Tuesday, September 1, 2009

This Crap Weather

I only wait for summer all year. Not just because of the weather, the tan, the excuse for frozen drinks, but because, for a few short months, my kitchen comes alive with bounty. Many delightful things are created and enjoyed, and the long long long winter months of cabbage and turnip seem but a distant memory. This summer had some problems not associated with the weather:

The fruit fly consortium in my old apartment kitchen did sort of turn me off cooking for a while - or getting anywhere near the kitchen or bathroom; one was avoidable, the other, sadly, less avoidable.

Perhaps you'd heard, but we moved. In between tossing everything out from the old kitchen and barely stocking the new, and not having the same kind of space, and not having a prep table, well, cooking elaborate things was not really going to happen.

But now it's September 1, and by my count I have at least 3 good weeks left of peaches, tomatoes, raspberries, peppers, corn, blueberries, plums, beans, well pretty much everything. And you know what? It all sucks.

Perhaps that's being a little too harsh, it doesn't suck, it's just not great. My longed for apricots from Red Jacket Orchards? I'm not even sure they're good enough to make preserves. The peaches? Had to be sugared on the peach cheesecake I made for my new neighbors. The cherries? Forget it, they tasted like, well, a month of rain. The tomatoes? Mealy. It is sort of breaking my heart because I know that it's about to be all apples and potatoes all the time before I know it, and I won't even have pleasant memories to guide me through the winter.

And while I could blame this predicament on my attempts to be local and seasonal, it's not as though those Driscoll berries taste like anything no matter what time of year it is. I just wanted a couple of good tarts, something visually appealing that I could enjoy while sitting in my backyard with a cold glass of something. I want to make and jar tomato sauce for the winter, but if the tomatoes don't taste like much now, I hardly think three months in a jar will improve them.

So, while today is beautiful, I think it's too late for this season of food (which makes me a little glad, actually, that we missed making reservations at Blue Hill at Stone Barns for, I don't know, the 4th year in a row, because as much as I think he's the cat's meow, I don't think even Dan Barber could turn this crap harvest around). I'm trying to look ahead to roasted chickens and apple pies.

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