Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Year in Review: Cooking in North Carolina, Part 2

At the beginning of the week, Dan, Rob, and I went to the closest grocery store in order to stock up on cereal and sandwich provisions and the like for breakfasts and lunches. This grocery store happened to be inside a Super Walmart. When I went to select some fruit for snacks, I was disappointed to see that the peaches were from California. It just didn't make sense to me. When you are in one of the best peach-producing states in the country, at the peak of peach season, why are you shipping peaches from three thousand miles away? Yes, peaches are delicate, and they don't travel well, but it seems like madness to me to waste all that gasoline trucking things across a continent when better-tasting ones are growing an hour away. Okay, rant over.

Since the market wasn't until later in the week, for the first few days we reluctantly snacked on the California peaches, which were firm enough to survive the cross-country trip but frankly not that exciting. When Wednesday finally came around and we could purchase local peaches, they did not disappoint. They were twice the size of the California peaches with one hundred times the flavor. I am not exaggerating. All the peaches I've ever eaten in my life, added up, would not have the impact of a single bite of one of these peaches. It was like eating the sun.

So it was with great reluctance that Dan and I sliced up all these peaches to make gallettes. We briefly debated not serving dessert and eating all the peaches ourselves - they were that good! - but decided that would not be in the spirit of the week. With such excellent main ingredients, I wanted to keep the preparation as simple as possible, so we tossed the peaches with a small amount of brown sugar and a generous dose of cinnamon and piled them on top of roll-out pie crusts, casually folding over the edges to hold in the juices. We baked them at around 400 for twenty-five minutes or so: until the smell was unbearably good and the crusts were golden. We went with gallettes instead of regular pies for a few reasons. One, the open face shows off the beautiful color of the peaches. Two, with peaches that good, who wants a double pie crust? This kept the fruit-to-crust ratio high. And three, there were no pie pans in the rental, so this was also a practical decision that allowed us to use the pans on hand.

The gallettes were served a la mode. Sorry for the lousy final picture: we were in a rush to serve and eat these. I'm sure you can understand.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

The galletes sound like a wonderful choice to showcase those peaches. I agree completely with your rant! My most memorable peaches in a lifetime were from California, actually, but they were in season, grown there and consumed there in July and on offer at the Embarcadero farmers' market in San Francisco. We walked around the market and sampled peaches from every stand that had them on offer and then went back and bought a handful of THE BEST ones and ate them standing up, with juice dripping to our elbows. They were amazing. It was an eye-opening food experience to me; I have always lived in Vermont or New Hampshire and knew the difference between a late-June strawberry from down the road and an essentially flavorless (in comparison) strawberry from the grocery store the rest of the year, but had never had the pleasure of in-season peaches. Hooray for farmers' markets.