Sunday, August 31, 2008

Peachy Keen, Thanks For Asking

I was a very picky child. In fact, I was a very picky adolescent and young adult. Until about 5 years ago, I'd never tasted many basic foods. I'll save myself the shame of listing them here, but suffice it to say, tomatoes were there.

When I met Jeff he started exposing (read: force-feeding) me to many foods. At first the thought of curry or cucumbers terrified me, but that ridiculousness soon passed. Over time, and especially since I found the joy in cooking, I've come to learn that food isn't scary. In fact, it's amazing and delicious.

Nothing makes me happier than strolling through the grocery store or one of Toronto's numerous markets. Especially at harvest time. There's something extremely exciting about stalls full of local fruits and vegetables. It makes you swell with pride for the rich land and skilled hands that work it. You find yourself maniacally filling bags with rutabaga, swiss chard and other things you have no idea what to do with. It's like a culinary smash-and-grab, utter panic, feeling winter at our backs, knowing we'd better damn well enjoy this feast before we're back to food that tastes like truck.

Before driving up to the cottage this weekend, we went to St. Lawrence Market to stock pile fresh meat and produce. On Saturdays the market spills out on Front Street, around the corner and down Jarvis too. Buildings and makeshift tents full of local produce quiver, the smell of manure still pungent in the air. Purple potatoes and thick, amazing pints of berries everywhere.

But there's nothing quite like the local August peach. Fuzzy and sweet, heaped in baskets and little green boxes. My dear friend T.J. made the most delicious-sounding meal a couple of weeks ago, the details of which I can't remember because his dessert took my breath away.

BBQ Roasted Peaches with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

1) Slice a ripe local peach in half and remove the pit.
2) Brush with oil (I used canola; I wouldn't recommend anything with much flavour) and place on the grill for five minutes. Low heat.
3) Turn that beauty over and fill the pit-spot with brown sugar, dust with cinnamon and let it roast a little longer. Another 5 minutes or so. (I bet a dash of fresh minced ginger or a sprinkling of nutmeg would be nice too.)
4) Remove from the heat and mound with your favourite vanilla ice cream.
5) Eat it and remember the moment forever.


  1. I remember taking you out for dinner once, telling you to order anything on the menu. You ordered chicken fingers.

  2. What I like most about your comment is the implication that we went somewhere "fancy", by way of "Order anything on the menu, it's on me, baby" and this was an establishment that offered chicken fingers.

    You're hilarious.

  3. Well, it was the Elephant and Castle. So ... hardly Susur, but they DID have steak, and curry, and stew. Interesting things. The fact that they also had chicken fingers shouldn't take away from that! They have to put those on the menu, for people who think shepherd's pie sounds too exotic.

    PS: It WAS on me.

  4. You are BOTH hilarious.

    I want you to know I have just "poached" that recipe and added it to my file.
    I just wish I had a bar-b-q!

  5. It's difficult to imagine that someone who loves to cook like you grew up not knowing what a tomato or a cucumber tasted like.
    But I am glad, however, you started exploring foods and flavors to share with your readers.

  6. This color block incorporated into the photo phase is interesting...

    I can't believe you were ever not an adventurous eater!

  7. I was a fussy child too. Perhaps mushroom appreciation is in your future