Friday, July 23, 2010

PERFECTLY PEACHY

I have, at this very moment, pots of BERKSHIRE PRESERVES' Peach Preserves with Cardamom cooking on my stove. It is a long, multi-step process that prolongs the payoff. As with so many things, the anticipation is worth the wait. I wish I could send the aroma to you, for it is astonishing. It has the sensual softness of sweet ripe peaches mingled with the sweet sharpness of cardamom, the heavenly spice of India. My nose is literally twitching. I've been waiting for the peaches to ripen sufficiently - but not too much - so that when cooked they don't taste like potatoes. They're at that point this week; blushing and dripping juice.
Not wishing to miss their ripe goodness today, in addition to the Peach Preserves with Cardamom I also made pots of Peach and Blueberry Preserves. They're a gorgeous mixture of colors and flavors and will simultaneously satisfy your craving for stone fruit and berries. These luxurious preserves, coupled with the BERKSHIRE PRESERVES' Intense Apricot Jam  and Pineapple, Mango, Lime Whatever are the icing on the cake of what's turning into a fabulous fruit season.
It's also tourist season here in the Berkshires which means that we can't get through town. And out-of-towners don't stop at the crossing zebras to allow pedestrians to cross the street. And the farmers' markets are mobbed (a good thing). And we can't get into any of the restaurants we traditionally frequent. Most of them don't accept reservations for groups smaller than 5 people and we're way too old and tired at the end of the day to dine at 9PM. So, like everyone I know, I'm doing a lot of home cooking and entertaining. The corn is almost good, but with a few more weeks of sunshine it will release it's milky sweetness. Greens are crunchy and delicious. My own little garden is producing leaf lettuce, small shoots of Swiss chard that I quickly steam before adding to salads. The oregano is spicy but not overpowering. The basil is redolent of licorice and almost as delicious as a fistful of Good and Plenty!
Last week Shelley and Elliott visited for several days from San Francisco with their grandson, Aaron. Dinner one night was an easy barbecue rib dish, corn, tomato salad with local chevre, a basil/oregano chiffonade, sea salt and a dash of olive oil. The sea salt went on at the very moment of service so as not to draw out the juices from the tomatoes and make them watery. Dessert was ginger ice cream and coconut sorbet topped with BERKSHIRE PRESERVES Pineapple, Mango, Lime Whatever. Here's the recipe for the ribs:
 BARBECUE RIBS
Place a side of pork ribs on a large layer of heavy duty aluminum foil. Rub with salt, pepper, a liberal dash of cayenne or chipotle chili pepper, garlic powder. Make a packet and close tightly. Place on large cookie sheet and bake in a 275 degree oven for 2 hours. Remove from oven, open packet carefully, drain excess liquid and brush on your favorite BERKSHIRE PRESERVES' marmalade or Intense Apricot Jam then your favorite barbecue sauce. (Mine is White Oak Farm, Pete's Bar-B-Que Sauce banjofred@fairpoint.net). Place on the grill for 15 minutes just till the sauce browns the tops of the ribs. 
Sunday July 25th is Egremont on Parade day. A volunteer group of Egremont residents and businesses come together to host the third annual Egremont on Parade, a community day celebration for and about Egremont that is free and open to the public. BERKSHIRE PRESERVES will have a table there. Please stop by if you're in the neighborhood - 11AM to 4PM.
I look forward to seeing you there.
Barbara

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