Thursday, July 23, 2009

Water--My Favorite!

We got a surprise rain shower yesterday. (I say "surprise"--technically, we had a 40% chance of rain; but for the past two years, "40% chance of rain" has meant "pack sunscreen.") I was hiking with my friend Keith and there was some promising greyness, so we followed Matt's rain-summoning approach, which is to insult the weather. I opted for blasphemy: I shook my fist at the clouds and said, "By Jove!"

Apparently, Jove is much touchier (and more active) than I had ever imagined, because first there were a few intermittent drops, then there were more drops, then there was steady drizzle, and then there were violent gusts and great cracks of thunder.

I got soaked to the skin, which was lovely, and I was even (briefly) chilly enough to shiver. It was like living some place else entirely.

All of this has injected new life into my belief in this fantastical Shangri-La of which the old timers speak, called "Autumn." As a result, a young girl's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of... foundation plantings, winter recipes, and cool-weather vacations. I can actually imagine the seasons changing, the weather improving, and the need for warm clothes, flannel sheets, and hearty stews.

Where will we take our fall vacation? Last year we went to the Comfort area of Central Texas--maybe we'll do that again. And what will my CSA produce? Will they have bok choy? Mizuna? Oyster root?

As we're to be in the 100s all next week, these are not, I suppose, truly burning questions.

The park where we were hiking (in Webberville) got a good 40 minutes or so, but back home, the rain didn't entirely penetrate the mulch in the shade bed. Still, the plants look perkier.

And speaking of the CSA...

CSA: What Do I Do with All These... Eggplants and Cucumbers?

I made the CUCUMBERS into a cucumber yogurt soup and into Julia Child's Concombres Au Beurre (baked cucumbers; transcribed here). The former just didn't coalesce. Maybe it needed more salt, maybe less yogurt and more milk, almost certainly it should have been blended (grated cucumber floating in your yogurt matrix is unsettling)--anyway, no great favorite.

I kind of liked the Concombres. They were sort of like an incomplete pickle--a little vinegary, a little dilly, a little crisp, but without the intensity of most pickles.

Last week's EGGPLANTS became Greek Shepherd's Pie. I didn't even try the cucs on Matt--in marriage, as that bearded dude reminds us, you have know when to hold em and (more importantly) know when to fold em. But I did have high hopes for the shepherd's pie. The recipe called for 10 (TEN!) cloves of garlic, 3 cups of diced onion, 1 cup of red wine, 2 lb ground lamb, and a cup-and-a-half of parmesan. Plus, I threw in a can of whole hominy because Matt likes hominy. Then I boiled everything and subsequently baked it under a continental shelf of mashed potatoes. I should have been able to serve sauteed skunk in that concoction without him detecting it.

So. The moment of truth. How does he like?

(With a moue of disgust) "It tastes like eggplant."

My husband--the culinary equivalent of the Princess and the Pea.

To be fair, he quite sportingly faced down the eggplant a second time in the form of leftovers the following day. Perhaps he is developing a taste for eggplant?

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