Last Summer I ordered some lovely outdoor furniture, a settee, two large arm chairs and a table, for my back patio. When the UPS lady delivered it, in four lean and long boxes, I thought a mistake had been made. You know where I’m taking this story, don’t you?
My order arrived in pieces. Hundreds of bolts, screws, washers, doohickeys and thingumbobs in small plastic bags. There were sixteen flat brown wicker parts which looked familiar to what I had ordered. Oh, yes, included also, the hefty directions manual written in several different languages. It was all Greek to me. That was when I asked myself, “How far can I push the goodwill of my neighbors?” In the end, Ray and Dominick, my go-to guys who live nearby, spent an entire Saturday afternoon, stuck in my garage, putting together my new wicker furniture. Let me mention it was a 100-degree summer day in Nevada. Sweat poured off of them.
So, you understand that when I had a teeny-weeny put-the-parts-together project before leaving for Colorado, I was hesitant to call on them. I had ordered a Mitey Shopping Cart to take with me to Aspen. I walk everywhere here and wanted to use the cart for the Farmers Market, grocery store, library, it’s just a handy thing to have. I had hoped it would arrive intact – no such luck. When I called Ray and he answered his phone, I was blunt. “Here’s the bribe,” I said, “I will trade you a Peach Melba for one Mitey Cart with wheels attached.”
“You’re on,” he replied.
As you’ve already guessed, Peach Melba is our French Fridays with Dorie recipe choice this week and was a perfect and tasty bargaining tool to use with those guys. It is drop-dead delicious. Peaches. Raspberries. Ice Cream. Whipped cream. Crème de cassis. Those are just the major ingredient players. The little guys, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla beans and toasted sliced almonds, also add to the makings of this dessert.
While Peach Melba is not a difficult dessert to make, it is a multifaceted and timely process. It involves poaching, making two syrups, pureeing, straining seeds, toasting, and, if you wish, making your own ice cream and whipped cream. Since the late and great Auguste Escoffier , a French culinary icon, created the elegant Peach Melba for opera singer Nellis Melba, you’d expect the flavors to be complex and intense.
The good news is that Dorie’s recipe directions are, as usual, carefully and clearly written. We’re currently in the midst of peak peach season so I urge you to link to her recipe here and enjoy this yourself.
What I love about these guys is that they take their taste testing seriously. Before moving to Nevada, Ray and Dominick owned and operated a successful New York deli so they appreciate good food and are honest critics. As for Glenn, a wine connoisseur, he pulled all the various flavors from this dessert and tried to guess (correctly, I might add) the processes used to make them.
Not only was this a win-win situation for all of us, it was a wonderful farewell evening together with good friends before my departure to Colorado. Thanks, guys.