Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Here I sit at LAX, waiting for my flight home. Home. Sometimes it's almost hard to remember what (where?) that is, when you've been away for so long. And spending weeks in the house you grew up in, in the town where you went to elementary, junior high and high school, and where numerous people still have videos of you with your hairsprayed-and-blowdried showchoir hair (oh, yes).
And when I travel with my two best friends (the little one with the long eyelashes, and the bigger one with the freckles and the wicked laugh), I guess my concept of home moves around with me.
Or, there's my sister's place in Colorado, in a town that I can now drive around without consulting a map (surely that's a qualification for 'home') ... and where they have a great farmer's market on summer Saturday's and you can get gorgeous organic peaches ...
Oh, here we are then! At a recipe I wanted to share with you, based on some perfect peaches. I'm feeling a little long-winded today, and nostalgic. So thanks for bearing with me ... Anyway, here's a tip for you - check at the farmers market to see if vendors have 2nds. Fruits that may not look perfect (but taste it). We got 11 lbs of organic peaches this way for ... $10. So, it's worth checking. And if you end up with lots of peaches (or whatever), because you absolutely couldn't resist ... well, make some crumble, peel and freeze some, make some jam ... and you will have spent next to nothing.
I made this crumble with a reduced-balsamic syrup, which balanced the super-sweetness of the peaches with a little *zing!* You could use any leftover syrup on ice cream or a bowl of strawberries ...
Peachy Crumble with Balsamic Syrup
Serves 8, in a 12-in round baking dish (or comparable)
5 c sliced and peeled and pitted peaches
3 Tbs butter
1/3 c brown sugar
1/3 c brown sugar
1 1/3 c wholemeal flour
1 c oats
1/2 c butter, cubed
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c peach juice*
1/4 c good quality balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs brown sugar
*I used the juice that was left over from cutting my peaches ... but you could always try to squeeze a peach or mash it to get the juice for the syrup.
**As always, try to use organic ingredients when you can. Keep your eyes open for cheap, organic peaches - and if you find some, buy lots!
1. Preheat the oven to 180C (370F). Use a little dab of butter to grease your baking dish.
2. Put the peaches into the baking dish. Sprinkle with the sugar and small chunks of butter. Test your peaches and add more sugar if they aren't as sweet as mine were.
3. In a separate bowl, mix all the dry topping ingredients together ... then add in the cubes of butter and use a food processor or your hands to combine the butter/flour mix until it has a texture halfway between cookie dough and bread crumbs.
4. Spread the topping over the top of the peaches. Put into the oven and bake for about 30-40 min, until the top is golden and well-baked.
5. While the crumble is baking, make your syrup. Put the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil -then reduce the heat and simmer until the syrup is reduced by about half. It'll be nice and thick and dark. Keep stirring as it simmers, so it doesn't stick or burn. Remove from heat and cool. (Store leftover syrup in a jar in the fridge)
6. Serve warm with the best vanilla ice cream you can afford. And a little drizzle of balsamic syrup. And think of home.