Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Virginia Ginger Peach Bread (and our summer vacation)

This July, Mr. C and I went on a pretty big adventure. We started at America's capital city, dragged our butts through colonial country, hit up the Carolina coast, then dug in to some real southern hospitality.

Oh, and we got hitched. More about that later.

Our summer vacation was fantastic, except for the hellish heat that seemed to follow us where ever we went. I really don't understand how you Easterners can handle it. How do you function? Each night we would come home, our clothes soaked through, our hands swollen, and our feet stuck to our flip flops (note: never ever wear plastic sandals in 40C heat). Taking a cold shower helped. For a bit. Thank goodness for all the Smithsonian museums and their air conditioning, or we would have never made it through DC.

We did lots of nerdy history stuff - like see the Apollo 11 lander and get grossed out by Lincoln's bloody pillow - but this isn't the blog for such things. And you're lucky it isn't, because I have so many pictures of Warren G. Harding's pajamas that it would make your head spin. This blog is only for sweet things. Don't worry, we had plenty of that.

In DC we happened across a Crumbs. Now, being Canadian, we really don't see all those big named cupcake stores (Sprinkles, Magnolia, etc etc) all too often. Or at all. So I had to stop in to see what all the fuss was about. First off - these things could seriously feed a family of four. They were as big as Mr. C's head. And he has a freakishly giant head.

Unfortunately, quantity doesn't always mean quality. And, for Crumbs, this is so very true. We picked out a Milkshake cupcake with a vanilla/chocolate swirled cake and vanilla cream cheese icing. The cake was bland. It tasted like nothing at all. And the icing was sickeningly sweet. We picked at the beast with a couple of forks until we couldn't take any more. My advice - skip Crumbs. Go for Georgetown.

Even though I loath the show (what sort of adults call their parents "Mummy" and "Daddy"?), I have to admit that Georgetown Cupcakes were seriously some of the best little bits of cake and icing that I've eaten. Period. At first, I was a bit put off by the lack of variety - plain jane vanilla and chocolate seemed to be kings of this domain. We were able to get our hands on two of the specials: a lemon and a gluten-free chocolate lava. Both made me want to lick the crumbs off of the liners. And I would have, if Mr. C hadn't caught me and shooed me away. Both cupcakes had flavour (the lemon had real lemon zest in it - imagine that!) and the right sort of texture (even the gluten-free one!) to make us very very happy.

Even though those cupcakes were some of the best we have eaten, they still weren't the best treat we had on this vacation. The winner of that title goes to something big, juicy, and a bit fuzzy. Also, the bottom of it kinda looks like a baby's bum. 

Mother fucking Virginia peaches. 

Oh. My God. These things are absolutely magical. And that's saying something, since I come from the land of Okanagan orchards. I don't know what you Viriginians put in your soil (cocaine?), but it's doing something crazy wonderful to your fruits. 

Mr. C and I had a very brief visit with Virginia peaches. We stopped for gas along the NC border, only to find a veritable settlement full of farmers markets. I had to talk Mr. C out of getting fresh pork rinds (seriously, what is that stuff? Do I even want to know?) and go for some fresh fruit instead. We picked out two ginormous peaches, sat our butts down under a tree, and had at it. About fifteen seconds later, a litre of peach juice covered our hands, faces, and feet. The stickiness didn't bother us, for we had just consumed the most amazing Prunus persica that could ever be conceived by man. 

When we got home, I couldn't stop thinking about those freakishly giant fruits. I tried some BC peaches, just to compare, but they didn't even come close. Saddened, I decided to bake something to try and capture the freshness of what we consumed on that summer's day. This is what I created:

PeachGingerBread (4)

Virginia Ginger Peach Bread
adapted from Honest Fare

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large peaches
2 eggs
1/4 cup cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cups applesauce
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 cup sliced almonds

1) Preheat your oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, whisk together your two flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a small bowl, peal and chop up your peaches. Squish them into smaller pieces using a fork or your hands. Set aside.

2) In a large bowl, whisk your eggs until pale yellow. Add the white and brown sugar and whisk until everything is light and fluffy. Add the oil, applesauce, ginger, and extract and whisk until everything is combined. With a wooden spoon, stir your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Add the peaches and almonds. Stir until everything is equally distributed.

3) Pour batter into an oiled bread pan and bake for 35 minutes, or until your cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in pan before taking it out. Enjoy warm and dream of Virginia. 


Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Mmmmm...your description of those juicy peaches has my mouth watering! And your bread looks delectable, too~

SweetSavoryPlanet said...

It is not usually this hot on the east coast. Last year, I rarely ran my AC but not this year. The peaches in PA are excellent and I can't seem to get enough of them.

Lora said...

The peaches here in NYC from the farmers market are huge and taste amazing. Eating one now for breakfast. I am already sad they will be gone soon :-(

Unknown said...

I agree with one of your commenters. The peaches from our NY local farmers are utterly amazing in taste. But tell us more about the wedding details!!

Monet said...

More details about this wedding please! And I agree with your assessment of the cupcake options. So good! Thank you for sharing your words and pictures, my friend. I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow. I'm enjoying your post with a big bowl of watermelon. Just perfect. Much love and many blessings from Austin!

thailand holidays said...

I never experienced a summer trip to the nation's capital. From the looks of it, the white house is gleaming during the summer.

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