Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Plum crazy for fall

I found some lovely, luscious Italian plums in the Phoenix Market in Orleans, and I brought them in to the Church office, washed them, and placed them in a basket on the counter to share with all my visitors. I was very surprised that so many folks had never tasted them.

Our sexton, Larry, had never seen even them before. I couldn't believe it. "You've really never seen Italian plums?" I asked him.

"No...we don't have Italian plums in Ireland," he said.

Well, oh-kay then.

The basket was empty by the end of the day, and I wanted to make a Clafouti with the, so I stopped and picked up another brown bagful on my way home. Traditionally, clafouti is baked with the pits in, supposedly to impart the flavor of almond, but I really don't like the idea of picking stones out of a baked good, so I fiddled with a couple of recipes, and added a touch of almond extract.

Oh, my. It looked so fabulous!

Well, here's the thing though. I brought this to the Reppucci family Labor Day cookout (we always have steamers and lobster on Labor Day). It was a reduced crowd this year. My brother Paul and his family had other plans, and my brother Steve was busy with his ice cream shop. And of course, my darling sister Cathy and her family is in Florida. So that left my sisters, Claire and Susan, and their families, and my mom and dad. Turns out that most of them either were stuffed with all the goodies that Claire had made (she's a really great baker) or they just weren't into custard-based desserts.

Oh, well, their loss. The plums (via the clafouti) went back to the Church on Tuesday, and I'm happy to say that everything there loved it!

What struck me most about this, was how sweet plums become in the baking -- and I've got a sheath of plum cake recipes I'd like to try. Don't you think it's a lovely fall dessert? I love the rich color of this fruit!

So here's the recipe; let me know what you think...

Plum Clafouti

Turn oven to 375 degrees.

2 Tablespoons honey

15 small Italian-style plums


3 eggs

1 1/3 cup whole milk

2/3 cup flour

3 Tablespoons sugar

1 Tablespoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon almond extract

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Sparkling sugar

Butter a fluted tart or quiche pan, and drizzle half the honey along the bottom. Cut plums in half, and arrange in a pretty circular pattern with the cut side down. Drizzle remainder of honey on top, and dust with cinnamon from a shaker.

In a blender, mix batter ingredients. Pour batter over plums.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, until firmly set and nicely brown.

Dust with sparkling (crystallized, non melting sugar).

Serve warm or at room temperature. Yummy with a dollop of whipped cream!

The DIY Show Off

Monday, September 28, 2009

I just can't leaf it alone!

I've been decorati
ng for fall since the first day of the month. It started with my rapture over the cooler weather (as you know, August on Cape Cod this year was horribly hot and oppressive), and then I think the decorating bug got hold of me and just wouldn't let go. I've decorated the front door, the back door, the dining room, the kitchen counter, the shelf on the opening between the dining room and the kitchen island...and this weekend, I even decorated the mail box. I want to post my new black doors soon -- both the shame and the glory -- but in the meantime, I'm posting (hee!) my fall mailbox decor.

Pumpkin, pumpkin...Bakerella's got the pumpkin!


From the bountiful brain of the fabulous Bakerella! Okay, let's say you don't want to fiddle with mini pies. Keep reading anyway -- I may steal the idea of drawing a pumpkin face (even on big pie)...or I may grab the tip of drizzling decorative stripes of chocolate..and I just might try out the new cream cheese pumpkin pie recipe. All in all, though, I'm thinking I'm definitely going to need a pumpkin pie cookie cutter!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Benvenuto, Settembre!

Welcome, September!

The weather here on Cape Cod has turned, and there's a cool chill in the air early this morning as I let my male cat, Maddie, out through the breezeway door. I keep an eye out for coyotes, and tell Maddie to stay close, because, "there are baaad doggies outside...bad doggies!"

Last night, th
e family met for lobster rolls from St. Bonaventure's church for the last summer feast. Each Monday, the church serves up a dinner of a fine lobster roll, a package of Cape Cod chips, a slice of blueberry or lemon meringue pie and a drink...all for the bargain rate of $15.00 a person. The children's peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are free, and Bella and Luccey are more than happy with the chips, cookie and chocolate milk that accompany it.

Most late Monday afternoons during this summer, Mom and Dad have headed over to Sue's house in Falmouth Heights, where Sue leaves the children with them while she runs over to the church on Main Street to gather up the armload of brown bags. Last night, I stopped at my house to take care of
the cats and change after work, then pulled into Sue's driveway just before her station wagon.

The last l
obster roll feast -- it was delicious, and something we'll think about all winter.