No-Cook Kitchen: Peaches Expand Options for Easy Summer Meals | To eat

The official arrival of summer and the ripening of local peaches can open up refreshing new options for easy meals, especially for people who prefer not to cook.

No-Cook Cooking cooks already have plenty of reasons to spend less time in the kitchen than our foodie friends, but this time of year, even more people are looking for an excuse to keep meals fresh and simple. Peaches can play a sweet role in just about any meal that can get you out of the kitchen and into the pool, on the bike path, or at the theme park in style.

Last summer, we talked about the luscious flavors of pitted peach halves that are drenched in a spicy crystal sweetness – maple sugar and cloves, or brown sugar and cinnamon – and lightly toasted. This concoction still makes a delicious summer dessert, but it’s just one way to enjoy summer stone fruit.

Peaches can also be a savory element in savory dishes that showcase summer produce and favorite proteins.

If you’ve ever added peach slices to the bowl of raw ingredients you handed to the grill chef at a Mongolian barbecue restaurant, you know that the only thing better than the aroma of grilled beef and peaches is the flavor interaction once they’re on your plate, especially with a touch of sweet heat from a well-balanced chili sauce.

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Peaches also pair well with shrimp, ginger and red peppers in a quick homemade stir-fry, or with chicken, jicama and water chestnuts on a bed of shredded greens for an entree salad that balances the tender and crunchy textures.

When you add peaches to an entree salad, let your imagination and your taste buds run wild. Strawberries, balsamic vinegar and mint? Certainly. Basil leaves, tomatoes and freshly chopped garden herbs? Sure. A bolder mix of greens, like kale, arugula and crisp nappa cabbage? Absolutely. BBQ pulled pork, shredded red and green cabbage, and a red pepper vinaigrette with apple cider vinegar and honey? Heaven, all of you.

Peaches also complement different nuts, so consider sprinkling slivered almonds on this strawberry option or chopped cashews on the jicama combination. Stronger spicy dishes can be balanced with the milder flavor of nuts. And if you love pecans, consider peaches to elevate a praline-inspired salad that might make your guests feel guilty about eating dessert first.

It’s also fun to keep things simple. Mix chunks of juicy peaches with chunks of pineapple, blueberries, chopped apples and cubes of honeydew melon, and you really don’t need anything else for a taste of pure summer in a bowl. The time you save on cleaning the kitchen can be spent on a walk in the garden or in a hammock.