Donut Peach Donuts

I read this comment from a reader on Cup of Jo a couple months ago and ever since then it has given me so much joy and parental confidence (which if you are a parent you know that is very hard to come by).

“Growing up, my absolute favorite dinner was ‘plate of little things.’ My single mom would slice cheese, apples, crackers, hot dogs, dry cereal, whatever and we would eat it in front of the TV. I told her that recently and she gasped, ‘What? those were the nights I failed. I didn’t cook a thing and was too tired to talk to you guys. That’s ridiculous.’ Goes to show, it may be JUST when we fail that our kids feel most happy.”

Doesn’t that just breathe life into your soul? To think that the times when we are most in our heads beating ourselves up for the choices we are making or the things we AREN’T doing may be just the things that remember with gladness, joy and appreciation?

We’re deep into summer here and like many families we struggle with the work/life balance during the summer especially. Gabe and I are trying to balance our freelance careers while also wanting to give the kids a memorable summer. It’s also the blessed time of the year in the pacific northwest where we feature enviable weather. For once the rest of the country looks to our gray corner longingly and I tell you what, it’s hard to focus on work.

Last week, in an attempt to be both good mom and good boss lady business owner, I took my oldest to the shop with me. He has expressed interest in working for me so I wanted to give him a glimpse of what that work actually looks like. He watered my neglected plants, cleaned up my dishes and helped me develop a few recipes – most of which failed (not his fault). Together we worked on this recipe for turning a Donut or Saturn Peach into a batter-dip and cinnamon sugar coated dream. He took one bite, smiled, said it was good and then asked when we could leave.

I loved having him there, giving him a deeper glimpse into my day-to-day life, listening to his commentary peppered throughout the day but then, as I watched his head droop in boredom and his eyes long for someplace other than mom’s office, I felt guilty. I thought of all the camps I didn’t sign him up for, for the friends I was keeping him from. He should be on the water or on his scooter with his friends not in a hot kitchen standing in front of a steaming dishwasher.

Down deep I realize that these experiences are important and good for him to see the hard work his dad and I do in order to provide for them but the guilt is strong, particularly when I peruse the Facebook streams of others living their best lives. Yes, I too fall victim to believing the social media lies.

The next morning I thought often of that quote above as Gabe and I woke up to our 12 year old asking us if we were ready for breakfast. When we sleepily responded, “we’re ready!” we were greeted with two perfected plated donut peach donuts along with a cup of tea for Gabe and coffee for me. My boy had got up 6 am to recreate the recipe that we made together the day before and surprised us with breakfast in bed along with the sweetest note of gratitude for us as parents.

I’m not sure what spurred on such an act but my goodness, there were tears.

Our kids are now getting to the age where they reflect on their younger years as if they are distant memories. The events they often recall are often the mundane. They are the repeated acts that to them took on meaning. Often they are the times when I as a mom felt as if I was somehow failing them but to them it was felt as love.

I never would have guessed that these simple fried little peaches would spur on one of my most favorite memories as a parent to date.

 

Donut Peach Donuts

Yield 1 dozen

You guys, this is so fun. My oldest son has tested and written today's recipe and I could not be more proud. I've added a bit more detail and some of my own tips in parenthesis. Hopefully this isn't too confusing.

In case you are wondering, these are even more delicious if someone else makes them for you so considering printing the recipe and sharing with a loved one. 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons melted and cooled butter

1 egg

1 dozen Donut or Saturn Peaches

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

Vanilla ice cream (optional)

Instructions

Mix the flour, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon into a large bowl. Then add milk, butter and egg and mix until no flour clumps are showing.

Then grab a large pot and fill it with vegetable oil until a donut peach can float in the oil, and heat. (When filling the oil make sure to leave at least 3-inches of space at the top of the pan to prevent the oil from boiling over.)

Make cinnamon sugar to dip the fried donuts in, which is about 1/3 of a spoon cinnamon and 1/2 a cup sugar. To fry the peaches, stick them in the batter and then put them in the oil. (I found that using two forks for dipping and retrieving the peaches from the batter works well. Gently let the excess batter drip off the donut at the edge of the bowl).

The oil should be ready after about ten minutes. (Heat the oil to about 350°F. You can test if the oil is ready by dropping in a small amount of batter. It should take about 15 - 30 seconds before it starts to color and it will float at the top of the oil). You will know when to pull the donuts out when they look light brown. (This takes about 3 to 4 minutes and I tend to like them a nice deep copper color).

Best served warm. (With vanilla ice cream). Enjoy immediately!

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Easy Summer Assembling

*This post was created in partnership with DeLallo Foods. Over 60 years ago it was a small Italian market in Pennsylvania now it’s incredible online marketplace with great products that inspired this Summer cheese and meat board. As always thank you so much for supporting my passion for bringing beautiful food to the world and the companies who get behind that message.

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Welcome to the season of assembling. Summer’s near perfect weather and plentiful produce leave little time or necessity for cooking. Instead we piece together stunning meals by gathering some sweet and snappy peas, peppery radishes, a handful of cherries that pop in your mouth, and a few cheeses, pickled things, sliced meats and whatever else may be lingering in the fridge.

Does this sort of thing actually constitute a meal? Absolutely. In fact, this particular board, assembled on a large wooden chopping block is a fitted feast for a crowd. And the hardest part was pulling myself out of the sun-drenched hammock chair to get to the grocery store. More often than not I’ll skip that step entirely and use this platter meal as a fridge cleaning in disguise.

When creating a cheese (and so much more) board such as this one, it’s important to think about variety, color and to throw in a few extra things here and there to keep it exciting. Depending on the time of year your board could look drastically different than the one I created. Slowly wander the farmer’s market or produce aisles and grab the things that jump at you. In the summertime I often let my nose do the shopping as I follow the intoxicating scent of stone fruit or the sweet dust-like smell of a ripe summer tomato.

To that I add a variety of cheeses that differ in both texture and strength. A soft, creamy and mellow goat cheese is a lovely compliment to a smoky Gouda. A few slices of cured meats like a peppery salumi or prosciutto and you are well on your way.

I mentioned that I like to add a few surprising elements. These are the things that take that bite of bread and cheese over-the-top. Pickled things; onions, raisins, cherries and peaches (seriously, pickled fruit is amazing). Savory or sweet jams or spreads, roasted vegetables, honey (have you tried smoked honey?!). Of course a few little dishes of olives and nuts strategically placed are always welcomed.

Remember to have plenty of crackers and bread on hand for serving.

With a well stocked pantry with some essential items a simple and stunning summer meal is close at hand.

 

What I keep in the pantry or fridge:

 

Hard/medium cheeses like Parmesan, Pecorino, Gouda – smoked or not.

 

Soft cheese such as Chevre, blue cheese, triple creme, or camembert

 

Salumi and/or other cured meats

 

Things in jars or things that last a good bit in the fridge (olives, artichoke hearts, jams, etc.):

 

Pickled Onions, cornichons, nuts, Fig jam, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts

 

Recipes to try to take your cheese board over the top:

 

Smoked Honey

 

Quick Pickled Raisins

 

Sharp Cheddar Cheese Crackers

 

Quick Pickled Red Onions

 

Fig and Taleggio Toasts

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