Monday, September 12, 2011

September Ramblings

This weekend, I sat on the deck this weekend, looking up at the blue sky through the green leaves of the trees, and thought, "I'm really happy. I love life."

Now this is not a typical way of thinking for me. More often my mantra is, "I hate my life," so something magical was happening out there, with the sun and the dry, dry September air. Perhaps C is right, and September is the best month of all. I tried to stay with the feeling of abundance, just letting it soak into, to store it up for another day when I'd be needing so positive feelings.

I scored another batch of peaches a couple of weeks ago and I'm still basking in their afterglow. I can't help photographing them whenever they come into my home, like some sort of rare jewel.

I made this gorgeous peach pie with ginger-crumb topping, only because I didn't have enough butter for a top crust; and what a fortuitous lack it turned out to be. I will always make peach pie this way from now on.

And, almost as exciting as peaches, check out this poblano pepper growing in our very own garden!

Every summer, I try to coax the flavors of the Southwest out of this very Northern soil, and usually manage about five three-or four inch poblanos (one year, though, the jalapenos and serranos filled nearly a bushel).

This year, however, we have hit the motherload. I harvested twelve large chiles on Friday,

which I cooked up into chiles rellenos (my own recipe, on a card), served with simmered tomatillo-serrano sauce (Rick Bayless), Mexican pot peans (ditto) and red tomato rice (recipe here, though I used fresh tomatoes and jalapenos rather than canned, and medium-grianed brown rice; it turned out lovely in texture, but next time I'll use more jalapeno). For dessert, I made these Mexican chocolate cupcakes, which are to die for (I only used 1/2 t. cayenne in the cupcakes, because 2 sounded like a lot; I subbed real butter for the soy butter and shortening in the frosting; and I was out of vanilla, so used orange flavor instead, at about a 1:4 orange-to-vanilla ratio, which I must say was an brilliant addition).

(Disclaimer: all poblano, tomatillo and other garden growth--including our current green bean avalanche--other than garlic, is completely and totally attributable to C; my only contribution being to circle the plants I want in the seed catalog and, of course, cooking them when they're done).

In other gardening news, these two apples came from out tree. We have millions of wild apples (this appears to be a good year), but these are the first two from a tree we planted. We have yet to taste them; they make a good centerpiece (and because I know you're going to ask, since every person at my table asked, separately, without listening to the answer when other asked, the orange stuff is a tomato, though it looks like cheese, and almost had the texture of cheese. In a good way).

I finally got around to organizing a craft project that I've been meaning to do for, I don't know, five years: making parachutes. It all started because E and Z were fighting over the silk parachute one morning (despite the fact that no one has looked at, touched or played with it in the two years prior). I reminded myself that I have been wanting to make parachutes with napkins, thread and a peg clothespin with them, so I assembled the materials, and we put a couple together (which took all of two minutes, making me feel like a dope for putting it off so long).

Z got stung by a wasp ("for no reason!") right before we got started, so he wasn't very interested, but E and M had fun comparing the flight of the paper parachute with that of the silk one for a few minutes. And then they moved on to something else. Oh well. At least I won't be sitting at their high school graduations, weeping, "And we never made parachutes!"

I haven't told you yet about our new family addition. Meet Charlotte:

C and I are not really pet people, but E and Z have been dying for a pet from the time they could say the word, and so, after my third glass of sangria one knitting night, I agreed to take on a goldfish who needed a home. She came with the name Callie, and the boys considered, of course, Goldie and Fishy as options before E suddenly came up with Charlotte. They have already expressed concern with her apparent loneliness and are lobbying for a mate. It may take several more glasses of sangria before I agree to that.

Right next to her tank in the bathroom, I have finally gotten out of my own way enough to put together a project I started eight years ago. Way back in 2003, I began to collect a handful of sand at each beach we went to, with the intention of filling and labeling the somewhat vast collection of old bottles that already lines our bathroom shelf (I saw something similar in a magazine--probably Martha Stewart--only the bottles line the whole house and were from beaches in places like South Africa and Australia; my collection will most likely be limited to Maine beaches). I quit after three beaches because labeled ziplock bags of sand were quickly filling a drawer in the bathroom. All I needed was labels for the jars, but that was more than I apparently could handle back then (when I only had one kid, jeesh!)

Anyhoo, I was reminded of the project when C and I were on our little island last month, so I scooped some sand into our blueberry container and finally, bought some labels. Now we just need to go to lots more beaches. Now that's a challenge I can handle.

Hope September is leaving you feeling light and happy too.


  1. Yuuuuuuuuuuum! Everything looks and sounds delicious. Nice job on the peppers--that's awesome. It sounds like you guys have been busy.

  2. So much good food! September's an awesome month. We finally got our summer weather (80!) AFTER school started.


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