IT’S PEACH TIME IN NORTHWEST OHIO
Unfortunately, the harsh winter in this part of the country damaged the crop in Michigan and Ohio. An Archbold grower told me that his tree never blossomed. The good news is that Chief’s peaches from Georgia and Alabama have been wonderful and I’ve been buying them to make all my favorite peach desserts. It took some talking to convince shoppers to choose a peach that was still firm to the touch; instead buy ones that are beginning to yellow at the stem end. I’m also partial to freestone rather than clingstone varieties that are usually commercially canned.
Bryan Chief shoppers were served Fresh Peach Crisp in July. I had the option of using 1/2 or 1 cup brown sugar in the topping and 1/2 cup or 1 cup granulated sugar in the peach mixture and in both cases I used the minimum amount. Too much sugar masks the flavor of the fruit.
FRESH PEACH CRISP
• 1/2 cup quick cooking oatmeal
• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup (half stick) butter
• 2-1/2 lbs. medium peaches (8 or 9), peeled and sliced
• 1 tablespoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add butter and mix with pastry blender. Mix sliced peaches with sugar. Spoon into 2-quart oblong glass baking dish. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over fruit. Bake the crisp uncovered in a preheated 350ºF for 40 minutes or until fruit is tender. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Recipe can be made with other fruits.
WHY YOU SHOULD BUY FRESH SWEET CORN AT CHIEF
It is wise to buy it at Chief because it is stored and sold in a chilled environment. At our farmers’ market I don’t see any ice around and when sweet corn gets warm the sugar converts to starch and is no longer ‘sweet’ corn. Lugibihl Farm in Elida furnishes all the sweet corn sold at Chief Supermarkets so buy it with confidence knowing it is the freshest and sweetest it can be!
BEWARE OF WATER QUACKERY
Perhaps because we can’t live without it, water has attracted countless hucksters over the years, who claim their special waters can raise your energy levels, reverse aging, prevent cancer and so on. For an entertaining debunking of “water related pseudoscience, fantasy and quackery,” check out this website: www.chem1.com/CQ, written by a retired professor of physical chemistry at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.
Source: University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Letter, August 2014.
WHAT IS PURSLANE?
Purslane may not be at the top of your list when you shop for greens but there is very good reason to put it there. For one, it is versatile since you can eat it raw or cooked. Second, it’s surprisingly nutritious. Third, it tastes pretty good. Perhaps better known in America’s earlier days, Martha Washington’s family cookbook contained a recipe for pickled purslane. This green vegetable with succulent little leaves has been regaining its popularity in recent years, thanks to its promotion by foodies, farmers markets and fancy restaurants. It’s also said to have been Gandhi’s favorite food and is a staple of the traditional Mediterranean diet, especially in Crete. Also called little hogweed, purslane is common throughout North America, India and other parts of the world. Among green plants, purslane is one of the best sources of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fat. One cup cooked has only 20 calories and 90 milligrams of calcium. It also supplies some vitamin C, beta carotene, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium along with phytochemicals (including flavonoids and terpenes) glutathione (a potent antioxidant) and pectin (a soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol. Purslane is similar to spinach but has a mildly sour and slightly lemony and peppery flavor. You can use the raw crisp leaves in salads or sandwiches or slightly steam or stir-fry them. Don’t overcook it though because like okra, it gets slimy, due to the pectin.
Source: BerkeleyWellness.com, August 2014.
GROWN IN USA WATERMELON
Some will argue that watermelons with seeds have a better flavor but I prefer seedless. This recipe called for Kraft Balsamic Vinaigrette but since I never use any dressing with MSG, I replaced it with Marzetti Simply Dressed Balsamic Vinaigrette available in the Chief produce department. Although an unusual combination, most Bryan Chief tasters liked it.
• 3 cups chopped watermelon in 3/4 inch chunks, well drained
• 1 cup chopped seedless cucumbers (1/4-inch chunks)
• 1 (4-oz) container Athenos Traditional Crumbled Feta Cheese
• 2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint
• 2 tablespoons Marzetti Simply Dressed Balsamic Vinaigrette
Combine ingredients and chill before serving to blend flavors.