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August 2010

Perfume Illuminated:Peaches


Nothing says summer to me like the smell of a juicy ripe peach. I wait anxiously for them all year and when the moment finally arrives that the sensuous flesh is creamy and sweet I'll buy them by the bagful  , devouring them  fresh  and creating wonderful soups, cocktails and of course the occasional buttery cobbler! My sister who  has more of a way with sugar , butter and flour than anyone that I’ve ever met makes the most delectable pies and cobblers all summer long. I swear that I don’t know how she does it, but every time I eat one of her fabulous desserts I am transported back in time to a place where the world was incredibly lazy, buttery and wholesomely good.

Peaches are one of the fruits that work as beautifully when they are blended into a savory dish as they do with ingredients that are decadent and sweet.  The simplest way to enjoy them is with a knife and a hammock, cutting slices of fresh peach and devouring them under a soft breeze. However, there are so many wonderful dishes that you can create with them and a few of these suggestions will I hope surprise and delight you all at the same time!

Currently while the peaches are so ripe, my favorite thing to do with them is make soup. Chilled peach soup is   wonderful and can be an aperitif or a dessert depending upon the sweet and savory components that you choose.  One of my favorite things to add to the mixture is the piquant surprise of a raw Ancho chili.  Make this and you’ll see why!

For this delicious soup you will need:

6 large fresh peaches
Flesh of 4 small ripe nectarines
4 cups of apricot juice
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
Agave nectar
1 cup of fresh basil leaves/ mixed varieties
1/2 seeded Ancho chili

1 cup of fresh mascarpone mixed with 1/4 cup fresh raspberries, 1 tablespoon agave nectar, 1/4 cup red grape juice- blended until smooth.
1 Bottle of Prosecco or Cava
Place  all ingredients (except tofu mixture) into the pitcher of a Vitamix  and blend until smooth. Pour into a tureen and add 1/2 a bottle of  the Prosecco. Stir gently and taste adding more agave, cinnamon or juice to taste.
Ladle into small bowls and swirl a bit of the Mascarpone /raspberry through the fruit soup.


 A fairly decadent thing to do with the flesh of sweet  juicy peaches is to make them into a wonderful body scrub. Just take a cup or two of fresh peach slices and put them into a  bowl.  Add ½ a cup of extra virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons of fresh yogurt (full fat!), a teaspoon of cinnamon and a cup and a half of raw sugar. Mash together!

When you’re ready,  draw a warm bath and soak for at least 10 minutes.  Then rub the peach mixture all over your body using a circular motion and leave on for at least 10 minutes. Then shower off and towel dry leaving your skin peaches and cream smooth and smelling simply wonderful!

Finally, fresh peaches and raspberries marry beautifully with many different meats, but my favorite thing to cook them with is pork tenderloin.


 It’s a very simple recipe...Pork tenderloins rubbed with a dry rub of your choice and then put into a pan with fresh onions ,  green, red and yellow peppers,  about 4 cups of fresh peaches,  a bag of frozen raspberries, a bottle of Heinz chili sauce, a cup of Jim Beam Red Stag cherry flavored bourbon, fresh garlic and about 1 cup of "Soy Vay" or any good teriyaki marinade. Bake slowly in a 350 oven and baste constantly. Finish with about 1 cup maple syrup and put back into the oven for 5 more minutes to glaze. Remove from pan, reduce the juices and serve sliced with a side of hash brown sweet potatoes and a fresh sweet corn , beet and arugula salad! If you want to substitute chicken go right ahead and I promise that it will be just as good! 

Now dance over to Roxana Villa's Illuminated Journal  for some fragrant musings about using the gorgeous scent of peaches in perfume!

All photographs by Beth Schreibman Gehring with the exception of the peaches and cream photograph which is courtesy of www.sweetsperfume.com

Perfume Illuminated: Lime


"You put the lime in the coconut, you drink 'em both together
Put the lime in the coconut, then you feel better
Put the lime in the coconut, drink 'em both up
Put the lime in the coconut, and call me in the morning"

There has always been something about the gorgeous lime fruit that has always seemed a bit exotic to me. One of my best friends who was a bit of a pirate at heart introduced me early on  to his Royall Lyme cologne, a  fragrance that I still love with the same passion that I reserve for a fine Bay Rum. I love to buy huge bottles of it and use it for a summertime splash because it's such an undeniably refreshing limey fragrance and doesn't smell terribly masculine on me at all. Many of my favorite natural fragrances have lime in them, but I'll let my partner in crime Roxana Villa talk to you about that in her fragrantly Illuminated Journal ! For now, I'm just going  to talk to you about using the delicious lime in fresh cocktails and food...two of my favorite things!

