Infused Peach Butter

by Rachel Helmer
SFUSD Board Member


The delicious fruits of spring and summer are popping up everywhere. Overflowing in grocery store bins, scattering tables at farmers markets, and if you are lucky, hanging heavily from the branches of trees in your yard. Peaches are one of my favorites and their season seems so short that I like to capture all that sweet summer stone fruit deliciousness and preserve it to be enjoyed well past the sunshiny season. This recipe for peach preserve can be infused with anything you fancy! A few of my favorites are vanilla bean and lemongrass. Try one, or both and enjoy this peachy sweet preserve on yogurt, waffles, and muffins or incorporated into salad dressings and sauces all year long!

Infused Peach Butter

Approximately 6 lbs of peaches (or nectarines if you prefer)
3 cups sugar
4 lemongrass stalks, smashed and cut into chunks
2 vanilla beans, split open lengthwise and cut in half
½ cup water
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Making the butter
First you need to remove the skins from the peaches. To do this fill your largest pot 2/3 full with water and bring to a boil. While you are waiting for this to boil prepare an ice bath in a large bowl, again filling only 2/3 full with water. Once the pot of water is boiling plop as many peaches as you can fit into the bubbling pot and allow to simmer for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon remove the peaches and add them immediately to the ice bath to cool for 2 minutes. Once the peaches have cooled you can easily remove their skins, just give the skin a pinch and it should peel off.

If you were unable to boil all of your peaches in the first batch repeat the process until all of your peaches have been simmered and skinned. Using your hands or a knife slice open the peach and remove the pit, cut away any bad spots on the fruit, slice the peach into a few different pieces and place the meat of the peach into a large bowl.

Add to this the sugar, gently combine and then cover the bowl to let the peaches sit and get nice and juicy for 1 ½ to 2 hours.

After a few hours have passed, strain the juice from the peaches into a large pot. Add to this your lemongrass chunks, vanilla bean, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer on low for 3o to 40 minutes or until the mixture thickens slightly. Turn off the heat and using a slotted spoon or a strainer remove the lemongrass from the syrup. Now you are ready to puree everything together. Using your blending machine of choice (vita mixer, blender, or if you have one an immersion blender right in the pot) blend the peaches and the syrup together until smooth.

Add this mixture and the lemon juice back to the pot (if it’s not already there). Stir and taste test, add more lemon juice and sugar if you like, and then cook on medium low until the mixture thickens to the consistency of baby food, about 30 to 40 minutes. If you don’t want to mess with the canning process you can store the peachy butter in containers and pop it in the refrigerator, just make sure you consume it within a few weeks. Otherwise you can proceed with your preferred method of canning and enjoy the peachy goodness all year long!

Seafood Saturdays!


Chef Cindy Quinonez will cook Sweet and Sour Rockfish with Bok Choy and Opah Meatballs (recipe below) this Saturday. 


Opah Lampris guttatus (aka moonfish). Opah is a bycatch fish in the tuna and swordfish fisheries off California and around the Pacific Islands.  They are available year round, but landings seem to peak from April through August. In 2015, San Diego scientists discovered that opah are warm-blooded fish.

For more information on opah go here. 

Lettuce-Wrapped Spicy Opah Meatballs

Spicy meatballs made from ground opah, served on lettuce or other greens with a lime dipping sauce. Variation of recipe of same name from Pacific Flavors by Hugh Carpenter.

Spicy Opah Meatballs:
1 pound ground opah
2 green onions, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh coriander
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 egg
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
3/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Chinese chili oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
Cornstarch for dusting

Spicy Lime Dipping Sauce:

2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon Chinese chili oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 head Bibb lettuce or other greens*
1 bunch fresh cilantro
20 mint leaves
1/2 cup peanut oil
* Baby bok choy leaves, kale, chard, spinach, etc.

