Monday, May 20, 2013

Of Peaches and Fish

It was a long time getting to Sunday this week, given that we were open for dinner 6 nights this week instead of the usual 5. And given that I had to go pick Carter up at school at nearly midnight after dinner service on Saturday. So Sunday was a sleep-in kind of morning. Even the dogs didn't start their usual milling around until around 8am. Ann and I finally roused ourselves around 9am and I immediately got to work in the yard to finish some things that just had to be done before we left at noon to get to Ann and Tom's for a barbeque. Ann busied herself making some awesome locally roasted Black Dog coffee and baking another of her wonderful loaves of bread.

Baby Peaches, After Thinning
Our tender veg are all now set out in the garden beds (tomatoes, peppers, squashes, cucumbers, basils, etc). And I got some annuals seeded in the long bed against the fence: cosmos and a couple varieties of sunflowers. But what needed most doing was thinning the peaches. Just like dropping fruit on grape vines to make more concentrated wine, dropping fruit on stone crops increases size and flavor intensity of the remaining fruit. And for peach trees in particular, they want to produce way more fruit than they can support, so removing excess fruit is vital if you don't want broken branches everywhere. But it does make me sad to see all that fruit on the ground. We have pickled these baby peaches before, but I have no time for it this year.

Makes Me Sad
Bringing this post back to fish, after working in the yard, Ann, Carter, and I drove over to Tom and Ann's in Capon Bridge, WV, not 30 minutes from the house for a cook out. I brought the guests of honor for the grill, two snappers and three branzini. Ann brought bread. Tom and Annie supplied everything else. Lunch at Tom and Ann's is a long, leisurely affair, with many courses spread out over several hours.

The Guests of Honor
We started with Tom grilling slices of my Ann's roasted garlic rosemary bread (which is freaking awesome) that we spread with Tom's wonderful chicken liver mousse with a port jelly on top.

Awesome Roasted Garlic-Rosemary Bread
Tom's Great Chicken Liver Mousse with Port Jelly
Then on to several skewers of  wonderful shrimp. The turbinado sugar that Tom put in the marinade gave the shrimp a little sweetness and helped them color on the grill. I think they were delicious: Carter camped himself in front of the plate and destroyed them!

Showing off on the Big Green Egg

Food Porn

More of Same; Carter ate 90% of These Shrimp

Tom's Back Yard Does Not Suck
After the shrimps came a salad that I have been hearing about for years now:  red lettuce, green lettuce, curly endive, radicchio, green onions, prosciutto, cheese, toasted pine nuts, pickled red onions, and a warm balsamic vinaigrette. Really good.

And a Little Salad Before the Fish
The fish are slashed and rubbed with salt and olive oil and stuffed with basil stems, cilantro stems, and slices of key lime.

Ready for Action

Yum! Grilled Fish Garnished with Basil, Cilantro, and Key Lime Slices

Grilled Asparagus with Feta

And the rogue's gallery of dead soldiers:

Check out These Two!
Finally, cheese for dessert while we watched Robin Williams and Nathan Lane in Bird Cage for the 40th time each. These cheeses may all look similar, but they are very different. From upper left to lower right, the four blond paste cheeses are: Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Cabot's clothbound Cheddar, Kirkham's farmhouse Lancashire, and Lincolnshire Poacher. The blue, which is one of the more outstanding blues that I have ever eaten is Bayley Hazen blue. I thought that the Pleasant Ridge Reserve was the best American cheese I had ever tasted, until I tasted the Bayley Hazen blue. That stuff is ridiculous!
Incredible Cheeses, American and British

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