Joni Woolf: Goodbye to ‘Queen of Summer’

Published 3:38 pm Saturday, August 25, 2018

This morning I rode over to Montezuma, to Brown’s Farm Market, hoping that there would be one last stand of summer peaches. To my delight, there was. There were boxes, bags and, if you wanted only one, you could buy that. You could also buy a cup of their fresh peach ice cream (which I did) and enjoy it all the way home. But today I was also buying enough peaches to take to relatives in Atlanta and Rome — folks who never seem to have the immediate access to peaches the way we do, here in Southwest Georgia.
When we think of peaches, we usually are thinking of a peach dessert, or peach preserves. I’ve made my share of both this summer, and will include one last peach dessert in the column today. But I also was looking for a way to use the ubiquitous peach in a way that was appetizing, healthy, and lovely to look at. I found it, in Fresh Tastes from a Well-Seasoned Kitchen, a cookbook that I have used often in this space. So here are two new ones, both delicious, but one a bit healthier, at least if you are watching carbs and calories.

Tomato and Peach Salad with Lime Balsamic Dressing
2 large tomatoes, sliced into rounds
2 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced into rounds
¼ large red onion, very thinly sliced, preferably with a mandolin
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, or more to taste
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon lime olive oil (or lemon, or extra virgin)
1 tablespoon peach balsamic vinegar (or white balsamic vinegar)
Fresh lime juice, to taste (adding more if lime olive oil is not available)
Pinch of sugar
On a serving platter, arrange the tomato and peach slices in a circular pattern, alternating tomato and peach slices. Scatter red onions over the top. Sprinkle with cilantro and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, lime juice and sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more lime juice and/or sugar as needed. Drizzle dressing evenly over top of salad just before serving. (To cut the peaches into rounds, after peeling, cut the peach in half along its natural divide. Gently twist to separate into two halves. Remove pit. Starting in the middle, cut into rounds (there will be a hole in the middle where the pit was.)

Peach Shortcake over Cream Biscuits
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 to ½ cup heavy cream, as needed
2 tablespoons butter, melted

For serving:
Soft butter
White sugar to taste, or brown sugar, if you prefer
2 cups peeled and sliced tree-ripe peaches
Sweetened whipped cream

To make the biscuits: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl and whisk to mix. Fold in enough cream to make a soft dough you can handle easily. Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and knead 4 or 5 times. Pat the dough out to a thickness of about ¾ inch and cut into 6 rounds or squares. Dip the biscuits on both sides into the melted butter and arrange them about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes.
To serve: Split the biscuits while they are hot and butter them on the cut sides. Add a sprinkling of white or brown sugar. Set one side of a biscuit buttered face up on a small serving plate and ladle over some peaches. Put the other half of biscuit on top. Repeat with the remaining biscuits. Pass a bowl of whipped cream around and let guests serve themselves with as much or as little as they desire.

This is a wonderful, old-fashioned dessert that is always popular. Try it now, while peaches last.

Joni Woolf, a writer and editor, now lives in Schley County, having moved from her home in Macon several years ago. Contact her at