Yesterday was the annual neighborhood potlock barbecue. Using the basil and tomatoes from my garden, I made Insalata Caprese served on a store bought bruschetta and drizzled with my own balsamic syrup. It was fabulous. With peaches in abundance, I made peach cobbler. Now that's something I've never made before, so there were several internet searches done prior to getting down to the business of baking. I'm glad I shopped around for recipes, because I used bits from two different authors to make the dish.
I settled primarily on this recipe from food network, but cut back on the sugar called for in the batter to 3/4 of a cup--an idea I found from combing the comments section. It was still sweet. I made the simple syrup as written, but added a fresh vanilla bean for flavor, which is Nigella Lawson's recipe for poaching peaches for peach melba. I also used Nigella's idea for placing the halved peaches in the poaching syrup for a few seconds in order to slip off the skins and pits more readily. It works like a charm.
The cobbler was delicious, and still warm when we finished dinner and got around to the desserts. Roy, our neighborhood baker and elder statesman (he is either 95, 96 or 97), made his famous chocolate eclair cake. Roy then regaled me with tales of the rehab pit that's sandwiched between our homes.
Roy, annoyed that he's had to listen to hammering and sawing all summer long, got fed up and decided to knock on the door during construction efforts one day. The contractor let him in and showed him around the house that, after nearly 6 months of renovations, still has no finished carpentry to show off. According to him, all work was stopped when it was discovered that whoever had ripped out the upstairs during demolition, had inadvertently ripped down load bearing walls. Things, including the roof, went downhill from there.
I've always maintained that just because one watches HGTV, one should not get the impression that this immediately turns the viewer into a home rehab expert. We have a better chance of becoming good cooks by watching food shows and searching the internet, than becoming good at building things like homes. While there is a science and art to both, we've only a few dollars to lose when we make a dish that doesn't turn out well. Rebuild a house that doesn't turn out well? That's a completely different hornet's nest, isn't it? Me thinks the neighborhood will be listening to the sounds of power tools for a long time to come before that house is anywhere near inhabitable.
I wound up the night by seeing The Princess Bride at the theater at midnight. While I thought there would mostly be women like us present in the audience. There were kids as young as 8 and lots of men attending, too. The funniest lines of the movie were recited by the audience as they were said on the screen. It was a fun thing to do on a cool and rainy night.
And now the weekend is winding down. As you all head out to your jobs tomorrow, I offer you this farewell:
Have fun storming the castle!