Monday, June 27, 2011

Peach Season ... Ripen Already!

My dad LOVES peaches.  They are his very favorite.  Every Father's Day, I aim to have some tasty dessert that includes his beloved peaches.  The weekend before, I bought fresh peaches from my farmer's market.  Based on my previous experience with the fruit, I didn't want to select ones that were well on their way to being ready as I had a week to go.  So, I selected sweet smelling semi-hard ones.  They should be ready by the following weekend....

Just like everything else in life one tries to anticipate, timing the ripening process is not always going to meet expectation.  If you think about it, we try to rush almost everything we do these days.  Whether it's drying clothes, getting correspondence to someone faster or gaining an immediate understanding why something has happened if you believe everything happens for a reason.

While we may have time savings and efficiencies, the outcome may not be what was intended.  By hurrying drying, you incur tangible bills to pay for the privilege of drying those clothes quickly.  By hitting send the moment a thought pops into your head, you may miss all that may be "read" into that correspondence because you didn't contemplate how the reader may interpret it.   Or you could experience shortsightedness for not letting time marinate your thoughts before drawing conclusions.

In the case of the ripening of my peaches, by Tuesday they were still hard.  Fortunately, my mom reminded me of the paper bag trick.
Tip:  Ripening happens as the fruit's natural hormone, ethylene, is released.  By trapping the gas in a paper bag, the ripening process happens more quickly while still allowing a bit of ventilation.  
Luckily the paper bag trick hastened the ripening.  But by Friday I was still wondering if that would be the case.  These peaches were going to ripen in their own time, as nature intended.   By Saturday, they were perfect.  Their raw taste ... sublime, so sweet.

With a bit of previous experience, a little trickery and an inspiration from a Sangria Compote recipe, we enjoyed our Father's Day ice cream treat.  Want to make your own?
The Sangria Compote Recipe

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Outside My Kitchen Window

It seems like my spring, early summer weeks are incredibly busy.  Between my usual high work load at this time of the year sprinkled with a few days off here and there for a break, I've had little time to write.  And you would think, little time to observe.  Not so.

When I ultimately come home from these busy days, I enter my haven.  My home really is my castle.  John and I have things just the way we want them.  This includes our kitchen, even though I still miss my kitchen in Dallas.  Making a meal, whether it is simple or elaborate, I control my surroundings or at least I'd like to think so.

What I love about my current kitchen is I can see all the happenings in the neighborhood from my kitchen window.  Whether I'm washing salad greens or eating a sweet, juicy peach over the sink, I almost always mindlessly observe what's going on outside.  John apparently does too.

A quiet day outside my kitchen window

Not too long ago, John commented the little stretch of our quiet street must be on Yelp because we have witnessed all sorts of interesting sights.  Our portion of the street has big shady trees; it seems to be a destination of sorts.  Given all the activity it must have 5 stars.

The usual sightings are people sitting in their cars talking on the cell phone, having coffee before heading to plumbing job or a business person consuming their brown bag lunch followed by a quick nap.  We have the daily ice cream truck passing by, always without fail, playing Happy Birthday.  John and I know every dog and their mom or dad who ensures their pampered pooch has enough exercise.  All fairly typical.  But we've the atypical too.

As we've watched children growing up in our neighborhood, we've seen some very "Hollywood" type birthday parties.  One family rented a vintage firetruck and went round and round our street, sirens and all, for a good two hours.  We've also seen snow imported to a front lawn for play and miniature pony rides.

There have been the annoying happenings as well.  An abandoned car that took the city of Los Angeles 6 weeks to ticket before they would even think of towing it.  Or the white van that would show up every afternoon, rocking to the couple's own beat.  Turns out they were operating a little prostitution shop.  To see a guy pulled out of the van by the police in his tidy whities is not a view I'm accustomed to seeing outside my kitchen window.

One of the saddest things I witnessed was an elderly neighbor's son who had battered his girlfriend.  She turned up sobbing outside my window.  I couldn't help but hear her.  Needless to say, I was compelled to go outside to assist.

Nature constantly surprises me.  A mama squirrel moved her babies and nest from one of our shady trees to a safer, denser bush before a big wind storm moved in.  She had her move wrapped up in 10 minutes!  If only I experienced such moves.

The most unusual, but heart warming was on a Christmas Day a few years back. A single young man outfitted in his country's traditional dress and piercings slowly walked down the center of the street taking in his new surroundings.  I'm guessing he may have been an exchange student.  However, we have never seen him since.

Mostly I watch these everyday events in a passing fashion.  And yet I find myself looking forward to the possibilities of what the next scene will be.  Loving my trustworthy, reliable home and loving the unexpected just the same.  Go figure.

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