katallison: (Default)
[personal profile] katallison
I've always loved fall the best of all seasons, and with time that love has grown to encompass the whole long, glorious slide from the peak of midsummer to the quiet depth of winter solstice. But just now, in late August, I love late summer best of all -- that moment when you start to notice the change in the angle of light, and the mornings all of a sudden are cool and dewy, and one's garden (if one had a garden, as I shall next year at this time HA-HAH!) is full of huge toppling tomato plants buckling under the weight of fruit and redolent of ripe fecundity and rich earthy succulence with just a faint foreshadowing of vegetative death and decay.

I love this time of year even MORE, let me add, now that I live in a place where (a) it is not going to inevitably segue into three feet of snow and -25F temperatures, and (b) it brings with it a lavish bounty of beautiful, glorious, tree-ripened, just-picked succulent juicy tender ambrosial fresh peaches.

In honor of the latter, I ended up, rather unexpectedly, making and canning five pints of peach chutney yesterday (my Seattle friends M and J called and said "We bought a case of peaches! Come do something with them!"). The basic process, taken from The Vegetarian Epicure Vol. 2, is:

--four pounds of peaches (blanched/skinned, then cut into chunks)
--2 cups cider vinegar
--1 pound brown sugar
--two big onions, minced
--a big knob of ginger, minced (around 1/3 cup total)
--a cup and a half of raisins (or craisins, or dried cherries, or some mix thereof)
--one lemon, zest + juice
--one orange, zest + juice
--2 Tbsp mustard seed
--1 Tbsp chili powder
--1 tsp cayenne (adjusted according to one's heat preferences)

Put everything in a big non-reactive (enameled or stainless) pot. Simmer for an hour or so, until the mixture begins to thicken. Spoon into sterilized jars, cap/seal, process in boiling water bath for ten minutes.

I hadn't made this in something like fifteen years, and had forgotten how how extremely delicious it is. Especially when eaten in the company of good friends, alongside some grilled fresh halibut and a huge salad of wonderful things just-picked in the garden, and a bottle of Pinot Grigio, on a golden August late afternoon. (And, bonus excellence, after having gotten to spend some quality time with the fantabulous [livejournal.com profile] kormantic and her consort the estimable Mr. Pants.)

In other news, everything is apparently full-speed forward with the house purchase, and I spend my days and nights in a haze of paint samples and garden schemes and being amazed at least seven times a day at this astonishing turn in my fortunes. At some point, I will put up some more photos, and also a few Pointers On Home-Buying For The Disorganized, Stressed-Out, and Chronically Befuddled. Right now, though, I'm going to sip a little more wine, and nibble a cracker (oh and our new local Trader Joe's opened last Friday! No more driving an hour for a TJs fix!) and enjoy another golden luminous late-August evening, as it slips away.
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katallison: (Default)

November 2009


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