Peaches! May is the month for locally grown peaches and a big deal at our house. The kids and I like to schlep out to Schnepf Farms (in Queen Creek) and pick our own, which apart from being fun, also pretty much guarantees us more peaches than we know what to do with.
After a couple years of peach inundation, I learned to combat our picking enthusiasm in two ways. First, we call family and several friends and ask them if they would like peaches and how much ... before we go picking. We eat them fresh with cereal and snack on them a lot and with whatever mass of peaches is left over, we break out the peach recipes.
One of the easiest things I make with peaches is chunky peach sauce. The first year we picked peaches (and, of course, too many of them) we went out for the Peach Festival, picked peaches and then went and had the festival breakfast. Turned out to be quite a hot day, so by the time we got home our peaches were literally half cooked from sitting in the trunk of the car. Oops! Now what? Well, on the plus side they peeled very easily. I threw a couple of peach crisps in the oven, and ended up dicing most of the rest of them into a big pot, cooking them with sugar to the desired sweetness, lemon juice to retain the color and some almond extract and a dash of nutmeg. Thickened with arrowroot and then, voilà! A chunky peach sauce that was perfect over pancakes and waffles. It's one of the wing-it things I now do with the peaches every year. It also freezes well so it is nice to have on hand.
I make peach crisp rather than peach pie because it calls for five cups of peaches, and I don't have to deal with pie crust. Pie crust and I don't seem to get along.
• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Lori Rossi began collecting recipes at age 14, but her real love affair with cooking started after picking up a December 1989 Bon Appetit magazine. Today, she shares her love of the kitchen with her two kids, Nathan, 11, and Nicole, 8. Contact her with a question or idea at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5 cups peaches, peeled and sliced
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or ginger
1/4 cup butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss peaches with sugar, place in 8-inch-by-11/2-inch-round baking dish.
For topping combine oats, brown sugar, flour and spice. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (you can do this in a food processor, just be careful not to over process).
Sprinkle topping over the peaches. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until peaches are tender and topping is golden.
Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.