Sunday, July 01, 2007

Raspberries in Season

It's been busy here. I think there's a lot of that being busy stuff going around though, there seems to be a lot of sporadic posting and blog-breaks happening. We had an extra kid to entertain for a few days before sending him to join his family in Utah, which was kind of fun. John and I spent most of this weekend doing a much needed clean-up in the back yard. We pulled the grass out of the flower beds, raked up a lot of bark chips, retrieved all the things the dogs had taken out the dog door to play with, and trimmed back a lot of plants that were escaping their accepted boundaries (though I still don't approve of John pulling up half the "Seattle" dahlia clump just because he thought it was being unruly.)

I also found myself in possession of these, from our very own (thornless) bushes:


I had a goodly amount of raspberries, and I had been reading these:

Culinary Reading

That's Julie Powell's Julie and Julia (yes, I'm one of the last people to read this, but I also haven't seen "Titanic" yet,) and a combined edition of Christopher Kimball's The Cook's Bible and The Dessert Bible. So at 1:30 this morning Audrey and I finished placing the berries on this:

Raspberry Tart

Audrey was an enthusiastic helper. We just saw "Ratatouille" and she's wildly interested in cooking and baking---this week.

I probably could have found my own copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but I'd recently rediscovered the Kimball, and it was both convenient and comprehensive. (Christopher Kimball, founder and editor of Cook's Illustrated, is the sort of person I would fear being married to, him seeming to be a very methodical "Type A" personality, and me so much of a "Type B" that I'm actually more of a "C" or maybe a "G.") I used his Master Recipe for Food Processor Tart Pastry, which worked very well--no complaints, even when I used all butter because I was out of Crisco after that cake making bout a few weeks ago. I followed the directions for Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream, and ran into a couple of minor problems. One was that the recommended recipe for pastry cream uses egg yolks and flour, later I was reading the "Puddings" section of the book, and he says vanilla pudding made with egg yolks and flour has a "texture like congealed gravy," and the flavor is "too eggy." WELL, if I'd read that first I would have just followed the vanilla pudding recipe, because my pastry cream looked like beige congealed gravy and was strongly "eggy." Phooey. Fortunately a good remedy for congealed gravy pastry cream is to cover it with beautiful ripe raspberries. I also had a hard time glazing the berries with the melted apricot jam. . .the slightest touch with the pastry brush sent those raspberries rolling right out of formation. I ended up just dabbing the tops, and I think the little gobs of apricot jelly are just a teensy bit unattractive. But, oh well, together it's all highly edible, and I would say worthy of the homegrown fruit.

In other news, we broke down and got a high speed internet connection, no more dial-up for us. So it's all YouTube all the time around here now. I'm posting from the lap top because since the installation of the broadband competition for the primary computer has been fierce. The satellite TV is supposed to be installed tomorrow, ending a more than six-year break from pay-TV (and over a year of that was network TV-free as well.) Part of me is sad, and part of me is thinking "Whoo Hoo! HGTV! Food Network! Discovery Channel! BBC!" and I would love to say no more watching Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars through the snow, but they won't be back next year. : ( But I've managed to live in a world without new episodes of Buffy, I imagine I'll adjust to this loss too, in time.


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