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August 17, 2002
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Peaches, Muffins, and Shanghai Teacakes

10:28 pm: A very busy kitchen day, though it started with an excursion.

For the last several years, John and I have wandered by the Lafayette Peach Festival and always wondered where the peaches were. Of course, most of those times, it was the middle of the afternoon. This year, the community paper said that the festival was from 9-3 and that there would be a truck of organic peaches available right at a particular address at 9. So we made the effort to get up early and out early.

We got out on the road at 9:30 and into town soon after. We even found the closed street that had all the tents and the big truck from Morton's Organics. There was a nice parking spot just across the street, and we had to be very careful to hold Jet's hand as he started darting about wildly at being free of his car seat. We managed to keep him safe, and got him across the street into the small market. He ran around happily, got a small peach smoothie and drank a good deal of it before finally getting tired.

Jet asked to be picked up and I held him while we wandered through the line for the peaches. Yes, there was a long line for the peaches, and there were murmurs in line about how it's best to get there early as everyone had had the experience of getting there late and not finding any peaches. The peaches the Mortons were selling were gorgeous. Big, golden, and they were advertising them as tree-ripe. There were samples, and when I tasted them, they were just nicely ripe. They wouldn't last all that long.

John and I convinced each other that we only wanted one of the five-pound big bags. The 1.5 pound small bag was too small, the three-pound medium bag wouldn't allow us to have cobbler and eat them for the next couple of days. So we convinced ourselves we were going to get the large bag and not deal with the 18-pound crate. Of course, when we got up to the front of the line and everyone was buying boxes; we succumbed to the temptation and bought a whole box.

They were so pretty!

We took them to the car, and John tucked them into the trunk while Jet went into his seat. We headed to What's Cooking. I wanted mini-muffin pans for the bran muffins. Jet happily wandered mad in the clutter and kitch.

Jet found flower fly swatters that had feet, so that the swatter could be stood up instead of resting their fly splattered fans on any surface. Jet took a dozen of them and stood them all on their feet. He carefully moved between them to get more of them, and kept standing more and more on their feet. Finally he was knocking down as many as he was putting up every time he wandered through. So he'd have to pick them all up and stand them up again. I finally had to buy one, as they were so cool and we've been swatting flies a lot at home.

It's not as bad as last year, but it's still annoying enough that I like having a swatter at hand, a lot.

I had two sets of mini pans to choose from. One of them was made by the same guys that made the baked donut pan I have. That pan sticks like crazy. While those were much cheaper than the other pan, I finally settled on the other. It turns out that the other pan was by Chicago Metallic, with a Silverstone lining, which explained the higher price.

We made it out with relatively little damage and on the way home Jet fell asleep. Deeply. I took the uninterrupted time to update my journal and then I got started on all the baking.

The first thing I did was mix up half a batch of the bran muffins. It fit, exactly, into the small muffin pan. When they came out I let them cool for a while and then Chicago Metallic proved its worth as all the muffins fell right out of the pan. Yahoo!

Then I did the Shanghai teacakes. The thing that takes the longest time with them is the rolling of the dough for each cake. There's an oil dough and a water dough and never do the two mix. Each blob of oil dough is wrapped with a blob of the water dough, then it's rolled out, rolled up and then it's all done again. Then the shell's wrapped around bacon, ham, and green onions. All done 32 to 40 times.

My legs and feet hurt by the time I finished. It was, however, dinnertime. I had John make some brown rice, and thaw a single chicken breast half. I sliced it to make two slices that were twice as thin as the original. There was one lump of meat that I cut off and used the meat hammer on it to flatten it a little. I dredged everything in a little flour, pan-fried them and then used the drippings/fond in the pan to make a sauce with chicken broth, dry Madera, and garlic. When it was good and thick I added nearly a quarter of a cup of lemon juice and a pile of capers and then poured it over the chicken on the rice and we had dinner. John also made some vegetables and we ate some of the Hawaiian King bread rolls. Yum.

I love the recipe, as it's simple, quick, and easy as well as delicious. Jet even ate it hand over fist, with the rice. He avoided the green beans, but was very happy with the rest of his dinner. Yay!

By the time Jet had to go to sleep, I was exhausted as well, and we had to plan for tomorrow. We had to get to the church early to set things up, and even earlier to get the teacakes baked. They're better fresh, so we were set to bake them in the morning.

I was pretty happy that I'd gotten all that done today. I like it when I can do that much; it's unusual, but very satisfying.

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Copyright 2002 Liralen Li. All Rights Reserved.