We are always grateful for the tasty crop of grapes we raise, but this year, especially, we include the abundance of many "fruits of our labor" from our garden and orchard - a spectacular Padron pepper crop and when cooked quickly on a hot skillet and sprinkled with Baja sea salt only one in 10 are hot; rows of healthy, leafy basil for pesto-making and freezing; and we are even on our third planting and second month of daily fresh green beans (Alicante bush beans from the Forni-Brown Nursery). With the last few weeks of warm-to-hot weather, the tomatoes are finally all ripening, and after we have our fill of Bruschetta and BLT's, we can see a tomato-sauce canning party coming soon.
Even the hens that we purchased as day-old chicks in April have finally matured and are starting to lay baby eggs. Soon they will be giving up full-sized eggs and we'll scramble to find recipes for using 8 eggs at a time! Want to come to an omelet party?
But the biggest surprise, and greatest reward, has been from our fruit trees - especially the peaches and nectarines. We have always had a good crop of stone fruit, but have had to fight with the squirrels, birds and even our dogs to pick enough for our own meals. We've tried netting the trees, hanging old CD's from the branches to catch the sun and scare the birds and even sprinkling disgusting-smelling powders on the ground under the tree to keep animals away, with only marginal luck. After the last few year's cool and wet summer and fall growing seasons, our trees have finally decided to reward us for all our efforts!
We've skinned and cut over 100 lbs of peaches so far, and still have a couple of young trees to pick. Sometime this fall, when it's cold and wet, we will can and jam them for gifts and for the pantry. But for now, they just keep coming! You can always serve a freshly sliced nectarine or peach (especially the white strain) on a fruit and cheese tray to pair with our Two Old Dogs Sauvignon Blanc, but that only gets rid of one or two! The easiest, and best crowd-pleaser, recipe we have found is for a simple Peach/Nectarine cobbler. It takes little or no skill and uses dozens of peaches (and is equally delicious the next morning for breakfast)! As Julia Child would say "Bon Appetite!"
Easy Peach/Nectarine Cobbler
- 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar, divided in half
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup milk
- 4 cups fresh peach slices
- Juice of one lemon
- Ground cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)
- Melt the stick of butter into in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish (or other similar sized container that is oven proof) in the oven, warmed to 350-375°. ( the smaller the container, the higher the cobbler will grow)
- Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl; add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over hot, melted butter but do not stir.
- Bring the remaining 1 cup sugar, peach slices, cinnamon and lemon juice to a boil in a pot over high heat, stirring constantly; then simmer for 5-10 minutes. Pour the peaches over the batter, but again, do not stir. Sprinkle with more cinnamon or nutmeg, if desired.
- Bake at 375° for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. The peaches will sink to the bottom and reward you when you dig in. Serve cobbler warm or cool.