New Orleans restauranteur and TV cooking celebrity Emeril Lagasse advises using locally-grown and organically produced products in his cookbook, Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh (Harper Studio, $24.99), a collection of recipes perfect for this time of year.
There’s a host of herb oils and teas, a type of corn fritter he calls “corn oysters,” homemade cheeses and mayonnaise, a cheesy Creole tomato pie, watermelon limade, pickled okra, green onion spoonbread and a host of recipes featuring fresh seafood, beef and vegetables of the season. Most are very easy to prepare after a quick trip to the farmer’s market or local produce stand.
Here’s a recipe incorporating peaches which are fresh from the Ruston markets and should be oncoming until September. Lagasse suggests serving this dish with the book’s dandelion greens salad.
4 firm-ripe peaches
1 cup ruby port
1/2 cup sugar
4 whole cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick (3 inches long)
1 whole vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Directions: Cut the peaches in half, remove the stones and slice each half into quarters. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the port, sugar, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the mixture is somewhat syrupy, about 3 minutes. Add the peaches, stir to coat, and cook until they are golden and are nicely coated in the syrup, 3 to 4 minutes. Discard the whole spices, and serve the peaches warm or cool. Makes 2 cups.