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[See more Recipe articles]

Baked Peaches or Pears with Ginger Snaps and Chocolate

Rural Intelligence Food
 
Local peaches and pears are in. Eat them out of hand until you can’t stand it. Today I stuffed them with ginger cookies, almonds and chocolate. They barely made it to the fridge, but they’re good warm or cold.—Amy Cotler, author of

The Locavore Way, Discover and Enjoy the Pleasures of Locally Grown Food
 
 
1 ounce ginger snap cookies (5 small, 4 large)
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips or grated chocolate
1 tablespoon brandy or cognac
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg yolk (small egg, if possible)
2 firm-ripe pears or peaches (cling free peaches*)
1 teaspoon butter, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Pulse cookies, almonds and chocolate in the food processor until they are crumb sized. (Don’t over process. Better too large than too small.) Transfer to a small bowl and add the rum, sugar and egg yolk. Mix thoroughly.

3. For peaches, cut them in half and remove the pits. For pears, cut them in half lengthwise; scoop out the core with a spoon. To make room for the filling, scoop out about a tablespoon at the center of peach or pear half. Finely chop the scooped out flesh and add to the ginger-chocolate mixture. Spoon a little of the filling into each half. Then top each with the optional butter, either chopped or shaved thin.

4. Place stuffed fruit in an oven-proof dish and bake for 45 minutes or until the filling firms up and forms a crust. Let cool. Transfer to a serving dish.

*Late season peaches are usually cling-free, meaning that you can cut around the pit and pull the two halves apart easily.
 
Today’s Personal Produce Rant
Eat produce for its flavor, not its caché. At least in principle, no one is opposed to biodiversity, but I have a pet peeve about the growing popularity of varieties that don’t cut the mustard. (Especially when old favorites are fneglected.) Give me GREEN beans like meaty Roma varieties. Like white asparagus, yellow beans miss the point—we like them for their green beany flavor.

Seedless watermelon, don’t get me started—all sweet, no watermelon flavor. The same for super-sweet corn, which isn’t corny enough for my taste. Instead, savor heirloom varieties right after they are picked, but before they turn to starch. (Supersweet doesn’t get starchy, because it’s designed to get sweeter over time, but tastes like saccharrin.) And, while fashionable white peaches are excellent for their subtlety, where’s their acidic bite? Gone flat. Yellow tomatoes have less acid, true, and some are extraordinary, I agree, but a good Brandywine screams, “I’m red, ripe, and have swallowed the sun!
 
Know Your Farmer

We’ve got a long road ahead of us, as big-agribusiness still rules the roost. But this excellent website is packed with good information tipping us in the right direction, including a September 14 article, Scientists Agree: Toward Sustainable Agriculture Systems in the 21st Century. (Took ‘em long enough!)

This website recognizes the importance of regional food systems with direct farm to consumer sales, and that’s good news for us all. Direct sales have increased from $551 million in 1997 to $1.2 billion in 2007, with Massachusetts leading the way. These kinds of sales—in CSAs, farm stands and farmers markets—are about relationships between people, not corporations, and that builds more humane communities. Direct sales also leave more dough in farmers’ hands and fresher food on consumer’ tables. They also boost local economies, because food dollars stay close home, rather than being shipped out to corporate headquarters. All good.

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 09/29/10 at 05:15 AM • Permalink