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CULINARY THIRLL SEEKING: Maybe you’ve never really had a peach

Belinda Smith-Sullivan thinks maybe you’ve never had truly real peach experience. I mean the kind of emotional, juicy, sweet experience that makes you cry. Even those Texans who get fresh Hill Country peaches know that some of us just haven’t had that kind of one-on-one contact with a good peach that she writes about in her beautiful cookbook, “Just Peachy.”

Face it, many if us grew up with canned peach halves in syrup. It’s time to branch out.

I have a close connection to peaches from my youth. Every summer I attended Mrs. Outlaw’s sewing club with my mom and grandma and mingled with women who worked on fine needlepoint, sequined Christmas balls and myriad detail work.

The Thursday sessions featured lunch at Mrs. Outlaw’s table sat with silver and fine napkins and I helped get the peach cobbler servings to the table. Those women with health issues got fresh cut peaches and a tiny bit of crust topped with a tad of cream.

Peach cobbler is always a happy memory for me. This book does things with the fuzzy fruit that I had never imagined. Peaches are good for the skin and are said to reduce anxiety. There are more than 300 varietals of peaches in the United States and thousands worldwide. This book has peach facts, peach festival listings and fabulous beyond-the-cobbler recipes.

Hot curry is a thing I’ve had before, also because of Mrs. Outlaw. Other ideas include pecan tomato gazpacho, pick pistachio chicken salad, Peach sweet potato casserole, mustard pork tenderloin and other amazing offerings.

For dessert you can have peach pie, fluff, cobbler, bread pudding, cake and more cake, ice cream and tart.

How about working peek into your corn bread or your omelet?

Here’s a very easy and very tempting one:

 

Peach Salsa

2 cups chopped peaches

1 red bell pepper diced

one half red onion, diced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped mint

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon honey

Pinch of red pepper flakes.

This sweet and tangy sauce is a great accompaniment to any meal, especially baked chicken, grilled pork chops or fish.

In a medium bowl, thoroughly combine the peaches, bell pepper, onions, cilantro, mint, lime juice, honey and pepper flakes. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Store any leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie who aims to feel “just peachy” all year long. Reach her at darraghcastillo@icloud.com