When You Feel Like a Stinker, Go Do Something Nice – Apple Peach Fruit Leathers

Wish I could say I had orchestrated this on purpose, but I’m afraid that’s just not the case.  A little family bike ride the other night led us through an area near our house known as The Incredible Edible Garden.  We noticed that tons of tomatoes, squash and peppers were literally rotting on the vine.

A couple of days later I did a little googling around and found the contact info for the food bank that harvests the crops.  The lady on the phone didn’t seem too concerned about a minimum group size, so I arranged for myself and kiddos to go do some gleaning today. I roped a friend’s kids into picking with us, and off we went.  What a wonderful relief to the stress I have been feeling of late.  Everything was put on hold for two hours as we did nothing but pick eggplant.  Who knew eggplant could be so therapeutic?!  And who knew that eggplant could be so prickly?  I was glad to get these shoes off when we were done picking.

pickingshoes

All together we picked 11 bins of eggplant and 2 bins of bell peppers.  Not bad for a band of 5 kids, one toddler, one almost toddler, and a weary mom.  Everything we picked will go to Second Harvest Food Bank and be distributed to people who are in need.  How cool is that?

We had one brief break while picking and I whipped out some homemade fruit leathers, water, and grapes.  Let’s just say that the friend’s daughter that I  had taken with us is BEYOND PICKY in what she eats.  I was banking on her maybe drinking some water and that would be about it.  She suspiciously eyed the fruit leathers.  Like an animal checking out its prey, she inched closer and closer.  She asked what they were and I answered.  Still not actually offering so as to not scare her off.  Finally she asked to taste.  I held out the container and she took a smidge.  That would be the end of that, I thought.   All of a sudden it was like Mikey and the old Life commercial – She liked it; she really, really liked it!  To the tune of about 6 fruit leathers down the hatch.  So with that picky eater approval, I present you Apple Peach Fruit Leathers. This is so simple it is ridiculous!

I started with some unsweetened applesauce. Then, I pureed one peach and added that to the applesauce.

leatherstep1

After that, I added in some cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.

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I spread the mixture out thinly and evenly on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

leatherspread

Now here’s the kicker . . . I baked it for SIX hours at 170 degrees.  I then used a pizza cutter and cut the leathers into strip size pieces.

So easy (long yes, but easy) and so healthy.

leathersfinal1

Oh, and the really sweet part of this deal?  Not really satisfying the picky eater friend at all.  But driving these kiddos to get well-deserved milkshakes post-picking and hearing their sweet voices as they prayed for the people who would eat the food that they had gathered.

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Here’s the complete recipe for Apple Peach Fruit Leathers, adapted from my friend over at Love Life Naturally.

Want to explore more “leather” recipes?  Check these out to start.

9 Simple Ingredients – Curried Zucchini Soup . . . oh, and a Skillet Peach Cobbler

Just in case that last post had you reeling from ingredient and preparation overload, here’s a simple little number to balance it out.  And yes, we’re sticking with the curry theme.

I’m an experimenter by nature.  In the kitchen that means that I rarely do repeats.  But this soup was so tasty that it will definitely be making regular appearances at the table.

On a separate note, this week was unofficially “peach week” at our house.  One friend stopped by bearing a whole bag of delicious little peaches.  The following morning, we awoke to another bag of peachiness left on our front doorstep by another friend.  Well, when that many peaches just show up unsolicited, you really have no other option but to make cobbler. I wasn’t too happy with my first attempt – a pretty traditional recipe that got good reviews on Epicurious.  Not to be defeated, or to sell the peaches short of their full potential, I tried again.  This time with a Skillet Peach Cobbler.  Winner, winner, cobbler dinner!  The clan was unanimously very much in favor of my quest for cobbler perfection.  After all, why wouldn’t they be?  They got peach cobbler for dessert two nights in a row!

So first for the soup and then I’ll let you in on the cobbler.

The greatest thing about this soup is that I literally threw it together in 20 minutes. I started by chopping a whole onion.  zucchini soup onion

I  heated some oil and sauteed the onion, and then threw in some garlic and curry powder. I then added 3 medium zucchini and a russet potato along with 4 cups of water.  I brought it all to a boil, then reduced the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.

zucchini soup simmer

I left everything just sit on the stove at this point while the Hubs was off collecting children.  When everyone was accounted for and whining for dinner, I brought the soup back to a simmer and then pureed it in the blender until it was smooth.  I then added in a half a cup of half and half.  Done! (BTW, the original recipe I was working from had no mention of half and half.  But I looked at the soup and the soup looked back at me and we just both knew some half and half was needed.  BUT . . . if you are looking to cut calories, fat or dairy, just skip that step and I won’t think any less of you.)

zucchini soup final 2

Oh, and please don’t judge me based on the ice cubes in my rosé wine – so gauche, I know.  But the Hubs brought the bottle home after collecting kids and we didn’t have time for a proper chilling.

Now on to the cobbler . . .

I’ll spare you the explanation and let you imagine it through this photo collage. I think a big part of its deliciousness came from the fact that it was a skillet cobbler.  I essentially melted a half a stick of butter in the skillet before adding the batter and then scattering the peaches over that.  The peach preserves, blobbed about around the fresh peaches, also gave this dessert a great flavor.  And if you’re going to go through the effort of making this little number, don’t skimp on the preserves.  Bite the bullet and buy the good stuff.  I personally love this St. Dalfour brand pictured in the collage.

I just need to point out the pudgy 4 year old hand stirring the batter.  She was my sous-chef for “Peach Cobbler Take II”.  Oh and I guess I should also add this photo for your entertainment.  The peach peeling was slow going given that the ratio went something like this.  One half for the bowl, one half for the Wee One.  Good thing we had so many peaches!

peach eater

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Want the complete recipes?  Here they are.

Curried Zucchini Soup, adapted from Martha’s Great Food Fast cookbook

Skillet Peach Cobbler, from Epicurious