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Food and Romance

     
 

Anyone who knows me, know that I love a good romance — and a good peach! As it happens, August is National Romance Month and National Peach Month, so combining both seems like a no brainer!
If planning something romantic, or cooking (or both!) isn’t your forte, no worries — I’ve been nice enough to plan your evening for you!
All you need to do is light some candles, cue up some romantic music (there are a bunch of pre-made playlists available on most streaming sites), cook up the recipes below and voila! Romance is in the air! You can thank me later!
Naturally, each course has peaches so be sure to hit up a local farm or market so you have plenty on hand.
So let’s get to it. Every great meal starts with a great drink so try this…
Spiked Sweet Tea
Ingredients
• 1 (750 ml) bottle Riesling wine, chilled
• 6.5 oz. Peach Liqueur
• 6.5 oz. soda water
• 15 oz. diced peaches
• 40 oz. sweet tea
Add the wine, peach liqueur, soda water, and peaches to a 2-1/2 quart pitcher. Add enough sweet tea to fill the pitcher. Stir to combine and serve over ice.

Next up we need an appetizer or salad. This one covers both. Half salad, half fruit and cheese plate — it’s sure to please anyone!
Grilled Stone Fruit Salad
Ingredients
• 2 firm ripe peaches, halved, pits removed
• 2 firm ripe plums, halved, pits removed
• 2 firm ripe apricots, halved, pits removed
• 2 tablespoons butter, melted
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 5 oz. baby arugula
• 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
• 1/4 cup chopped roasted, salted almonds

Directions:
Heat gas or charcoal grill. Brush cut sides of peaches, plums and apricots with melted butter. Place fruit cut sides down on grill over medium heat. Cover grill, cook 2 to 3 minutes or until grill marks form; turn 90°, and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer to make perpendicular grill marks.
Transfer fruit to cutting board; let cool 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Cut fruit into wedges.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat olive oil, honey, lemon juice, salt and pepper with a whisk. Reserve 1/4 cup of vinaigrette in a container; set aside. Add arugula to a large bowl of remaining vinaigrette; toss to coat. Transfer to serving platter. Return reserved vinaigrette to a large bowl; add grilled fruit, and toss to coat.
Top arugula mixture with grilled fruit, cheese, and almonds.

Now, on to the main course. Because pork tends to be a sweeter protein, it pairs with peaches really well. So here is a simple recipe for pork chops and peaches.
Peach-Dijon Pork Chops
Ingredients
1/2 cup peach preserves, large pieces finely chopped
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
4 (6-oz.) pork loin chops (3/4 inch thick)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Directions:
Heat grill. In a small saucepan, combine preserves, mustard, soy sauce and marjoram; mix well. Cook over low heat until preserves are melted, stirring frequently.
When ready to grill, sprinkle both sides of pork chops with salt and pepper. Place chops on gas grill over medium heat or on charcoal grill 4 to 6 inches from medium coals. Cook 12 to 15 minutes or until pork is no longer pink in center, turning once and brushing with preserves mixture during last 2 minutes of cooking time.
To serve, bring any remaining preserves mixture to a boil. Serve with pork chops.

I suppose the only thing left now is dessert! But, I’m gonna throw you a curve ball on this one! No peaches for dessert! Why you ask? Well, because as it happens, August 10th is National S’mores day! So, head to the living room or backyard, light a romantic fire and cook up some s’mores for your sweetheart!