Culinary — 30 August 2016
How we celebrated annual Peach Week.

By Hope S. Philbrick

When you’re a travel writer, you don’t get to have many traditions. You’re going to miss holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and sometimes whole seasons of your former routines. You are definitely going to lose friends…though you will make new ones, too. The job requires that you travel, a lot—and by “a lot” I mean you will travel so much that it stops being fun a lot faster than you ever thought possible, though literally no one other than another travel writer can begin to understand.

For the past few years, however, there is one tradition at my house: Peach Week.

Some random summer day, I never know exactly when and that’s part of the challenge and fun, a box of Titan peaches from South Carolina arrives from my friends in the Old 96 District and Titan Farms. It is a glorious gift, one that me, my husband and our favorite neighbors anxiously await.

Since I don’t know when the peaches will arrive, there’s always the risk that I’ll be traveling when they do. But that’s okay since typically those perfectly-packed peaches do need a few days to ripen. But once they peak I have to race to get them all put to good use before they go bad. That is Peach Week.

Since this has been going on for a few years now, I’ve accumulated a few favorite recipes that some of the peaches are destined for. Others will get used in new creations.

In 2016 I received a box of 18 peaches. A few were eaten in their glorious natural form. Here’s how I used up the remainder.

  • Peach salsa, served atop grilled halibut – recipe below
  • Peach ceviche – recipe below
  • Spiced peach muffins – I substitute applesauce for the oil as one heart-healthy adjustment
  • Peach shortcake – I use this Cooking Light recipe for the shortcake. Peel and chop peaches immediately before serving atop the shortcake then dollop homemade whipped cream on top of whole thing
  • Peach tart – I substitute peaches for the plums, add lime zest, and use peach jam instead of currant
  • Peach yogurt – stir the peach parts that remain in the colander after making a peach cocktail into plain Greek yogurt along with a drizzle of honey; garnish with Georgia pecans if you’re feeling fancy
  • cocktails, recipes below
Blooming Titan

The name of this cocktail is inspired by its key ingredients: West Virginia Bloomery SweetShine moonshine and South Carolina Titan peaches.

Blooming Titan ingredientspeaches1 part Bloomery SweetShine passionately playful peach moonshine
¼ part fresh Titan peach juice
½ part seltzer
Titan peach wedge for garnish

To juice a peach, place a peeled and sliced peach into the larger half of a cocktail shaker. Muddle until completely macerated. Pour into a fine mesh cocktail-sized colander and place over the other half of the cocktail shaker. Stir occasionally. Once the dripping stops, use the leftover peach bits for another purpose (e.g., peach yogurt). Pour the juice into a measuring vessel of appropriate size (e.g., shot glass).

Shake moonshine and fresh peach juice with ice. Strain into a coupe glass. Add seltzer. Garnish with peach wedge. Enjoy.

My husband took a sip of a “Blooming Titan” and smiled; then a contemplative look crossed his face. “Isn’t it cheating to use peach flavored moonshine?” he worried. I’d like to point out that he was licking his lips to savor the last remnants of that cocktail while he spoke.

No. It’s not.

First of all, I had 18 peaches. Juicing a just-ripe peach yields not that much juice (wait until the peaches are riper to get more juice). While I’m happy to stir the leftover macerated peach bits into yogurt, I did not want all 18 peaches to get used up to make a few peach-flavored cocktails and a ton of yogurt. Starting with a peachy booze gets to the desired taste profile faster. Also, this particular moonshine had been lingering in my refrigerator for quite some time (a year?), so I can’t remember if it was always this way or if it happened over time, but the stuff is spicy + fruity yumminess but also very viscous. Adding the fresh peach juice increases fluidity, opens it up and adds welcome freshness. It also brightens the color from dull brownish orange to sunny happy peach. The peach juice improved the moonshine, but the cocktail lacked finesse and was still a bit thick. Seltzer solved that problem. I thought about adding some other element, but no. This drink is lip-licking good and little would be gained by complicating the recipe further. So why bother? Three ingredients can be all you need, an award-winning professional bartender recently told me.

Iced Melba

To alleviate my husband’s concerns (e.g., no “cheating”), I created this cocktail recipe using “flavorless” vodka as the base spirit. The flavor combination of peaches and raspberries is common to “Melba” desserts.

Iced Melba ingredientspeaches1 part vodka, such as Bellion
3/4 part fresh peach juice (preferably Titan)
1/4 part raspberry liqueur
1-2 dashes Fee’s Brother’s peach bitters
peach wedge for garnish (preferably Titan)

To juice a peach, place a peeled and sliced peach into the larger half of a cocktail shaker. Muddle until completely macerated. Pour into a fine mesh cocktail-sized colander and place over the other half of the cocktail shaker. Stir occasionally. Once the dripping stops, use the leftover peach bits for another purpose (e.g., peach yogurt). Pour the juice into a measuring vessel of appropriate size (e.g., shot glass).

Shake vodka, peach juice and raspberry liqueur with ice. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and top with peach bitters. Garnish with a peach wedge. Enjoy.

Peach Salsa

Recipe adapted from “The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook” (pg. 438, © 2000, Oxmoor House, Inc.)

1 1/2 cups peaches, peeled and diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
1/2 teaspoon honey (optional, to taste)
salt and pepper (optional, to taste)

Combine all ingredients. Cover and chill. Serve with grilled fish, chicken or pork.

Peach Ceviche

I created this recipe a few years ago; it’s based on a ceviche I had at an Atlanta restaurant but substituting peach for raw fish.

peaches3/4 cup jicama, peeled and cut into small dice
3/4 cup fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into small dice
3/4 cup fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into small dice
serrano pepper, seeded and cut brunoise
juice of one medium lime
1 teaspoon minced cilantro for garnish

Mix ingredients into a bowl, chill and plate. Top with cilantro. Serve and enjoy.

– Photos © HSP Media LLC

Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.

HSP15Hope S. Philbrick is founder and editor-in-chief of Getaways for Grownups. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications nationwide. She’s written about wines and spirits for more than 14 years. When not writing, she can usually be found on the road or savoring something tasty.

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