Gourmet Galley: Peachy keen

In cake, on the grill or in a glass, peaches deliver

Peaches are called the queen of fruit, the golden fruit or Persian apples.

Besides those royal names, the delicious peach is used for complimentary comments: “She has a peaches-and-cream complexion.” “He’s a peach of a person.” “Everything’s peachy keen.”

It’s hard to pass up a display of pretty peaches.

Most of us will bend down to get a sniff of their wonderful aroma before carefully making a selection.

During July and August, the height of the peach season, price and quality are probably at their best. Unfortunately, peaches are quite perishable, so wise buying or picking is important for the best flavor.

With the first peaches of the season, I think of a bowl of perfectly ripe sliced peaches. Then comes recipes for peach pie or cobbler. But peaches can be used for more than pies or cobblers.

Try a simple Company Cake that’s great with sliced peaches, Grilled Peaches With Blueberry-Basil Butter and smoothies that can be a drinkable dessert or morning treat. Next week in my Eat Your Vegetable column, be sure to try the Fresh Peach and Strawberry Salad With Peach Vinaigrette.

The Company Cake is a favorite of mine. I’m not crazy about frosting so I gravitate to pound cakes and simple butter cakes like this one. There are many variations of this cake, but they all use everyday ingredients and are flavored with vanilla and/or almond extract.

The Company Cake gets its name because it’s so quick and easy to make. In fact, when discussing how quickly the Company Cake can be prepared, I’ve heard people say, “When you see company driving up, you stir this cake up, bake it and serve it with coffee.”

Sliced peaches are delicious with the cake. I think its taste is similar to a very moist biscotti and that’s probably because of the vanilla and almond extracts used as flavoring.

The grilled peaches are simply heated on the grill then the centers are filled with a jelly, basil and butter mixture. If necessary, they can be zapped right before serving. Serve as an accompaniment with pork, poultry or beef.

The yogurt smoothies make a nice drinkable dessert or morning treat.

Corinne Cook is a columnist for The Advocate. Reach her at food@theadvocate.com.