In a bowl, combine ground opah, green onions, coriander, soy sauce, egg, orange peel, nutmeg, chili sauce, pepper, garlic, and ginger. Mix thoroughly, then rub a little oil on your hands and form 20 meatballs about 1 inch in diameter. Arrange on a lightly oiled plate and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Pull leaves from Bibb lettuce or other greens and cut into 20 pieces about 3 inches square. On each lettuce square, place a sprig of cilantro and 1 mint leaf. Arrange lettuce leaves on a serving platter and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To broil meatballs, preheat oven to 550 degrees. Place the meatballs on a small baking sheet. Turn oven to broil, place the baking sheet about 4 inches from heat, and broil meatballs until no longer pink in center, about 3 to 4 minutes. To pan-fry meatballs lightly dust with cornstarch. Place a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When frying pan is hot, add oil. When oil just begins to give off a wisp of smoke, add meatballs and pan-fry them, turning them over in the oil until golden brown and no longer pink in the center, about 4 minutes.

Place meatballs next to lettuce cups on the serving platter. Serve at once, accompanied by the dipping sauce. Each person wraps a lettuce cup around a meatball and dips one end of the package into the sauce.

In a small bowl combine dipping sauce ingredients. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons water and refrigerate. Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer; 2 as an entree.

Slow Fish 2016 – Building a Better Seafood System

by Sarah M. Shoffler, SFUSD Seafood Liaison

In March 2016, over 200 fishermen, fishmongers, chefs, scholars, activists, students and community leaders gathered in New Orleans for four days of stories, food, art and music. Slow Fish 2016 was glorious. We shared our successes and our challenges in striving for good, clean & fair seafood for all. Sarah tells us more about this event and how San Diegans can apply good, clean & fair values to our seafood consumption. 

“The world’s fisheries are in trouble. 70% are either exploited, overexploited or have already collapsed” is what media tells us. This leaves the impression that we manage our fisheries so poorly that we’ll soon empty the oceans of seafood. Not so.

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Slow Fish 2016 attendees at the Seafood Boil and Boucherie on Docville Farm, where Slow Fish met Slow Meat. Industrial agriculture is significantly affecting Louisiana wetlands, which are critical to healthy fish populations. Photo: E. Buchanan

In the U.S. at least, our fishermen are among the most stringently managed. If they catch too many fish or harm protected populations (e.g. dolphins or endangered turtles), we have to do something – shut down the fishery, or change fishing gear, season, location, etc. The number of fish populations overfished in the U.S. is decreasing, not increasing.

Here’s a more thorough treatment of the issue that explains why the doom-and-gloom narrative is wrong and destructive.


Tuna canning demonstration at Slow Fish 2016. Photo: E. Buchanan

What can we do? How can we wade through the misinformation and support a healthy seafood system? Enter Slow Fish, a grassroots international campaign to promote good, clean & fair seafood. We do this while bringing joy to the efforts to restore marine ecosystems and support fishing communities. That’s a deep order, so how do we do it?


UCSD student volunteer Catherine welcomes us to Slow Fish 2016. Photo: E. Buchanan

In March 2016, over 200 fishermen, fishmongers, chefs, scholars, activists, students and community leaders gathered in New Orleans for four days of stories, food, art and music. Slow Fish 2016 was glorious. We shared our successes and our challenges in striving for good, clean & fair seafood for all.


Boiled Lousiana crawfish. Photo: S. Shoffler

Local attendees included:
Sea urchin fisherman and community leader, Peter Halmay, who shared how a fishermen’s market in San Diego was created;
Chef Drew Deckman of Deckman’s en el Mogor, a Slow Fish advocate who cooked and shucked his weight in oysters for us;
Scripps Institution of Oceanography student volunteers: Flora Drury, Kate Masury and Catherine Courtier, who’s masters projects focus on fishermen’s markets, value chains and sustainable seafood;
SFUSD member, Eric Buchanan, who volunteered as official event photographer;
SFUSD’s vice chair and seafood liaison Sarah Shoffler, who was on the event planning team with partners from across the U.S. plus Canada and Italy.

