If there were only one word to describe this summer in Ontario, it would be sultry. Hot, steamy, sticky, sweltering…somehow miss the mark on how deliciously febrile this weather truly is, and how it makes my body, from my blood to my bones, just ooze into a state of total surrender. Luscious relaxation. You know that kind of heat? Yea, it’s what I live for.
Gorgeous weather aside; I am pretty thrilled to be in Ontario right now because the peaches in this province are out-of-this-world delicious. Perhaps a product of such concentrated heat, they are bursting with sweet, ripe juices and all around lusciousness. No wonder then, that when introduced to just a little heat and warming spice, they too surrender into a complete state of succulent slump, not unlike myself. Totally sultry.
The idea for this dessert came from my good friend Elana, who every year makes up a big batch of stewed peaches and spices, with a swirl of coconut milk and a couple shots of rum. Oh yes. We eat our bowls of sultry sweetness giggling through mouthfuls of total indulgence, and always going back for seconds (and often thirds). She calls this dish “sexy peaches” because they really are that good. Even though my version skips the alcohol, it still delivers uncompromising flavour and unadulterated pleasure. Oh my.
Yum, yum Potassium!
Potassium is that essential mineral that for some reason is always equated with bananas. Although this is not at all incorrect, there are plenty of other good fruit and vegetable sources of potassium, including peaches. Hooray!
Potassium is part of the electrolyte family of minerals, alongside sodium and chloride. Working closely together, these electrolyte minerals actually conduct electricity when dissolved in water! Naturally, potassium plays a key role in maintaining proper heart function, transmission of nerve impulses and muscle contraction – operations that require electrical communication. The frequency and degree to which our muscles contract, and the degree to which our nerves become excitable, both depend heavily on the presence of potassium in the right amount.
Because of the tight balance between potassium and sodium, it is important to consume these minerals in the right amounts. In our often salt-laden diets, we consume nearly twice the amount of sodium than potassium, throwing this balance out of whack and increasing the need for our forgotten mineral friend. Luckily, this is an easy fix. Lighten up on refined and packaged foods, as these almost always carry mother loads of sodium (check the labels!). Instead munch on whole, unprocessed goodies like fruits and veggies, which contain an abundance of potassium that is easily used by the body.
This dessert is a total breeze to make, however very impressive and satisfying. I think the warming spice blend successfully compliments the sweet, peachy goodness without being overwhelming. The blueberries, although optional, add amusing punctuation marks throughout the dish, and when crushed release an exquisite swirl of magenta juice. The coconut ice cream is an absolute must, especially if it’s new to you. It’s totally vegan, free of crazy additives, unpronounceable ingredients, and tastes incredible. My favorite brand is Coconut Bliss. Alternatively, you could use canned coconut milk, but keep it in the fridge before serving to ensure it’s cold – the temperature contrast is key.
Sultry Summer Peaches & Cream
4 – 5 ripe peaches
½ cup wild blueberries (optional)
½ cup water
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
¼ tsp. ground cardamom
2 whole cloves
½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped (reserve empty bean pod)
pinch sea salt
coconut ice cream to serve
1. Wash and pit the peaches, then slice into wedges.
2. Add the peaches and remaining ingredients (including the empty vanilla bean pod) to a saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer on low for about 20 minutes.
3. Let cool slightly. Ladle peaches into bowls and add a scoop of coconut ice cream. Serve immediately.
Now that you’re all hot and bothered, go grab some peaches and take it to the next level. You heard me.