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For years I’ve yearned to visit the Galápagos Islands, that archipelago of isolation that sits 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. These are the islands where Charles Darwin landed in 1835. While the Galápagos Islands are recognized for the theories they launched, today they are more famous for the inhabitants.

Unfortunately, life has always nudged a Galápagos trip to the back of the bus. While I don’t often give into it, aging and the hesitancy to travel alone have begun to rear their ugly heads. Perhaps the endangered Galápagos tortoises and I would never meet. It just wasn’t happening.

Peach Ice Cream by David Lebovitz, The Perfect Scoop

Peach Ice Cream by David Lebovitz, The Perfect Scoop

A month ago, the stars aligned. I was asked to join 15 others for an 11-day December Origins of the Species Adventure to the Galápagos. We’d be traveling aboard an 144’ vessel called the Integrity. Within a week I’d agreed, booked a flight to Quito, Ecuador, and dusted off my passport.

However, there is one huge hiccup about this trip which we need to discuss.

Miss Colorado Peach 2015

Miss Colorado Peach 2015

First, let’s talk peaches. Since the prime season for our Colorado peaches is short, I’m greedy and, each week, buy big. I think this week’s show-stoppers are worth sharing. This week-end, why not try Brown Butter-Peach Tourte by Dorie Greenspan or David Lebovitz’s Peach Ice Cream.

Dorie’s tourte is peaches, butter and crust. C’est tout. There’s little sugar or flour and only a dab of vanilla and lemon juice. The delish is a result of the butter which simmers until it turns ‘fragrant and is golden browned to a caramel flavor.’ When your cut-up peach chunks swim in this, it’s heavenly.

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Because of the butter, the top crust, sprinkled with sugar, gets browner, melting as it bakes. Here’s where you can be creative, simplify the process or bake to your taste. Since the magic of this dessert is the filling, the crust is your choice. Choose a sweet tart dough, pie dough (no shame in store-bought) or a strudel concoction. This delight is in the filling.

Memories were made from lazy summer days when we helped make hand-cranked peach ice cream. Magic, right? Lebovitz created the simplest stone fruit ice cream recipe I could find. It’s delicious. I know that because I enjoyed most of it myself. After making the mixture and refrigerating it to cool overnight, I found I needed unexpected oral surgery. (I will spare you the 2-day play-by play.) When I returned home, there was very little I could eat. I remembered Lebovitz mentioning this peach ice cream ‘is indeed best when spooned right out of the machine, just moments after it’s been churned.’

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I followed David’s advice and poured the chilled mixture into my ice cream maker. Thirty minutes later I was standing at my kitchen counter, drowning my sorrows with this delicious ice cream. For the past two days it’s been my comfort food. With 2/3 of the quart gone, I’m definitely on the mend.

And, that’s important, because I need to be in top form to deal with the hurdle in my upcoming Galápagos trip. From the Brochure’s Itinerary: 11:00 am Snorkeling: The group usually snorkels once every day. You may be out for 30 minutes to an hour, and may even have two opportunities to snorkel in one day.


Snorkeling and swimming are an important part of this journey. The problem is, I don’t. While I can probably dog paddle and keep myself afloat, I don’t swim. My face in the water, nooooo. Twenty years ago Michael paid major money for my private snorkeling lesson in Hawaii. I was doing fine, being attentive and preparing to walk into the Pacific when my instructor said, “And, if you begin to hyperventilate, here’s what you do.”

Alarmed, I immediately laid my equipment on the sandy beach and left, leaving my husband a bit perturbed. (There were times that man was a saint.) Please understand, I am not proud of this and am determined to jump into those waters and swim with whoever wants to join me, whether marine iguana, sea lion or turtle. I am (a brave) woman!



To that end, I am reading this book, will buy my snorkeling equipment next week and have the availability of The Gant’s two pools. My sweet friend, Carol Kurt, my naturalist colleague in all things who has just returned from Galápagos, has offered to “learn me.” She is confident and determined. As am I. I have four months. The clock is ticking.

As for now, I’m off to polish off the peach ice cream while I “Learn How To Swim and Snorkel Even if you are Afraid of the Water.”

BROWN BUTTER-PEACH TOURTE by Dorie Greenspan, Baking Chez Moi


2 pounds ripe but firm peaches (about 5)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Tiny pinch of fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or a drop of pure almond extract)
Juice of ¼ lemon

1 partially baked 9- to 9½-inch sweet tart dough crust, cooled
1 12-inch sweet tart dough circle, refrigerated

Sugar, for dusting (I used Turbinado natural cane sugar)


1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2. Using your favorite method for peeling and dicing peaches, cut each peach into one-inch chunks. Put the peaches in a strainer, over a bowl, to catch extra juice.

3. Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and allow it to melt and bubble. When it reaches a light caramel color, pull the pan from the heat. If you spot small dark brown spots on the bottom of the pan, that’s fine. You’ll also catch the whiff of warm nuts. After a minute or two, pour the butter over the strained peaches. Add the sugar, flour, salt and vanilla. Gently stir together. Finish with the lemon juice.

4. To assemble the tourte, ut the tart pan on the lined baking sheet. Give the filling another stir and scrape it into the tart shell, smoothing the top. You should have just enough filling to come level with the edges of the crust. Remove the circle of dough from the refrigerator while it’s resting a minute or so, brush the edges of the tart shell with water. Position the circle of dough over the crust. Press the rim with your fingers to glue the two pieces together, pressing on the rim as you go.

5. Use a knife to remove a circle of dough from the center. Brush the surface lightly with cold water and sprinkle generously with sugar.

6. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is deeply golden brown and the butter is bubbling. Transfer the tourte, still on its baking sheet, to a rack and allow it to cool until it’s only just warm or at room temperature before serving. As it cools, the buttery syrup will be reabsorbed by the peaches, which is just what you want—so don’t be impatient.

Storing: You can partially bake the bottom crust up to 8 hours ahead and you can have the top crust rolled out and ready to go ahead of time, but the filling shouldn’t be prepared ahead. Best served the same day but if you’ve got leftovers, refrigerate them. The crust will lose its delicateness, but the dessert will still be satisfying.

by David Lebovitz, The Perfect Scoop

Yield: 1 quart


1 ½ pounds ripe peaches [about four large peaches]
½ cup water
1/4 cup sugar
½ cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
A few drops freshly squeezed lemon juice


1. Peel the peaches, slice them in half, and remove the pits. Cut the peaches into chunks and cook them with water in a nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, covered, stirring once or twice, until soft and cooked through, about 10 minutes.

2. Remove from heat, stir in the sugar, then cool to room temperature.

3. Purée the cooked peaches and any liquid in a blender or food processor with the sour cream, heavy cream, vanilla, and lemon juice until almost smooth but slightly chunky.

4. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator and freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.