the best of summer

After asking you all what your favorite summer produce is (as part of the Saucy Mama Giveaway – see bottom of post) Brian and I had a discussion to sort out our favorites. I didn’t realize what a tough decision it would be to make! There are so many options, and I feel that my mind changes every few weeks as a new fruit or vegetable ripens into its season. We settled on tomatoes and peaches as our top two, and an entertaining debate ensued. In the end Brian’s number one was tomatoes and mine was peaches, and although the results are questionable (peaches and tomatoes are at their peak right now which brings up the issue of bias…) we each appreciated the merits of the other’s argument.

peach bread merge 3

I’ll spare you the tomato argument today – it will have its place in the weeks to come, I promise. Instead, lets focus on peaches. Those perfect, plump, juicy globes with all the colors of the sunset splattered across their fuzzy skin. I love them – absolutely and with all the fervor deserved after waiting ten months for their reappearance in my daily diet. In their season, allowed to ripen on the tree and consumed within a couple of days of picking, fresh summer peaches are nothing like the bland, grainy imposters that fill bins in the supermarket during the off-season months.

peach bread merge 2

The peaches themselves played strongly into my final decision. Those flavorful bites – sweet with a little bit of tart – that result in juice running down your arms to your elbows are pretty hard to beat. But the clincher, that final argument that sealed peaches firmly into the number one position on my summer produce scale, was their procurement. The actual act of wandering the orchard, ducking into the dappled shade provided by row after row of trees, finding the perfect peach and picking it with my own hands. Brian and I have been to Chiles Peach Orchard three times already in the six weekends that pick-your-own peaches have been available, coming home with 25 pounds after each visit.

Peaches01

What does one (or in this case, two) do with 75 pounds of fresh peaches? Many wonderful things, dear readers. You’ve already heard about one, the slow-rise peach pancakes that graced our table one Sunday breakfast. There have been peaches in smoothies, oatmeal and on top of cereal. They’ve been baked in the folds of buttery pastry, grilled to perfection on the grill and simmered with blackberry puree’ to form the most delicious jam. I’ve even frozen half-a-dozen quarts for future cobblers and milkshakes during the off-season. I hope to share all of these recipes with you, but for now, I leave you with my newest addiction – Peach Bread.

peach bread merge 5

I’ve made variations of this recipe several times in the last few weeks, tweaking a bit each time until declaring this final version my favorite. It is based loosely on a recipe of my momma’s, with a bit of influence from Molly’s banana bread in A Homemade Life and a lot of gut instinct. Dense and moist with an almost cake-like crumb, this bread has all the flavors of a classic peach cobbler. I love it icy cold, taken straight from the fridge and paired with a cup of coffee for breakfast, but it is also delicious for dessert after being warmed briefly and topped with french vanilla ice cream.

Peach Bread2

Peach Bread

makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt (I used 0% fat Oikos Greek yogurt)
  • 2 cups peaches (about 2 large peaches), peeled and diced
  • 1 large peach, peeled and sliced thinly (for top of bread)
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup dried ginger, chopped finely (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*.  Spray  a 9×5 loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Cream the butter .  Gradually add sugar and mix to combine well.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in yogurt and diced peaches.
  3. Combine flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, and cinnamon together in medium bowl.  Add ginger, if using.  Add the wet mixture to the dry, stirring until just blended.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan.  Place peach slices across top of batter, in decorative pattern.  Bake at 350* for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool in pan for 10 minutes on wire rack.  Remove loaf from pan and let cool completely before slicing.

Peach Bread4

peach bread merge 1

Saucy Mama Giveaway!

Congrats to Shelby of La Belle Vegan and Rose of On A Lobster Placemat for being the winning commenters picked by Random.org!  Send me an email at bellaeats@gmail.com with your full name and address so that I can get your Lime Chipotle Marinade out to you.  Congrats ladies!

Advertisements

21 responses to “the best of summer

  1. I felt right there in the moment of the peach experience, savoring each bite as I read along! Such a lovely post. I love peach season, something that has grown on me since moving South. I have soooo many peaches on hand right now and already many frozen. I am going to make your bread, it sounds absolutly delightful, not to mention it looks perfect!!!! Thanks for sharing all the inspiration 🙂

  2. Peace desserts are the BEST! I am slightly allergic to stone fruits but cooking them takes out all the itchiness for me… thanks for some new ideas, as usual 🙂

  3. simplehungrybroke

    this bread looks amazing! baking is something i have to get better at but i will definitely try this when i do! thanks for the recipe!

  4. Beautiful peach bread! Your posts are always so well-photographed and written.

  5. I so can’t wait for peach season to start here in a few months. Will have to remember this lovely loaf!

  6. This is such a gorgeous post, Andrea. After reading it, I find myself craving peaches – straight from the tree as well as in all of the delicious-sounding recipes you’ve been using them in!

    As usual, your photographs are beautiful and your writing is lovely. I hope you write a cookbook one day :).

  7. The bread sounds incredible! I actually just bought a loaf of fresh peach bread from the Farmers Market the other week and devoured the entire loaf. It was truly amazing.
    I never thought of making my own because it would never amount to anything nearly as beautiful or delectable as yours. 🙂
    Hope you are well dear!

  8. Fantastic. All of it! The photo with the sun streaming through the peach tree is delightful.

    Cheers,

    *Heather*

  9. the peaches here in Blacksburg have been awesome lately, too. I HAVE to go every weekend to get more at the market, but I wish I could buy an additional freezer to keep some extra stuff.

    this bread looks amazing.

  10. That is an S*IT TON of peaches! Love it. I just got back to Chicago last night and I am so excited for the market tomorrow. Our early peaches were the kind that the pit would split in and be really hard to get out so while they were delish, they weren’t great for making slices, etc.

    This bread is going into my must make this week list. YUM.

  11. Looks delicious! When I was younger, we would travel from Georgia to Alabama to pick peaches, and I always found the experience so rewarding and spiritual. Your pictures take me back!

  12. Slices of this gorgeous bread served with a cup of strong tea seems a perfect start to a day.

  13. This bread is just lovely. I love the idea of using peaches instead of the standard banana bread. It’s summer. Anything goes!

  14. The bread looks incredible. I love peaches! I just made a peach almond cake that was really tasty too!

  15. I have some beautiful Chiles peaches sitting on my counter right now!!

  16. Oh, this is the perfect recipe for all these peaches I bought at the produce stand. I got them home and wondered what I was going to do with them all! I am going to make this tonight 🙂

  17. Everybody – Thank you, as always, for the very sweet compliments.

    Rachel – I think I am a little allergic too! If my face comes in contact with the fuzzy skin, or my hands after handling peaches, I get all itchy. Glad to know I’m not the only one!

  18. I made this peach bread last night and served it warm with vanilla ice cream for dessert, oh my gosh was it good!!!!!!!! Thanks for the wonderful recipe 🙂

  19. wow! that peach bread looks amazing! what a fun idea! man, now I want to go peach picking so I can make some. thanks! 🙂

  20. Pingback: lunch of choice « bella eats

  21. Nancy Mattingly

    Wow, think I have to just make this, still have some ripe peaches around the house, and this recipe would be great for using them up. Enjoying the blog, your pics are fantastic!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s