Cooking with Tammy Kelly: Making your summer peachy

Cooking with Tammy Kelly: Making your summer peachy

Did you know that North Carolina growers produce as many as 70 different varieties, each with its own unique flavor? Although the Sandhills region is known for peach production, consumers can find growers all across the state. Peaches are a warm-weather favorite and you will find they taste best June-August in parts of the South.

Not only do peaches taste amazing but are a nutritional powerhouse as well. In one medium peach, you will see only 60 calories and more than 20 different macro and micronutrients, including fiber, vitamins, A, C, E, potassium and zinc.  And of course, they are naturally free of fat, sodium, cholesterol, gluten and trans fats!!  

Peaches are most often used in sweet desserts, but can hold the title role in a variety of recipes, even some savory ones!  

Peach-Vanilla Slab Pie

(Slab pies are trending these days, they are a perfect way to serve dessert to a crowd)
12 ounces whole-wheat pastry flour (about 3 1/3 cups)
4 1/4 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour (1 cup)
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup plus 1 to 2 Tbsp. cold water, divided
6 pounds ripe peaches, peeled and sliced (about 12 cups)
1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon room-temperature water

Pulse flours and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor 2 times. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, 4 to 5 times. Stir together oil, lemon juice, and 2/3 cup cold water in a small bowl. While pulsing, pour oil mixture through food chute. Process just until dough comes together and starts to form a shaggy ball. Add an additional 2 tablespoons cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary to bring dough together. (Be careful not to overprocess.)

Turn dough out onto a work surface; knead until dough just comes together, about 2 times. Divide dough into 2 pieces, one roughly 60% of the dough and the other 40%. Flatten each into a 1-inch-thick disk; wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill 2 hours or up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine peaches, brown sugar, cornstarch, vanilla bean paste, cinnamon, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; toss well to combine. Set aside.

Remove dough disks from refrigerator, and unwrap. Place larger dough disk between 2 lightly floured sheets of plastic wrap; roll into a very thin 20- x 15-inch rectangle. Using a thin pan or cutting board for support, carefully slide dough from plastic wrap onto a 13- x 18-inch rimmed baking sheet. Remove plastic wrap, and press dough into corners of baking sheet. Spoon peach mixture evenly over dough. Place second dough disk between 2 lightly floured sheets of plastic wrap; roll into a very thin 13- x 18-inch rectangle. Cut dough lengthwise into 3/4-inch-thick strips. Arrange strips in a lattice pattern over peach mixture; crimp edges to seal. Whisk together egg yolk and 1 teaspoon room-temperature water in a small bowl. Brush dough lattice evenly with egg yolk mixture.

Bake at 375°F until filling is thick and bubbly and crust is browned, about 50 to 55 minutes. Cool at least 20 minutes before serving.

I must confess, I would buy the pre-made piecrust, roll out version, it will save time, but it may also adjust the nutritional values.

Serves 4, each serving contains; Calories 278, Fat 9 g., Cholesterol 24 mg., Sodium 140 mg., Carbohydrates 47 g., Fiber 4 g., Protein 4 g.

Pork Chops with Peach Barbecue Sauce

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 cups boiling water
3 cups ice cubes
4 bone-in, center-cut pork chops, 1/2-3/4 inch thick (1 3/4-2 pounds), trimmed
2 ripe but firm peaches, pitted and quartered, or 3 cups frozen sliced peaches
1 medium tomato, quartered and seeded
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup chopped onion, preferably Vidalia
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
Place 1/4 cup salt and brown sugar in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour in boiling water and stir to dissolve. Add ice cubes and stir to cool. Add pork chops, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

Puree peaches, tomato and vinegar in a food processor until smooth.

About 30 minutes before you're ready to cook the pork chops, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the peach puree, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, honey and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until reduced by about half, 20 to 25 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of the sauce for basting the chops; keep the remaining sauce warm in the saucepan until ready to serve.

Preheat grill to medium.

Remove the pork chops from the brine (discard brine), rinse well, and thoroughly dry with paper towels. Season the chops with 1/4 teaspoon pepper and brush both sides with some of the reserved sauce.

Grill the pork chops, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 145 degrees F, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, tent with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with the warm peach barbecue sauce on the side.

To save time, brine the pork chops for up to 4 hours, and the Peach Barbecue Sauce will be good for 5 days refrigerated.

Serves 4, each serving contains; Calories 291, Fat 11 g., Cholesterol 83 mg., Sodium 715 mg., Carbohydrates 21 g., Fiber 2 g., Protein 27 g.

Honey Bourbon Peach Preserves

7 cups coarsely chopped peeled ripe peaches (about 3 1/2 lb.)
1 cup mild honey
1/2 cup (80- to 90-proof) bourbon
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Pulse peaches in a food processor until finely chopped and chunky but not pureed, 5 or 6 times, stopping to stir occasionally to ensure they are evenly chopped. Transfer to a Dutch oven. Add honey, bourbon, thyme, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick and reduced to about 4 1/2 cups, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cool completely. Store in airtight containers in refrigerator up to 1 month, or freeze for up to 4 months.

Each 2 Tablespoon serving contains; Calories 44, Fat 0.1 g., Cholesterol 0 mg., Sodium 27 mg., Carbohydrates 11 g., Fiber 0 g., Protein 0 g.

Oven Baked Protein Pancakes with Fruit

(This is a shared recipe from my friend BL, who eats these, everyday with blueberries and says they are fabulous!)

1 1/2 cups oats {old fashioned preferred}
1 1/2 cups low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese
6 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
Fruit, your choice, for this article I would use a ½ cup of chopped peaches
Add all of the ingredients to a food processor or blender and process until completely combined. Stop halfway through blending and push down any ingredients off the sides of the food processor bowl.
Let sit for 10 minutes while the oven preheats. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9x13-baking pan with non-stick spray, butter, or canola oil.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with fruit, blueberries, peaches, apples, and any fruit you would use in a cobbler.  Transfer to oven and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate pan and return to oven.
Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake another 10-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. {These won't be as dark as these usually get when they are made into pancakes. The edges will be lightly browned and pulling off the sides of the pan.}
Cut into 4 or 6 pieces.
Keep tightly covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or the freezer for up to 2 months. Reheat in microwave before serving, syrup is also optional.  

Serves 6, each serving contains (values do not include fruit); Calories 180, Fat 6 g., Carbohydrates 16 g., Protein 15 g.  

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