August: Potlucks and Peach Cobbler

The blackberries are ripening and the night sky is full of shooting stars. It must be August. I’ve been sleeping outside on the deck under the almost-full moon, waking up each morning to the sun rising over the bay (far earlier than I would like, I might add). *That’s my sister and my dog, Luka, in the picture. I don’t know how they could both sleep through the glaring fireball reflecting off the water.

August is marked by potlucks with old friends that stretch into the long, dusky nights. When I first went to a potluck in the city, I was shocked to find store-bought potato salad, bags of chips, and something resembling a fruity/jello-y/marshmallow-y bundt cake (she said in her least snobby/pretentious/foodie voice). Island potlucks are a showcase of side dishes from talented home cooks, filets of Sockeye salmon, homemade goat cheese, garden Greek salad, and fresh-baked pies.

An old high school friend and his wife and new baby boy are visiting the island, so we attended a potluck in their honor. They have a beautiful farmhouse down on the south end of the island. My dad baked a beautiful peach cobbler from organic peaches grown in a local Washington orchard and we brought it as a our potluck dish. Friends and families I’ve known since I was born gathered around a bonfire, shared stories, and oogled over the next generation teetering around as we ate our fill and chatted until it got dark and everyone headed home.

The best part about August: it’s only halfway over :)

Deep Dish Peach Cobbler (adapted from New York Times):

Make (or buy! - Dad if you're reading this - avert your eyes!) your favorite pie crust, enough for a top and bottom crust, though you'll combine them into one.

Mix together in a bowl:

6 pounds ripe peaches pitted and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

1 1/4 cups/135 grams packed light brown sugar, more to taste

1/3 cup/50 grams instant tapioca

Zest of 3 lemons (yes, 3! It gives it a lovely lemon-y flavor)

3 tablespoons/45 milliliters fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons/5 grams finely grated nutmeg

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped, or 1 teaspoon/5 milliliters vanilla extract (but it's worth it to splurge for the bean)

1 teaspoon/6 grams fine sea salt

Line a 9x13" glass pan with the double crust, combined into one. Spoon the fruit mixture out of a bowl after letting it sit for 30 min (leaving the extra juice behind in the bowl, which will prevent the final dish from being too soupy).

Mix together and crumble over the top (my dad added pecans to this and they were delicious!)

1 1/2 cups/180 grams all-purpose flour

1 cup/200 grams packed dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons/10 grams ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons/3 grams ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon/3 grams fine sea salt

1 1/2 sticks/6 ounces/170 grams unsalted butter, cubed

Bake at 425 for 15 min. Reduce to 375 and bake for the better part of an hour, until top is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Cool before serving with a generous scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.