Performers of "Cry You One," opening Slow Fish 2016 with the story of Louisiana's disappearing wetlands, so critical to fisheries. Photo: E. Buchanan

Performers of “Cry You One,” opening Slow Fish 2016 with the story of Louisiana’s disappearing wetlands, so critical to fisheries. Photo: E. Buchanan

I met family fishermen from Florida to Alaska, who continuously adapt their practices to changing management and ecosystems. They fish in small boats. Or large. They use the most up to date gear with turtle excluder devices and pingers (to avoid dolphins). They fish weirs, fishing gear whose origin dates back to before the emergence of modern humans. They are young – I met a 20 year old woman named Erica from Nova Scotia, who fishes weirs with her father. They are not so young – San Diegan sea urchin diver Pete Halmay joined us and shared his story of starting San Diego’s first fishermen’s market – where fishermen sell their catch directly to the public.

Pete Halmay, San Diego sea urchin diver, at the Slow Fish 2016 day 3 venue – a food museum. Photo: E Buchanan

These people love the ocean and what it brings us.

Fishmongers from Moss Landing shared how they started a community supported fishery (CSF) and a “Bay-to-Tray” program where they provide bycatch from the black cod fishery to school lunch programs –animals that would otherwise be wasted. Another fisherman shared his story of building a business where he takes people fishing on San Francisco Bay and teaching them to cook what they eat. We heard so many big and small ways of supporting a healthy food system, one based on good, clean & fair seafood for all.

Slow Food Urban San Diego member, CHef Drew Deckman and Louisiana fishermen, Lance Nacio shucking oysters -- Baja Kumiai and Louisiana. Photo: S. Shoffler

Slow Food Urban San Diego member, Chef Drew Deckman and Louisiana fishermen, Lance Nacio shucking oysters — Baja Kumiai and Louisiana. Photo: S. Shoffler

I was buoyed to learn that efforts in San Diego to support our small-scale fisheries are seen as successes elsewhere. And that by supporting local fishermen with my business, I invest in families and the local economy as well as give hope to folks who are so often portrayed as the enemy to our marine ecosystem, when in fact they offer many of the solutions to sustain it.

SFUSD Slow Fish Plans

(1) Now: Connect local chefs directly to local fishermen – this is the best way to get the freshest most sustainable seafood on our restaurant plates. If any chefs would like to meet our local seafood producers, please get in touch.

(2) Soon: Collaborate with local chefs, fishermen, fishmongers and others to bring you Seafood Saturdays – a campaign to promote local US-caught seafood in San Diego and to teach San Diegans how to prepare, cook and enjoy the local bounty. Check us out at the Tuna Harbor pier starting April 16th.

(3) Future: Research barriers to keeping local seafood local. Why is the local catch sent outside the City, County and Country? How can we keep it here? Why should we?

(4) Future: Keep our waterfront a working waterfront. How can we maintain our cultural heritage as a fishing community? How can we revive it? How do we keep the harvest of this healthy and delicious resource in our community?

What’s a seafood lover to do?


Slow Fish 2016 opening reception at the Mardi Gras Krewe du Vieux club house. Photo: E. Buchanan

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Young fishermen, Amanda and Spencer, sharing their story of bringing seafood to youth. Photo: E. Buchanan

Slow Fish 2016 fisherman and young winner of the rock, paper, scissors contest being lead by Slow Fish USA leader, Kevin.

Young Alaskan fisherman lead by Slow Fish USA leader, Kevin Scribner.

Baja Kumiai oysters. Photo: S. Shoffler

Baja Kumiai oysters shucked by Drew Deckman. Photo: S. Shoffler

Slow Fish 2016 attendees listening raptly to a discussion of fishery policy in one of our ever-changing venues. Photo: E. Buchanan

Slow Fish 2016 attendees listening raptly to a discussion of fishery policy in one of our ever-changing venues. Photo: E. Buchanan

Slow Food members from Austin, San Diego and New Orleans talking fish. Photo: M Lothrop

Slow Food volunteers from Austin, San Diego and New Orleans talking fish. Photo: M Lothrop

Fisherman Lance Nacio's Loisiana shrimp. Photo: E. Buchanan

Fisherman Lance Nacio’s Loisiana shrimp. Photo: E. Buchanan