When I started doing research for this article, I only planned to highlight peaches – I have a fantastic peach cobbler recipe from Tyler Florence that I am anxious to try. I ran across an article on peaches and nectarines in the Food section of the LA Times and– the article called them “kissing cousins”. Since there are only small differences between the two fruits (and I haven’t posted a blog in a while), I decided to highlight them both. And anyway, who doesn’t love a sweet nectarine?

So, first the basics. Peaches and nectarines are stone fruits, i.e. they contain a single hard seed, called a stone or pit. The flesh of the fruit is either yellow or white, depending on the variety. Peaches are classified as either clingstone or freestone. Clingstone flesh clings tightly to the pit, and freestone flesh separates readily from the pit. Freestone types are usually eaten fresh or used in freezing. When buying peaches and nectarines, look for ones with an orange-gold undertone, has a well-defined crease (that seam that splits the fruit in two), and a good fragrance.  Yes, that means you should smell your fruit! A ripe peach or nectarine will be firm but not hard. Store them at room temperature. Both fruits are highly perishable, so only buy what you plan to eat or cook in the next two to three days.

If you are feeling adventurous, grab a bag and head to Hollin Farms in Delaplane, VA (http://hollinfarms.com). Here, you can pick your own peaches, tomatoes, sweet corn, blackberries, and raspberries, to name a few. Who knows what treats you may come home with after a day at the farm?

 Of course, I have two fantastic recipes for you that highlight these “kissing cousins”. The first is the peach cobbler recipe I mentioned earlier. I can’t wait to try this one!

Bourbon Peach Cobbler

Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

  • 8 peaches, peeled and sliced
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • ¾ cup sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, add the peaches, bourbon, ¼ cup sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon and mix well to coat the peaches evenly; set aside. Sift in a bowl ½ cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut 1 ½ sticks butter into small pieces. Add it to the flour mixture and cut it in with a pastry blender or your hands until the mixture looks like coarse bread crumbs. Pour in the cream and mix just until the dough comes together. Don’t overwork; the dough should be slightly sticky but manageable. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Add the peaches and cook gently until heated through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a 2 quart baking dish and drop the dough by tablespoonfuls over the warm peaches. There can be gaps, the dough will puff up and spread out as it bakes. Brush the top with some heavy cream and sprinkle with some sugar; put it into the oven on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Cook for 40-45 minutes until the top is browned and the fruit is bubbling. Serve warm with Vanilla ice cream.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

 One quick tip: this recipe doesn’t call for vanilla, but I would definitely add about ½ teaspoon.

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This next recipe by Rachael Ray can also be done on the grill (you know my fascination with my grill) If you’re feeling really fab, try making your own ice cream!

Roasted Stone Fruit with Vanilla Ice Cream

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

  • 2 plums, cut in half and pitted
  • 2 peaches, cut in half and pitted
  • 2 nectarines, cut in half and pitted
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pint French Vanilla ice cream
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the fruit in a small baking dish and drizzle with balsamic vinegar, season with a little salt and pepper and transfer to the oven. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes depending on the fruit’s ripeness. Remove from the oven and serve with ice cream.

Makes 4 servings

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Here’s to good summer treats!

 Happy eating!

The Fab Foodie

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