Close Menu
Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Warm weather brings fresh produce, pie

I’ve been in an animal sort of mood lately. Last week my invective was focused on tourists and their infrequent but blaringly stupid interactions with large wildlife, whether it be the good people in Yellowstone with the brown bear and her cubs or the tourists in our neck of the woods with the ponies on Assateague. We just don’t seem to be able to let these magnificent beasts be … we’re all animal extremists on vacation.
Today, all I can think about is sharks. After all, they are so shocking a discovery in our ocean that they are making news left and right. The nation is aghast at the presence of these sea monsters, a predator that has been around as long as water itself. But enough of the sardonic attitude. I feel I need to try to help at least a few people come to terms with why sharks seem so much more prevalent today than even a year ago.
Research outfits such as OCEARCH do great and important work in understanding the migration patterns, breeding patterns and feeding patterns of sharks. And in doing so, they share data that very well could be no different than it has always been. They just are collecting and sharing tangible data for the first time ever. It’s not that Mary Lee, that large great white shark, hasn’t been off our shores before. It’s that she as of yet has never “pinged” three times.
I know my wife won’t get in the ocean past her knees and there are a great many people like that. If they can’t see what’s below them, they have no interest. And I certainly do not blame them. After all, when we enter their world, we no longer have the upper hand. But, as I see it, their world is a beautiful world and we can only hope that distance will be kept between “we and thee,” as I’m fond of saying. Believe me, if I physically see a large shark in the lineup, I’m paddling in. I’m no Jeff Corwin.
And I also will not eat shark meat. A buddy of mine in Oceanside, Calif. years ago gave me the “karma” speech and told me never to eat anything that could eat me in one bite. Point taken. I stay away. Killer Whale meat, too. I don’t eat that either.
But we are coming up on surfing season. I’m too old for any water under 60 degrees, so I wait. And with that weather comes beautiful weather. And with that weather comes fresh produce, that miraculous result of solar power and farming.
 As I drove home from work on Friday, I stopped at Parker’s Produce in Pittsville for a cup of Chesapeake Farm’s Blueberry Crunch ice cream and some fresh Georgia peaches. I was in heaven just smelling the peaches.
It’s nice to have the produce stands open and I get excited knowing exactly what I’m going to make with these peaches: sweet and syrupy topping for my wife’s favorite, hot milk cake. At least now I’m thinking about dessert – a better alternative than travelers and their fetish with living the NatGeo life.
Peach & Pound Cake
Makes a glorious tube-pan cake

For the Cake
4 whole large eggs
2 c. Granulated sugar
Seeds from 1 1/2” vanilla bean
2 1/4 c. All Purpose flour
1/4 c. Cornstarch
1 1/4 c. Milk
1 stick plus 2 Tbsp. butter

1. Preheat oven to 350F with low or no fan.
2. Place eggs in stand mixer with the whisk attachment and whip until very light and creamy. When a spoon is dipped into the eggs, it will fall back in a ribbon.
3. Turning mixer back on, add sugar in thirds, waiting until it is fully incorporated to add more.
4. Mix again until creamy. Add vanilla bean.
5. Add flour and cornstarch (sifted) to the eggs and combine just until mixed.
6. Melt milk and butter, but do not bring to a boil.
7. When butter is melted, turn mixer on low and slowly add the milk mixture, scraping the bowl and ensuring that it is well mixed.
8. In a non-stick tube pan, pour batter evenly and place in oven immediately.
9. Cook for 30-40 minutes. Check with a skewer and remove when the pick is just barely clean.
10. For gooey top, place the cake, in the pan, on a wire rack. Cover with a towel, but don’t let it touch the cake. Cover towel with plastic wrap and let it steam.
11. When cooled, remove from pan and serve with fresh sweet peaches and syrup. It’s even better with some vanilla ice cream and whipped cream!

For Peaches
10 ea. Small Georgia peaches
Simple syrup, as needed
A pinch of salt

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and have a bowl of ice water at the ready.
2. Place peaches in water for 20-30 seconds.
3. Quickly remove and dunk in ice water for at least 20 seconds.
4. The skin will peel off even easier than tomato skin when treated in this manner.
5. Make simple syrup by bringing equal parts water and sugar to a boil, cooking until sugar is dissolved.
6. Remove from heat and add peaches and a pinch of salt.
7. Refrigerate immediately and allow those flavors to marry.
8. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.