Caramelized Summer Peaches with Basil

Collyn made this when we were at Brigantine this summer, and it was so tasty it could have been a dessert, but light enough that we ate it as part of our breakfast. The sauce is basically a deconstructed caramel, and it complements the summer peaches really well – topped with some fresh basil (have the basil plants you’ve been finding at your Farmers’ Market this month been as crazily, awesomely overgrown as mine have?), this takes on a little more freshness too.

– 3 peaches, sliced into 1/4 inch wedges (leave skin on or off, it’s up to you)
– small handful of chiffonaded basil
– 3 tbsp. butter
– 3 tbsp. brown sugar
– 1 tsp. vanilla
– 1 tbsp. water

1. In a larger pan over medium heat, melt the butter, stirring until it starts to get a little bit brown.

2. Add the brown sugar, and stir. Stir. Stir. Make sure all those sugar granuals melt and really incorporate into the butter.

3. Add vanilla, stir to combine. At this point it might start to look a little solidified. If it does, turn down the heat and add the 1 tbsp water. Tada – thin caramel sauce. Don’t taste this – it will be super, super hot and probably really burn your tongue. Not, of course, like I would know.

4. Remove from the heat and stir in the peaches, mix to warm the peach slices. Chiffonade some basil and toss that in there too, mix it all up. 

This doesn’t keep really well, so make sure to eat it within an hour or so (which is prob. not going to be too hard to do).

Thanks for the recipe, Colly!

Chopped Chicken Salad with Summer Nectarines, Avocado & Feta in a Basil Vinaigrette

This is, clearly, the summer of salads.  It’s been so hot out lately that I can’t even think about turning on an oven, so here we are.  You can get pretty creative with salads – for this one, I had some leftover grilled chicken, and the rest was in my refrigerator. It was delicious. You can sub peaches for nectarines, but make sure they’re pretty ripe, because crunch of the nectarines was perfect when paired with the creamy avocado, the grilled chicken, the saltiness of the feta and the sweet punch of the basil vinaigrette. It doesn’t keep well (at all) so make as much as you’re going to serve at a time.

– 2 nectarines (or peaches), chopped
– 1 large grilled chicken breast, chopped
– 1 avocado, chopped
– 1/4 cup crumbled feta
– couple basil leaves, chiffonaded

Basil Vinaigrette (makes more than enough, so just use however much you need)
– 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
– 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
– 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
– 2 tsp. honey
– 6 tbsp. EVOO
– little kosher salt & fresh cracked black pepper

Ready for this? It’s super complicated.

1. Chop up the nectarines/peaches/avocado into pieces roughly the same size (approx. 1/4 inch), add to a bowl.

2. Add the feta, mix gently to combine and not bruise the avocado.

3. Combine the vinegars and the salt/pepper, then the honey, then the EVOO & the chopped basil.  Put a lid on it and shake it up (that doubles as life advice).

4. Top the salad with the dressing just before serving, then gently combine.  Top individual servings with the extra chiffonaded basil.

— It was hard for me to concentrate while writing this because I SWEAR TO YOU, STINK BUG BUZZING SOMEPLACE IN MY SUNROOM, I WILL FIND YOU AND YOU WILL BE MINE.