Bridge the gap between summer and fall with these spiced plum muffins. The summery flavor of fresh, ripe plums shines in these simple, moist, and delicious muffins, while cinnamon and nutmeg add a touch of fall. They come together easily and are perfect for a snack, dessert, or even part of breakfast.
Luscious peaches and plums, along with chopped walnuts, crumbled Feta, and leafy lettuce make up this refreshing salad. A spritz of honey and lemon juice give it a light dressing that brings out the rich flavor of the fruit. When you are looking for a light lunch or lively side dish, there is nothing like a seasonal salad to brighten your day and boost your immune system.
Some days, I really crave a good salad to energize my body with fresh, bright ingredients. As a result of my baking craze this past few days, I am in desperate need of a light lunch! (My latest baking adventure includes soft pretzels, which are so good, but still need more practice before they hit the blog). This peach-plum salad works really well, because it is super-easy to make, and it uses the best of late summer fruits. Peaches with honey and lemon juice taste like a heavenly combination to me, and the savory aspect of the walnuts and Feta add depth to the flavor.
Late summer is my favorite time of year to eat peaches, since their flavor and color seems to match the glorious mellow warmth of the September sun. We have had absolutely stunning weather the past couple of days, and I just want to hold onto this as long as possible, because to me, this is the most comfortable weather we get. Cool, misty mornings give way to warm, soft afternoons, which lead to dinners full of fresh fruits and vegetables out on the screened-in porch. Nights are cool, and the breeze coming in the open windows is laden with the sound of crickets and cicadas. The light outside is not so strong as it is in the height of summer, so it is a photographer’s dream.
This salad is so very easy to make, it hardly requires a recipe, and sometimes just a pretty photo and a few words will remind us of a great combination of delicious, healthy ingredients. I have included a recipe below, though it is flexible and can be adjusted easily. I consciously used honey in the dressing, not only because it tastes great with this salad, but also because I have heard that consuming locally-made honey can help with allergies. This is the time of year when I often get seasonal allergies, so I have been trying to incorporate local honey into my meals as often as possible.
I hope you are having a great week, and enjoy the diffused light of September! Sometimes it is easier to see when the light is not so bright. “Summer has filled her veins with light and her heart is washed with noon.” ~C. Day Lewis
a small head of leafy lettuce, such as Boston lettuce or green leaf lettuce
a handful of chopped raw walnuts
crumbled Feta cheese
2 tablespoons of honey
4 teaspoons of lemon juice
black pepper to taste
In a small bowl, stir together the honey and the lemon juice. Taste, and adjust the levels if you wish.
Wash the lettuce, pat it dry, and tear it into bite-sized pieces. Wash and slice the peach and the plum. Place the lettuce on two salad plates and top with sliced peaches and plums. Sprinkle a handful of walnuts onto the salads, and then a handful of crumbled Feta. Drizzle the honey-lemon juice mixture over the salads. Top with a tiny bit of ground black pepper. Enjoy!
Indulge in fresh, ripe fruit with this peach and red plum galette! Luscious peaches and juicy red plums are baked with a touch of honey, cinnamon, walnut, and vanilla, and surrounded by a classic galette pastry. This recipe gives you rustic comfort and rich fruit flavor, all in one dish.
September is one of the best times to visit a farmers market, and this week, our town’s market had rows of fresh peaches and plums. I love to take advantage of fruit at this time of year, because it makes me feel like I’m stretching out summer and holding onto it a little longer. Fresh peaches and plums taste so good and juicy all own their own, but yesterday, I needed to bake.
Baking touches something deep in my soul. Deeper than I can really explain. To roll out dough gives me such comfort. I cannot really understand it, I can only honor this impulse. It must have something to do with my ancestors, with my genetics. Not everyone has this love of baking, though I think most everyone has something like this, something that they love to do and feel compelled to do.
I am not a fancy baker or a formally trained baker. I guess I would say I am a rustic baker. I like to make fruit pies and galettes, hearty bread, pizza. Cookies and muffins. My training comes mainly from relatives, like my mother, mother-in-law, grandmothers, aunts, and a couple of friends. Stories shared, sunny afternoons in my mother’s kitchen, cozy winter afternoons in grandma’s kitchen, or in my husband’s grandma’s kitchen. I can picture these places in my memory– aprons, beautiful aprons, countertops covered in flour, dishes in the sink, laughter….
So in making this galette, besides doing it for my family, and to share this delicious recipe with you all, I did it for me. Not just to eat, though I already had a piece, and it was delicious! But for the sheer comfort of making it. The floury mess, the glorious smells of the dough and fruit baking, the texture of the dough taking shape in my hands. It has been a challenging week, with my kids and I getting over colds, and I needed to do something to ground myself to the earth. Slicing ripe peaches and plums, rolling out dough, these are things I can do and feel like I am making a positive impact on the world.
To me, at the risk of sounding a little corny, baking is part science, part art, and part entering into the mystery of the universe. Crossing the threshold of time and space and feeling connected to those I have lost or lost touch with. It helps me leave my over-active mind behind, and quiet it by working with my hands in an ancient skill.
This recipe is loosely adapted from a lovely book my daughter and husband checked out from our local library: Country Living Pies & Tarts published by Hearst Books in 2016. In my recipe, I substituted some red plums instead of using all peaches, and I used walnuts and vanilla instead of almonds and almond extract, because I did not have any almonds on hand. I can imagine that would taste great too.
I hope you all have a great weekend, and enjoy this time of year! If you have something you really like to do, something that helps give your life meaning and value, I hope you can do it. I heard we are supposed to get a break in the heat and humidity here this weekend, so I am looking forward to that! Fiesta Friday is also going on right now, co-hosted by Angie and Judi @ CookingWithAuntJuju, whose blogs have some wonderful recipes and photos!
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon of salt
10 tablespoons of cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 to 5 tablespoons of cold water
1/2 cup of walnuts (raw almonds can also be used)
1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (almond extract if you are using almonds instead of walnuts)
4 medium fresh, ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
4 red fresh, ripe red plums, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons of honey
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
In a large bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, and salt. Add the cold butter pieces, and with a pastry cutter, cut in the butter. Continue to mix with the pastry cutter until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Add the cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Shape the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the walnuts (or almonds) and confectioners’ sugar in a blender or food processor. Blend till it is a fine meal. Add the egg yolk and vanilla (or almond extract) and blend again. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the peach slices, plum slices, honey, and cinnamon. Set aside.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 14-inch circle. Gently place it in a standard sized pie baking dish, letting the extra dough hang over the sides for now. Carefully spread the walnut (or almond) paste over the dough, including up the sides. Add the peach and plum mixture. Then fold the edges of the dough over the fruit mixture, forming a flat pie with about a 2-inch border. This is a rustic dish, so it doesn’t have to look perfect! Lightly brush the dough with water and sprinkle with some granulated sugar. Bake in your preheated oven for about 45 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden and flaky, and the fruit is bubbling. Let it cool for a few minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
This recipe is loosely adapted from the book Country Living Pies &Tarts, published by Hearst Communications, 2016.