photographs by Matt Hulsman

Grilled Peaches with Goat Cheese & Honey
Yield: 4 servings.

4 large, ripe peaches, halved and pitted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
8 ounces plain goat cheese, crumbled
4 teaspoons honey
Juice from 1 lemon

½ cup chopped pecans Rosemary sprigs (for garnish)

Prepare grill for medium-high heat with no flame. Scrape grate clean.

Brush inside of peach halves with melted butter and place facedown on grill. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes or until grill marks are visible. Remove from grill.

To serve, place 2 halves on each salad plate, top with crumbled goat cheese, and drizzle with honey and lemon juice. Sprinkle pecans over cheese and garnish with rosemary sprig.

Note: If not using a grill, place buttered peach halves in a hot cast-iron skillet on high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Do not overcrowd pan.

Grandma Rose’s Plum Cake
Yield: 8 servings.

1  cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2  cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
⅛ teaspoon salt

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla
12-16 plums, quartered or sliced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon Confectioners’ sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 ̊. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans with 2 tablespoons butter.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream together 1 cup butter and 1 cup sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix until well blended. Add vanilla.

Gradually add flour mixture and mix until batter is smooth. Do not overmix. Batter will be thick.

Divide batter into each cake pan. Arrange plums attractively on top of the batter.

Mix remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon together, and sprinkle over plums. Bake for 1 hour, or until edges are lightly browned and center is set. Remove from oven. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired, and serve.

Cherry Biscuit Cobbler
Yield: 8 servings.

For the biscuits:
5 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (for best results, freeze for 1 hour)
2 cups all-purpose flour

2  tablespoons baking powder
3  tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk, very cold

For the filling:
1  tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
2  pounds fresh or frozen cherries, pitted
¼  cup sugar
¼  cup water
1 (13-ounce) jar cherry preserves
4 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the biscuits: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in chilled butter until the flour resembles peas. Slowly add cold milk and incorporate with pastry cutter or hands. Do not overmix. Dough will be wet. Pour dough onto a clean, heavily floured countertop. Shape dough into a ball and roll out to ½-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch-round biscuit cutter, cut biscuits and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate biscuits for 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 ̊.

For the filling: Prepare a 2-quart baking dish with 1 tablespoon softened butter. Arrange cherries in baking dish. In a saucepan over low heat, mix together sugar, water, cherry preserves, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt. Heat to a thick sauce consistency. Pour filling over cherries.

Arrange chilled biscuits over filling. Brush biscuits with melted butter.

Place cobbler on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 ̊ and bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Cherry Gin Fizz
Yield: 2 drinks.

Crushed ice
8 ounces sweetened cherry juice
Juice from 2 limes
2 ounces gin
2 ounces Luxardo maraschino liqueur
Club soda
Lime slices and cherries (for garnish)

Fill two glasses ¾ way with crushed ice. Blend together the cherry juice, lime juice, gin, and Luxardo, and stir. Pour over crushed ice, and top with club soda. Garnish with lime slices and cherries.

Fresh Peach Chutney
Yield: 8 servings.

1½ pounds ripe peaches (approximately 4 to 5 medium peaches), pitted, peeled, and cut into small pieces
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 medium sweet onion, or 1 cup, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, cored, seeded, and minced
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Combine the vinegar, sugar, and molasses in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a low boil and stir until sugar dissolves.

Reduce heat and add the onion, pepper, and salt. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the peaches and red pepper flakes. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until peaches are cooked and begin to break apart.

Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving. Serve over fried chicken, grilled seafood, shrimp, or as a dip with tortilla chips. Store leftover chutney in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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Lynn Wells is a personal chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and a degree in Nutrition Management from UNCG.