Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Nectarines- a slice of summer- Day 6

There's that time of the year again, where we buy into hype and believe we can change our lives by making resolutions - resolutions that, if you are anything like me, will never come into effect. Nevertheless, I persevere. This year I resolve to quit my whining about winter and simply learn to appreciate the joy of fresh snow, festive spirit, winter sales, cozy sweaters and leafless tress...err, we were talking about the good things about winter, right?
I love the romance of piping hot soups and hearty stews in cold weather- in theory. Its hard to feel this kind towards my least favorite season of the year, when the wind knocks your breath out, your nose turns a shade of purple that would be fetching if it weren't a body part and you need half an hour to thaw after venturing out for ten minutes. I can see the armies of winter-defenders forming right now, 'but its all snow and magic and hot chocolate and more crap'; it is also shoveling till your arms fall off, getting stuck in wicked storms, wearing ten thousand layers of clothes to get your mail and an understanding that you will lose sensation in your toes and fingers within minutes of stepping out of the house.
Have I mentioned that I'm not a winter person yet? Coz' I'm not. Not by a long shot, while the foodie in me rejoices at the changes in eating habits, my summer diet could keep me happy all year round.

Dear Winter
While I see the charm in cuddling in a blanket on a cold night, I don't appreciate freezing my butt off when said blanket is not an option. Also, I don't like it that granny thermals have replaced, umm other stuff, for sexy nights with the husband. All those people writing odes to fresh snow and singing about the romance of winter can stuff it. I want coke with ice, moisture beads forming on the glass, dingy fan stirring up stale air, sweaty armpits airing through sleeveless cotton blouses, melting puddles of kulfi, pepsi cola in plastic tubes, short shorts and tank tops, dusty beams of bright sunlight, all night card games in the garden with mosquitoes, the smell of mangoes ripening in hay, glasses of freshly churned buttermilk, shimmering tar roads in the afternoon sun...everything that is not winter. So, you can keep your lovely winter squash and give me back my sunny days.

Now you (and I) see how my resolutions always end up. What brought this rant on was an extremely windy day in NYC, and the fact that I didn't have adequate winter gear. Also, I spied these photos in my drafts folder, of a summer characterised by my indulgent diet of fresh fruits. I haven't met a fruit I didn't like. And summer gave me a chance to pluck and eat some straight off the trees/vines. I ate them raw, sticky juices running down my chin, baked into pies, dumped into salads, sprinkled with sugar and sometimes salt.

This nectarine cake and the nectarine pie bring me memories of my summer. Just look at the sunshiny nectarine upside-down cake. Look how pretty the colors are! I used my tried and tested upside down cake recipe from Susan, simply substituting the nectarines for pineapples.
I also made this pie after I polished off the cake. Its a basic pie, with a rustic homemade quality. I suspect that comes from my lack of experience at making pie crust. I used this recipe and followed it without any substitutions. I'm not going to repost the pie crust recipe since I didn't make any changes to it. For the nectarines, I simply did mixed them with some sugar and spices and stuffed the pie crust.

Nectarine pie
3-4 nectarines
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon powder
Skin the nectarines, halve and pit them. Mix them with the sugar, butter, flour, vanilla and cinnamon and keep aside for a bit.
Line a pan with the rolled out pie crust and blind bake it for about 10 mins. Pour the nectarine filling in, the nectarine with their flat side down, cover with another sheet of pie crust and bake for another 20-25 mins at 350 degrees till the crust is light gold and looks done. Make some slits in the top crust or use a pie bird to prevent it from exploding in your oven. Serve warm with a scoop of coconut ice cream.
I couldn't get around to reading any posts from the marathoners, but I will before tomorrow. And no, this is not another resolution, just an intense desire to read what you guys have been posting. We are almost at the finish line now, and it feels wonderful!


Sheetal Kiran

Ahhh...summer days, I miss thy humid breath so. Making me, sweat but happy that I can down freshly-made limbu sarbat. Baths, are but twice a thing chores, but who cares? As long as I get to worship the sun and breeze .. who cares.

This is such a lovely post Manasi. And seeing those summery photos, makes me long for those fresh from the vines, in salads and just as, too! Oh, summer when will you really be here. Doggone it! I hate the snow and having my precious butt freeze off!


pies..with ice cream on top..gosh..I am longing for the hot summer..

Wishing you a happy new year Mansi.


I can smell summer although it is far behind.Thanks for a glimpse through your cake recipe.Happy New Year fellow runner!

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