Monday, July 19, 2010

Apricots!

It's weird to look up and realize that two months and more has gone since I wrote here, perhaps weirder still to think of why.

You guys, you probably know this already--if you know us even vaguely away from this blog, if you're even a friend of a Facebook friend of ours, I'm sure you've heard the news--Dana is pregnant!

If you're just joining us in this exciting and uproariously happy news, feel free to take this time to squee.  I completely understand and I'll wait.  Better?

Good.  Welcome.

As you might imagine, we have been sort of busy, with all our planning and taking portraits and letting slip the news to everyone who calls the house.  In addition to all that, we've begun haunting the baby care sections of every department store we enter, creeping through Target's aisles of onesies with tiny aloof doggies on the front and their racks of smiling octopus-covered blankets, surfing Etsy's many pages of unforgivably expensive cribs shaped like boats.  This keeps us busy.  Honestly, though I haven't been not posting here because of that.  No, it's not planning that keeps me away from the blog, it's something more insidious. See, Dana's about three months along in the pregnancy now, poised just at the exit ramp of her third month.  She's just slowing to make the corner into the reportedly shining, felicitous months of her second trimester with its inflated sense of well being, its reshuffling of organs, and as she makes this curve her wheels are just beginning to spin free of the constant nausea of her last months' morning sickness.  It's this nausea, this aversion to food in all its forms, which has been our dread enemy the last couple months and the reason for our silence.

Until this week, I don't know if I could name more than five dishes that I have even made these last months.  Quesadillas, occasionally, peanut butter sandwiches if the mood allows, even, once, a bit of pasta, but mainly I have been slicing apples, boiling potatoes, mixing oatmeal. Concocting, in short, the blandest food imaginable, and even then sometimes finding it nigh-impossible to coax Dana to eat it.

But oh, this week, the tides are turning.  Just as we reach the last breathless moments of apricot season (our backyard has smelled like bad fruit wine for weeks; one of our chickens scavenged the hearts from so many mushy fallen apricots that her nostrils became clogged with congealed fruit), as tomatoes start to glow red as blisters under the skirts of their vines, as the gargantuan zucchini plants are producing a generous basket of green intimidating phalluses every day, Dana is eating again!

I'll deal with the squash next time--the zucchini bread is finishing its sentence in the oven as I labor over this very paragraph but I think I can safely say it will be both delicious and lovely when paroled--and I have yet to figure out what to do when one daily has more tomatoes than sense, but today I wanted to talk to you about apricots.  A couple of long months ago (like two posts before this one), I mentioned that the weight of the unripe apricot crop was weighing down our tree. By now, the apricots have basically come and gone, the tree has sprung back up to full height and we are becoming blissfully reaccustomed to the lack of fruit flies in the house.

In the meantime, between my ravenous out of hand consumption and Dana's disinterest in even the smell of the things, I made a couple of recipes that were fairly successful.

My first foray into baked apricot goodness was a meh result.  Apricot turnovers with store bought puff pastry turned out a bit dense for my tastes, the filling (fresh apricots sliced and cooked down with lemon and lots of sugar) was more jam than fruit and an inadvisable egg wash on the pastry--while pretty--kept the puff pastry on a leash instead of, well, letting it puff.

Second was an apricot pie that I turned out for our 3rd Annual Fourth of July barbecue and Elmo roast at which, as always, we spent half the day filling an Elmo doll with jury rigged fireworks, and about 2 minutes of the evening watching it turn into flaring festive charcoal and singed plastic hair.


The pie was a wonderful thing, juicy and sweet and so apricoty that it was something like picking and eating fruit fresh from the tree.  Only in a pie, and awesome.  I'll post the recipe down below this just in case you have any apricots hanging around.  You could definitely do worse than tossing a few cups of them toward a nice pie.

The third thing I made from the apricots, and probably the best, was this apricot sorbet from Annie's Eats.  This... I have no words.  It was absolutely tremendous.  This is just one more indication that I need to pick up David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop sooner rather than later.  Although, come to think of it, maybe I shouldn't be surrounded by beautiful delicious ice cream constantly.  Eh, who am I kidding.  I should definitely be surrounded by it.


Fresh Apricot Pie
(slightly adapted from this about.com page)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • pastry for double crust 9-inch pie
  • 3 cups fresh apricot halves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut in small pieces
Line a 9 inch pie pan with half (or one sheet if you're using the refrigerated stuff) of the pie crust.  Toss the apricot halves with sugar, flour, and nutmeg mixture then pile into the prepared crust.  Sprinkle evenly with the lemon juice and then dot with the Tbsp of butter.

Cover with top crust, trim and flute edges and make several small slits in top to vent.

Bake at 425° for 25 to 35 minutes or until the pie is bubbling wonderful amazing syrup from its vents and the edges of the crust you weren't quite as careful sealing.
 So, there you have it, a few apricot options if you haven't passed through the season entirely.

And, also, I'm going to try to write here a bit more than I have been.  I've been neglecting all you hungry folks for too long.

5 comments:

Nancy said...

There's something really wrong about following the pic of a melty Elmo with a pie closeup. I didn't know what I was looking at, at first! LOL

I'm jealous of your apricots, jealous of not having the 4th with you, and jealous of your getting to watch your beautiful wife get more pregnant and more beautiful by the day.

Miss you.

Yesica N. Cook said...

Hey! Congratulations!! More good people coming into the world. And the pie looks gorgeous too :)

Danielle said...

I know this is random because you don't actually know me, but I happened upon your blog several months ago, I love it, and I miss your posts! Hope all is well =]

Dana said...

Thank you! We didn't mean to abandon the blog, it just got set aside in favor of prepping for baby. But this is good motivation to keep going. We're certainly still cooking enough!

Mangia said...

Wow, the pics are great! This pie crust caught my eyes! Great blog, congrats! Cheers from Brazil! And happy pregnancy!