PEACH & RHUBARB FOOL

 

A dessert “fool” is to-die-for. Growing up, my mom would make it entirely with rich whipped cream – health & vanity wise, I couldn’t go there, so I came up with a healthier version. I actually think it’s tastier than the original fat-laden delicacy, and can almost be construed as a “healthful” desert..almost!

What prompted me to have a go at a dessert that I haven’t eaten in 30 odd years, was the fact that my farm box arrived with about fifteen enormous peaches. I love a peach, but 15!!!! So it was either, give them to the neighbors or keep them greedily to myself – I choose the latter, but had to get creative. I saw some wonderful sticks of rhubarb in Wholefoods market and grabbed them quickly, as they’re quite hard to find in LA.

Ah ha – Peaches and Rhubarb – the perfect marriage, and what better a vehicle than a creamy fool.

Peach & Rhubarb Fool

2 large peaches
3 large sticks rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar (white is fine)
2tbsp water
1/2 cup of brown sugar
3tbsp runny honey
1 16oz pot of Greek Yogurt (low-fat if you’re being good.)
1/2 cup heavy cream

Place the peaches in a large measuring jug and cover them with boiling water. Leave them for one minute and then drain off the water. Run them under cold water until you can handle them and then peel off the skins. I use a knife to peel off the little bits of skin than don’t come off easily. Slice and core the peaches and place them in the bowl of your food processor.

Meanwhile, chop the rhubarb and place in a heavy saucepan with the sugar and 2tbsp water. Bring them to a boil and then turn down heat to a low simmer for 15 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft and mushy. Drain the rhubarb in a colander and set aside until cool.

When cool, add the rhubarb mush to the peaches in the food processor. Add the sugar and yogurt and process until smooth.

Whip up the cream until really thick and add this into the mix. Process for another 10 seconds, then pour the “fool” into a large pretty bowl, or individual sherbet glasses to be chilled. Chill for at least 2 hours and then eat the same day. I served mine with Triple Ginger Thins (from Trader Joe’s,) as ginger is a perfect accompaniment for rhubarb. As you can see, Phoebe, is partial to a triple ginger cookie too!

PEACH, PROSCIUTTO & MINT SALAD

It’s so hot around here. I’m fighting off the urge to click on the A/C, but being the green girl that I aspire too – I’m bound and determined to keep it off! I’m also looking at thisĀ  bowl of peaches, (that came in my farm box delivery,) and trying to figure out what to do with them beyond the obvious, which would be a cobbler. I do love a cobbler, but in this heat it’s a no-no. Hmmm – it’s got to be a salad of sorts, and since I have a bag of arugula, it’s got to be a heavenly peach & prosciutto salad with mint, creamy goat cheese and yummy crutons.

I like as many different flavors and textures in a salad as possible. This is the perfect balance of juicy sweet (the peaches,) salty (the prosciutto,) soft (the goat cheese,) and crunchy (the croutons.) It’s also dead easy to throw together in a couple of minutes. It’s perfect for a light Summer lunch or a dinner party appetizer.

The peaches need to be ripe, but not too ripe – so pick the ones that are just soft-to-the-touch. I used wild arugula because the leaves are more delicate and I also threw some micro-greens on top. Please don’t think I’ve gone all fancy and pretentious on you what with the micro-green thing – I simply picked both the wild arugula and the greens up from a Trader Joe’s. If you don’t have a T.J’s near you – you won’t die with regular arugula and no micro-greens! You can also substitute baby spinach leaves for the arugula, but you obviously won’t get that lovely peppery taste, which works so well with this salad.

If you’re vegetarian, this salad won’t be a disaster without the prosciutto – maybe toss some salty almonds on top, so you get the salt with the sweet.

As far as the cheese is concerned, your best bet is to find a real goat cheese that crumbles. Most grocery stores now carry goat cheese “crumbles,” which aren’t as good as when you self-crumble, however, it obviously makes life easier. You could also use feta crumbles.

The one thing you can’t live without is mint. If you’re not already growing it, I urge you to do so as it’s so easy to grow a big planter of it – even on a balcony or tiny patio. It’s wonderful chopped into virtually any salad and takes a simple sparkling water to the next level. Just to be really fancy, I have a regular mint and a chocolate mint in my yard.

The only fiddly part of this recipe is that you really need to peel the peaches – but it’s a small price to pay for a mouthful of heaven.

Peach, Prosciutto & Mint Salad
Serves 2

2 slices of Sourdough bread, cut into mini cubes
1 large peach
4 slices of prosciutto (very thinly slices)
1/2 cup goat cheese or goat cheese crumbles
A couple of sprigs of fresh mint
A handful of micro-greens (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees (says she trying to save energy!!)

Coat the Sourdough cubes in some olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes or until crispy and brown. Transfer them to a paper towel and set aside.

Place your peach in a large measuring jug and cover with boiling water. Leave for 1 minute and then remove and run under cold water. Peel the peach as best you can and if some bits of skin just won’t peel off easily, slice it off with a sharp knife. Cut the peach into 8 segments.

The Dressing:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2tsp balsamic vinegar
1tsp raw honey
1 peach segment
3 mint leaves
Sea salt & pepper to taste.

Simply whizz up the above ingredients in a blender. This is where I could not live without my Magic Bullet Blender. It sits on my counter and gets used gazillions of times a day.

Spread out the arugula leaves on a large plate and add arrange the peaches and cheese. Gently roll the prosciutto slices and place one roll by each peach segment. Add the croutons, and micro-greens. Drizzle the salad with the dressing and top each salad with a sprig of fresh mint.