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Saturday, September 20, 2008

toast with almond butter and peaches

image

I admit, I have a weakness for peaches. Born and raised here in Anchorage, I grew up eating a fairly limited selection of fruit: apples, bananas, and oranges. The annual grapefruit in the toe of my stocking at Christmas was cause for celebration.

I’ve only lived near peach country once in my life, when I spent four years in graduate school at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Toward the end of my degree, I was disillusioned and depressed; I no longer wanted to be a college professor (the reason I’d gone to Ph.D. school for Geography in the first place), and I was sick to death of academia.

However, there were two things I knew to be positive beyond doubt that came out of the grinding, belittling experience that was Ph.D. school. First, I met my one true love: my husband Dan, who had escaped from his own academic hell (his was in biochemistry in New York City). Second, I ate a LOT of peaches.

Not owning a car then, I would ride my bike to my local King Soopers and load a huge paper bag with enough Colorado peaches to fill the middle section of my backpack. My other groceries stashed as best they could beneath and atop my motherlode of the fragrant stone fruits, the full extension of my ski pack towered over my head as I wobbled up the hill toward home. I would eat peaches for every meal, plus snacks. Consuming six peaches a day was not unusual.

Now that I’m back in Anchorage, I’m far from those Colorado peaches, but I do have access to some remarkably good ones at Costco. Maybe they aren’t tree-ripened (they certainly aren’t local), but they taste pretty dang good to me. I can never understand my friends who lament “I just can’t get through a Costco case of peaches!” I buy two cases at a time, and let them finish ripening while I’m busy consuming the previous two cases.

How can I eat so many peaches? Usually I have two slices of almond-buttered, peach-piled toast for breakfast on summer mornings. The photograph isn’t completely accurate, because I pile the peaches on higher, and then eat them alongside, as well…  So before 9am I’ve already pounded two peaches. Then I might eat a peach for a snack, and for dessert? Well, let’s just say I don’t always stop at one.

toast with almond butter and peaches

This is hardly a recipe… it’s just a description of the finest breakfast known to humankind. Also it’s a fabulous snack, if you need a little pick-me-up in the afternoon. Of course we always use our Rise & Shine bakery whole grain sourdough pan loaves for the toast, but any full-flavored, whole-grain bread will be fine.

And here’s my deal with almond butter. I love roasted almond butter (not raw), and I like it a little bit salty, like peanut butter. Most almond butters don’t come salted—but it’s easy to mix in salt when you’re stirring in the separated oil when you first open the jar.  I scrape the whole mess into a mixing bowl, add salt (I use about ½ teaspoon sea salt for a 16-ounce jar), and whisk it all together. It makes a couple more dishes to wash, but it’s WAY easier and much less messy than trying to stir it up in the jar without getting oil everywhere.

If you don’t prefer almond butter, you could use peanut butter, but almonds are extraordinarily good with peaches. You might want to give it a try!

slices of whole wheat sourdough bread (thick or thin, as you prefer)
almond butter (I prefer roasted and salted)
perfectly ripe peaches, washed, pitted, and sliced

Toast the bread, and spread it with almond butter. Cover the nut butter with peach slices. Eat more peach slices alongside your toast. Sip tea or coffee between bites. Enjoy pure bliss.

 


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