Friday, September 9, 2011

Pick a peck of peaches

Yup, a whole peck.  Or was it a half peck?  A bushel? God knows. In any event, I picked an enormous amount of peaches last week.  I was up at our summer place in northern MI last week with my sweet darling cousin Helena and equally darling mother (and father- hi Dad!) and the three of us girls took a little field trip to King Orchards to pick some end-of-season Red Haven peaches.  (Think this variety may be native to northern Michigan as we'd never heard of them before and were initially skeptical.  Needn't have been.  They were AMAZING.  Yes, the ALL CAPS kind of delicious).  King Orchards is a pretty sweet spread in Central Lake and, in addition to peaches, grows a variety of equally mouth-watering looking summer treats. 

Before I left for the lake, I tucked the latest issue (November, maybe?) of Cooks Illustrated (an absolute must-read for anyone serious about cooking) into my bag.  I brought it because I figured I'd have plein de free time up at the lake, and because it features a positively dreamy looking recipe for a peach cake. (I know the magazine has restrictions on the content you can see online if you aren't a subscriber, but I'll post the recipe as soon as I can get it typed out).  Enter, the peck/half-peck/bushel/whatever it's called of peaches:
Don't these look tasty!??
Turns out that we weren't so hot at sussing out and picking the ripest peaches- since it was the last day of the season and most of the trees had been pretty picked over (or because we knew next to nothing about peach picking- either way).  Fortunately, a run-in with a few migrant workers helped point us in the right direction.  (See Helena picking below- the girl knows her peaches! And look how cute she looks in that tree! What a natural!)
Going for the gold
    And me, looking awkward after Anne insisted on a photo shoot:
That, unfortunately, was hands down the best of the bunch.  Several other photos were action shots where the camera was moving but I was not and others featured little slivers (ok, big slivers) of fingers in the corners.  

Lucky for us, all was not lost.  We made an over the top delicious, lick your plate and ask for seconds- peach cake. Oh hey there, peachy:


 The cake was just fabulous.  It enveloped 2.5 lbs of peaches (pounds!) and was melt-in-your-mouth peachy goodness. And it was even better a la mode! 

We had sooo many peaches and a girl can only make so many peach cakes (I made two in two days, but easily could have eaten them for weeks on end).  Thanks to the helpful migrant workers, the peaches were all extremely ripe the second we pulled them off the branch- so we had to think of clever ways to use up all of those peaches, pronto!  Um, hello- peach daiquiris.  Bien sûr! I didn't have a chance to take any pictures since we basically chugged them but wanted to pass along the recipe to all of you while fresh peaches are still to be had.

Torch Lake Peach Daiquiris
3 ripe peaches, pitted and cut into wedges
6 oz (half a can)  limeade 
6 oz rum
3 oz Triple Sec
Ice (about 2 cups)
Put the first four ingredients in the blender and then fill the rest of the blender with ice.  Make sure you have plenty of fixins' on hand because you'll definitely want more than one! Note- if tequila's more your speed, you can easily substitute for the rum and make peach margaritas.  Yum yum!  

On that note, I'm off to the store to pick up some peaches.. It's 5 o'clock somewhere, right JB?

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