Like a lot of you, I’m really trying to hold on to those last few days of summer. I’m still enjoying the harvest from the garden on my deck, eating outside whenever I have the opportunity and going to the farmer’s market every week, because soon when I’m bundled up and facing the Chicago winter, those moments will seem like a distant memory.
I recently spent a few days in Denver, Colorado. While driving through the Red Rocks, there was a farm stand on the side of the road. One of my friends asked if I liked peaches. That was an easy “yes”. Then she asked if I had ever had a Palisades Peach. A what?! I’d never ever heard of a Palisades Peach. Turns out Palisades Peaches are a big deal in Colorado. The season for Palisade peaches is late July to mid-September. There are peach festivals, lots of canning, and the coronation of a Peach Queen – Colorado is really giving Georgia a run for it’s money. Word on the street is that the warm days and cool nights really help to develop the sugar in the fruit and help make them the talk of the town, or state! I knew I’d be in big trouble with my fiancé if I even mentioned the idea of carrying peaches home on the plane, so as soon as I got home, I headed to the farmer’s market to find peaches. Granted, they weren’t Palisades Peaches, but I knew they’d help support my efforts of making summer last as long as I possibly could.
Peaches in hand, I grabbed some fresh basil from my deck garden. I thought about making a salad, but realized that might not be possible in the middle of winter, so instead I decided to whip up a quickbread that will help you get that taste of summer all year round.
Peach Basil Bread
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon TCB #1 (fine) salt
4 peaches (or 2 cups) diced (I like to cut the “cheeks” or 4 sides off, slice, cut into julienne (strips) and then crosswise for a dice!)
1/4 cup basil, chiffonade (roll up the leave like a cigar and slice – they’ll cut into ribbons!)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan.
3. In a medium bowl, mix sugar, milk, oil, egg and vanilla bean paste.
4. In a separate medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and fine salt.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients.
6. Fold in diced peaches gently, so as not to smash them.
7. Fold in basil.
8. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until knife comes out clean.
9. Allow the bread to cool for 30 minutes before slicing.
I know you’ll be hooked once you try this Peach Basil Bread. It makes the perfect breakfast, snack or not-super-sweet dessert and will have you thinking about summer all year long! If you can’t get your hands on fresh peaches, you can certainly used canned peaches, just be sure to drain off any liquid so that they are as dry as possible. Pro-tip: like most quick breads, this bread freezes really well, so you can have it on hand for whenever the mood moves you.
Speaking of extending summer, we have some great classes coming up that will have you enjoying those last few days of warm weather. Check out the last of our patio classes at Lincoln Square including:
And if you’re in the market for fine salt, a loaf pan, vanilla bean paste, or anything else baking related, stop by and see us at either store. We’d love to see you!