Monday, July 30, 2012

"50 Shades Of Peach" or "Should I Be Reading This?"

I have been absolutely ridiculously covered in pie crust for days. I am struggling, wrestling, in a full body gladiator throwing down with this idea of the perfect dairy free pie crust, and it started with the very simple act of bringing home what turned out to be one of the greatest peaches I've ever eaten in my life.

 Now I am a HUGE peach lover. In fact, I defy you to find me anything quite as satisfying as biting in to a perfect midsummer peach at its peak of sweetness and having your arm bathed in its heady nectar from fingers to elbow. But this peach was amazing in a way that uniquely stands out in my mind. I remember exactly the very last time I experienced a peach that was this level of perfection. I was 17, walking back from a farmer's market at Fisherman's Wharf, and was wearing a *cough*veryquestionable*cough* light pink jacket ( since it is always just a little bit chilly in San Francisco) with a peach in my hand that was bigger than my fist. When I bit into it, the texture... the juice.... it absolutely transported me to a new plane of bliss, and as the amber nectar rolled off my palms, down my sleeve and soaked through the cotton fabric by my elbow I remember thinking little other than "My god". That pink jacket? I still have it. It's hanging ( long retired) in a special spot in my closet, its right sleeve still lightly stained with peach juice.

The peach I had last week however, blew this one away! It was smaller than the one in San Francisco, unassuming, and just like before I had no idea what I was in for before my teeth broke the delicate skin. It was breathtaking. I felt positively drunk on the lush, ambrosia-like sweetness.The blush of color, the depth of flavor, it was instant euphoria. Positively, poop of angels. And as soon as it was gone I knew I had to get my hands on some more. The next day I went back to the store, wild eyed with longing, and bought 12 more pounds of these peaches. Yes. 12 pounds. Once I realized how deranged that was I set about to making these lovelies into some pies. That way at least I would look like I bought 12 pounds of peaches with a purpose in mind and that I hadn't in fact just taken a one way trip to crazytown.

The problem of course was a pie crust recipe. I didn't exactly have a dairy free one lying around, so I set to work experimenting. I'd make a pie crust, fill it with these ridiculous peaches, bake it, taste it, and eat if up if it didn't work out. Maybe share a slice or two, if I was feeling generous. Even if the pie crust was super lame these peaches, from the land of the unicorns, were more than enough to make a plate or three worth your time. Four pies and a squash quiche later ( hey you need some salt in there somewhere to balance out the sweet!) I wish I could tell you I've reached a conclusion. That I've found a pie crust that's as explosively overwhelming as the peaches under which it rests. But I can't. I'm really close. I can feel it. Inches away from the finish line. But I'm thinking  that maybe it could use some more study. Juuuust six or more test batches, to get it so it's perfect.

Peach season after all, only comes around once a year.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

"A Party Of Special Things To Do"

We had a marvelous ( and marvelously hot) 4th of July. I started the morning off right with my very first 10k race. I'll admit I sort of regretted signing up to run six miles in July once that horrible heat wave hit us (and everyone else) but I was determined to finish what I started, even if that meant running six miles in the blazing Tennessee heat while secretly hoping/dreaming/praying the heat would let up just long enough to finish the race. No such luck though, when I toed the start line at 8am it was about 86 degrees, and it only climbed higher as the minutes passed. I'm not going to lie, even with a bottle of ice water in my hand there was a whole lot of shameful sweating, walking, and side holding going on, but I finished in a respectable 1 hour 9 minutes.

Since this was my very first 10k (and this is serious business) I decided to give the pinwheel boobies a miss this year (though I was pining for their air conditioning powers about halfway through the race) and just stuck a giant star spangled bow on the back of my head that threatened to launch me into flight most of the race.

 After a shower and a nap, we headed over to my mama's house for a good old fashioned 4th of July barbecue (she hosted, I cooked). There's currently a burn ban in our county because of the heat wave and wildfires so the "barbecue" the menu sort of morphed to accommodate our limitations. The menu; sloppy joes ( instead of burgers) pasta salad, green goddess potato salad ( recipe to come) lemon-limeade, dairy free key lime pie and dairy free chocolate cream pie ( scandalous recipe also to come). Yes I made two desserts. It's the most important meal of the day! Invite me to your house and I will prove this to you.

We ended the night by watching the distant downtown fireworks from our balcony window all curled up and cozy with a cool drink in hand, which I must say sometimes is much much more fun than wrestling the crowds.

How was your holiday?