Sunday, August 14, 2011

Saturday with friends and neighbors

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!


sapphireblue said...

Yeah, learning carpentry on HGTV does not count as professional liscensure. Yikes! Good thing the whole house didn't collapse.

Gail said...

I'm not a carpenter but can make small things, dog houses,shelves and such. Learned how to replace the bathroom faucet from HGTV. I love playing with wood.

I make what we call a lazy cobbler. Mix sugar, self-rising flour, milk or the juice of the fruit you've chosen, with a touch of vanilla. Pour this into a casserole dish with a little melted butter. Then dump the fruit in...Lazy Cobbler. Just before it browns, I sprinkle a bit of sugar or spice and sugar, depending on what fruit I'm using.

Yours sounds delcious. What a wonderful event for neighbors.

Rose said...

I would have LOVED seeing that movie at the theater; it's one of my girls' favorite movies, which means I grew to love it too. Potluck sounded loads of fun!!

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

your potluck sounds fabulous!

smiles, bee

Stephanie V said...

Mmmm...the balsamic syrup sounds marvellous.

Isn't it funny (not!) how fast they can renovate whole homes on TV? And only spend a pittance while they're at it. Good luck to the reno job being finished anytime soon. Really? Load-bearing walls? Yikes!

(Queenmothermamaw) Peggy said...

Wished I lived in your neighborhood. We used to do that when we first moved here but folks move in and our so fast anymore don't get to know them so well. You amaze me Rudee, work, cook, knit, play. I guess I did that once too. Thanks for reminding me.

(Queenmothermamaw) Peggy said...

BTW, HH and I have pre-arranged our final services. No 3 day carrying on for us. We chose cremation and a one time get together. Some of our kiddos were not impressed. Well it is us after all.

Denise said...

Wish we could move to your neighborhood, but you get that white stuff every year.

Sounds like you had a fun Saturday.

Mimi said...

Your neighbourhood bash sounds great! Our neighbourhood doesn't have anything like that, some people here aren't on speaking terms!
Cobbler sounds yummy, wish I'd been there; maybe I should move?
But not into the "renovated" house with broken load-bearing walls!

Mausie1 said...

Sounds like some delicious foods Rudee. My cobbler is more Like Gails..except I use Bisquick mix.... quick, easy and surprisingly yummy....Enjoy this wonderful Monday..Hugs Birgit

SkippyMom said...

Well that's just cruel. All that great effort and food and NO pictures. Hurumph!

I kid, I kid - sounds delicious and the movie sounds like a hoot to go to with audience participation. That movie is a classic.

Sandy said...

I love peach cobbler but have never made it..

Princess Bride -wow I haven't seen that one in ages.