I chose Delancy as my beach book for the past summer holidays. I spent most of my afternoons sleeping in a dark room with a huge fan on the ceiling or watching episode after episode of the four seasons of Game of Thrones (yes, winter is coming). When I was laying on the beach, in between a swim and some daydreaming activity on a sunbed, I would take out Delancey, move my bookmark a few pages behind, dust off some sand, and immerse myself into Molly’s and Brandon’s adventures with their restaurant.
I was there, with my body covered in a sweet coconut lotion, my feet firmly ducked under the sand and my hair tangled with salt and sultry air. Then, all of a sudden I would feel the urge to cook a braised pork shoulder or a family-size bowl of eggnog, and I would say to my half-asleep boyfriend lying in the sun next to me: I’m going to make this recipe for you, pork shoulder, doesn’t it sound delicious? Oh and fried rice. I want to cook more for you this winter, salads, desserts, pizzas…
I would come out with a new recipe to try next winter at least twice a day, and he would just nod back in response. He might have thought that my secret aim was to make him fat to be roasted in a wood-fired oven but, oh, you know, winter is coming.
When is a book a good book?
A book you would recommend to your best friend, to your mum, and to your foodie friends? A book you would buy as a gift for the people you love the most? When it makes you crave a stove, a wood-fired oven, some friends to gather around a table, or some fun in the kitchen to feed your significant other.
Delancey has this powerful force, it’s packed with recipes that demand to be enjoyed with the people you love. Molly shares the kind of food that makes you feel immediately welcomed and loved, food that nurtures your stomach, makes your belly happy, and your soul warmer: fried rice with pork and kale, sautéed dates with olive oil and sea salt, and meatloaf. She gives you a method, ideas on how to serve the dish, and occasions. You feel like she is holding your hand in the kitchen, like she’s there to laugh with you, too, and help you create a memorable dish. She sincerely cares for you.
Then you have a story, a good one, a story that makes you reflect, laugh, and sometimes shed a tear.
I’ve fallen in love with Molly’s blog, Orangette, a few years ago, I’ve underlined words, idioms, and descriptions in her first book, A Homemade Life. She’s one of my examples to follow for food writing, along with Laurie Colwin, Elizabeth David, M.K. Fisher, Diana Henry, and Ruth Reichl. She has this intimate, light, ironic, and sweet approach. It’s like you are talking with a friend. Besides, she’s a huge Springsteen fan, so how not to love her?
Chilled peaches in wine
I bookmarked pork shoulder, fried rice with kale, and egg nog for the upcoming months, when it will be cold outside and it will be cosy to gather in a tiny kitchen to cook and share a good meal, but I could not wait further to try her chilled peaches in wine. Simple as you can imagine reading the recipe title, these peaches give their best the day after, when they get translucent and boozed up with the wine. You remember well, I usually do not drink alcohol, I can’t stand half a glass of wine without getting sleepy, but she was very persuasive in describing the recipe, so I made them for a special dinner.
Simple as you can imagine reading the recipe title, these peaches give their best the day after, when they get translucent and boozed up with the wine.
These peaches are dangerously good. It’s the ideal after-dinner dessert in summer when you don’t want to burden a perfect meal with a heavy dessert. You can enjoy the ripe peach slices along with their boozy orange-flamed syrup, they are so easy to eat. Definitely too easy to eat. They’ve become my go-to dessert for the summer, especially when you run out of time to make a proper cake. We brought them to a barbecue with friends and they were a hit!
RECIPE – Chilled peaches in wine
[Updated September 2023]
If in Molly Wizenberg’s recipe peaches are soaked in white (or rosé) wine, traditionally, in Italian households, ripe peaches would be sliced and plunged directly in a tumbler of red wine at the end of the meal. It is a quick, fuss-free, no-frill idea to end your dinner with a sweet note. You can picture this scene: a bowl of perfectly ripe peaches, an inch of leftover, robust red wine, a red checkered tablecloth, a door opened into the dark countryside, or a lively back road where old people are already gathering their plastic chairs for an after-dinner chat.
It has all the elements of a picture-perfect scene, and I am so grateful to have had the chance to live some of this romantic, bygone atmosphere.
Chilled peaches in wine
- 4 medium-sized ripe peaches, rinsed and patted dry
- 2 tablespoons sugar, or more to taste
- 475 ml crisp, dry white wine or rosé, or rosé
- Slice the peaches thinly, making about 12 - 16 slices per peach.
- Combine the peaches in a bowl, sprinkle with sugar, and toss gently to mix. Pour the white wine and toss gently again.
- Cover the bowl and store it in the fridge for a few hours or up to a day.
- Serve the peaches very cold, straight from the fridge, with a small ladleful of their pinkish-orange liquid.
- Molly’s books: A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table and Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage
- Molly’s recipe for banana bread is now my favourite recipe to use my overripe bananas.
- My article for ItalyTraveller is online. I’m sharing my favourite recipes to fight the heat of summer in Tuscany: Cool Meals from Tuscany.
More recipes with peaches from the blog archive
- Peach pie. The crust is so perfect that it does not steal the show with the juicy filling, generous with seasonal fruit, warmed by a pinch of spices. Once you get familiar with the making of the perfect pie crust you can have fun trying different fillings, varying them following the flow of the seasons. My favourites? Strawberries and rhubarb, apples and blueberries, and peaches of course.
- Grilled peaches with ricotta. Serve the grilled stone fruit drizzled with honey syrup flavoured with rosemary and vanilla. You can also add a scoop of your favourite gelato or a tablespoon of milky ricotta, simply dusted with cinnamon.
- Peach and mead cake. It’s a cake that would suit woods and forests, fairies and leprechauns, It’s crammed with fresh fruit, and ripe peaches, lit by a drop of mead.