Tuesday, July 22, 2014
There is nothing more soothingly sweet, more synonymous with comfort, than leftover dessert for breakfast. We began our Monday with nectarine cobbler. We’ve been on a nectarine jag, and happened to have four extra pounds of them that needed using up over the weekend. Though peach cobbler is my first love – I still fantasize about the ones my grandmother made with the luscious fruit from her trees – I am lazy. Removing skins from peaches is too much work. You get to leave the skins on when you bake with nectarines.
Earlier that afternoon, I'd texted him. “I’m concerned about (your daughter’s) v fast driving speed; worried someone is going to get hurt. (Another neighbor) expressed the same thing to me. When Abbott and Cal are her age I’m hoping you’ll pass on the same sorts of things to me!” The gist of the yelling seemed to be that my message had really upset his daughter.
Over breakfast, Abbott remarked that shouting had disrupted his bedtime reading the night before. It scared him, and so he'd closed his window.
During our meals and walks the past couple of days, we’ve had discussions about self-control, the importance of giving feedback despite a poor response, and how best to give and take. We’ve talked about the pros and cons of asynchronous communication (texting, email) and synchronous communication (phone conversations, in person communication). We’ve had conversations about neighbor relations, the tumbledown of stress, and mental illness. The world is a complex place, and Alexi and I only have a few more years to prepare our boys to navigate on their own.
After the neighbor stormed back inside I settled back in to read, appreciating the faint breeze that stirred, cooling the sweat running down my back. The latticework shadows began to fade as I continued re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird, getting so many things from it I didn’t the last time I read it, or the time before that. I paused at Atticus’ admonition to try to climb into another’s skin and walk around in it.
This is similar to what my grandmother used to make with her peaches. The roasting of the nectarines, first, makes all the difference.
4 pounds nectarines, cut into wedges
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 ¼ cups unbleached all purpose flour
6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking power
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ cup (½ stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
¼ cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
1 large egg, beaten to blend
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons chilled buttermilk
For the filling:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Mix all of the filling ingredients in a 13x9x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the topping:
Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and 4 tablespoons of the sugar in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter and shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the egg and buttermilk, and stir until batter forms.
Remove the fruit from the oven. Spoon the batter over the hot filling in 12 mounds, spacing evenly. Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of remaining sugar. Bake until the juices thicken and the topping is golden, about 30 minutes. Cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Yield: 8 servings