Three Cheers for Simple!(Recipe: Rosemary Peach Lemonade)
Heard often in the culinary world of late are phrases such as “This will take your cooking to a whole new level” and “Kick it up a notch”. To my understanding, these phrases perhaps suggest that simple isn’t good. Simple is unsophisticated and needs some help going to new levels and getting kicked up notches. I beg to differ. Simple is good. Fancy is nice from time to time but it doesn’t mean that simple is shameful and not deserving of the spotlight. A fresh picked homegrown tomato still warm from the sunlight is simple and heavenly. A peach the color of the sunset and so juicy that you wear peach stains on your clothes and peach juice on your face and arms, is a gift from God. A simple supper of freshly shelled Southern peas and hot water cornbread is honest and soul-satisfying. All alone, without rich sauces, gravies, exotic ingredients or fancy adornments, these simple dishes are noble and worthy of the utmost culinary praise and attention. New levels and additional notches are not necessary.
Variety is fun and it keeps things interesting. You’ll get no quibble from me about wanting variety in your diet. I like new and different things to from time to time, too. But that shouldn’t keep us from celebrating simple familiar dishes. The simple dishes that we were served from our parents and grandparent’s kitchens, are the very dishes that carry wonderful memories and bind generations.
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Rosemary Peach Lemonade
There’s not a thing wrong with plain ol’ fresh squeezed lemonade. For Southerners, it rates right up there with Southern Sweet Tea. Lord knows, we drink it by the gallons. You only need three ingredients: lemon, sugar and water. It’s beautiful, simple and deserves respect.
The amount of time that we can get fresh peaches in central Florida that don’t come from halfway around the world, it relatively short. And, once you get them, you’ve got to use. They don’t last long. We eat as many as we can and then I look for ways to use them in beverages and dishes.
A lot of Peach Lemonade recipes use canned peach nectar as an ingredient. When you have something as luscious as juicy fresh peaches, canned peach nectar is inferior. Save the peach nectar for the dead of winter when fresh peaches are only found in our dreams.
I steeped peaches and rosemary in simple syrup to get a deeper infusion of flavor. And just look at that gorgeous color. You can’t get that from a canned product.
Don’t be thrown off by rosemary. It doesn’t over power the flavor of the peaches and lemons. It stays in the background and just dances lightly on your tongue.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 to 3 ripe medium peaches, pitted and sliced
6 inch twig fresh rosemary
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 8 medium-sized lemons)
1 lemon and 1 peach, thinly sliced
Add sugar, water and peaches to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and remove from heat immediately. Add rosemary. Cover and steep for 15 minutes.
Remove rosemary and purée peach mixture. Strain into a pitcher. Add lemon juice and stir.
Add thinly sliced lemon and peach to pitcher. Serve over lots of ice.
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