Mr. Peach was kind of like a Cinderella story, if you can call it that.
He and I met at Spring Meadow Farm when I was a tender eleven years old and just starting to be horse-crazy. It was back in the day when I drew endless pictures of saddles, grooming equipment, barns, and anything equine.
Chug was the guy I took lessons on. He was blonde, fat, and easy going, albeit a little slow. Peach was his opposite in many ways; he was sleek and dark, self-righteous, and had a bit of a temper. But underneath the shield of biting, trampling, and general irritability, Mr. Peach had a heart of gold.
In the dog and pony show world, horses sometimes receive pretty poor treatment. Lesson horses are pushed to the max with incompetent or demanding riders (and trainers), some are beaten, while others are neglected. Mr. Peach told a thousand stories with his eyes, and although we don't know the exact details of his past, we're sure it wasn't pretty. But when he was gifted to my sister for her 14th birthday eleven plus years ago, he started a new life.
He went from city to country life in a matter of years, so to say. He went from damp stalls and muddy paddocks to lush green acreage with a beautiful view of the lake. He was able to put behind the lessons in exchange for luxury, to a peaceful world where he could live in harmony with Dev (whom he bossed around and played with), and Gillie, my dad's stinky fat pony.
As the years went by he continued to shed his shield of anger and general grouchiness. Although we know he was in pretty much constant pain due to various physical problems and abuse (as well as old age), he was stoic, strong, and courageous. He rarely complained, and when he did… well, my sister and dad were by his side in an instant.
Mr. Peach was to Em as Dev was to me in the difficult teenage years. We found solace and comfort in their gentle ways. We spent hours grooming them, cooking up bran mashes for their brunch, taking them for walks in the woods, and being in general "horse obsessed." The bond we had with our equine friends was reciprocated. They gave us the best friendship a girl could ask for.
Yesterday morning we were devastated by our loss of Mr. Peach. He had put on a good face for many years, and it was his time to join Dev in heaven. I'm sure they're happy to see each other now.
Cinnamon sugar palmiers with pecans
Inspired by Simply Recipes
Makes about 18 cookies
Note: these are fantastic, and fantastically simple. They are great for teatime and entertaining alike.
½ cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
⅓ cup pecans or walnuts, finely chopped
Sprinkle ¼ cup of sugar onto a clean work surface. Combine the other ¼ cup of sugar with the cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
Roll the puff pastry out to about 10 by 12-inches on top of the sugar. Sprinkle the top with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, followed by the chopped pecans. Roll up the left vertical side towards the middle, followed by the right side of the dough. The two should meet in the middle and touch. Press the two rolls together so they stick a little better. Let the dough chill in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400F with rack in the center. Prepare baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Cut the log into slices by starting at one end and cutting ½-inch slices. Pinch and press sides together so that the palmiers don't unroll while baking. Sprinkle sugar onto each side. Place onto prepared baking sheets, 12 per sheet with room in between (they will get a lot bigger!). Bake about 10-15 minutes, or until sugar has caramelized and cookies are golden. Cool on baking sheets 10 more minutes.