It's Thursday morning and a beautiful blue sky, interrupted by perfect white clouds, is appearing in slits through the venetian blinds in the office window. It seems as though all the summer fruits are appearing all at once in this accelerated season, with cherries and raspberries both competing for our attention in the home "orchard", and blueberries barreling their way down the Jersey Turnpike to land in our pie shells. It's feast or famine when it comes to summer fruit, that is for sure. You've got to grab it while you can! Meanwhile...
Prix-fixe diners last night started off with a small salad, garnished with a chicken liver pate and a goat cheese laden crouton. The chicken liver pate, or chopped liver! as one person decreed with joy, was especially tasty.
Dinner was Kevin's version of chicken fricassee, made with some of Redman's fresh peas and a bit of Smithfield ham.
Dessert unveiled the newest roulade in Angie's repetoire - the yellow sponge cake filled with fresh blueberries, whipped cream and a bit of stewed berries on the top. Fruit and dairy products, what more do you need in a dessert? Well, maybe chocolate...
Anyway, back to the fruit. Our cherry tree is doing some heavy bearing this year, after taking last year off. Of course most of it is located at the way top of the tree, accessible only if you are a bird, but with a tall ladder and some careful stretching you can still pluck a few handfuls. Or quarts. And since we are a little late in getting to them, they are very nicely ripe and plump with sticky juice. Acquiring the fruit it not without risk, however. Yesterday I had a seriously angry robin screaming at me the whole time I was in her territory, exceedingly agitated because her nest was within hand-reach.
Anyone with a little free time is welcome to help me pit the cherries. Tuesday night it was Rayvon and Kentrall; last night Kentrall helped with the bulk of it with a bit of company from Rodrigo.
They are some very nice cherries. We have lots of plans for them...
...not the least of which is this pie, blurry as it is. It was pretty much sold out before dinner service even began! that is if you include a couple of slices for the "owners".
We made a batch of 9-day cherry pickle, seen here in it's initial vinegar stage, before going into isolation in the cool dark basement at home, which is much better for pickle maturation than this shelf in the office. Another batch got underway this morning. Cherry pickle is second only to cherry jam, in my idea of the best way to extend the cherry season. Cherry pie is my favorite - and I had a slice this morning, perhaps the only piece I'll get - but the jam and the pickle are less about immediate gratification and more about savoring the summer in a jar.
Two batches of jam later, the cherries are all put up. Hopefully there will still be a few more within arm's reach on our old tree, so that we can at least have one more piece of pie!