Last Fall I started dabbling in Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food. I found recipes I liked, and thought in new ways about techniques, and ingredients. I also lost my oven for a few months, and had a series of health events, and basically my ambition to cook my way through her book was derailed. Thankfully, I don't feel a Julie Powell, compulsion... I won't go back and cook a whole fish, or try to perfect my risotto. It's summer, now, and there are lovely peaches in the market, so I dusted off my copy of The Art of Simple Food, and turned to the section on summer fruits.
"Dip the peaches in boilng water for 10 to 15 seconds, then slip off the skins."
Okay. That did not work at all. Not at ten, or fifteen, or thirty seconds. Could be my peaches. Could be my water. Could be the meteor shower we had this weekend. But the peach skins stayed firmly on the peaches. Maria and I peeled the boiled peaches with our serrated veggie peeler, and that was fine. I spilt the peaches, then sliced them thinly, then halved those slices. All of the five sliced peaches went into a bowl and we added a table spoon of flour and about 3/4 cup of sugar.
And at this point I was doing nothing whatsoever from the cookbook. I had a Trader Joe's pie crust defrosting, and my plan was to roll it as thin as possible, line my biggest baking pan, and then bake those peaches in the crust until it smelled good. And that is what I did. Is it a cobbler? A pie? A tart? A crisp? I dunno. But it is simple food.
And since Trader Joe's crust comes with two crusts per box, we rolled out our second crust and began making our mini-pies. We cookie cutter the rolled dough, and set each round into a mini-cupcake pan, adding a dollop of our favorite fruit preserves into each little pie shell.Simple!
Then we got wild! We brought out a jar of our roasted tomatoes, and filled some mini crusts with a couple of tomatoes, and toped those with a bit of mozzarella and some parmesan... tomato tarts! Those turned out so scrumptious we forgot to take a picture before they were inhaled.
Our simple peach creation smells so-ohohohohoh good. Peaches. Summer. It's just poetry, or music. It's a sensory journey into summers past. I cannot say anything for how it tastes. We are waiting for Geoff to get home!
Gosh. This isn't a recipe, and I can't exactly point you to a particular page in Alice Water's book, but this much I will say: Alice Water's cook book, The Art of Simple Food, inspires me to look around for the foods that are in season, and hopefully local, to enjoy cooking, to keep meals simple, and appreciate the food we cook. Her book, like any good cook book, is a guide, a launching point, and I appreciate the encouragement.
Thank you, bees.
And thank you, beekeepers.
God, and nature, have given us this tremendous gift... a wondrous variety of life and beauty, a balance. It is incredible. It is ingenious. It is in peril. We need our bees, and they need us to stop and consider how much they do for us, and where we will be without them.
Keeping bees is tempting. I certainly appreciate the sweet benefits of local honey, but family members have serious bee-sting allergies, and I wouldn't want to add to their risk. Alex told me we can help even in simple ways, like by planting more flowers. We are so happy to oblige.
Here are some people I know who are doing even more to help save the bees~