In the end I didn't have to use much discernment at all. The choice was a very natural one.
The remaining peaches from our most prolific peach tree--all peeled and chopped, with their slices filling a nice-sized bowl--measured only five cups: no more. I knew I could get only one ample peach dish from the batch awaiting me in my refrigerator. I had to make it count.
The crop from our next tree wasn't ripe yet, so this current supply would have to get a big bang for its buck. (My June 7 blog, "When crop is smaller than expected, selective use can still impress the taste buds", mentioned this dilemma.)
It wasn't enough for peach jam or peach preserves, which were high on my wish-list for this summer but certainly not possible with only five cups of peaches at the ready.
I leafed through the peach section of my recipe album. What called for five cups? A fajita cookout in our back yard the next day needed a dessert prepared by me. Our garden's peach tree that would be responsible for this yield could entertain compliments with guests dining only a stone's throw away on the deck. What food item would be just perfect for our meal?
Then it hit me. Our Sunday event was to be held to celebrate new beginnings. Two young people--Ishmael and Crystal--were being baptized during Sunday church. We had invited their family to the cookout afterward in honor of this special occasion--a very key decision to trust Christ as Savior that Ishmael had made in 2008 and his sister, Crystal, had made just a few weeks ago. Both testified they were ready for a fresh start as they had asked Jesus into their hearts and lives.
Last summer we celebrated new beginnings as well--as our cousin Lynda and her fiance George tied the knot after an extended courtship. One Sunday afternoon both of them, who as single parents separately had been rearing children alone, had visited our home to ask Louis to perform their wedding ceremony and unite their families. During their visit I served everyone "Quick Peach Cobbler" to acclaim the first peaches from our new trees since our entire peach orchard had been wiped out in the deluge of May 2007. It marked new beginnings for our peach grove, also.
"Quick Peach Cobbler" called for five cups of peeled peaches--the exact amount that I had on hand this time, too. My new-beginnings recipe would serve its purpose once again. The dish lives up to its name--quick to prepare, especially considering the outrageously tasty results. And the aroma in my kitchen as the bubbling peach dish materialized in the oven . . . it was my Aunt Bonnie's kitchen all over again from summers of my childhood when I would visit her on the farm and help her peel that week's yield of her peach trees.
"Quick Peach Cobbler", featured in my new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden in a chapter called "To Love, Honor, and Surprise" about Lynda and George's wedding, turned out to be a wonderful addition to yesterday afternoon's victory celebration in our back yard. Crystal and Ishmael were brimming with joy after being buried with Christ in baptism and raised to walk in newness of life. In front of their family members, some of whom were just starting to contemplate whether they might need to make commitments to Christ, this brother and sister were bold in their newfound faith and had no regrets.
Members of the church choir, on learning of Crystal and Ishmael's decisions, taken a special interest in them, prayed for them, and graciously sent along some desserts to accompany our fajita dinner. The choristers had furnished two chocolate sheet cakes, a plate of brownies, a pecan pie, and a lemon poppyseed Bundt--but no peach cobbler, so my "new-beginnings" dessert settled into a place of honor on the table. And when one guest asked me, "Did you say the peaches for this were picked from that tree just a few days ago?", I made sure I said "yes" loud enough for the parent tree to overhear. It had done itself proud.
Quick Peach Cobbler
sugar (we used sugar substitute)
5 cups sliced and peeled peaches
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup sugar (w used sugar substitute)
1 large egg, beaten (we used egg substitute)
1/2 cup butter (we used unsalted butter)
ice cream or whipped topping (we used no-sugar added topping)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl place sliced peaces. Sprinkle sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg on top of sliced peaches. Toss to mix. Place mixture in greased 9-by-9-inch baking dish. Mix 1 cup self-rising flour, 1 cup sugar, and egg to a crumb-like texture. Pour over layer of peaches in baking dish Melt butter and drizzle over crumb topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until top turns brown and crusty. Serve hot or cold, plain or with ice cream or whipped topping Serves 6-8.