We interrupt our regularly scheduled Salad Days content to bring you the next in our "Meet Our Contributors" series—Food52's version of show and tell. We're asking some of the voices behind your favorite columns to share a recipe that represents them (and explain why).
Tell us about this recipe—what about it makes it you?
Peach pie was one of the first things I ever made really well. In college and just after, I'd make three things: samosas, burritos, and peach pie (not usually for the same meal), and the pie quickly became the thing I was known for. Similarly, my maternal grandmother was known for her pies and every time I make one of my own, I feel connected to her.
There are flashier summer pies (like sour cherry), but peach is all about simplicity—jammy cooked peaches contrasting with a flaky crust. This version in particular is made with peaches from a local orchard and drizzled with tarragon butter, which lends a subtle savoriness to the flavor.
Tell us your hometown.
I live in Charlottesville, Virginia. My family and I moved here from Brooklyn a couple years back. Charlottesville is in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is surrounded by rolling hills and farmland. For better and worse, it's a quirky town—although its hippie quotient has declined in recent years (to its detriment, if you ask me). There's a thriving local food movement here, so it's a great place for tracking down wonderful ingredients and getting inspired.
I miss parts of my life in New York—great restaurants and good coffee on every corner—but whenever I walk out the door and end up in the woods or alongside a river, I'm glad I made the move.
What is your desert island food (practicalities aside)?
If I've learned anything from cartoons, it's that desert island cuisine presents two main challenges: the desire to eat your fellow castaways after envisioning them as roast turkeys or hams, and boredom caused by lack of variety. So, I'd want a go-to protein that's always going to trump imaginary holiday meals. And to improve variety, I'd want a good basic dish that I could change to suit my mood.
For me, this can only mean cheeseburgers—medium-rare with ALL the fixings—and fries. The burger would keep me sated and the flexibility with the fixings would keep me out of a rut. Also, I really like cheeseburgers.
What is your fruit or vegetable spirit animal?
Are tomatoes too obvious? Because mine is tomatoes. Preferably just off the vine on a hot July afternoon.
What's one food you pretend to like but secretly hate?
There really aren't many ingredients that I hate. However, I have a few serious food allergies that are hard for other people to keep track of (I'm allergic to almost all nuts and legumes), so having dinner at someone else's house often means pretending to enjoy eating a dish plain while everyone else is raving about the sauce.
What's something that someone wouldn't know about you from reading your column?
I'm an artist. I make mostly abstract oil paintings. I had a studio in Brooklyn and taught drawing at a local college for years. I haven't picked up my brushes in a while, but I miss painting and drawing, and hope to get back to it soon.
Makes one 9-inch pie
For the crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus flour for dusting
1/2 cup sorghum flour (or sub all-purpose flour)
3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 teaspoon sea salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
8 to 10 tablespoons ice water
1 egg white, lightly beaten
For the filling:
2 tablespoons butter
2 sprigs tarragon
10 to 12 medium-sized peaches, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1/2 cup sugar (go up to 3/4 cup for a sweeter pie)
3 tablespoons ground instant tapioca (use a coffee grinder to pulverize)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly grates nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Photos by Elizabeth Stark