Monday, June 25, 2012

What's Cooking? Squashed.

Rachel: ugh. What am I supposed to do with all these squashed apricots and peaches? (keep in mind that I'm on speaker phone and have bad reception...)
Father/Mother: hmmm, I don't think squash and apricots or peaches go together very well. Do you have to make something with all three?
R: nonono, farmer E sent me home from the market with tons of really ripe apricots and peaches. After a few more hours out and about the city in 90-degree weather, they have nearly reached a jam-like quality.
F/M: oh, make jam. Or peach muffins. Or a crisp.

Of course, who wouldn't make a crisp from excessively ripe summer stone fruit. Obviously.
Summer is by far my favorite season, despite often unbearable hot and humid weather. Why, you ask? Well, I can't imagine any other time of year when this scenario would play out. In fact, this is only the start, before pounds and pounds of peaches and tomatoes start migrating from market to jar. And while part of me enjoys sweating over a gas stovetop preserving fruit and tomato sauce (after a sticky morning at market), sometimes I just want to enjoy the products of my produce exploits without the heat and energy expenditure. That happened yesterday.

Apricots. Those dainty little tree fruits of the same species as plums (prunus), made the leap into their summer season in the Mid-Atlantic United States. Dating back to ancient times in Armenia, the fruit is a classic Mediterranean delicacy, particularly in dried form (Turkish apricots ring a bell?). And while the fruit is an immigrant to the melting pot that is America, it has flourished, particularly in the similarly-climed California ag production areas and Washington and Utah where there are cooler winters. Like most stone fruit, apricots are prone to pest and disease, making organic production quite a challenge. Wednesday we'll explore the implications of this. Today, we'll just enjoy the tasty fruit!
Apricot No-Bake Cocoa Cobbler
1 cup really ripe apricots, diced (measure after dicing)
1 tbs cinnamon

1/3 cup raw almonds
2 tbs cocoa powder (could use carob instead)
6-8 dates
2-3 tbs rolled oats
1 tbs agave nectar
1 tbs coconut butter (optional)

1. Mix together apricots and cinnamon. No need to add sugar to really ripe (organic) apricots; they are already sun-sweetened to perfection! Distribute between three or four ramekins.
2. In a food processor, whiz together all topping ingredients until starting to come together. Add more dates or agave, if needs to be 'stickier'.

3. Top ramekins with crumble. Perhaps refrigerate, but you can really just dig right in! No oven required.

Catch more celebrations of summer at Wellness Weekends.

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