Linda lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in central Virginia. Her recipes are simple, delicious, and Southern.
Memories of Home
Nothing comforts my soul more than memories of my childhood. I grew up in the Southeast. My mom was a stay-at-home mother who loved to cook and was good at it. My childhood summers were filled with canning and freezing fresh produce to be enjoyed in the winter. Summertime meant that fresh peaches were in season and that meant yummy fresh peach cobbler and fresh peach ice cream. No one could do it like my mom, and although I’ve got her fresh peach cobbler down to a science, I’ve never been able to reproduce her ice cream. I guess some things are just better when Mom made them.
I wasn’t always a good cook. In my early adult years, I couldn’t have cared less about cooking. I was too busy having fun to worry about it. But even a young woman wants to impress her man and I’d heard that the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach. I figured that a fresh peach cobbler was about as good as it got if I could make it taste like mom’s. It was the only recipe of hers that I ever really asked for. Even today, I remember the words she said to me as she handed me the recipe. She said, “Always think about love when you cook. It will make every dish taste better. Food prepared with love will nourish the body and the soul.” I didn’t believe her then but now I understand. Mom was right.
If you decide to try this recipe, I hope you too will remember my mother’s words. You’ll taste the difference and so will those you share it with.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 to 1 cup milk
- 1 stick butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3 large fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Place one stick of butter in a 9x9-inch baking dish and place in the oven until completely melted.
- Peel and slice 3 large fresh peaches. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of sugar and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder).
- Add 3/4 cup of milk to dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly wet. Add remaining milk if the batter appears too thick. It should be the consistency of pancake batter.
- Add vanilla extract and stir until mixed well.
- Remove melted butter from the oven and pour the batter into a hot dish.
- Gently place peaches on top of the batter until evenly distributed. Pour the remaining juice from the peaches over the batter.
- Sprinkle top of peaches and batter with cinnamon and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown.
Always think about love when you cook. It will make every dish taste better. Food prepared with love will nourish the body and the soul.
— My Mom
If you have followed my writing, you may have noticed that all of my recipes are simple. I like recipes that have few ingredients but are still delicious. That’s why I title all of my recipes “Simply Delicious.” It’s my signature for cooking. For most of my adult life, I worked long hours and sometimes more than one job. There wasn’t a lot of time for cooking elaborate recipes with dozens of ingredients. There wasn’t much money either, so I learned to cook with the basics that could be found in my pantry at any given time. A great dish doesn’t have to be complicated. Remember what my Mom said? It just has to be made with love.
When keeping cooking simple, it’s also helpful to be able to adapt a recipe to the ingredients you have on hand. This simply delicious fresh peach cobbler makes adapting easy. Try replacing the peaches with some of the following:
- Fresh or canned cherries
- Fresh or frozen blackberries
- Fresh or frozen raspberries
- Fresh or canned pears
- Fresh or frozen blueberries
- Fresh or frozen strawberries
Keep in mind that you will need some liquid to keep your cobbler from being too dry. When using fresh fruit, just sprinkle the prepared fruit with a little sugar and let it sit for a few minutes. If using canned fruit, preserve about 3/4 to 1 cup of the canned liquid to pour over your batter.
Experimenting with flavoring extracts can also be fun and produce some amazing variations in flavor. My standby extracts are:
Try replacing the cinnamon with nutmeg or ginger and the vanilla flavoring with almond or lemon, depending on the fruit you use. I love blueberries with a hint of lemon and pears are great with a hint of ginger. Don’t be afraid to put your own spin on this recipe and make it your own. When using fresh fruit, just remember to add a little sugar to the cut-up fruit and let it sit for a bit to let the sugar draw out the natural juices. Your cobbler will be moist and sweet and simply delicious.
Love goes a long, long way when it's your main ingredient but there are others ways you can incorporate love into your dishes too. Support your local farmers. Shop at the farmer's market or barter with your neighbor for fresh eggs, milk, produce, or meat. Many local farmers are turning to organic farming to provide the healthiest product possible. When food comes from the farm to the table, the taste is amazing. Fresh food is healthier food. Add a touch of love and your family will taste the difference.
The peaches used in this recipe were purchased from a local farmer's market. They were not sprayed with pesticides and the earth had not been sprayed with herbicides. These fresh peaches were huge and perfect and the taste . . . simply delicious.
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© 2014 Linda Crist