Pickled Peaches

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12 small peaches, peeled with 4 cloves per peach
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup white vinegar
3 large cinnamon sticks

(Makes 3 pints)

Cut a shallow X in the bottom of each peach with a sharp knife and blanch in batches in a large pot of boiling water for 10–15 seconds.

Transfer the peaches to a large bowl of ice water and let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel the peaches, then halve them lengthwise and pit. Toss the peaches with the sugar and chill, covered, for at least 8 hours.

In a large stockpot, mix the vinegar and cinnamon sticks, with the peaches and their accumulated juices. Bring to a boil over moderate heat.  Skim off the foam. Reduce the heat and simmer until the peaches are barely tender, 3 minutes or so.

Divide the peaches and cinnamon sticks among the prepared jars. Return the peach-cooking liquid to a boil, then pour into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at the top.

Wipe off the rims of the filled jars with a damp kitchen towel, place the lids on the jars, then firmly screw on the rings. Put the sealed jars on the rack of the canner and, if necessary, add enough hot water to cover the jars by 2 inches.

Boil the jars for 20 minutes, covered, then transfer to a towel-lined surface to cool. The jars will seal as they cool.

After the jars have cooled for 12–24 hours, press the center of each lid to check that it’s concave and that a vacuum has formed and they are sealed.  Store in a cool dry place for up to 1 year.

Place any jars that haven’t sealed in the refrigerator and use them first.

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Pecans

 

A classic Southern salad you won’t soon forget.

½ cup pecan halves
½ medium onion, sliced
About 6 cups fresh spinach
2 cups strawberries
¼ cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1 medium orange
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

Spread the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat and toast, stirring often, until fragrant. Cool and chop coarsely.

Wash the spinach well and dry. Remove the thick stems and tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large salad bowl.

Remove the hulls, the leafy stem, from the strawberries with a paring knife. Slice the strawberries and add to the spinach with the pecans. Add the onion to the salad with the goat cheese. Toss well. Grate the orange zest and sprinkle over the salad.

Squeeze the juice from the orange into a small bowl (this should yield about ½ cup). Whisk in the salt, dry mustard, and vinegar. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the oil. Stir in the poppy seeds.

Add just enough dressing to the salad to moisten and toss well. Serve immediately.

 

Grilled Pineapple, Peaches and Plums

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Pineapple
Light brown sugar
Peaches
Vegetable oil
Plums
3 pounds good-quality lump charcoal

Cut the pineapple into wedges or spears. Press the cut sides into the brown sugar. Cut the peaches in half, remove the pits, and lightly oil the peach halves. Lightly brush oil onto the plums.

Set up the cooker for direct cooking: Open the top and bottom vents. Pile 2 pounds of the charcoal in the bottom. Load a charcoal chimney one-quarter full of charcoal and light it. When the coals in the chimney are glowing, dump them on top of the pile already in the cooker and close the lid. Adjust the vents as necessary to establish a steady temperature between 350to 375 degrees for direct grilling.

Open the cooker and spread the fruits evenly over the charcoal, cut side down, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they soften and are nicely marked. Pull the fruits off the cooker and arrange on a large serving tray.

Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Fruit and Mutton Pie

 

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Leaf lard pastry dough
3 cups cooked mutton or lamb, cut small
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup sultanas
1/2 cup mixed peel
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
5 medium cooking apples, peeled and chopped
1 level tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a pie dish with two thirds of the pastry, reserving one third for the lid. Fill the pastry case with layers of mutton and apples. Season as you layer and sprinkle sugar, nutmeg and chopped prunes on each layer. Roll out the pastry for the lid and press onto lower pastry to seal. Put slits in the pastry lid with a sharp knife to let out the steam. Bake for 10 minutes then turn the oven down to 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.

Sliced Preserved Lemons

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Makes 1 quart jar

6 whole lemons
1 cup salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup pickling spice
4 cups distilled white vinegar

Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot over high heat. Add the lemons and cook for 5 minutes. Drain. Cut off and discard the ends once cooled. Cut the lemons into thin slices and layer the slices into the jar, leaving 1 inch of headspace.

Combine the salt, sugar, pickling spice, and vinegar in a small saucepan, bring to a boil over high heat, and boil for 10 minutes. Pour this brine over the lemons to cover them and fill the jar, leaving ½ inch headspace. Cover with the lid and ring, and refrigerate for 10 days before using. These will keep for a month, refrigerated.

Cold Peach Soup

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  • 5 large ripe peeled peaches
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup good sherry
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • Slices of fresh peaches

Puree peaches with sugar. Mix in sour cream. Add lemon juice, sherry, orange juice and blend until smooth. Cover and chill. Garnish with sliced peaches.

Fruit Pizza

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  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • selection of strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges, bananas, kiwi fruit, grapes, pineapple, etc.
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar.

Mix first three ingredients.  Grease a pizza pan.  Roll out dough and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool.  Mix next three ingredients and spread on crust.  Add a selection of fruits as toppings. Combine final four ingredients and heat, stirring often until thick.  Cover pizza with this glaze.  Enjoy.