Removing stress

I finally picked all the peaches. The struggle has been, well, a struggle. Every time I am seated on my couch my eyes are on the peach tree. Any time I saw a leaf flutter I was out arms flailing, screaming at the tree in case the fluttering leaf was caused by a squirrel. As it was the the squirrels ate every single one of the peaches that were not covered with a complex mix of tulle, bird netting, hardware cloth and those spiky bird things. The “cage” was ugly, in the way and, like I said, a constant source of anxiety. Granted it’s not in the same league as, say, worrying about global warming but, you know, it’s stress.

The peaches were close enough to ripe that I could pick them so I took the entire branch down. That way I could untangle the mess of squirrel deterrent (and the branch was in the way. I was sick of ducking under it all the time) and pick the peaches in a more comfortable position all the while feeling gleeful that the squirrels had been foiled.

Every. Single. Peach had worms. You can see the exit wounds on these which is about half the worm ridden crop.

Remove tree = remove stress. I am not sad to see it go.

I don’t even like peaches all that much. Jesus H. Christ.

First and second

I never expect the first tomato from my garden to be that good and it was OK, not great, but it was 100 times better than the second.

Shortly after I stopped swearing I asked myself out loud, “Why do you do this to yourself?!” And then I answered myself out loud. “That’s a very good question.”

Fish fry or tuna melt

I dunno. I was text-chatting with my friend Wendi last night and she told me she was making fish for dinner as was I although I was making a tuna melt with leftover rye bread from a recent fish fry I’d made. I explained that for me fish was more a delivery system for tartar sauce than any kind of healthy food item. Oh, sure the fatty omega-3 (whatever) acids are fine but I put capers in my tartar sauce.

It occurred to me during our convo that a tuna melt is actually nothing but a fish fry in an alternate form. You have the fried bread(ing), the mayo and capers, tartar sauce actually in the fish, in this case, tuna, yes, there is an addition of cheese which Wendi, for some reason I do not comprehend, finds offensive but that aside, it’s all there. Fish fry in a different fun sandwich format.

Next up, Wendi’s husband’s peanut butter cup diet.

Worth it

I ended up with 5 or 6 large radishes, one green and the others black. I don’t understand why one radish would become a radish and the others were just rootlike but fine, I’ll take it. I was not going to be stupid enough to eat one of them again but I was gonna pickle ’em. Sort of a good news/bad news situation. The radish pickles are really good but the smell not so much.

I figured if I was gonna eat pickled radishes I could open the jar outside and mitigate the less than desirable odor in my house.

The green one turned out to be red inside and, in a fit of fussiness to which I am prone, I alternated the pink with the black slices in one pickle jar. (there were too many black ones to keep this up or I would have).

Imma tell you what. The smell aside, these are delicious!!!

Best brownies

So Paul Hollywood got hold of Dorie Greenspan’s brownie recipe and “fixed” it. I’m not sure why he felt the need to fix her recipe since on the whole, I think her recipes are pretty damn good but since I also think he’s more attractive, I went with his version.

I didn’t do any kind of research to see what he changed but I figured, it’s Paul Hollywood, how bad could it be? And since I was having dinner with a certified chocolate lover I made his recipe (see it here), sent to me by my friend Sharon. I followed the recipe exactly which is pretty unlike me, including trudging over to the Chocolate Sommelier to purchase cocoa nibs and milk chocolate chips which apparently are “absolute necessities” in this recipe.

I have to say, they were excellent. Excellenter when I made the leftovers into ice cream sandwiches with salted caramel ice cream.

Paul, call me to discuss.

Paul Hollywood vs Dorie Greenspan, you decide

The bountiful harvest

I decided it was time to harvest my potatoes. I don’t know what suggested to me that it was time but after I’d unearthed these first two I determined that maybe I was being a little hasty. I ate them anyway and they were delicious. In the same way that all potatoes are delicious.

At least the squirrels had not gotten there first.

Nature, what joy it brings

I imagine right now my friend Judy is rushing peanuts (roasted and salted) out to her pet squirrels while my pet squirrels are feasting on my tomatoes. No one can possibly imagine the jolt of seething, white-hot hate that raged through my body when I saw this, my first tomato.

I’m calmer now.

Cleaning silpat

I use silpat, the silicone baking mats frequently recommended in recipes, all the time. Not just for baking but also for rolling out dough, “flour work” as I have heard this sort of thing referred. I have a hard time washing them and they don’t fit conveniently into the dishwasher even though you can wash them there. Last week when I rolled out dough for some damn thing or other I put the silpat in the sink on the baking sheet and Voila!, a new cleaning method was born.

At least for me. Probably everyone and their brother knows this already. And when I say everyone I mean the 7 or 8 other people who use them.

I dry them on the handle of the oven. I realize this is lazy as I could simply just hand-dry them but I am, at a very basic level, a total lazy-ass.

Just like YiaYiá made

Recently arrived from Germany, my better half (or whatever) decided to make babaganoush (or whatever) for a recent Tastebuds meal whose theme was Mediterranean but when he saw the grape vines in my yard he added dolmades to the menu.

On the one hand I love it that he did this. On the other, dolmades are not my favorite food in the world. And on the third hand, for someone who thinks only Indians can make Indian food he goes out of his way to know how to make the foods of other countries when he likes it (or whatever).

Perfect hard boiled eggs

Unless they aren’t. I have a specific method for making hard boiled eggs. Actually they are steamed. And when, after 15 minutes, they are done they are put in a bowl with ice water for 15 minutes. After that I drain most of the water, slap a lid on the bowl and shake them wildly.

I had the routine down perfectly when I had my old stove but now, with an induction stovetop with which I am unfamiliar it is more of a problem. I cannot see flames so am unsure of exactly how hot I have the pan. Apparently I left it on medium instead of, well, I dunno, medium high. Imagine my displeasure when I opened up the bowl after a rousing shake session with what I thought would be hard boiled eggs and got a glimpse of this!

I redid them (Jesus, I can hardly bear to think about this waste) and while they were perfectly boiled this time, one did not peal. At all. This is super infuriating to me any time it happens. But picking off little bits of egg shell while simultaneously destroying the egg when I was already furious about the hardly boiled eggs I’d just tossed nearly drove me over the edge.