Monday, August 16, 2010

That's just Peachy!

Did you know that August is National Peach Month??  I didn't until I was reading about it on The Pioneer Woman's blog.  That works well with the delectable recipes I am going to tell you about.

A few weeks ago the Hubbins and I went to see a friend in St. Louis.  We were going to a "Peachfest" we were excited to try some peachy recipes as the friend told us that people (unidentified to us at the time) go out, pick peaches, and then make recipes that include peaches.  So we were thinking this Peachfest was a small town tradition (since we are familiar with small towns this didn't sound so odd to us, our small town has a "Pioneer Days" weekend in October).

We get to the location of's a house, not a town center or even an we're pulling up I looked at Hubbins and said "Is this a family reunion?"  I believe he was coming to the same realization and said "I am starting to think that it is...".  I panicked, I didn't bring anything to share, no chips or salsa, no beer, not even a peach (I did almost buy peach rings at the gas station on the way, but I thought I'd get laughed at).  All I had in my hands was a cup of coffee, and I wasn't ready to share that with anyone (sorry!).  The day ended up being great and we enjoyed getting to catch up with Hubbins' friend and her family.

Not the best of pictures 
it was hard to capture
the handwritten note.
After all was said and done we ate some pretty yummy food, more than I ever thought you could make with a peach.  I guess I was expecting a lot of desserts, but we were greeted with an abundance of peach recipes, appetizers, meat dishes, and desserts.  About two weeks after Peachfest we get an e-mail containing the official "2010 Peachfest Recipe Book".  That night we decided that we would like to make a peachy dinner.  We settled on the Bourbon Salmon with Peach Avocado Salsa and a Wild Rice Salad (with peaches), so we went to the grocery store and got the supplies for the fish and rice salad.  The dishes turned out really well and I got this message on the white board where I write all of our weekly dinner choices.

I ended up preparing the Bourbon marinade for the Salmon in the evening the night before we were going to eat the dinner.  I let the fish marinade overnight and the next day I finished preparing the rest of the food.  The rice I made in the early afternoon and let it cool completely so that it would be ready for the "salad" preparations.  The Peach Avocado Salsa was sooo yummy, we tried it on chips as well as the salmon, it goes well alone or together with the Bourbon Salmon.  A few things I learned during the peachy process:
  • Fat free Feta cheese tastes like crap - sorry if anyone out there enjoys fat free Feta, but Hubbins and I both tried it and spat it out the second it hit our tongues.  The particular brand I had purchased was hard as a rock and not very good.  I later looked at the nutritional value of regular Feta and decided that it is not that bad for us, so we will stick to that.  Oh, since I had deemed the fat free crap not worthy to cook with I sent Hubbins to the store to get more.  "My hero!" hehe
  • My Hero earlier this year when he had to come and
    capture a snake for me from my parents' basement.
  • When wanting something to be more spicy than a recipe calls for, that is fine, but keep in mind where those spices fall on the salmon.  For example, I probably used twice as much red pepper flakes as the recipe called for and it just so happens that the piece I cut for myself was the piece that had the most on it when place it into the pan to cook, therefore causing me to yell after taking my first bite because it was too spicy...Yeah Hubbins didn't agree - I'm still a whimp when it comes to spices.  :)
  • Prepare the Wild Rice Salad and the Peach Avocado Salsa ahead of time and refrigerate.  This lets the flavors marry up together really well.  I tried both immediately after preparing them and I wasn't satisfied.  I popped them in the fridge for a few hours and by dinner time they tasted much better!
  • Check the fish before turning off the burner.  I figured that even if it wasn't completely done letting it sit on the burner covered for a few more minutes while we ate our salads the cooking process would be complete.  Almost but not quite.  And I'm sure you can eat Salmon slightly under done, but we are not fans of that, so I had to turn the burner back on thereby burning all remnants of the Bourbon marinade onto the pan.  At least it made it easy to get the fish into a container for leftovers, the skin burnt right onto the pan and the meat pulled up easily.
Now for the recipes...

Peach Avocado Salsa (with or without shrimp)

2 medium-sized fresh peaches, peeled and diced (I used on larger fresh peach)
1 large tomato, diced (I also seeded my tomato)
1 medium-sized avocado (not too ripe), diced (not too ripe is key, this is a salsa not a guacamole)
1 Tbsp minced red onion
1 Tbsp lime juice (I used the juice of one lime)
1 tsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
2 packages small precooked salad shrimp (I didn't use the shrimp, we just wanted to peach/avocado goodness)

Serve with tortilla chips or on top of Bourbon Salmon.

Peach Avocado Salsa
Wild Rice Salad

2 C wild rice*
Chicken or vegetable broth (substitute for the water called for in the wild rice mix)
4 scallions, finely chopped
1 C finely chopped fresh herbs (whatever you have on hand, I had parsley and basil)
2 C diced, seeded tomatoes (or cherry/grape cut in half) (I did not seed my cherry tomatoes)
2 C crumbled feta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
6 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, or to taste
¾ C olive oil
1 ½ chopped peaches (I used one large peach, you can either peel or keep the skin on the peaches)

*Follow directions on the package for making 2 cups of wild rice using chicken or vegetable broth instead of water.  Remove from heat & allow rice to cool completely.  Combine cooled rice, scallions, herbs, tomato, and feta.  Toss to combine.  In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar (I didn't measure my olive oil or balsamic - we decided there was just a little too much oil so I ended up making an extra cup of long grain rice and mixing it in with the salad I had already prepared to soak up some of the extra oil).  Pour dressing over rice mixture and stir to coat thoroughly.  Mix in chopped peaches.  Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Wild Rice Salad with Peaches
Bourbon Salmon
¼ C reduced-sodium soy sauce
¼ C Bourbon (we used some Maker's Mark whiskey, I let Hubbins pick it out)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp red pepper flakes (kick it up a notch and use more if you want more spice)
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salmon fillets, boneless and skinless (I used one Salmon fillet and kept the skin on)

Combine all ingredients, but the salmon in a medium bowl.  Put salmon in a bag and pour marinade and turn to coat.  Refrigerate 2 – 8 hours (I kept mine in the fridge for about 24 hours).  Bake or grill until done (I used a grill pan, which worked out well, but I had to cover the pan with foil in order to prevent the juices from evaporating too quickly).  Top with Peach Avocado Salsa.

The whole shebang!
Wild Rice Salad and Bourbon Salmon
with Peach Avocado Salsa
I believe this dish will become a regular on our dinner choice list.  Hubbins really liked the fish, and I'm super excited that everything turned out so well.  I was thoroughly surprised that the salsa went great with the Bourbon marinade (I think we both missed the salsa at Peachfest and just had the Salmon).  I'm interested in trying this salmon on either the grill or broiled, I was too afraid that I'd end up with a flambe in the oven if I attempted to broil the fish, or maybe I'll just try to bake the fish.

Enjoy your peaches this month!

Bon Appetit!

1 comment:

  1. OMG this looks so good!!!! I am SO making this soon! Thanks for sharing!