26 August 2010

"The nectarine, and curious peach, Into my hands themselves do reach..."

Marvell was onto something... or maybe just on something, but that is a different post. This one is about this year's first installment of peachy goodness...

(Thanks to the PoetAbroad for this great pic of the slicing step!)

I was worried that this crust wouldn't really work- it was softer than I expected, even having been in the fridge for 40 minutes. However, it crisps up nicely as it bakes and the polenta offers a lovely contrast to the softness of the peaches...

And I didn't use much sweetener, just a little drizzle of honey to highlight the peachy goodness...

Peach Galette

for the crust:
1/3 c all-purpose flour
2 T polenta
1 T vanilla sugar
1/8 t cinnamon
1/4 c cold butter
1 T vegetable shortening
1-3 T ice water - enough to bind

for the filling:
1-2 large peaches, thinly sliced
1-2 T yogurt
light sprinkle of powdered ginger
drizzle of honey

Measure the dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Add the fat in small chunks. Place the bowl in the freezer for about 10 minutes, until everything is very cold. Pulse together until it has the consistency of sand. Add water a little at a time and pulse just until it comes together. Turn out onto plastic wrap, form into a disc, wrap, and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Remove from fridge. Roll out into a vaguely round shape about 1/8th of an inch thick between two sheets of plastic wrap. Turn out onto a baking sheet.

Spread the yogurt on the rolled-out crust. Sprinkle a little bit of ginger over the yogurt. Layer on the peaches. Drizzle with honey. Push up the edge of the crust to form a juiciness barrier.

Bake at 375º for 30-35 minutes, until the crust is golden and crispy...

Why is it I can never seem to get a picture before we eat... Serves six, or three greedy people... not that I'll say which it was in this case...

25 August 2010

Farmer's Market Bounty...

Orange roma's, green beans, red heirloom tomatoes, green bell peppers, blackberries, basil, canary melon, and ...

I am so excited for peach jam...

19 August 2010

The Wheel of Fortune turns on and on...

So, as it does, life has changed yet again. Little Miss Picky Pants has gotten a teaching job and will be moving this weekend - only 4 hours away, but still. And a dear, dear friend has moved in this week, as well. So with all the shifting, we've decided to rename our domicile - we are now Flock Hall East: The DC Branch.

These changes come in the midst of my own turmoil, not knowing what I want to do with my future, and what I can afford to do. I have recently gotten two jobs, a lovely part-time job at Hooray for Books, a children's bookstore in Old Town Alexandria; and I will also be teaching a writing course, and as I haven't started yet I don't know if it is lovely or not. There is still so much I don't know about what my immediate future holds, but some things are settling into place.

And family dinner remains at the center of whatever my future might hold, so all will be well...

06 August 2010

A taste of summertime...

This summer has been a crazy trip, what with existential crises, life decisions, and some awesome re-connections with friends new and old. We have managed to get some tastiness in among all that turmoil, though...

Little Miss Picky Pants is the baking sister in our house - which makes sense when you think about it. I am convinced that her super-power is organization, and that along with her picky nature makes for a great baker. These are her shortcakes(ok, she used Nigella Lawson's recipe, but she made them). Not that we don't all love to bake, but G. just has a precision that M. and I don't, and so everything she makes is just a little bit better.

Notice the focus here. These shortcakes were amazing! The were definitely great with the strawberries, and what could be more summertime? But I actually preferred them plain with a cup of tea. They somehow managed to be both light and airy and substantial at the same time. These will definitely be revisited, especially if I can convince G. to do them for us again.

I love small-batch canning. We got some damsons (ok, I insisted) at the farmers' market and neither M. nor G. liked them- weird, right? Especially, since they like plums and I don't really. So, rather than eat them all myself, I thought they'd like them better in jam. See what a giving sister I am? Never mind that I haven't made jam all summer, and I want to. So I was off, with my favorite all purpose jam recipe (though I did have to do some math, because I didn't have a whole kilo of plums). While they were macerating, Miss Picky Pants dipped a finger in and tasted it (ok, I know you figured it out - I dipped and made her). "It tastes weird - like cough syrup." Great! I thought, she was going to hate it even as jam. But I persevered - who cares if we have yet another jar of jam/preserves/spreadable fruit substance that only I liked.

I've never worked with damsons before - honestly, they have never stayed around long enough for me to do anything with them. So I was pleasantly surprised as I started to boil the fruit - look at that color! I knew the color, I'd seen it before, but watching it slowly appear and deepen was magical. At that point I didn't care if no one liked how it tasted, it was gorgeous!

Luckily, it also tastes gorgeous. Even Little Miss Picky Pants says so.