Peaches & Cream

ginger cream cake with peach caramel

A classic combination. The base of my favorite summer dessert, which is also the simplest. It involves firing up the grill, rubbing down super-ripe peaches with a little bit of olive oil (yes, olive, not vegetable), grilling them until slightly charred, and topping them with various versions of cream: plain whipped cream, almond whipped, rosemary or basil-infused cream, melting ice cream, whatever. Then, I like to sprinkle them with crumbled gingersnaps. And that’s it. I can end the post here. It takes 10 minutes, and it enhances peaches enough without transforming them. And that’s what summer cooking should be about — taking fruit and veg and working with them minimally. It’s so nice to be able to appreciate the season’s bounty for what it is: sun-ripened and sweet with a tart edge.

Continue reading

The Perfectionist and the Plum

Last Sunday, as I pared through these plums, sweet, pink yet barely-colored juices dribbled down my hands, under my nails, and all over my cutting board. But to my eyes, they were bloody red and left stains. I swore. I slashed harder, ripping through the smooth but relentlessly taut skin and piercing the just-ripe flesh, with vigor, down to the core. I cursed it. I took out every ounce of anger I had on that natural, living object.

I’ve been feeling off. The preceding Sunday, I had delicious plans for six black beauties that I had ripening away on the counter. My vision for them combined a recipe over which I have been lusting for a couple of years with two pastries I had eaten at two local bakeries. A trifecta of pastry perfection, you could say. I got caught up. I forgot. And then it would be too late. I forgot? There would be no plums that day.

Continue reading

A Grand Disguise

zucchini ribbons with lemon, butter, and basil

I’ve been riding the commuter rail to work for almost a year and a half. When I talk about it, I know I’m complaining. I hate to whine, I’m afraid to whine. In a nutshell, I wake up earlier than most and make it via commuter rail and subway to work in a very roundabout way. What gets lost is the bright side of my morning commute. It’s easier to be negative. But everyday on that train is an intimate lesson in sociology that I appreciate. I’ve memorized the faces, the expressions, the voices of those I see everyday from stop, to ride, to dash. We ride together. We speak, we don’t speak. It’s a grand disguise; in that 1 ½ hour leg of our daily journey, we are nameless, jobless, lifeless, hobby-less. No one wants to be defined here. Instead, we have a special connection that eschews who we really are. We are only commuters. Age, sex, race, orientation melt away. We’re stripped bare. We are only our first impressions. And there’s something very special about that.

Continue reading