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Simple, tasty ways to prepare fresh peaches

I never met my husband’s mother, but I have come to know her through the stories her family and friends tell about her, and through the handwritten recipes and other notes in a big box Tommy has.

There are many copies of “Lucious Peach Cobbler,” which makes me think Stell prepared it often. Since she was known both as a good cook and a frugal woman – “She could take nothing and turn out a fine meal,” her neighbor and relative by marriage, Nell Staff, has often told me – I thought her cobbler might be a good recipe for these economic times. It’s very simple, and the pastry has a biscuit-like texture.

Lucious Peach Cobbler

¾ cup flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup sugar

¾ cup milk

pinch salt

1 stick oleo

Fresh fruit sweetened to taste (Or 1 large can stewed peaches)

Sift flour, salt and baking powder. Mix with sugar and stir in milk. Makes thin batter. Melt butter in 8 inch baking dish. Pour batter over melted butter. Do not stir. Place peaches over this. Bake in 350 degree oven until brown.

Here’s an easy cobbler for just one person – or a person who doesn’t want to be tempted by leftovers. It made the e-mail rounds last year. I’ve tried it with blueberries, and it was quite tasty.

Peach Cobbler Mug Mix

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon instant nonfat dry milk

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Dash of salt

Blend all ingredients and place in a small zipper-type bag if using at a later date or giving as a gift.

Additional ingredients: 1 (4 oz.) snack size container of diced peaches, or equivalent of fresh peaches, sprinkled with sugar.

To prepare: Microwave one tablespoon butter or margarine in mug until melted. Add cobbler mix and two tablespoons water. Stir with a fork until well blended. Add well-drained peaches on top of batter. Do not stir. Microwave for two minutes on 70 percent power. Let stand in microwave two minutes. Remove from oven and let stand until cool enough to eat.

This recipe from The Southern Living Cookbook is a bit more difficult, but oh! so worth the time and trouble. When Tommy’s sister and brother-in-law were here last weekend, we enjoyed it for dessert with stuffed pork chops, smothered greens, butterbeans, squash and onions, and hot biscuits with the last jar of last year’s fig preserves. We didn’t eat all day to save our calories for this supper!

Crusty Peach Cobbler

About 8 cups sliced fresh peaches

2 cups sugar

2 to 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

½ tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tsp. vanilla

1/3 cup butter or margarine

Pastry for double crust pie (see below)

Combine first four ingredients in a Dutch oven; set aside until syrup forms. Bring peach mixture to a boil; reduce heat to low, and cook 10 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat; add vanilla and butter, stirring until butter melts.

Roll half of pastry to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut into an 8-inch square. Spoon half of peaches into a lightly buttered 8-inch square pan; top with pastry square. Bake at 475 degrees for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Spoon remaining peaches over baked pastry square.

Roll remaining pastry to 1/8 inch thickness and cut into 1-inch strips; arrange in lattice design over peaches. Bake an additional 15 to 18 minutes or until browned. Spoon into serving bowls.

For optimal enjoyment, top with vanilla ice cream.

Yield: 8 servings.

Basic Pastry

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

½ tsp. salt

½ cup shortening

3 to 4 tablespoons cold water

For those who love peaches, but don’t want to ruin their diets, this salsa is a perfect and tasty topping for fresh grilled fish, and also can be enjoyed on grilled chicken. When my husband was in the restaurant business, he served this with grilled salmon. It’s almost as good as cobbler!

Mango Peach Salsa

1 medium mango, chopped

1 cup fresh peeled peaches, chopped

3 tablespoons chopped red onion

1 small fresh jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs discarded, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon bottled pickled jalapeño juice

1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro or fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

1 teaspoon grated lime zest

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Finely chop and mix.