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Peach melomel by ted_major
Peach melomel, a photo by ted_major on Flickr.

Wow . . . without a doubt the best mead I’ve ever made. Sure wish I’d made more than a gallon–it’s gonna go fast, and it’s a long time until I’ll be able to make any more.

To make one gallon:

Heat water & honey to a simmer, let cool and add to fermenter with peaches. Pitch yeast and ferment to completion.

Bottle, chill & enjoy.

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Every year about this time, when the weather gets hot and the peaches are ripe, my mind turns to Granny’s Peach-Gin freeze.

Unfortunately, this year our local grocery store has stopped carrying the 6-oz can of frozen limeade that is the base for so many frozen drinks. Not to be deterred, I figured out a substitute.

No-concentrate Peach-Gin Freeze

  • 3 peaches, washed, pitted, and cut into chunks (no need to peel)
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup (recipe below)
  • 6 oz (3/4 cup) gin
  • Ice to fill blender pitcher

Add peaches, lime, simple syrup, and gin to blender and puree. Add ice and blend until smooth. Enjoy.

Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar (turbinado or demerrara gives an extra bit of color and flavor)
  • 1/2 cup water

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to boil while stirring. Remove from heat and let cool.

OK, so it’s not really ice cream, not having cream, but it’s the easiest ice cream you’ll ever make: there’s only one ingredient. This is a great way to use those slightly over-ripe brown bananas if you don’t feel like making banana bread. When the bananas get too brown throw them in the freezer, and once you have 3 or 4 stocked up, it’s time to make ice cream.

Take a few frozen bananas, cut them in half lengthwise, and remove the peels. Break them into a few chunks, put them in a food processor, and process until smooth. You’ll have a frozen banana puree with the consistency of homemade ice cream. If you like, you can add a bit of honey, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Would would be good, as my dear wife points out, is to mix in some chocolate chips once you’re done pureeing, or maybe some chocolate sauce, or maybe even both.

Claire’s weekly treat for Christopher’s preschool class:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 large bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup butter or applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla or 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Combine bananas, sugar, egg, apple sauce (or butter), and vanilla (or cinnamon). Fold in flour. Mix until smooth, and scoop into mini muffin tins.

Bake 12-13 minutes.


Peach-Gin Freeze

I learned many things from my grandmother–how to make corn pones, gravy, and cornbread dressing. But this time of year, the one that comes to mind most often is Granny’s Peach-Gin Freeze. (It’s amazing what you can learn from your Baptist grand mother who lives in a dry county.)

In a blender, combine 2 large or 4 small peaches (pitted but not peeled), one 6-oz. can of frozen limeade, 6 oz. gin (measure with the limeade can), and ice to fill. Blend until smooth.

Originally uploaded by ted_major

This recipe is based on one from a Tuscaloosa News article by local chef Billy Kistler for the “Table for $20” column.

2 pork tenderloins
worcestershire sauce
soy sauce
liquid smoke
2 mangoes
1 small onion
1 sweet red pepper
1 bunch cilantro
1 lime
1 cup jasmine rice
ancho chile powder
cumin
garlic powder
salt
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400F.

First, marinate the tenderloins. Place in a gallon ziplock with roughly equal parts worcerstershire and soy (I used about 10 dashes each) and a splash of liquid smoke.

Next, make the salsa: chop the mangoes, onion (I used a really small one, so go with half an onion here), pepper, and ciantro. Toss together and then add the juice and zest of the mango. Set aside.

Boil 2 cups water and add 1 cup jasmine rice. After 15 minutes, add ancho chile powder, cumin, garlic powder, and salt to taste. Stir well, and add the black beans. Cover, and let cook another 5 minutes to heat the beans.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in an ovenproof skillet and brown the tenderloins (about 10 minutes). Then roast 10 more minutes in the oven.

Let the pork rest 10 minutes, then slice and serve over black bean and rice mixture and top with salsa (don’t be skimpy–use more salsa than the photo shows).


Oatmeal-Banana-Raisin Cookies

Originally uploaded by ted_major

• 1/2 cup canola
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1 banana, mashed
• 2 eggs
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1-1/2 cups white whole wheat flour, such as Wheat Montana Prairie Gold
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 3 cups oatmeal
• 1 cup currants (or raisins)

Preheat oven to 350F (use convection if you have it).

Combine oil, sugar, and banana, whisking until well mixed. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk again. Fold in flour, soda, and cinnamon. Add oatmeal and currants, and stir until well mixed.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake 10 minutes or to your liking.

banana bread

From an email from Mom: “Here is the banana bread recipe. I must have made this every week when you and Claire were little. This was Aunt Helen’s recipe. I added the bran and wheat germ to keep you healthy!”

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 3 very ripe bananas mashed
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teas. Soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Optional: 3 T. bran and 2 T. wheat germ (or use white whole wheat flour)

Beat eggs and sugar, add butter and bananas, mix well. Add flour and other dry ingredients. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake in a slow oven, 265 degrees for about 45 minutes (In my oven, it takes 1:15 to 1:30).

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 Tbs turbinado sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tbs canola oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Milk to make a total of 7/8 cup liquid

Preheat oven to 425F. Use convection if you have it.

Combine dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Combine liquid ingredients in a measuring cup and stir until it emulsifies. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until mixed.

Turn out onto a  floured counter. Knead gently and divide into two pieces. Shape each piece into a round and pat to about 1/2″ thick. Cut each round into 6 wedges and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown–it’ll take an extra minute or two if you’re not using convection.

Peach & Prosciutto Pizza


Peach-Prosciutto Pizza

Originally uploaded by ted_major
To start things off , here’s the peach & prosciutto pizza we cooked tonight:

1 recipe Cento pronto pizza dough (I use 2/3 c. water and 1 tbs oil)
olive oil to drizzle
1 peach, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
2 slices prosciutto, chopped
5 oz goat cheese
fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 550F.

Make pizza dough, and roll out into an appropriately sized round. Drizzle with olive oil.

Spread peach on the pizza, then sprinkle with prosciutto, goat cheese, and rosemary.

Bake until crust is golden brown.