Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Peaches II

My abundance of little peaches continues, but last night I had time to do something more complex (but still very simple) with them than what I did in my previous post. I started with 3 cups of oatmeal, a cup of flour, half cup of white sugar, and half a cup of brown sugar, plus a pinch of salt. I added about half a cup of canola oil, and with a fork blended it until it was uniform.

Then I barely covered the bottom of a 9 by 13 pan with the mixture and set one cup of it aside. Next I added about two quarts of cut up and mangled little peaches to the remaining mix, stirred it to coat them with the mixture, and added the whole gooey mess to the pan. The remaining one cup of mixture then was spread over the top and the whole thing went into the oven for an hour and a half at 355 degrees. The result is shown below. It is very good, so good that it does not need ice cream.

The most time-consuming part was separating the peaches from the pits, but I had help with that. They were not skinned because these little peaches will not separate from their skins. I guess it needs a name. How about "peach oatmeal crisp?"

Monday, August 25, 2008


I have a peach tree that grew from a pit, and while it usually produces many peaches that are very tasty, I keep wondering if I should cut it down. In fact, once I did cut it down, but it grew back and I rewarded it for its determination to stay alive by not cutting it down again.

Why cut down a productive peach tree? The peaches are small, the size of plums, they have a tough skin that cracks as they grow, and the cracks encourage rot. In some years almost the whole crop will rot on the tree. Plus they are clingstone, so they do not separate well from the pit, making them hard to process. As the picture should indicate, they are visually unappealing, so I cannot even give them away.
This year the rot has not been bad so far, and it looks like it might be the most productive year ever for this tree. I have dozens of these peaches sitting on the table, and I am wondering what I can do with them. My answer for tonight was to cut them into pieces.
And then serve them with ice cream. What a simple but tasty recipe I have discovered!
Now if I can figure out what to do with the grapes. Last year the birds ate most of them. This year the birds have not found them. Yet.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Wild Black Cherries

We are getting close to time when many fruit trees will be ready to harvest. This year my apple trees are taking the year off, but I should get some peaches. While I wait, I have been looking at some other trees. The local park has some crab apple trees. It is easy to make apple sauce from them, but it does not taste as good as regular apple sauce.
When I was jogging the other week, I noticed some wild black cherries. These are tiny compared to domesticated cherries, and the trees get much, much bigger. I searched the internet for dessert recipes, and I could not find much. What I did find was that the cherry trees could be dangerous for livestock.
I improvised, and though the results were edible, they were not good enough so that you would want to repeat what I did. Maybe next year I will figure out something that will taste delicious using these tiny cherries.

Party Cake

My favorite granddaughter was baptized this week, and there was a reception for the occasion with a delicious cake from a bakery.
It was a marble cake, which I guess means that it was both white and chocolate. Definitely as good as cookies.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Dessert Survivor Wins a Shoe

Last week I wrote about running in a little 5K. This week I ran in a much bigger one, with over 500 runners. In a race this big, you never run alone, and that helps you run faster.

The treats at the finish line were very different from last week. There were cookies, but they were McDonald's cookies. All the rest of the food was gone at the end, except the McDonald's cookies.
They also had watermelon, cantaloupe, and bananas. The watermelon was especially refreshing after an exhausting run.
And they had two kinds of tasty muffins. They were almost as good as real cookies.
This race gives away shoes to winners of all the different age categories because it was once part of a festival called the Touch of Dutch festival. It was named for the heavy Dutch settlement of the area. For reasons I do not understand, it was renamed the Town and Country festival, a far less interesting name in my opinion. Anyway, the race, called the Rotary Ramble, is one of the best 5Ks in the area. It attracts some very talented runners, and this year it was the state champion meet for some group.
I managed to cut my time from last week by almost a minute. The cooler weather (and some serious training at the beginning of the week) probably contributed. I was in the top half of the race, and finished third of ten in my age group, which was good enough for a shoe. (There are a lot of age groups, so they give away a lot of shoes. It is really tough to win one if you are in high school because there are so many high school runners who enter.)
I probably will not run another 5K this year, so now I can worry less about how those cookies will affect my running time.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Running a 5K

I (Dessert Survivor) entered my first 5K race in almost two years on Saturday. Each 5K is different, but there are some things you expect from a well-managed race.

Generally you can register in advance and save a few dollars, but you also can register at the check-in.
When you do check in, you get usually get a goodie bag, and the highlight is usually a tee shirt. This year the race organizers gave long-sleeved tee shirts, which are great for running in the fall and winter.
There is time to kill before the race. One important thing to do is make sure you know where the nearest facilities are, especially if you are an old man.
After a lot of milling around and talking to friends, people are eager to get started. They line up on the start line several minutes before the start, and everyone tries to find the best position. This race is held before the new school year begins and there are kids who will be running cross country in the fall. They usually claim the first row, and they start fast.
We are off and running. I am old, perhaps the oldest runner in the race, and it takes a while for me to get into a comfortable pace. There is a tendency for young runners to start too fast and run out of gas later. I always enjoy passing them.
This year the race had a different course because the old course had road construction. But like the old course, it was an out-and-back rather than a loop. With an out-and-back those of us who are not so fast will get to see who is leading the race. Here Naza, as expected, has pulled away from the field. Naza runs cross country in college and loves to run. The picture is a bit fuzzy because I am taking it as I am running and I cannot hold the camera steady.
I finally get round the turnaround and start back. There are people ahead of me and people behind me. I have closed the gap on the girl ahead of me and will eventually pass her.
By the end of the race I was running alone, about 30 seconds behind a group ahead of me and about 30 seconds ahead of the person behind me. (The race results will tell me if that my impression was correct.) I have run about as fast as I can and it takes me about fifteen minutes to catch my breath. Three years ago I was more than a minute faster. Can I blame old age?
Waiting at the finish are cold drinks, cookies, and apples. Yes, cookies. Dessert after the race. Next to the tee shirt, the cookies and drinks are the most important reward for entering a race. I drink three little bottles of gator aide, and eat an apple and a bunch of cookies. (I like cookies.) According to one calories counter, I expended about 400 calories running the race. But I consume a lot more after the race. Does running this race causes me to gain weight?
After the race there is a drawing for various prizes. The winners are usually pretty happy, even if what they won is not very useful to them. The prizes are mostly donated by sponsors, and they get a little ad on the back of the tee shirt. This year I did not win anything.
And then there are the results and the ribbons for age divisions. I got a red ribbon. Unfortunately for me a super runner, Roger S, is in my age group. He ran a bit over 19 minutes. Once school starts, the high school and college runners no longer enter the 5Ks, and Roger wins many of the races he enters even though he is over 55 years old. I was about four minutes slower than Roger.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Better Than Dessert?

Ummm. Is there anything better than freshly picked and cooked sweet corn?