"Peaches in a White Ceramic Basket," Fede Galizia, c. 1600-1605
Well, summer is nearly officially over, a poignant marker. There’s something a little sad about the turning of seasons. Goodbye to summer’s great bounty, to all those things you didn’t do or wish you could do again….
I never wrote “Summer Fruit, part two” which was supposed to be about peaches, plums, nectarines, more blackberries, and such. I never made a peach pie, which is rather shocking (though I am still eating fresh peaches, and with all the peach varieties, you can eat peaches from mid-summer to early autumn).
But I did eat rhubarb well into August and I did make some of those nice dill pickles in brine, with fresh dill. I had a good summer kitchen day with Aviva: She made canned pickles and the two of us made a nice big batch of blackberry jam.
Aviva surveys results of the pickle-and-jam marathon
Grey days and rainy weather are setting in again, and there never were enough warm sunny days here this summer — but I just returned from the Midwest, where people were complaining about too many hot days!
Mario's Lemonade, Chicago
In Chicago, we went to Mario’s Lemonade on Taylor Street, just before the stand closed for the season– how’s that for marking the end of the summer? And we talked to Mario, who has never used a computer or a credit card, and still sells a small iced lemonade for only $1.
Delicious icy lemonade, complete with rind
Back home, on a cool day, and still thinking about lemons, I made a simple supper of roast chicken, bulgur pilaf and green salad.
The roast chicken with lemon is one of the many slow-roast dishes I make in cool weather (that’s most of the year here): You set the oven to 300 degrees, stuff one or two lemons (pricked all over with a fork, to let the juices out) into the cavity, put a little olive oil over the chicken and sprinkle salt and pepper and paprika on the top, then let it roast for 2 1/2 or 3 hours. You can baste a lot, or not, turn the chicken over halfway through or not — the long slow cooking will make it tender and juicy. Let it sit for 10 or 15 minutes before you cut it, and squeeze the lemon juice over it.
And the salad of course, had a simple olive oil-lemon-salt dressing….
For dessert? Now, the blackberries have sadly come to an end, but before they were gone, I discovered an easy dessert with some leftover pie dough I had: mini pies in ramekins.
I just mixed the berries with a little sugar and lemon juice and a bit of cornstarch to thicken, then cut a couple circles of dough with my biscuit cutter and laid them on top, brushed with a little milk and sprinkled sugar on top. I turned the oven to 400 degrees and baked till the tops were golden. I bet this would work with frozen berries too.
"Apples and grapes" Claude Monet, 1880
Now it’s time to welcome those fruits of fall!
The Jewish harvest festival of Sukkos is just around the corner, and one of its primary symbols is the citron, or esrog (or etrog), the ancestor of the lemon. It’s considered a sacred fruit, and does indeed smell divine, but is not too good to eat….
What I always want to make and eat around this time of year is a simple yeast dough covered in delicious and beautiful Italian plums. Soon I will be making Zwetchgenkuchen!