August 29, 2000
Peach and Cricket
Mmmmm... peaches. Ripe, juicy, soft, luxurious, velvet-covered peaches that are locally grown and ripened to honey-sweet perfection. Washed my peach this morning, all red gold velvet and bigger than my fist, and a good deal of the skin just rubbed right off it was so ripe. The small bruised spots were translucent gold under the skin. I bit into the yielding flesh and had to slurp hard to keep my hands from being drenched in the juice. My. Peaches, how could J. Pufrock even hesitate? The whole thing was wonderful, juicy and drippy to the last flavorful bite.
I am now deeply spoiled. Hunting out local sources, rather than the rock-hard peaches that traveled hundreds of miles to sit in a show case for the fact that they're prettily colored and entirely unbruised and unrepentant of it. Luckily, this year, the Colorado peach crop on the West side of the mountains was a bumper crop because of the really hot summer. They always get enough rain on that side of the mountains for fruit trees, but cold spring and early, cold winters are the bane of the area. With the early, hot spring and summer, the peaches went crazy this year, and we've been eating them, ripe, for months.
It's probably the only thing that really makes up for the really awfully hot summer.
The weather, however, is breaking. Gradually enough that I hadn't really noticed, but the forecast for the rest of the week is in the low 80's and even 70's with night time temperatures getting into the 40's. Cool, even wet. The mornings are all clear and hot and sunny and then by afternoon the clouds start rolling in and today, when I got home and started making dinner, the rain started falling hard again.
I could hear the wind howling upstairs, through a cracked open window and the skylight. So I tromped upstairs and found the carpets are already damp, so I closed the windows there and in the other guest room. Then went down to a very excited Fezzik, who was bouncing all around the inside of the house, barking at every flash of lightning. I'd let him out into the maelstrom, with the wind whipping and the thunder rumbling and the rain battering the windows, having the wrestle with the door as the wind tried to take it from me. He'd trundle out to bark back at the Thunder Dog and even more happily at the lightning flashes, go run around on the grass and get his feet sopping wet before banging on the door to be let back in. Once in the house, soaking the matt with his wet feet, he would shake off all the rain water and bounce about a bit before settling on the good rug to lick his feet clean. He also groomed his fur, getting all the rain water off that the shake didn't take care of and curl up contentedly until the next set of flash-boom lightning thunder groups.
Then he'd be up and out again.
Energetic dog. So while he was going through all that happily, I was making dinner. Had a leftover less than a quarter of an onion, some not so fresh mushrooms, so I chopped and sliced and caramlized the onions and sauteed the mushrooms while I marinated thinly sliced flank steak in cornstarch and dry Marsala wine. Water boiled quickly in my electric teapot and I made a cup of beef boullion. A quick stir fry of the beef and more marsala to deglaze the pan as I dumped everything back in. Cook cook cook to get the alcohol out. Then enough of the boullion to cover everything and a good grind of fresh peppercorns, simmer simmer simmer. Then I pulled out the sour cream. Plop! Until it was creamy and lovely and back to a slow simmer.
Quick strogenoff, on a nuked hot, boiled Yukon gold potato from the weekend. Happiness is a hot dinner.
Rain rain rain... it rained steadily and the drumming of the water on the roof and the porches was just wonderful. Relaxing, soothing and really great. I managed to get Fezzik's dinner down, too and he stopped his running back and forth long enough to eat it. Cool air came in all the open windows, that were out onto the porch, so were roofed enough to not let water in as well.
John called twice. Once while I was cooking because he wasn't sure when he'd be able to again, again much later, from the sushi restaurant where he'd had dinner with the gang in San Jose. It's good that he eats the things I can't when he's not with me, so I don't envy him too badly. He sounded tired and cheerful and like he'd had useful days. Yay!
I get to see him tomorrow!
So I did the usual stuff and went to bed and didn't get to sleep when I heard that darned loud cricket again, and this time he didn't stop when I got up and I found out why. He was under the fridge, chirping away happily and the cavity the fridge is in was making the sound echo nicely. Argh. I put a stick under the fridge, but it didn't go far enough, though it did get the little guy to stop chirping, so I went back to bed and he started right up again. A little weaker and more uncertain than before, and then getting back into the swing of it. I growled and wrestled the fridge out from the cubby and there he was. Bug.
I got the broom out and a Big Gulp cup and shoo'ed the guy into the cup and got the broom on the opening, after a dozen tries where he just jumped right back out again. I finally tossed him out onto the back lawn and went back to bed happy in knowing that he'd now have Stuff to eat and drink and things and very much happier that I could sleep in the quiet. Fezzik settled outside my door when I turned off the lights and I heard him sigh contentedly as well.