September 22nd, 2013 Comments Off on Celebrating the Swan Song of Summer: Grilled Peaches with Blue Cheese, Caramelized Onions & Pecans . . .
Grilled Peaches with Blue Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Toasted Pecans & Balsamic Glaze
Gloria Peaches at Scott Farm Orchard, Vermont. According to Scott Farm orchard manager, Zeke Goodband, these beautiful, sweet, firm-fleshed peaches are the perfect choice for grilling and roasting!
Beautiful Scott Farm Peaches, Almost too Good to Eat
Oh summer, summer, summer . . .Where have you gone? As I sit here in my garden chair —surveying the red-tipped Viburnum leaves and orange-tinted Flame Grass— once again I marvel at the quick passage of time. In just a few short hours, autumn will officially begin in the Northern Hemisphere, (20:44 UTC or 4:44 pm ET). Much as I love the fall —always my favorite season— this year I feel more than a touch of melancholy as I let sweet summer go.
Blushing Limelight Hydrangea (H. paniculata ‘Limelight’) in the Garden this Morning
Canada Geese Slip Away by the Light of the Full Harvest Moon
Morning Light Maiden Grass Dances in the Cool Breeze (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’)
Although this has been a rather cool and rainy season, the months were also filled with warm riches and delights; kayaking on the river, a trip to Block Island, Christmas-in-July fireworks, a picnic in the orchard at Scott Farm, milestone family birthdays, and exciting projects at work. This has also been a year of culinary exploration and adventures thanks to delightful produce from my kitchen garden and fruit from nearby farms.
The Swan Song of Summer
Recently, after picking up fresh, late-season peaches from Zeke Goodband at Scott Farm, in Dummerston, Vermont, I decided to experiment with savory recipes featuring this delightful fruit. Grilling peaches has always been a favorite late-summer pastime, and after sampling a delicious appetizer of blue cheese, caramelized onion and pecan stuffed peaches at Magpie Restaurant in nearby Greenfield, Massachusetts, I decided to give the idea a whirl. Simple to prepare and delicious as an appetizer or side dish, these grilled, stuffed peaches are the perfect way to say farewell to summertime.
So as we listen to the swan-song of summer —crickets in the meadow and bluejays in the scrub— here’s a touch of sweetness to send the gentle season on her way . . .
Grilled Peaches with Blue Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Toasted Pecans & Balsamic Glaze
Appetizer or Light Side for Six
6 Large Gloria Peaches (sliced in half & pitted, skin on)
1/8 cup Pecans (toasted, chopped fine)
1 small, sweet onion, caramelized and chopped fine
1/4 cup Crumbled Blue Cheese (or more)
Salt to taste
Butter for Grilling
Balsamic Glaze for Drizzling Platter
Caramelize onions, chop/toast pecans, and crumble high-quality blue cheese in advance. Mix the three ingredients together in a small bowl and salt lightly to taste. Set aside.
Slice and pit peaches. Scoop out center neatly to make a bit of room for stuffing if pits are small, and set aside on a platter for grilling. If grilling over flame, brush peaches with melted butter and set on medium-hot grill, away from direct flame. If grilling indoors (Foreman grill or the like), heat the grill and then rub with butter. Grill the peaches until fragrant and soft, but still firm. Remove from heat and fill each peach with a tablespoon or more of stuffing. Arrange on platter and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Grilled, Stuffed Peaches Make a Great Appetizer or Side Dish with Other Grilled Foods. Serve Warm or at Room Temperature.
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September 22nd, 2010 Comments Off on A Toast to the Last Day of Summer: Greeting the Autumnal Equinox with Spiced, Heirloom Apple Cider Martinis…
Spiced Apple Cider Martini with Dolgo Crab Apple and Cinnamon Stick Garnish
Farewell to summer! The autumnal equinox will occur at 3:09 am UTC (GMT) on September 23rd this year. So —depending upon where you live—autumn will officially begin sometime this evening, September 22nd, or in the wee hours of September 23rd. Here in New England, fall will begin at 11:09 PM EDT. Coincidentally, the Harvest Moon will be full tomorrow, on the first day of autumn. Yesterday evening, I caught the beautiful, glowing orb, just as it rose –nearly full— above the treetops at twilight. Oh, what a beauty…
The Nearly-Full, Harvest Moon…
As if in anticipation of a grand, autumn party, the northeastern fields and forests have already begun to change into traditional fall costume, greeting the equinox with the all the rich hues and glorious textures of the season. Fall truly is my favorite time of the year, but it always seems to pass too quickly. So, I try to soak up as much natural beauty as I can, taking daily walks through local fields and forests, and my own woodland trails here at Ferncliff. Below are some highlights from sunset strolls this week…
Colorful Maple Leaf on the Forest Floor
A Bleached Hayscented Fern in Late Afternoon Light
A Colorful Ash Seedling
Maple Leaves in a Natural Pool
A Meadow of Native Bluestem
I began my week with a visit to Scott Farm in Dummerston, Vermont (see my post about this beautiful Vermont orchard by clicking here). In anticipation of the autumnal equinox, I decided to pick up some heirloom apple cider, and create spiced-apple martinis; the perfect cocktail to celebrate autumn’s arrival. Heirloom apples have such delightful colors, textures and flavors; ranging in hue from light gold to deepest violet and varying in taste from tartest-of-tart to honey-sweet. A walk through an old orchard is one of the greatest early autumn pleasures I know…
Apple Orchard – Scott Farm, Dummerston, Vermont
The Orchard at Scott Farm
Zeke Goodband’s Heirloom Apple Cider, Lemon and Warm Spices
Zeke Goodband’s apple cider is the best I have ever tasted, and it makes the most delicious base for an autumnal twist on the traditional apple-martini. The golden color of this cocktail is beautifully enhanced by the addition of a pretty, ruby-red, heirloom Dolgo crabapple garnish. Of course, if Dolgo crabapples are nowhere to be found, any tiny red apple —or slice dipped in lemon juice— will do. But, if you prefer a non-alcholic drink, travel back to my post on hot mulled apple cider, another delicious way to enjoy this fruit of the season!
Enjoy the last, golden hours of summer, and the beautiful season of autumn yet to come…
Spiced Heirloom Apple Cider Martini
Ingredients for 2 Cocktails (multiply or divide to suit):
4 ounces heirloom apple cider
4 ounces excellent quality, ice-cold vodka
2 ounces excellent quality brandy (apple brandy if you like)
2 ounces orange liquor
1 ounce fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice
2 cinnamon sticks and/or 1 tsp freshly ground cinnamon (optional)
2 tsp artisan honey
Place all ingredients in a jar and cover.* Shake well to mix before serving. When ready to serve, pour the mixture into a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Shake and pour into 2 chilled martini glasses. Garnish with a crab apple (or slice of apple) and a cinnamon stick. Serve.
*The basic cocktail may be mixed a few hours ahead (in a large jar) if serving cocktails at a party. Keep well chilled and shake cocktails in ice individually before serving.
Spiced Heirloom Apple Martini
The last, golden days of summer – A meadow of native bluestem
Sunset in a Meadow of Wild Bluestem
September’s Harvest Moon…
You may also enjoy last year’s Autumnal Equinox post and the Vintage Rose Cocktail. Click here…
Article and photographs ⓒ 2010 Michaela at TGE
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