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It's Peach Season

Without a doubt one of the greatest pleasures of summer is a juicy ripe peach.

As golden as the sun on a summer day, peaches bring all sorts of culinary thoughts to mind – there's peach ice cream, peach cobbler or peach jam, to name just a few.

Truly ripe peaches are a fleeting thing, so enjoy them now before the season ends. Today's recipes include: Peachy Chicken with Noodles, Peach and Arugula Salad, Peach Calfouti, Ginger-Peach Jam, Deep-Dish Peach Pie.

PEACHY CHICKEN WITH NOODLES

3 T. flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 4 skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves, 2 T. margarine, 3/4 c. chicken broth, 3 peaches, peeled/sliced, 1 sm. red onion, sliced, 8 lg. basil leaves, sliced, 1/4 tsp. lemon peel, grated, cooked noodles

On waxed paper, mix flour, salt, and pepper. Coat chicken breasts with seasoned flour. In nonstick 12-inch skillet, melt margarine or butter over medium heat. Add chicken and cook 10 to 12 minutes, until juices run clear when thickest part of chicken breast is pierced with tip of knife, turning once. Transfer chicken to platter; keep warm. Add chicken broth to skillet; heat to boiling over high heat. Add peaches, red onion, and lemon peel. Cook, stirring frequently, about three minutes or until peaches are softened and sauce is slightly thickened. Stir sliced basil into skillet. To serve, arrange chicken on plates with cooked noodles or rice. Spoon sauce over chicken. Garnish with basil sprigs. Serves four.

PEACH & ARUGULA SALAD

4 slices bacon, 2 T. fresh parsley, chopped, 2 T. olive oil, 2 T. rice vinegar, 2 T. shallots, minced, 1-1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. coarse black pepper, 4 bunches arugula, 3 peaches, peeled/sliced

In 10-inch skillet, cook bacon over medium low heat until browned. With slotted spoon, remove bacon to paper towels to drain. In small bowl, with wire whisk, mix parsley, oil, vinegar, shallots, mustard, salt and pepper until dressing is blended. In large bowl, toss arugula and peaches with dressing until coated. Sprinkle with bacon. Makes 6 servings.

PEACH CAFLOUTI

3 peaches, peeled/sliced, 3 lg. eggs, 6 T. margarine, melted, 3/4 c. flour, 1 c. half and half, 2 T. almond liqueur, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 1/8 tsp. salt, 1/3 c. plus 2 T. sugar, 1/4 c. almonds, sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease shallow 2-quart casserole or baking dish. Arrange peach slices evenly in casserole. In blender, combine eggs, half-and-half, flour, melted margarine or butter, almond liqueur, vanilla, salt and 1/3 cup sugar; blend until smooth. Pour batter over peaches; sprinkle with almonds and remaining 2 T. sugar. Bake clafouti 35 to 40 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Cool on wire rack 15 minutes (claflouti will deflate as it cools). Serve warm. Makes eight servings.

GINGER PEACH JAM

3 peaches, peeled/mashed, 2 T. fruit pectin powder, 1/2 tsp. margarine, 1 c. sugar, 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced

In 12-inch skillet heat peaches, pectin, and margarine or butter over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is hot and bubbly. Stir in sugar, lemon juice, and ginger; heat to boiling. Boil one minute; remove from heat. Pour hot jam into two 1/2 pint jars with tight fitting lids. Cover and refrigerate until jam is set and cold, about 4 hours. Store in refrigerator and use within three weeks. Makes about 2 cups.

DEEP DISH PEACH PIE

6 lb. peaches, peeled and sliced, 1/2 c. quick tapioca, 2 T. lemon juice, 1-1/4 c. plus 1 T. sugar, salt, 2-1/2 c. flour, 3/4 c. shortening

In large bowl toss peach slices with tapioca, lemon juice, 1-1/4 cup sugar, and 3/4 tsp. salt. Let peach mixture stand 15 minutes to soften tapioca, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix flour with 1 tsp. salt. With pastry blender or two knives, cut in shortening to resemble coarse crumbs. With fork stir in 6 to 7 T. cold water until dough is just moist enough to hold together. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spoon peach mixture into 12 x 9-inch glass baking dish. On lightly floured surface with floured rolling pin, roll dough into a rectangle 1 inch larger than top of baking dish. Place dough rectangle on top of peaches; trim edge, leaving at least 1 inch overhang. Fold overhang under; make high fluted edges. Cut slits or design in crust to allow steam to escape while baking. Brush top of crust with water; sprinkle with 1 T. sugar. Bake 55 minutes or until filling bubbles and crust is golden, covering, if necessary, after 35 minutes to prevent over-browning. Serves 18.