My Peach Tree

Grilled Peaches and Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Coffee-Mascarpone Cream and Smoky Peach Purée

peaches and cream
I’ve written a tad more eloquently about having only picked or plucked, never grown or harvested, my own food. While I’ve not tested my thumb, I assume it’s black. But the real reason why I don’t plant is that I rent and lack space in the city. And the even realer reason is harder to admit: I’m lazy. Lazy when it comes to this, anyway. I enjoy supporting my local farmers—it makes my summer. But, really, I revel in being able to eat nourishing, soul-hugging, vibrant, delicious food without having to lift that finger, no matter what color it is. I love to sweat, I love the sun, I love produce, I love feeling satisfied. You’d think that I’d work for those things. Maybe one day, when I have the space, I’ll have the incentive to. Because I like most things (crème fraîche, almond milk, nut butter, granola, ice cream, mayo etc.) best when homemade; homegrown would bring things to a new level.

Despite having only an unkempt (but charming!) little swatch of backyard at my current apartment, which I’ve lived in for a bit over a year, I have a peach tree on the property. Yes, a flourishing peach tree, just there in a yard in Eastern Massachusetts. We do nothing and the peaches come. Nothing. It’s glorious. Well, it would be glorious if, in the two seasons I’ve shared a space with this tree, I’d climbed a ladder to pick even one of its rosy fruits. If I had, I’d eat it right there, fly-attracting juice staining my cheeks, my clothes, the ground.

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Fall Flames

italian-style grilled chicken

For most, Fall conjures up thoughts of apple crisp baking and pumpkin soup making. And it does for me, too. But I also associate Fall with grilling. When I was growing up, my family didn’t own a grill. Living in an apartment complex, we couldn’t. I understood the concept of grilling but only remember my friends’ families serving up things like hot dogs and hamburgers from their fancy-dancy gas-powered contraptions. Fake grilling.

But then, there was the grilling that my dad’s friends did over fire pits, essentially. I remember showing up to cookouts with my dad, where we would eat beautifully charred pieces of meat and deeply caramelized tomatoes, skewered on thick metal rods that resembled an ancient warrior’s sword. The chicken kebabs were technicolor yellow thanks to a liberal dousing in turmeric and Persian saffron — the good stuff. And the taftoon (bread) and large beds of fluffy Basmati were the perfect carbs for absorbing all of the flavorful juices from the meats of the red variety, which were always cooked well-done but somehow still juicy. I don’t remember wondering why we didn’t eat this way at home. All I remember was the smell of the fire, the food, and the wet grass. Oh, and it was always chilly. You know, big sweatshirt after dark weather.

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