For four summers now, we've taken the same trip to Paonia, Colorado, and yet, we never tire of it. We've sipped wine at the same wineries, stopped to breathe in the aroma of stone fruits and lavender at now-familiar orchards, let our fingers graze clusters of tiny green grapes, still sour and not yet ready to be harvested for wine. We've ended the afternoon at our favorite terrace to drink cool glasses of Riesling, while contemplating whether or not we, too, could own a vineyard there.
We've left the rolling green hills of Paonia and crossed the dusty desert stretching over to Palisade, where fresh peaches fall from the trees, their warm skin so touchable, like velvet ribbon. We've driven up and over the cool mesa, where the temperature drops 20-30 degrees as the elevation rises, where horses and cattle graze and countless lakes beckon us to stop and linger. Each time we tell ourselves, we really should go camping here. But there's never enough time. One of these summers, though, we will make time.
Last summer, we brought home cases of wine for our wedding, as well as peaches, apricots, cherries and plums for homemade jam for wedding favors, but this year, only wine. The peaches were in short supply in Paonia, due to a late freeze, and even the reputable Palisade peaches weren't as good as they should have been. That was a disappointment, but there are worse things than an under-ripe peach in July.
As we meandered along the "wine trail" in Palisade, we passed a neglected apricot orchard, and I couldn't help but stop to wander through the trees, the path in between a carpet of beautiful sunny apricots. The thought of all the lovely jam, crumbles, pies and tarts that could have been made with those forgotten apricots made my heart hurt just a little. If only I could have saved them from their fate of a sweet snack for the bugs and birds lucky enough to be passing by.
When we came home, since we hadn't brought back any peaches, I went straight to the store and bought a big bag of beautifully ripe peaches. First, there was fresh peach pie, and then, this oatmeal. Really, it's one of the best things you'll ever eat, if you decide to make it. I could quite happily eat it for breakfast every day.
Read more about our trips to Paonia:
A Birthday Weekend and Wine Tasting in Colorado
Peach Season in Palisade and our Weekend of Fruit and Wine
An Apricot Tree in Paonia
Curly Girl Wedding: Homemade Jam for Guest Favors
Peaches and Cream Pecan Crumble Oatmeal
- 1 ripe free-stone peach
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 3/4 cups whole milk
- 2-3 tablespoons dark brown sugar or pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
- pinch coarse sea salt
- cream or whole milk
Reserve a few slices of the peach for garnish, and dice the rest; you can peel the peach, if you like, but I don't mind the texture of the peach skin in this recipe. In a saucepan, combine the diced peaches with the oats, milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Cook over medium low heat for about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
Spoon the oatmeal into two bowls and top with the peach slices, chopped pecans and a pinch of salt. Add a splash of cream or whole milk to finish.
Yields 2 servings
Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen