Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer? Nice to meet you.

There has been some uncertainty regarding the season in which we find ourselves. I might point out to those among you grumbling about the rain and reluctant sun that it is still spring. Complaints can be free to flow in 24 hours. Until then, make peace with the rain.

Several things change in the tide between seasons. Winter is over when the last Ruby Red is shipped from Texas. Spring is over when the first corn and peaches hit Chicago. Where these come from is a question without a good answer. Independence Day is not far off and corn went in the ground late this year owing to record spring rainfall in the Midwest. Corn is nowhere near knee high and yet it's been on our plates for a few weeks now. When I go to Trader Joe's later today to refresh my supply of both I will make inquiries as to the origin.

This morning we enjoyed a fine breakfast of Crêpes, thanks to the efforts of four of my favorite girls on earth. They rose early and used every drop of milk and nearly every egg, but they made the batter and tucked in into the fridge to chill and rest, as is necessary for crêpe batter*. By the time I was up all I had to do was make a few lattes and warm my crêpe pans.

Since we wanted to make things extra-special for our houseguests we got really jiggy with flavors. Usually we just do cinnamon sugar or raspberry jam filled. Today I pulled out Catherine's blueberry jam, nutella, sliced almonds and chocolate chips and let people fill their own. Kata had a brilliant idea of adding sliced peach to one of hers. When she offered to fill one for me I had to try her combo: a thin slathering of raspberry jam topped with fresh peach slices and rolled up. Peach with blueberry jam was equally heavenly. We have a fair amount of batter leftover and I can't wait to have another peach-blueberry crêpe tomorrow.

I don't care to waste a minute on less-than-stellar produce so I'm always giving and taking recommendations for the best sources. The corn on the cob (unshucked) and peaches (by the case) at TJ's have been perfect. Don't be nervous about buying 12 peaches. You can always chop some up and freeze for smoothies.  Treasure Island has fantastic watermelons right now.

*  "Why?" you ask. Because after all that whisking you've worked the gluten in the flour. Retiring the batter to the fridge allows the gluten to relax again, ensuring the delicacy of your crêpes. If you don't allow the resting time, you risk a rubbery crêpe.

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