kaleidoscope

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Memories are sometimes but little fragments, like looking through a kaleidoscope.

Sometimes a song triggers a memory. You hear a song and you stop and remember where you heard it first. Yesterday I heard Vacation by the Go-Go’s. That song always reminds me of the Jersey shore, my friend Karen and her friend Ellie. I heard that song and in my mind’s eye saw us as our late teenage selves when we didn’t worry about tanning and were spending summer in flip flops with sand on our feet. I swear I could almost smell the Bain de Soleil Orange Gelèe.

Other memories and like shards of glass. Fragments that pop into your head in that stage between sleeping and waking, which fall away when you wake up. I had that happen the other day when I first started thinking about writing this post. But I didn’t write it down, and the memory was fleeting.

This morning is September 1st. I woke up with memory of the many years my friend Pam would leave all of her friends “rabbit, rabbit” messages the day the old month ended to remind us to say rabbit, rabbit the first day of every new month. Saying rabbit, rabbit as your first words of the new month is supposed to bring you luck all month long. I still say it.

Today is also Labor Day. As a kid, in spite of the true origination of the holiday , you knew it was the last “official” day of summer vacation. An in between day when you are packing up and coming home from summer vacation. Maybe at a neighborhood barbecue. You wake up and even the air is different. Change is coming, a fresh start in a new school year. And the dreaded thought of homework.

Labor Day marks our transition of summer towards fall. It will feel like summer a few weeks yet, but soon it will be time for hay rides and corn mazes.

Enjoy the day.

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clydesdales come to west chester!

On Friday, August 29 the thunder of hooves and the jingle of harnesses could be heard as Budweiser’s fabulous Clydesdales made special beer deliveries throughout downtown West Chester, PA. Thanks to my friend Lee Ann and my friend Peggy, I can share these photos with you:

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peach and ground cherry galette

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I purchased a pint of forgotten fruit at the farmers market yesterday. Ground cherries. They were in little papery husks almost like a tomatillo. They are a very old-fashioned fruit that you see once in a blue moon at farmers or local organic markets.

Preheat your oven to 400°F

Get out your frozen two sheet package of puff pastry – Pepperidge Farm or whomever and allow it to thaw at room temperature. If it’s really frozen it can take over half an hour.

First make the Frangipane (almond cream):

In a large mixing bowl whip together with your mixer the following:

3 tablespoons butter, preferably unsalted

One large egg

1/3 cup granulated white sugar

One half teaspoon pure vanilla or almond extract

One half a cup of almond flour or almond meal (I order mine from nuts.com)

1 tablespoon of regular white flour

Beat together until fluffy and set aside.

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In another bowl, put your ground cherries (after removing the little husks from them) in with a 1/3 cup of light brown sugar and a couple dashes of cinnamon. (I had purchased a pint’s worth of this fruit.) To this I add 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. I then take a hand potato masher and macerate slightly the ground cherries and the sugar and cinnamon and lemon juice.

Next take out a jellyroll pan – otherwise known as a cookie sheet with an edge and line it with parchment paper

Take one sheet of puff pastry and gently unfold it and put it in the center of the pan on the parchment paper.

Next take an icing spreader or spatula and spread the almond cream/Frangipane evenly on the bottom layer of puff pastry.

Next slice two to three medium size peaches in thin slices. Arrange neatly on top of the cream. Next spoon the ground cherry mixture evenly on top of the peaches.

Take the other sheet of puff pastry and unfold it and lay evenly on top of the fruit mixture. Crimp the edges of both sheets of puff pastry together all the way around.

Cut quite a few vent holes in the top of the path pastry. You can do it in a pattern if you want. Take one egg yolk and add a tablespoon and a half of water and whip it together. Use a pastry brush and brush the egg yolk lightly over the top of the pastry. Dust this with sugar. (egg yolk acts like a glue for the sugar)

Bake at 400° for about half an hour. My oven wasn’t doing something right today so I might have even taken longer baking. This is something you have to keep an eye on or you will burn it.

When everything is all golden and caramelized brown pull it out of the oven. It will also smell really amazing!

Cool before moving to a serving platter. I have a large round plate I picked up at a church sale years ago that I love for desserts that are a different than normal size.

You can serve this warm or cold. A little dollop of whipped cream should accompany each serving.

Refrigerate the leftovers.

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traditional folk music and old friends

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Last evening thanks to Tredyffrin Library in Tredyffrin Township I had a real treat: being able to listen to traditional folk music and to see an old friend.

When I was a little girl I had a friend named Aubrey Atwater.  After grade school we went our separate ways but as adults reconnected via e-mail and Facebook. She and her husband Elwood Donnelly live in Rhode Island and are folk singers who specialize in traditional American and Celtic folk music and dance.  They are known as Atwater-Donnelly. Thanks to them and artists like them, a very beautiful form of music (like the music performed by the Carter family and Jean Ritchie , for example) and story telling are preserved.

My childhood friend and her lovely husband actually have quite the following and in recent years have been at more local locations to us, like the Philadelphia Folk Festival.  Although based in Rhode Island they have traveled extensively with their music for over 25 years not only in the U.S. but Ireland, England, and Canada. They have produced seven books, thirteen recordings, and have also been featured in a documentary.

Aubrey and Elwood have beautiful voices and they play such an amazing range of instruments.  Among the instruments they play which I love are the banjo, mandolin, and dulcimer.  They play as a duo and with their band. I am in awe of their talent.

If you want to check them out, visit their website. Many thanks to the Tredyffrin Township Library on Upper Gulph Road for scheduling such a fun event!

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