Private Chef Chronicles: Summering in the Hamptons (Part 3!)
The thing about private cheffing is, at least in my experience, it involves food. I mean, SO. MUCH. FOOD.
Some days, I feel like I’m simultaneously running a bakeshop, a 24-hour diner and a full-service catering company. Last weekend I cooked for a party of 35. Luckily, my sister came to help me, (I made her slice potatoes for an hour straight – sorry, Case), because if she hadn’t come I might have curled up in a ball and melted into a puddle of tears on the kitchen floor. Instead, all 35 guests were fed (well fed, I should say), and neither Casey nor I am any worse for the wear.
I am, however, feeling just a little bit burnt out, which is probably why I’ve started experimenting with popsicles.
On my days off and in my free time (free time?! hilarious), I’ve been taking some of my favorite summer fruits and converting them into the coolest, most delicious popsicles.
When I was a kid on summer vacation, my mom’s dad, Grandpa Arnie (PopPop), used to make us sweet, frosty drinks with fresh peaches, crushed ice and, in true Arnie fashion, lots of alcohol. (For the adults, I mean. Mostly. ). PopPop didn’t spend much time in the kitchen (the closest he really got was the porch right outside the kitchen, where he stood his post as family rib-barbecuing afficionado), so these were a real treat. PopPop was a big time golfer and liked to spend most of his time outside, usually fixing things. He once held his breath so long fixing the drain at the bottom of the pool I thought he’d drowned – as I leaned over to see if the drain had swallowed him up, he popped up from the bottom and, grinning, spit a mouthful of pool water at me.
PopPop’s not around anymore, but these popsicles remind me of him. So, naturally, I think they’re the best.
- 4-5 ripe peaches
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt (nonfat or regular)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- a handful of fresh ginger, cut into small pieces (it’s okay to leave it unpeeled)
- 3 tablespoons whiskey
First, make a ginger simple syrup: Combine the water, sugar, and ginger in a small pot over a high flame. Once the mixture boils, turn off the heat and let the ginger steep in the cooling syrup for a half hour. Strain the ginger from the syrup and place the syrup in the fridge to cool. (Note: if possible, do this step ahead of time – it really speeds up the popsicle-making process. Simple syrup will last weeks in the refrigerator).
Cut the peaches, working around the pit, into wedges (no need for nice, even pieces… if the peaches start to fall apart, that’s fine). Then, peel the skin from each wedge. (If this is too difficult because the peaches are too ripe, don’t worry about it. A bit of peach skin never hurt anyone. Or any popsicles, for that matter.)
Put the peach pieces into a food processor with the yogurt, lemon juice, whiskey, and about 3/4 cup of simple syrup (more if the peaches are under ripe, less if they’re super sweet). Pulse until well-mixed.
Pour the mixture into small plastic cups (I used 3 ounce plastic solo cups. It’s nice to know that solo cups have a place in my life, even after college.) and put the cups in the freezer to chill. After an hour of chilling time, stick one popsicle stick into each cup, and put the cups back in the freezer. Let the popsicles chill overnight to fully harden. When you want to eat one, run the plastic cup under a bit of hot water to loosen popsicle, and the pop should twist right out. Enjoy with good weather and a bunch of free time.
Makes about 15 small (3-ounce) popsicles.