Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Western Slope Peaches

Every September since I moved to Colorado, I've gotten a case of organic peaches from Rancho Durazno in Palisade, on the western slope of the Rockies. My sister-in-law knows someone who knows someone who owns this farm, and she takes orders. These are some of the most outrageously delicious peaches in the world. They feel quite firm, almost unripe, but as soon as you bite into them, juices gush down to your chin and luscious peach-essence explodes in your mouth.

Part of the beauty of having an abundance of these gems is that I don't mind taking a few and cooking them. A full case is virtually impossible to consume in the normal way before they begin to spoil, so we end up freezing some, making tarts, sauces, ice cream, and sorbet.

My publisher called me yesterday--right after I got back from Toronto--and asked if I'd be up for getting on a plane to Portland tomorrow, to present at the VegFest there on Saturday and Sunday. Of course I agreed. So off I go, first thing in the morning. Then I realized that the remaining half-case of peaches would probably not survive until I get home on Monday; tonight I roasted some.

I cut a few in half, removed the pits, and lay them cut-side down in a glass baking pan. Then I split a Tahitian vanilla bean and scraped the seeds over them. I cut the bean into four pieces and scattered them around. Then I took four stalks of fresh lemongrass, sliced them thinly and added them, letting the slices gather in the spaces between the peaches. I had a little simple syrup made with evaporated cane juice left over from making daiquiris last week, so I added that, along with a splash of peach schnapps and a slug of white rum. I added just enough water to bring the level up a bit more than half-way to the tops of the peaches and placed the dish in a moderate oven for about 40 minutes.

After letting them cool just a bit, I pulled the skins off and placed three halves in each dessert bowl. spooning the reduced liquid over them. The lemongrass and vanilla had just lightly infused the fruit, and the roasting had enhanced and enriched the peach flavor. There just isn't anything like fresh seasonal fruit of any kind, but western slope Colorado peaches are beyond sublime. I think I'll pack a few for the trip and see if they pass security...

I guess that's it until next Monday. If you're in the Portland area, stop in at the Veg Fest. I'm on at 12:30 on Saturday and at 11:00 Sunday morning.


1 comment:

  1. Hello Alan! I met you in Toronto at the 27th annual vegetarian festival! I loved your cooking demo and your udo's truffles! i enjoy meeting truly passionate people and I'm so glad you're making wholesome, healthful food taste so incredible! Keep up the good work and come visit my blog, when you have a chance: