"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

a (white) peach pie for summer! . . .

I’ve been wanting to make a peach pie all summer but I haven’t found any fruit that was ripe enough to use. Even the local peaches at the farm stand were rock hard. So today at the grocery store, I found some white peaches that were fragrant and felt ripe but not too ripe. I bought six of them and put them in a simmering pot of water for about 3-4 minutes. I took them out and under cold running water, their skins peeled off readily and as easily as any I’ve ever prepared.

The peeled peaches lend an extra challenge when using because the center of the peach has a crusty rough part that sticks to the peach segments when you cut them up. I cut them off the first peach but then cut slices around the core to avoid the tough red stuff on the others. To the sliced peaches, I mixed together about a third of a cup of flour, a third of a cup of sugar, two tablespoons of cinnamon and a tablespoon of ground nutmeg. I stirred it together until finely mixed and added it to the peaches, stirring gently until all the fruit was covered.

Instead of making a pie crust, I had taken out a piece of puff pastry from the freezer when I had begun to prepare the peaches. After it thawed, I spread a little flour on a board and laid it out, rolling it gently with a rolling pin until it was as thin as it could be and still hold together to be a crust.

I then spooned the peach mixture onto the puff pastry sheet and drew up both sides, leaving the top open and closing the sides by pinching the dough together. The trickiest part was lifting the pie in one piece onto parchment paper in a baking pan (next time, I’ll put the pastry on the parchment paper and fill it there!)  Into a 400 degree oven, I set the timer for about 45 minutes.

We’ll give a portion to George’s brother and Mom who live across the street, and serve ours warmed up with a little vanilla ice cream I have in the freezer tonight. A luscious dessert to enjoy after a rather spartan dinner. Yum!

cooking summer vegetables in the morning! . . .

raw eggplant, quarter-cut

eggplant cooked in garlic, peanut oil, soy, honey & grated fresh ginger root

Since I came home last Thursday with an armload of fresh vegetables from the local farm, I’ve been meaning to cook the slender asian eggplants, not wanting to have them languish too long in the fridge. I’ve discovered that cooking in the morning after breakfast suits me very well because it’s still relatively cool and most of the cooking for supper is done before lunch!

So today, I washed and sliced the golden beets in half and put them into a Japanese donabe pot with lid and about an inch of water. I placed the vessel in a cold oven and brought it up to 350 degrees and then 375 degrees, setting the timer for an hour. I’ve been putting off cooking these too because it’s too warm to heat up the oven around 5 o’clock in the afternoon. So, I’ll dress the beets in a Japanese vinegar, honey dressing when they’re cool for a side dish tonight.

In the meantime, I heated up a deep pot with a layer of peanut oil and chopped up a huge clove of garlic, letting it cook gently while I quarter cut the thin eggplants (cut on a diagonal, turn 1 quarter, cut diagonally, in chunks) until the vegetables were cut up and ready to toss into the simmering garlic oil. I used four slender eggplants and cooked them, adding just a little more vegetable oil over high heat midway, and a dressing of Ohsawa soy sauce (organic from VitaCost.) Mixed the eggplant well and added a dollop of honey (vs. sugar) and let it cook. Taking a large piece of fresh ginger root, I hand grated it on the large holes of a box grater (microplane was too small) and added a hefty amount into the cooked eggplant. Stirred it around and turned off the heat.

The eggplant and the beets will stay at room temperature on top of the stove until supper time to serve with bowls of hot jasmine rice.  Right before serving, I’ll chop up some fresh cilantro leaves and sprinkle it on top of the eggplant. So the only thing left to do is to start the rice cooker before dinner. Sounds pretty good to me!