Kristine Kidd

Cabin Life, Cooking, Improving Lives

Peach Picking at Mas Masumoto’s Farm- Fresh Peach Chutney

Last weekend I went peach picking near Fresno, and returned home with cases of fragrant Elbertas. These beauties taste like summer, the way peaches are meant to taste- sweet, floral, juicy. These are heirloom peaches, with an authentic old fashioned flavor.

Mas Masumoto, peach farmer and author of several books including the award winning Epitaph for a Peach, dreamt up a peach tree adoption program to share his fine crop with heirloom buffs. Folks who demonstrate their intent to treat his exquisite fruit with deference assume financial responsibility for the trees early in the year, Mas tends the orchard- strictly organically and with love, participants get to harvest the peaches when they are ripe.

Mas sends monthly field notes, along with photos of the spring blossoms and developing fruit, allowing us to experience the angst and rewards farmers face. This year we learned of the late hail storm that bruised the baby peaches, lamented the cool summer leading to smaller fruit, and felt Mas’ heart break when crop laden branches snapped off these young, 10 year old trees. At last, Mas set the harvest date. I started dreaming up recipes, and worried that there wouldn’t be enough fruit for all my ideas.

We drove into the Masumoto farm early Saturday morning. Steve spotted our tree, and noticed a huge broken branch tied up in an attempt to save the fruit it bore. We learned that the entire limb, and many others too, would be sacrificed, leading to a small yield next season; but this radical pruning would enable the tree to eventually grow larger and stronger.

I bit into a perfectly ripe peach, and delighted in the gush of nectar. The fruit is smaller and the flavor may be a little less intense than last year, reflecting the challenging weather conditions, but I can still taste the sunshine and care that gave rise to these treasures.

We filled 18 cases with the peaches we picked, more than enough to feast on all week. The morning after we brought our harvest home, I topped French toast with peach slices simmered in butter and Vermont maple syrup, a delicacy I am adding to my expanding file of peach specialties. Steve starts each day with a bowlful of peaches and crunchy Maple Pecan Granola, and I mound peach chunks mixed with brown sugar and nutmeg on top of steaming Scottish oatmeal. I am busy preserving our harvest in countless jars filled with thick jam, and I have plans for old fashioned ice cream and a big, buttery crostata.

My favorite dinner so far is grilled tandoori flavored chicken accompanied by fresh peach chutney. Because I am so busy canning, I wanted to make an easy meal last night: Chicken cutlets marinated in yogurt and generous pinches of Indian spices while I tossed diced peaches with lime juice, chile, fresh ginger, and herbs. After just a few minutes over the flames, tantalizing aromas of the savory fare drifted from the barbecue. The chicken was tender and juicy and the tangy chutney showed off the just picked fruit. Another recipe for my peach files.

Tandoori Flavored Chicken with Fresh Peach Chutney

Kristine Kidd
Thin chicken breast cutlets pick up flavors quickly, making them a great choice for a quick dinner. Brown Jasmine rice and grilled patty pan squash were the perfect accompaniments to this spicy dinner. If patty pans are not available, zucchini, yellow summer squash or the bi-colored zephyr squash work well too. I cut the squash into 2-inch pieces and tossed them with olive oil and garam masala before grilling along with the chicken.
Makes 2 servings, plus leftovers for a salad later in the week
Course Weeknight Dinners
Servings 2

Ingredients
  

  • pounds chicken breast cutlets
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • Fresh Peach Chutney, see recipe below

Instructions
 

  • Place the chicken in a medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, 1 tablespoon of the oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and freshly ground pepper. Mix to coat.
  • In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, ginger, shallot, garam masala, cumin, mustard powder, and remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet or saucepan over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cayenne, paprika, and turmeric and swirl to toast the spices. Stir the spice mixture into the yogurt, pour over the chicken, and mix well. Let marinate at room temperature while preparing the grill and making the chutney.
  • Prepare a barbecue grill with high heat. Transfer the chicken with the marinade clinging to it to the grill rack. Cook uncovered until browned and just springy to the touch, about 6 minutes on each side.
  • Place the chicken on plates and serve with the chutney.
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Fresh Peach Chutney

Kristine Kidd
Makes about 1 cup
Course Weeknight Dinners
Servings 1 cup

Ingredients
  

  • 1 very large or 2 medium peaches, about 8 ounces peeled and finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • ½ tablespoon minced fresh mint
  • ¼ – ½ serrano chile, seeded, minced
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions
 

  • Combine the peach, lime juice, ginger, cilantro, mint, and chile in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve right away, or cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours.
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Coming tomorrow: Chicken and Peach Spinach Salad

Ingredients for the recipe
Leftover cooked chicken
4 ounces baby spinach
1 large or 2 small peaches
1 small avocado
Feta cheese
Pecans

Comments

1 thought on “Peach Picking at Mas Masumoto’s Farm- Fresh Peach Chutney”

  1. I fall in love with Mas every IACP where he does a reading from one of his books. One presentation, we all were choked up about a storm they experienced. I envy your visit to his farm and hope to have the same opportunity one day.

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