Great summer food from the garden!

This weekend I caved in to the urge and bought some Texas peaches. On Saturday I made a fresh peach cake for our friend’s birthday which turned out incredible. I adapted this recipe from a strawberry cake that my friend Dana sent:

Fresh peach cake

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups turbinado sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup mashed peaches
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together 1/2 cup butter and the turbinado sugar. Add the eggs, and beat for 1 minute. Stir in the vanilla and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and the baking soda until the baking soda has dissolved. Add the sour cream mixture and the flour to the egg mixture. Beat well, then stir in the mashed peaches.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until top springs back when lightly touched.

This would be nice with a cream cheese frosting and fresh peach slices on top. I served it just plain, topped with sweetened mashed peaches, with fresh blueberries and plain frozen yogurt (my favorite new grocery store discovery!) on the side.

On Sunday we got chefy and made some great stuff. I found some super fresh red snapper and I just had to have some. I came home to make ceviche but the fish was so beautiful that it inspired me to make something else. So I summoned my best Tyson Cole and came up with a version of tiradito, a Peruvian dish that is a cross between sashimi and ceviche (Peru boasts a large Japanese community, so it’s no wonder the cuisine has permeated the culture). I sliced the fish in thin, diagonal slices and tossed them lightly with key lime juice, a bit of rind, extra-virgin olive oil, a dash of Thai fish sauce, chopped red serranos from the garden, thinly sliced radishes,cilantro, and Green Zebra tomato slices. I fried the fish skin crisp and used it to garnish, along with avocado slices, a sprinkling of hawaiian orange volcanic salt, and a spoonful of lumpfish roe.  It didn’t look Uchi pretty (my knives and knife skills are not on par with Tyson’s…) but it tasted pretty darned good with a cold beer on a hot afternoon!

Red snapper tiradito with key lime, olive oil, radish, serrano, fish sauce, cilantro, and green zebra tomatoes, topped with Hawaiian volcanic salt and lumpfish roe.

Will finally bought us a grill, so we were eager to use it this weekend. Willy got the coals going for the country-style pork ribs. I bought.  We also grilled an acorn squash that somehow ended up in my kitchen, and the rest of the peaches leftover from making the cake. I seasoned them with lime juice, olive oil, fresh rosemary & thyme, sea salt and pepper. The squash just had olive oil and salt, and the ribs were basted with Original Thomas’ Sauce which our friends Roy and Karen brought from North Carolina.

A killer summer dinner from the grill!

This dinner cost about $5 for the two of us and it was amazing. The peaches, which were a bit tart, were perfect as a foil for the savory ribs, matching just a bit of sweetness with that from the sauce. The squash was creamy and earthy.We drank a slightly chilled MacRostie 06 Pinot Noir, which was just heavenly and the right companion for this summer feast.

Now it’s that time in the garden when the summer crops start moving out to make way for new fall crops. The tomatoes have been leggy lately, not to mention invaded by those nasty leaf foot bugs which suck on the fruit and make them spoil quickly. So the last few days I’ve been harvesting, weeding, and pruning to make way for new planting this coming weekend. I picked all the red jalapenos and serranos and ground them with salt to make a fresh chile paste. This keeps in a jar in the fridge and can be used on anything. I also saved a few for wrapping with shrimp and bacon for last night’s dinner.

Tonight I will take cuttings from two of my favorite tomatoes, Green Zebra and JT’s Early Blacks, to try and root them for fall transplants. If they don’t work I still have a week or so to buy them. I will be pruning the basil, too, to make some pesto to freeze. Tomorrow I am off to buying seeds for the fall, so I’ll report on what’s going in the ground this weekend.

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