Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sometimes after a long day of editing Powerpoints, writing speaker's notes, sending emails, consulting with your supervisors and colleagues, and doing a bunch of research, a gal just needs to stop and smell the flowers.
Mmmm, that's better. Too bad the flowers don't smell quite as good as my first peach crumbles.

I'll be honest: I'm afraid of crumbles. I always, always, ALWAYS manage to screw up the topping somehow, even if I follow the recipe to a T. I've never figured out why this always seems to happen. It's really a shame, because I love crumbles, and I've watched my mother whip up a blueberry crumble in the time it takes to preheat the oven.

So on Sunday night, thanks to a pile of beautiful ripe peaches in my fridge, an unwillingness to pack for school, and an inspiring recipe from my Barefoot Contessa cookbook, I knew I had to make peach crumbles in individual ramekins and risk the crumble topping (after all, if it flopped, I'd still have yummy baked peaches underneath).
I prepared the peaches first, which I had never actually tried before. For those of you who were as ignorant to peach peeling as I was before Sunday, it was pretty easy: all you have to do is put your peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds to a minute, place them immediately in cold water, and peel them one by one.
The boiling water loosens the skin from the inner fruity part of the peach, and the cold water bath keeps them from cooking (I think - this is about as scientific as I get). It's a bit messy, but far better than peeling them by hand (I know because I made the mistake of trying to peel by hand first).
The divine peaches looked awesome in Mom's new bird's-egg blue bowls, so of course I took loads of pictures to avoid starting the dreaded crumble topping.
With one last picture (or five) of the pretty ingredients in their pretty bowls and a deep breath, I started my foray into the crumble topping.
So it looked good, my flour, oats, and brown sugar all mixed together nicely. I only had one ingredient left: the wet one. Butter. Okay, actually it was margarine, but one must make do sometimes. I was quite worried, because I hadn't actually softened it in the microwave: I turned half of it into a puddle. "Oh, great," I thought as I walked apprehensively towards my bowl, "This crumble topping is going to be ruined too, I just feel it."
Unsurprisingly, my "crumble-topping-sense" pretty much sucks, and the topping turned out beautifully. There was one tense moment when I wasn't sure that I had added enough "butter", but I was, of course, wrong.
Gosh, isn't it beautiful? Look at it! So pretty! All those years of frustration, dissolved into nothing. thanks to my beautiful perfect crumble topping.

In a state that can only be described as elation, I whipped up the crumbles, spicing the sliced peaches with pinches of sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and popped 'em into the oven, along with a few apple mini-crumbles (I ran out of peaches).My little brother asked me to take pictures of his fried egg for the blog, so I snuck my crumbles into the background. I'm such a terrible sister. I don't feel too bad, though, because his fried egg was an unphotogenic diva of a fried egg. And yes, they DID taste as good as they looked. Now THIS is what summer's all about. Until next time!Music of the day: "Crush", by Jennifer Paige (cheesy pop, yes, but oh well - my Dad likes the song and he's the purchaser of the peaches: the founder of the feast, as it were)

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