Cathy of Showfood Chef selected my entry in the last Paper Chef Challenge as the winner (though I thought it was a toss-up), so I get to select the ingredients for this month. Whoo-hoo! Her reasoning involved my interest in seasonality (as well as in local food, which goes hand-in-hand with my seasonal focus). I’m fortunate to live in an area (east coast US) where there is an abundance of locally grown produce, including a nice selection in my kitchen garden. This week at the farmers’ market, I came across new white peaches, the first of our summer season. Since the heat is fierce, everyone needs cool refreshment, so I’m posting a white peach sorbet for you below.
Paper Chef is the longest running food challenge in the blogosphere and takes place over the first full weekend of each month. The hosts, Ilva from Luculllian Delights and Mikey of Spikey Mikey’s, post a bunch of ingredients that the audience can add to. The month’s guest host chooses three at random and adds a fourth and an optional theme. You can substitute an ingredient if you can’t or won’t eat it or can’t get it. However, please choose something close. You can make a single dish or an ensemble. Sometimes the ingredients are obviously compatible and other times, serious creative thinking is in order. (There have been a few pretty unlikely combos but the creative participants somehow come up with great ideas, which is the fun of this challenge.)
For this month’s theme, I had in mind — you guessed it — “seasonality.” This was even before I selected the ingredients. And then I realized that participants in Paper Chef come from all over the world. Ilva lives in Italy, Mikey in Australia, for example. So where some may have spring or summer, others have fall or winter. Luckily, I think this month’s four ingredients are generally available in some form or other. So here goes:
Number one: RASPBERRIES. I’m glad to choose a fruit since so many seasonal ones were on the list.
Number two: ZUCCHINI/COURGETTES. Well, that’s seasonal here too. So far so good.
Number three: BEANS. Hmmm. Paper Chef didn’t say what kind — fresh or dried — so it’s your choice.
Number four, my addition: CEREAL GRAINS. By cereal grains I don’t mean flour (which was on the list but still in the pot I picked from) but ingredients like rice, farro, spelt, barley, cracked wheat, quinoa, wild rice, etc. I’m not splitting hairs about the horticultural definition of what constitutes a cereal grain, but I think you’ll know what I mean.
Post your entry on your blog and e-mail the link to paperchefATgmailDOTcom. firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight your time on Tuesday July 13. If you don’t have a blog, e-mail your entry to the Paper Chef address and it will be posted. Please participate and have fun!
Meanwhile, here’s your dessert. I could have used those raspberries for a garnish à la Melba!
WHITE PEACH SORBET
White peaches are actually pink, at least mine are, but are distinct from the more common yellow peaches. I have made sorbet from yellow peaches poached in vanilla syrup (simple syrup with vanilla beans added), leaving the peaches in large pieces. However, I did not want to overcook these delicate white peaches, preferring as fresh a taste as possible. So, after I made the simple syrup, I pureed the peaches with some lemon juice, mostly to preserve color but also to make the taste a little sprightly. I added the puree to the simple syrup and cooked it barely at all. This was pure peach, but I can imagine adding herbs or spices, or even another fruit, for variation. Because there was enough body to the peach pulp (and because I added a little light corn syrup), this sorbet stayed creamy. You could add peach brandy instead of the corn syrup. Both serve to diminish iciness.
Here’s the recipe:
6-8 white peaches (enough for about 2 cups puree)
Juice of 1 lemon
½ c water
½ c sugar
1 tbsp light corn syrup (or use peach brandy, or vodka)
Peel the peaches. (Slip them into boiling water for a second, plunge them in ice water, and slip the skins off.) Remove the pits, cut the peaches into large chunks and puree them in a food processor with the lemon juice.
Bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the peach puree and bring the mixture back to the boil. Remove from heat and cool thoroughly. Refrigerate until very cold and process in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.