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Video tip: Peel peaches and other stone fruits the easy way ... and a recipe

Peel peaches and stone fruits the easy way using this method

Because peach skins tend to be a little tough and can slip free to muddle some dishes, recipes sometimes call for peeling the fruit before use.

There's an easy way to do the job -- and the method works for peeling many fruits and vegetables. Simply mark an "x" on the bottom of the fruit with a sharp knife, dunk it in boiling water to loosen the skin (about 30 seconds for a ripe peach, slightly longer if the peach is somewhat firm), then quickly chill the fruit in an ice bath to bring the temperature back down. The skin should slip off easily.

Cooking is fun — at least it should be! No matter how long you’ve been in the kitchen, there is always something new to learn, whether it’s a simple twist on an old technique, or a handy tip to save time and energy. In this series of short videos, I demonstrate a variety of kitchen tips, ranging from how to hold a chef’s knife for maximum control to using a spoon to peel fresh ginger. If you have any gadgets, kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment or shoot me an email at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

CAMP-STYLE PEACH AND BLACKBERRY DUMPLINGS

Total time: 45 minutes | Serves 8 to 12

Note: To simplify this recipe at the campsite, combine dry ingredients for the dumplings (flour, sugar, salt and baking powder) ahead of time in a plastic bag so they're mixed and ready to go. Leftovers make a great camp breakfast.

    2 1/2 pounds peaches, peeled and quartered
    2 pints blackberries
    2 tablespoons maple syrup
    3/4 teaspoon almond extract or 1 tablespoon almond liqueur
    Zest of 1 orange
    1 1/2 cups (6.4 ounces) flour
    3 tablespoons sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    6 tablespoons (¾ stick) cold butter or lard, diced into ½-inch pieces
    3/4 cup cold buttermilk
    1/3 cup sliced almonds

1. Lightly grease a 4-quart (10-inch) Dutch oven. Prepare a batch of coals (at least 27) without starter fluid in a chimney starter until they are hot enough to have formed a thin coating of white ash over the surface of each coal. Alternatively, the dumplings can be baked using a greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish in a conventional oven heated to 425 degrees.

2. Combine the peaches and blackberries in the Dutch oven, and toss with 2 tablespoons maple syrup, the almond extract and orange zest.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry cutter or fork until the butter is reduced to small, pea-sized pieces. Pour in the buttermilk, and stir until the mixture is combined to form a thick, sticky batter. Gently stir in the almonds to combine.

4. Scoop the batter into 8 or so portions, using a large soup spoon or small serving spoon. Space the dumplings evenly over the peaches and blackberries. Cover with the lid.

5. Place the Dutch oven over nine of the hot coals (evenly spaced), and evenly space 18 coals over the lid. Cook until the dumplings are puffed and a rich golden color and the fruit is soft, 20 to 25 minutes. If cooking in a conventional oven, bake the dumplings, uncovered, until puffed and golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

Each of 12 servings: Calories 206; Protein 4 grams; Carbohydrates 32 grams; Fiber 5 grams; Fat 8 grams; Saturated fat 4 grams; Cholesterol 16 mg; Sugar 16 grams; Sodium 196 mg

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