August 01, 2011

Here's to a Peachy August 2011!

On August 3rd, 1492 a journey for our history books began. From the Spanish port of Palos, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sets sail in command of three ships—the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Nina—on a journey to find a western sea route to China, India, and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia.

On October 12, the expedition sighted land, probably Watling Island in the Bahamas, and went ashore the same day, claiming it for Spain. Later that month, Columbus sighted Cuba, which he thought was mainland China, and in December the expedition landed on Hispaniola, which Columbus thought might be Japan. He established a small colony there with 39 of his men. The explorer returned to Spain with gold, spices, and "Indian" captives in March 1493 and was received with the highest honors by the Spanish court. He was the first European to explore the Americas since the Vikings set up colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland in the 10th century.

During his lifetime, Columbus led a total of four expeditions to the New World, discovering various Caribbean islands, the Gulf of Mexico, and the South and Central American mainland, but never accomplished his original goal—a western ocean route to the great cities of Asia. Columbus died in Spain in 1506 without realizing the great scope of what he did achieve: He had discovered for Europe the New World, whose riches over the next century would help make Spain the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth. 

(Source: The History Channel website. Retrieved July 30, 2011 from:

LET'S CELEBRATE NATIONAL PEACH MONTH:  The Spanish priests planted peach trees near their missions. This fruit became a favorite among the Hopi who dried them and used the peaches for trade with their Navajo neighbors. This great recipe that we've selected is from "Kokopelli's Cook Book" by James & Carol Cunkle. Permission to print granted by Golden West Publishers, 4113 N. Longview, Phoenix, AZ 85014.

  • 6 large ripe PEACHES
  • 1/4 cup HONEY
  • 1 tsp. GINGER, freshly grated
  • 3/4 cup ALL-PURPOSE or enriched WHITE FLOUR
  • 1/4 cup MESQUITE MEAL
  • 3/4 cup BROWN SUGAR, packed
  • 1/2 cup cold BUTTER
  • 1/2 cup PECANS, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make a small cross-slit on stem end of peaches and place in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Rinse peaches under cold water. Skin, pit and slice. Place peach slices in a 2-quart baking dish. Drizzle honey over the top. Add grated ginger and toss. In a small bowl, combine the flour, mesquite meal and brown sugar. Cut in butter until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle flour mixture evenly over the peaches. Sprinkle the top with nuts. Bake until bubbly and brown, about 30 minutes.  Serves 4 to 6.