Is there an unsaid rule that bar cookies have to be heavy and gooey? Two weeks ago, we picked up a cup of coffee on our way to the park so that the little monkey could continue his path of destruction outside our apartment, and I fell for something in the bakery case called peach shortbread, cut into bars. But instead of being thick and intense, it was delicate, light and barely sweet — a thin layer of shortbread, even thinner slices of peach and the faintest sprinkling of streusel on top. I knew I had to share it.
I am having the worst luck with peaches this summer. Without fail, every week I am lured in by the most fragrant peaches I’ve ever sniffed at the market, and without fail, the day after they come home with me, they’re mush. Sweet, peachy mush. To eat one requires hovering over a sink, and then a mop and a shirt change anyway and no, sadly, I am not speaking of the baby’s messes. These are not bad problems to have; “Woe is me! My peaches are too juicy!” doesn’t exactly make a room nod in sympathy but the week I made the mistake of letting the peaches go a whole 48 hours uneaten the only thing left to with the misshapen lot was to bake them.
My friend Molly — she of the dry-rubbed ribs and apple tarte tatin fame — is leaving us for the kind of love that requires one to take up residence in another state. We’re all mighty bummed out about this and not making it easy on her, not only pouting over her imminent departure at every turn but insisting that she perform her half-day rib magic one last time at her going-away party this weekend.
Inadvertently, Martha has become my girl this week as I’ve been floundering around trying to figure out what to do with my seasonal produce that a) I haven’t done before and b) doesn’t require any great amount of fussing. Or work. Or adherence to recipes. (Okay, that last part may be more of a Deb than a Martha thing, but you won’t tell her, right?) The arugula, potato and green bean salad was good and well enough for a Wednesday night, but did little to help me turn last week’s languishing South Jersey peaches into something better. (Who forgets they have almost two pounds of farm fresh peaches in their fridge? Guilty as charged.)
Over a year ago, I made hand pies and declared them a delicious disaster. The pie dough wasn’t bendy enough to suit what I had in mind, and they too easily leaked and broke, but that had no effect on the final taste. Nevertheless, I promised to try them again soon, with one of three dough recipes I had in mind that would work better.