In advance of Palisade festival, chefs share recipes, tips about juicy fruit
Does it get any peachier than this? That was my thought as I found myself at Palisade’s Riverbend Park surrounded by peach-passionate area chefs.
Kristin Seltzer, Jon St. Peter, Lee Mathis, Lyle Shaw, Stacy Hinkle, Cole Householder, Monte Haltiner, Nick Santos — these are eight of the 12 chefs who will create palate-pleasing peach dishes at the Peach Festival’s Peach Cuisine with Colorado Chefs on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 19 and 20. Nearly every festival hour on the hour, chefs will prepare dishes, give hints, answer questions, serve up samples and pass out the recipes. Don’t miss it!
What fun I had with this group! Read all chefs’ bios at http://www.palisadepeachfest.com.
Some things I learned chatting with the chefs during a recent morning at Riverbend Park:
■ All are field-to-feast chefs dedicated to the freshest and tastiest food they can serve.
■ Many, like young Cole started out early, cooking with their Moms/Dads/Grandparents and mentors.
■ All love our peaches with their special high desert flavor. Some eat peaches without peeling (me too), others, peel except when driving – “no peeling and driving – just eating and driving” says Jon St. Peter.
■ Heed their advice to taste your peaches first, then adjust sugar called for in a recipe according to the sweetness of the peach, maybe reducing the sugar. Good to remember when entering The Peach Recipe Contest on the 20th.
■ Grilling peaches for both sweet and savory dishes creates caramelized peaches to bring out the natural sweetness.
■ Ripeness is essential for all dishes.
■ Many learned how to fast peel a bunch of peaches, from moms and grandmothers, by cutting an X in the bottom of each peach, dipping them in a pot of simmering/boiling water for about 10 to 30 seconds and slipping the skins off. Have a large bowl with ice and water ready to shock/stop them from cooking.
■ Peaches are low in calories — about 40 to 70 each, depending on size. They’re high in some phytochemicals with significant antioxidant activity. Who knew?
■ Peaches fit in all menus! Chefs are a fun bunch and are where they want to be…here!
Peach Festival time is Aug. 18-21, with Palisade peaches here, there and everywhere. The festival features everything from a free ice cream (with peaches) social and street dance, to the town park’s recipe contest, to sample sales and Lions Club peach pancakes. There will be growers at the festival at Riverbend Park with food vendors, peach menu items, a peach-eating contest, homemade pies and other goodies and beverages. How about the growers with homemade jams, jellies and fresh peaches? The peach passion continues at fruit stands, restaurants and cafés, and the Feast in the Fields five-course gourmet dinner, magically set among the trees and twinkling lights. Get the peach-ture? Details are at palisadepeachfest.com. This schedule will have you salivating!