I know, I know. I have been a horrible blogger of late. All this cooking and living has given me no time to write or photograph food, and as we all know, it’s the writing and the photography that is really important.
In all seriousness, the last two weeks have made me look differently at my favorite bloggers. How on earth do they do it all? Do they have a team of soldiers (à la Martha Stewart) taking photos and prepping salads and cutting wood and priming furniture and creating beaded projects? I’m serious. I can’t fathom how that much content makes it out on Instagram alone, much less the blogosphere. It probably says something about me that it makes me tired just looking at social media channels lately.
Let’s talk fruit. You’ve seen the photos on Instagram. There was a lot of fruit. There were eighteen pounds of peaches and six pounds of figs. I spent all morning Monday making a plan for what I was going to make and when I was going to make it. And then the weather turned. It went from high sixties and raining to over ninety and sunny. With the weather turn went the figs. I had to cook and I had to cook them fast. By the next day, the peaches were starting to go bad as well. Good grief. That was a lot of fruit.
This, by the way, is when it really helps to have teenagers just sitting idly by on their computers with nothing to do. You! Yes, you in the backwards cap! Get in this kitchen and start cutting figs! I am ever so thankful for my step-son, Logan, who dove into fig mania with a positive attitude. You, my friend, are a winner.
what we made.
You’ll be wanting recipes for most of this stuff, I am sure. A quick google or Pinterest search will yield more recipes than you can even look at for peaches or figs. Many of these appear pretty similar. To avoid the overwhelm, I went to a couple of trusted sources first and I searched for specific recipes that I knew I wanted to make. Joy the Baker, Taste, Food 52, The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook – these are great sources if you find yourself looking to make something with a specific ingredient.
We ended up making fig gelato, orange cardamom fig newtons, fig freezer jam, fig pizza, peach freezer jam, peach scones, peach cobbler cinnamon rolls, gingered peach and blackberry pie, and froze the remaining sliced peaches for smoothies and ice cream.
Fig jam. Delicious. I halved the recipe and let it cook down while I was cooking the filling down for the Fig Newtons. This could not be easier. I froze five small containers of jam for later.
Fig Newtons. Also delicious. Lovely bit of sweet and hint of spice. I was worried about the cookie dough being heavy with the wheat flour but it was just right. I ended up with more filling than I needed, so put some in a jelly jar in the fridge. It was gone by the next day. I could not find cardamom pods, but I had ground cardamom on hand. I substituted ½ teaspoon ground cardamom for 5 pods. This worked just great. I froze half of the cookies for later.
Fig gelato. Disaster. Total and complete disaster. The custard was easy to make and had great flavor, but the mixture never came together in my ice cream maker. I decided to try to freeze it up a bit by putting it back in the freezer, only to find that my freezer had been turned down and it turned into a soupy mess. I’m on the fence between whether I am resigned to just let the ice cream professionals tackle the ice cream or whether I want to keep trying ice cream until I get it right. I’ll keep you posted on this internal war.
Fig pizza. Outstanding. We used a new pizza crust recipe (from The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook), which you will be hearing more about in due time. In the meantime, buy the book, people. You won’t regret it.
Peach jam. Hands down, one of my favorite recipes of this whole batch. So simple that anyone can do it. Tastes just like peaches and nothing else. Make some jam while you still can.
Peach Cobbler Cinnamon Rolls. Everything I have ever made from Joy the Baker has been delicious and this was no exception. This recipe has a lot of steps but each step can be done separately and set aside. I made the pieces of these while I was making other things, then put them together after dinner had been cleaned up. My only suggestion would be to cut these slightly smaller. I made 16 as directed but wish I had made 10-12 per pan instead of 8 per pan. Don’t get me wrong, the first pan was gone after breakfast the next morning, but these are pretty rich and I think they could stretch a bit. I’ve got the second pan in the freezer for later. I can’t wait to forget that is there and then have a pleasant surprise for breakfast one morning.
The Scones. Not my favorite. These were cakey and moist, but I think of scones as being a bit denser than a muffin. I’m pretty sure this was not the fault of the recipe. By the time I got to the scones, it was after 8 p.m., and I was ready to shut down. I did not pat the peaches dry as recommended nor did I sprinkle the tops with sugar as I had run out of finishing sugar with the pie. Both of these omissions were mistakes. Curiously, I had just the night before read this quote from Julia Child: “’Too much trouble,’ ‘Too expensive,’ or ‘Who will know the difference’ are the death knells for good food.” Hmmm. Let these scones be a reminder to me.
Peach and blackberry pie. Yum. That’s all. Yum. I don’t even like pie and this pie was delicious. I will make it again in a heartbeat. I halved the recipe here too. It was easy to do and I baked the pie in a 9x9 cake pan. You could also make the full pie recipe but prep it into two pans and freeze one for later. I need a bigger freezer.
Oh! And one last thing. These instructions for peeling peaches are about the coolest thing EVER. You need to read this if you have peaches to put away and have been living with me under a rock where canning is concerned.