Monday, May 25, 2009

Clafoutis Time!!

Yeah, I've been absent for several days. Trust me, I know. Friends have reminded me. The nice people at BlogHer Ads reminded me. But I was mentally and physically out of touch.

In advance of three days of leave, with company en route, high season kicked in for my job. I could easily stay at work for 12 or 14 hours a day and still not clear the decks. My sense of humor pretty much checked out as I was trying to pound through projects at work and engage in marathon apartment cleaning before my brother and brother-in-law arrived from Germany. I knew, of course, that these guys would make every effort to fix anything that needed fixing in the place (despite me just being a renter). And I'm always incredibly grateful not only for their presence here and their love, but that they understand how limiting back injuries can be. All the dumb stuff I've been too tired to do in ages (clean the balcony windows, rearrange shelves, cook) they dispatched in mere days. And these guys are both in their 60s! Talk about making me feel like a total wuss!

Figure 1. Slug, aka Merujo

I miss 'em already (and homecooked meals... and lots of Australian wine...) now that they've headed north to spend time with nieces and nephews in New Jersey. But even welcome and wonderful visits are exhausting, and I've been too wiped to type more than random phrases on Twitter. That said, I'm trying to catch up on naps and get my head wrapped back around the thought of work again tomorrow.

So far, the score is: Naps, 1 - Mental prep for work, 0.

Go figure.

I got the pleasure of enjoying a couple of hours of grilling time yesterday with the Sasquatch up at Seneca Creek State Park, where lovely steaks were cooked and consumed, along with grilled plantains and cherries. Raising eyebrows at grilled cherries? Seriously, they're yummy! Take some sweet cherries, pit them, then either skewer them or wrap them in foil, and leave them over the coals for a few minutes. You end up with soft cherries so sweet they taste like the center of a homemade pie.

I was very pleased that the rain gods held off for yesterday's festivities. We snagged the same cook site we had last year in one of the park's many wooded day use points. We're not sure why, but just like last year, none of the later arrivals wanted to be on the same side of the parking lot as us. My theory is that I frighten the small children. Cool by us - we get a sweet, quiet spot where we can listen to oldies radio and be as snarky as we wanna be. At moments like that, life is good.

Last night, though, my back started up with the stabbing pains again. I had two Redbox movies to return - one very good (Benjamin Button), and one truly, sincerely awful (Bride Wars) - and when I got to the grocery store to pop them back in the machine, one of the clerks asked if I wanted a wheelchair. I was hobbling like Yoda with a double hip replacement. Not great.

Today, my plan was to get up early, do some writing, get laundry done, and make a clafoutis with some of the cherries not consumed at the park yesterday. Instead, I've taken two showers to relieve some of the pain and lounged on the sofa for hours at a time.

I feel old.

I have to say, I'm not looking forward to being at my desk all day tomorrow, but I'm hoping things will ease up a bit. I'm pretty sure there's enough piled on my desk and in my e-mail inbox that I'll have plenty to focus on. Nothing like stress to take your mind off of pain, right?

I have clean clothes for work and I *am* writing now, so I guess I can count that as a victory for the day, no? And I think I'll still make a clafoutis! I can pit cherries from the comfort of the sofa, especially now that I possess a fabulous Oxo Good Grips cherry pitter. Oh, wait - don't know what clafoutis is?

I learned about these suckers from an episode of "Good Eats" on the Food Network. Gawd bless Alton Brown and his quirky TV cookery!

Clafoutis is an old French dessert - it's just fresh fruit (usually cherries) baked in a kinda-sorta custardy batter. Traditionally, the cherries aren't pitted when you bake this, but being the kind of woman whose luck runs to chipped teeth, I pit mine, thank you. Once you've washed and pitted the cherries, it's seriously a five-minute process to make this dish. I'm not kidding. I suck at baking, but clafoutis is pretty much fool-proof. And damn tasty, too!

You're supposed to eat it hot, and it's good with creme, half and half, ice cream, or just plain old nekkid. I found a recipe for a less dessert-ish, more breakfast-ish version on The Joy of Baking website, and I'm torn about which version to make. Ponder, ponder, ponder...

Eh, you know what? It's 7 at night. I'll go with the Alton Brown version. Just wish some of you could be here to share it with me!

Another time, eh?


Anonymous said...

I'm stuffed from dinner, but I have everything I need to make it with blueberries. If I can get my butt off this chair, I might just make some tonight. Looks great!

Merujo said...

Oooh, that sounds GREAT! I've thought of trying ripe peaches, once I see some good ones in the grocery store.

Have I ever forwarded you the fabulous blueberry muffin recipe I use from "The New York Cookbook"? Fabulous muffins with lots of lemon zest and made with yougurt. I once watched a petite friend of mine wolf down a half dozen of these muffins one morning. When they come out right, they're like breakfast crack. :)

Puzzles to Print said...

My neighbor from Alsace tell me that they leave the pits in because supposedly the add flavor. Anyway, it's a good enough excuse for me! Totally understand about the chipped tooth fear though. Looks like your clafoutis came out great.

Chuck said...

Wow, that clafoutis looks YUM. I bet it's great with whipped cream also. Yeah, that's just what I need...

Hope your back is feeling better. Don't forget to take some StopPain to work!

Anonymous said...

I'd love a good blueberry muffin recipe; send it my way, when you can. I didn't make a claufoutis the other day, but I did make a giant blueberry, strawberry and cantaloupe salad to take to a friends house party and then I found out just before I left that it was a week later. So, I've been stuffing my mouth with fresh fruit for days. Next batch of blueberries must go for a claufoutis.