A Pair Of Gourmands

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The hunt for cheap peaches!

She says:

Call me a glutton for punishment, but I love August for the bounty we get from the fields, and this week, it is peaches! It seems that you have to be careful what you wish for… I wanted to find peaches at a good price to can and freeze for winter. We started with one bag, and now our basement has flats of peaches waiting to be peeled and frozen, or cut up for jam, or pureed for chutney, or just eaten. But that’s okay, because when what you are indulging in excessively is supposed to be good for you, it doesn’t count, right?

I am one of those people who likes the fuzz, but I remember my Mom peeling peaches for my father in the morning, as he would not eat them on his cereal if they still had their cozy skin. I love the contrast of the juicy fruit and the fuzzy exterior – both friendly, but entirely different sensations in your mouth. As such, I leave the peel when I make compote or jam or chutney, and for the most part, no one complains when they eat it. But if you drop them in boiling water for about 20 seconds, then you can peel the skins like you might for a tomato or a cooked beet.

Peeled or not, I think the best addition to peaches when they are cooked is ginger. Ginger root in peach chutney makes me think of tropical heat and nan bread… ginger in syrup added to homemade jam or just stewed fruit (great in the winter for breakfast) is just plain heartwarming, and candied ginger in peach crisp or peach pie is simply inspired, if you ask me.

Peaches are like edible sunshine, and that is the only excuse I need to want to preserve them for the short days in winter when I want to remember the dog days of summer. Even if you only buy one from the farmer’s market, savour it and store the memory for a cold winter night. Let the juice drip down your chin, and soak in the summer sunshine.

He says:

There is something special about buying peaches out of someone’s garage. Just about anyone and everyone with one or more peach trees in the backyard has a sign by the street selling the delectable fruit.

Having grown up in Quebec, I remember that all you can buy out of someone’s garage is more crap to put in your own garage… Certainly no peaches!

I have eaten so many peaches this year I think I may grow a fuzzy belly. Two of my favorites this year were a slice of ripe peach wrapped in Italian prosciutto and grilled peaches served with lavender honey and vanilla ice cream.

If you have some amazing ideas that include peaches, please let me know.

Chef Martin’s Tip 23: Convection oven, worth it or not?

I say if you are going to invest into a good quality stove, pay attention to your oven below.

Often the salesperson will feed you lots of you-know-what about how great the fan moves the air inside the oven so it bakes evenly. Yes, it is a nice feature, but 8 out of 10 times, you won’t get even baking and you still will have to turn your tray around for an evenly-baked pizza, just to give you an example.

The extra few dollars are worth it because the fan will help to cook food quicker, and will makes your cakes fluffier. Roasted potatoes in a convection oven come out really nice, but they also turn out really nice in a regular oven too.

So, if budget is not a problem, go for it, but if you are choosing between a convection oven feature or a good functional sink, go for the sink - you will use it more often.

“No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize.”
(Julia Child, 1912-2004)

The Chef in Stead - Website For Previous Chef Tips For comments or questions, you can reach Martin at 250-712-4440 or Email.

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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