Oh dear friends, it is so good to be back! And if you could only see where I have ended up – a place worthy to be called a Sarah B-style paradise. Tee hee.
I am on farm in northern Califonia wwoofing for the next month or so, getting my life bearings, exploring, learning, and surrendering to all the beauty that is the natural world. It feels incredible to be surrounded by organic gardens bursting with fruits and vegetables, beautiful animals, and exceptional people. I have been in the kitchen for many of my hours here so far, as we have so much food coming in from the garden that needs to be made into something! Sigh. Tough life. Needless to say I am in my element, and on my knees with gratitude for ending up in such an abundant place.
The peaches here are literally falling off the trees, so heavy with juice, and crying out for a special purpose (although eating them straight off the branch works for me too). We’ve been harvesting them daily and using them in everything from salads to relishes, chutneys, sorbets, pies, dressings, and we even threw a whole bunch in the dehydrator to have peaches in the winter. Having this much of one type of produce breeds creativity, some interesting experiments, and a lot of delicious food.
Late Beta Carotene Bloomers
Perhaps it’s just the delicious anticipation, but having to wait all year for that extraordinary, bright first bite of a ripe peach is like an epiphany. It is on those occasions when I feel pretty stoked that peaches are actually healthy, because I eat them like, well, they are going out of season. The orange colour of peaches is thanks to beta carotene, the same phytonutrient responsible for giving carrots their pigment, as well as sweet potatoes, and winter squash. Beta carotene protects your cells from free radical damage, which causes cancer, heart diseases, arthritis and other diseases related to aging. It is also responsible for good eyesight and formation of the mucous membrane of the urinary, digestive and respiratory tracts.
Beta carotene is fat-soluble, meaning that it requires the presence of dietary fat in order for your body to absorb it. Bonus! I sneakily made a crust out of healthy-fat nuts so that you can be assured to take in all that beautiful beta carotene and your cells can bathe in orange, healing goodness – at least that is what I picture going on.
Today, the peaches wanted to be eaten raw, but I was also looking for a “comforting” way of serving them. Seeing as I am in the great U.S.of A. I thought a cobbler was in order – nothing says America more to me than cobbler (except maybe chicken fried steak). A cobbler is traditionally baked, but to highlight the ridiculous juicy-goodness that the peaches possess, I figured out a way to keep all the ingredients out of the oven. Success.
This recipe is pretty flexible. Use the number of peaches available to you, and try to buy locally if possible. I realize that in many parts of the U.S. and Canada peaches are on their way out, so use up the last of this season because it sure will be a while before we see them again.
Peachy Keen Raw Cobbler
• 8 ripe peaches
• juice of ½ lemon
• 4 soft dates, soaked
• 1 vanilla bean, scraped
• dash ground cinnamon
• 2 cups nuts (I used half walnuts + half pecans)
• 1 cup soft dates
• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon (or more to taste)
• pinch sea salt
1. Wash and cut up five peaches into bite-sized chunks. Set aside.
2. Remove the pits from the remaining three peaches and place them in a food processor with the rest of the filling ingredients. Blend into a smooth sauce. Pour over cut peaches and gently fold to combine.
3. Rinse the food processor and add the topping ingredients. Pulse until a chunky crumble-like consistency is reached, or blend to your liking.
4. Pour peach filling into a pie dish. Sprinkle topping over the filling, garnish.
5. Serve to hungry farmer friends.