Try as we might, after rising at 5 a.m., the striper fish eluded us all day on Lake Murray. But that didn't spoil the pleasure of visiting friends in Gilbert last weekend.
We caught a great lake breeze and plopped into the water to cool off. We also joked that we caught a boy, but really, we did. A young man swam about a half-mile from a campground to a small island, then decided he couldn't make the return trip. He waved us down and we gave him a lift back.
At dusk Saturday, we joined a number of other boats anchored off one of the lake's islands. In Charleston, such a gathering would be for a fireworks show. At the lake, it's to watch and marvel at the sight of thousands and thousands of purple martins streaming across the water each night to roost at the sanctuary known as Lunch Island (also called Doolittle Island or Bombing Range Island).
Back at our friends' house, we admired the vegetable garden, exchanging talk of what works, what doesn't. We toured the local produce and plant places, bringing home corn, butter peas, pickled beets and, of course, peaches.
We ate marvelous food, including a breakfast of fried bream, crappie and bass with grits and a plate of fresh-sliced tomatoes. We made a Greek-inspired dinner of savory meat-and-rice stuffed grape leaves ("Dolmades") that were steamed with lemon and tomatoes and a Greek potato salad flavored with feta cheese and oregano.
It doesn't get any better, truly. Thanks for the hospitality.
Now, I'm enjoying those peaches, and hopefully readers are enjoying their own. They are great eaten out of hand, but there are lots of ways to "fix" them (other than cobblers), judging by the recipes readers sent in last week.
Madeline Cerrudo of Mount Pleasant has one. "This simple and delicious recipe came from House Beautiful magazine more years ago than I can remember."
Peaches Creme Brulee
Fill an attractive, heatproof dish (quiche pan or other) with fresh peeled and sliced peaches. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. At the last minute, cover peaches completely with a thin layer of sour cream. Take a handful of dark brown sugar and sprinkle all over the top of the sour cream. Place under a preheated broiler just until sugar melts. Do not leave unattended, as sugar can burn easily. Serve with a crisp cookie of your choice.
Marion Puckhaber of West Ashley offers this:
1 stick of margarine at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6-8 ripe peaches peeled
Small jar of currant jelly
For crust: Mix margarine, sugar, egg and vanilla together until light.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Combine with the butter-egg mixture and chill at least 1 hour.
Spread on a lightly greased 12-inch pizza pan. Bake at 350 degrees until light brown and crispy.
For topping: Slice peaches and place on crust, side by side. Melt currant jelly, until runny, in microwave oven with lid off (or in pan on the stovetop). Spoon over peaches for a glaze. Let cool until jelly gels. A scoop of vanilla ice cream or topping enhances the pizza.
"This recipe is delicious and is always a hit at gatherings," says Linda Wiljamaa of Mount Pleasant:
Peaches & Cream
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 package (3 3/8-ounce) regular vanilla pudding (not instant)
3 tablespoons margarine
1/2 cup milk
3 cups canned peaches (save the liquid) or sliced fresh peaches
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons of the reserved peach liquid, or milk if using fresh peaches.
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For crust: Combine flour, baking powder, dry vanilla pudding mix, margarine, egg and milk. Pour into greased 9-inch pie pan.
For filling: Spread the peaches on top of crust. Mix cream cheese, sugar and peach juice or milk. Spoon over the peaches within 1 inch of the edge.
Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon on top. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until golden.
Harriet Hutto of Holly Hill says of the following recipe, "Because this is made in layers, you can do parts of this dessert in between other chores, so it is really easy to prepare."
4 cups peeled and sliced peaches
Sugar to taste
2 cups self-rising flour
2 sticks margarine, melted
1 cup chopped pecans or almonds
Mix all together and spread in a large baking dish. Bake 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees, until lightly browned. Cool completely.
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
2 1/2 cups 10X confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 (8-ounce) carton nondairy whipped topping, such as Cool Whip
Mix all ingredients together. Spread over first layer. Refrigerate until firm. Then spread peaches on top and refrigerate again while preparing third layer.
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons dry peach Jell-O mix
1 cup water
Mix sugar, flour and Jell-O mix. Add water. Cook over medium heat until thick. Cool completely. Pour over dessert and refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut into squares.
Tomatoes on the brain
Earlier this month, a co-worker requested recipes for spaghetti sauce made with fresh tomatoes, including slow-cooker versions. Take your pick from these:
"The following is a recipe for spaghetti sauce with fresh tomatoes - a great use of the now-abundant fruit," writes Joy Munoz of Summerville. When frozen for later use, she says, "It is so delightful to have the fresh taste of summer to add to dishes when the thermometer is dipping, and the wind and rain are howling."
Basic Fresh Tomato Sauce
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive or salad oil
5 pounds (about 12 medium) firm, ripe tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup minced green onion, including some tops
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon anise seed, crushed
1 tablespoon oregano, crushed
3/4 teaspoon rosemary, chopped finely
1 teaspoon paprika
1 3/4 cups dry red wine
Prepare all vegetables, spices and herbs. Mix in pot on the stove. Add wine. Bring mixture to a boil, breaking up tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Cover, and reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Remove cover and boil until volume is reduced to about 8 cups.
May be frozen in 1-, 2- or 4-cup portions. When using, allow to thaw first. If sauce appears a bit dry, blend in 2 to 4 tablespoons water or dry red wine.
Oscar Vick of Charleston offers a slow-cooker version.
"This makes a great sauce for pizza, lasagna or any form of pasta. Grated parmesan cheese enhances the flavor as does diced, fried sweet sausage."
Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce
1 teaspoon each thyme and rosemary
8 large red, ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 sweet onion, diced
4 ribs celery, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 cup chopped parsley
4 carrots, diced
1 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, diced
1 cup fresh basil, diced
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup red wine
Dash of hot sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
Place all ingredients except bay leaf in a food processor and pulse to blend. Transfer to a slow cooker. Add bay leaf. Cook 6 to 8 hours on low heat. Prior to serving, remove bay leaf.
Judy Gustaferro of Goose Creek writes, "I make this occasionally. The ingredients don't have to be measured exactly. Can be made to taste."
Fresh Tomato Sauce
Ripe tomatoes (plum and/or regular) to yield approximately 8 cups mashed (see cook's note)
2-3 cloves chopped garlic
1 chopped onion
Approximately 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil, or 1 tablespoon dried
2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup Romano cheese
Cook's note: Bring pot of water to boil and put tomatoes in, a few at a time, for about 30 seconds. Rinse tomatoes in a colander, slip the skins off and cut out the blossom end. Mash in a bowl with a potato masher and measure approximately 8 cups (at least).
In a heavy sauce pot, saute garlic and onion in olive oil until tender, but not browned. Add tomatoes, basil, sugar, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Simmer on low approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours until thickened. Add cheese, stir and serve over hot spaghetti.
Who's got the recipe?
--Sharon Wood of West Ashley called looking for bread recipes for a Pyrex Bake A Round.
Reach Teresa Taylor at 937-4886 or email@example.com or write The Post and Courier, 134 Columbus St., Charleston, SC 29403.