Fresh limes produce a magnificently flavored juice which I love to use in so many different ways, especially in the summer when it's almost bitter bite can transport me to nirvana by way of a tall and refreshing gin and tonic or when used as one of the fresh juices that I love to squeeze into my guacamole. In California I can get wonderful things called Sweet Limes which are yellow in color, musky and sweetly flavored and when mixed with the juice of the green ones make the most perfect limeade that I've ever had. Last but not least of course, is the lusty menage a trois'  that the lime has always carried on with flaked salt, mezcal or tequila.....


Midnight Margaritas anyone?


My love for the lime isn't limited only to the summertime and in the winter I like to fill my Solstice punch bowl with a simple and delicious mixture of Skye Vodkas's Raspberry infusion , Skye Ginger infusion , Roses lime juice, ginger beer , simple syrup and tons of fresh raspberries for a really festive version of a Moscow mule!  Be careful with this one though, like it's namesake, it does have a bit of a kick but it's a wonderful recipe and can be freshened easily throughout the evening.  For large parties I serve it in pretty plastic punch cups with skewers of sugary candied ginger which really make the drink special!


Besides being an amazing addition to my favorite cocktails, the juice of fresh limes will mix beautifully with many foods, from pork to seafood and can be combined with tomatoes, onions, cilantro,garlic, olive oil and sea salt for a magnificent salsa fresca which can instantly turn a simple piece of grilled fish into an exotic mediterranean feast or raw fish into ceviche! There are Mexicans salsas and enchilada sauces flavored with lime that turn fajitas and fish tacos into into true gourmet fare and then there is the Indian hot lime pickle, which is actually a chutney made of dried limes that turns a simple curry of any type into an ambrosia with its zestiness.


I admire the taste and fragrance of the lime for the complexity that it adds to Thai and Vietnamese cuisine and yet the simplest and most seductively luscious thing that I've ever tasted using fresh lime juice came to me by way of the wonderful farmers market that I frequent on Sunday mornings whenever I'm in  La Jolla. This farmers market is always filled with the most beautiful fresh produce and there are many vendors preparing wonderful things to eat from French crepes to the freshest chili cheese tamales that I've ever tasted, but my favorite stand belongs to the group of Mexican women who sell large cups of sliced papaya, mango and watermelon that they slice and dust with sea salt, chili and fresh lime juice. It is possibly the simplest combination of flavors that I've ever tasted, but also one of the best.

These is very easy to reproduce at home and I've made this salad many times for it's an easy and  wonderful dish to serve on a hot summer evening. I usually add cucumber spears and avocado for a more complete meal. Just arrange slices of fresh papaya, mango, avocado, cucumber and melon on a pretty platter and dust with ground sea salt , chili powder and squeeze fresh lime juice all over the top. If you'd like, sprinkle some chopped marcona almonds over the top for a bit of additional flavor and a satisfying crunch!

Last but not least, for the best shrimp cocktail to be had this side of the border take a jalapeno pepper, remove the seeds and mince it up. Put it  into a bowl and add 2 cloves of minced garlic, some diced red onion,  green onion and fresh cilantro. Then stir in several chopped heirloom tomatoes with a bit of their juices,1 tablespoons of clam juice,a tablespoon of tequila,  a teaspoonful of white horseradish and salt, chili powder and extra cumin to taste. When you're done the mixture should be the consistency of salsa.  Take a martini glass and put a couple of teaspoons of the tomato mixture into the bowl of the glass and then put several shrimp around the rim of the glass. You can use boiled shrimp, but I like to use grilled shrimp because I love the flavor and texture more! Garnish with a thick crispy slice of very good bacon cooked the way that you like it. The formula is simple.....Dip the shrimp  and take a bite mixed with a bite of the bacon. Be sure to eat this with a lover..it's messy!

Now how about those Midnight Margaritas!

Mezcal Photograph courtesy of : www.amountainofcrushedice.com

All other photographs by Beth Schreibman Gehring