went Saturday and picked and ate many! Anyways, I brought about 10 good sized peaches home to play around with.

How to know if peaches are ripe: first, I smell them, if they smell nice and peachy, then more than likely they are ripe or will be soon. Next the color- if they are orangey-yellow, with a pretty peachy-pink and sometimes almost red blush, generally they are ripe. I also give them a light squeeze, and they should just give a little, not squish! If they are very hard, then set them in a kitchen window for a few days.

I haven't really done a lot with peaches. I find it's hard to get good ones in the store sometimes, either they look and smell ripe and aren't, or they just don't have a good flavor. My mom made a wonderful peach cobbler that I ate too much of :) I didn't really have time to make pastry today, so I searched www.allrecipes.com and found this recipe for Peach Upside Down Cake.

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 5 fresh peaches - peeled, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk

  1. Melt 1/4 cup butter or margarine in an 8 inch square pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar and nutmeg. Arrange peach halves, cut side down, in pan.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Spread batter over peaches.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 35 to 40 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Remove cake from oven, and let stand in pan for 5 minutes; invert onto serving platter. Serve with whipped cream.
The recipe was fairly easy. I had never peeled peaches before, but I knew how. You fill a big pot with water and bring to a boil, cut a small X in the bottom of the peach (not stem end) and place in boiling water for 30-60 seconds. Then you drain them in a colander and let cool. I took a paring knife and where the X in the skin of the peach was I started peeling the skin. It came off really easily- piece of cake! Then I cut around the peach in a big circle, used my thumb to help open it in half, poked out the pit with my knife and I sliced the peaches.

* Notes- I added ground cinnamon and nutmeg to the cake batter, as well as some almond extract. Plus I sliced the peaches instead of halving

I just pulled it out of the oven all golden brown and bubbling, and have yet to turn it out of the pan.

I only used about three of the six peaches I prepared, and I had some leftover- getting- stale sourdough bread, so I thought I'd put together a breakfast baked french toast casserole with peaches. I got a 9x13 pan, buttered it and laid slices of the homemade bread (with crusts cut off) in the pan. Then I put the rest of the sliced peaches, a cup or so, and some fresh blueberries from my mom's blueberry bush that I had sugared for dessert last night. I think I added about a cup of those. I didn't have enough bread to cover the top, so I crumbled the slices over the top. I mixed 4 eggs, 1 cup of milk, a bit of almond extract and a pinch of cinnamon in a small bowl, then poured over everything. I covered it with foil and put it in the fridge. Can't wait for breakfast!!

It was fun to use an ingredient I don't normally buy. I always had the idea that peaches were difficult because they had the pit in the middle and the fuzzy skin. It does take a little extra time to boil water and throw them in, but afterwards peeling and slicing them is much easier. And since these peaches were given to me, these dishes were quite frugal. Always a plus :)

***Edited to add, the upside down cake was good, but too sweet. A few tablespoons of sugar on top would have been plenty, also some chopped peaches in the cake batter would have been good too. The breakfast casserole was very yummy- I baked it at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes, then we topped it with maple syrup and ate it with turkey bacon. Not too sweet and very fresh tasting.

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