It’s summer in California, and we are in the middle of an especially fragrant and delicious stone-fruit season. Cherries, peaches, plums, apricots, and nectarines and all of my favorites are ripe and juicy and tumbling into our local farmers’ markets.
So I’m taking a little detour from design and travel to offer you a delicious and surprising recipe. It's by Alice B. Toklas (no, it is not her famous Haschich Fudge…perhaps you have that already in your files).
And I’ve found a lovely poem about peaches—watch for that after the recipe.
Come with me for a delicious detour—and a feast of stone fruit photographs by the fantastically talented and stylish New York photographer Paulette Tavormina.
|Peaches & Morning Glories, After G.G. 2010|
Tender and honey-flavored white peaches; delicate white nectarines; pale golden peaches grown in the Sierra foothills; and crimson plums from Santa Rosa, are all at their most juicy and seductive now.
I’ve added a recipe below from ‘The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook’ for you. As you know, San Francisco-born Alice was the companion of Gertrude Stein. Alice and her family used to live in a Victorian house overlooking Alta Plaza, a marvelous pyramid-shaped park in Pacific Heights, and a few minutes walk from where I live.
Alice B. Toklas, now a legendary figure in the art and literary worlds, was asked to write a cookbook, and it was a sensation when it was published. Among the many excellent recipes was one for Haschich Fudge (her spelling). I’m sure you have your own recipe, so no need to print hers.
In her book it’s listed as ‘Haschich Fudge’ and she adds a note ‘which anyone could whip up on a rainy day’. Worth noting: her recipe for fudge involves black peppercorns, nutmeg, cinnamon and coriander.
|Fruit Basket, After M.M.d.C. 2011|
|Yellow Cherries & Crab Apples, After G.G. 2010|
|Wild Raspberries, After G.G. 2013|
Back to peaches:
Alice’s easy recipe for Peaches Glacées--
I think you’ll like it. Let me know.
I love the way Alice leaves much of this recipe up to your own creativity. Make it your way, be creative and have fun.
Alice B. Toklas’s Peaches GlacéesFrom ‘The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook’
Put 6 fine ripe peaches in hot water only long enough to peel.
Prepare a syrup of 1 cup of sugar and ¾ cut water.
Poach the whole peaches covered in the syrup over a low heat for 4 minutes.
Remove peaches and drain. Reduce the syrup and when it is quite thick, after three minutes further cooking, pout over peaches. Baste. See that it adheres. When cold, place peaches stem side down on a serving platter in refrigerator for at least two hours.
Prepare of purée of 1 lb fresh ripe strawberries, ¼ cup icing sugar, and add 2 tablespoons of best brandy and 1 cup whipped cream in blender. Put in refrigerator for two hours.
Before serving, pour purée over peaches.
Enjoy it. Perfect for a summer evening outdoors in the garden or on the terrace, or the beach. A scoop of strawberry or lavender ice-cream could be a lovely addition. And I hope, you might experience the deliciousness of the peaches as the ‘euphoria and ecstatic reveries’ Alice B. Toklas said she experienced from her ‘Haschich Fudge’.
|Red Cherries & Plums, After G.G. 2011|
In honor of the season—and for inspiration—I found this poem by an American poet I admire. It is a gift to you, with thanks for joining me on this great blogging adventure.
A Poem by Li-Young Lee
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.
From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
Images here are all by Paulette Tavormina
The beautiful images illustrating this story are by the New York photographer, Paulette Tavormina. They are used her with her express permission.
“Growing up in a Sicilian family, food was the central focus of our gatherings. The lively conversations, preparation, and creation of every feast was as important as the celebration of sitting down together and breaking bread. The legacy of these culinary traditions is emblematic of my life and textures my work.
In the 1990s, when I was living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a close friend introduced me to seventeenth century still life painters, including Giovanna Garzoni and Maria Sibylla Merian. Around the same time, my work as a commercial photographer was beginning to develop. The sensuality of the Old Masters and the technicality of photography appeals to me; in my photographs, I am directly inspired by classic natura morta imagery and the abundance of perfectly imperfect flowers, fruits, and vegetables that I find in the markets.
Living in New York now, I am in the habit of searching for ladybugs, butterflies, and flower buds as I walk through the city streets. I frequent the farmers markets and flower markets with their vibrant, colorful bounty. At Sotheby’s, where I photograph works of art, I collect images, textures, and light with my mind’s eye. In my studio, I compile items from my personal collection with flora and fauna and borrowed antique objects to create romantic vignettes inspired by the Old Masters. The hidden secrets within my pictures allow me to return to and savor moments in time.
These still lifes, with their careful balance of old world antiquity and my European ancestry, are a modern and verdant story about love among chaos, the tenderness of life, seizing precious moments and the inevitable passage of time.”
|Sour Cherries, After G.G. 2011|
Paulette Tavormina: www.paulettetavormina.com
You can also find her images at MARCH, Sacramento Street, San Francisco and Robert Klein Gallery, Boston.
|Fruit & Roses, After I.S. 2010|