The Wedding: Josh & Allegra

Two pastors…. but somehow they managed to keep the ceremony short. *Thank God*

Of course their colors were red, black, & white. I’m just surprised there was more Regina Spektor,

and less Five Iron Frenzy.

Brilliant idea. Why mess around with a cake when you can have cupcakes?!

This was the *tamest* of the photos of the boys doing up the car. This blog is SFW.

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Josh so happy.

And here’s a cupcake recipe I’d like to try soon:

Elegant Cupcakes

1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. dried lavender flowers
1 stick butter
2 eggs
1 c. self-rising flower
2 tbsp. milk

“No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden… But though an old man, I am but a young gardener. ” So wrote Thomas Jefferson in 1811, and if you visit Monticello you’ll undoubtedly get that he meant it.

Boy, do I love Virginia!

And I can’t wait to get these books:

Gardens & Historic Plants of the Antebellum South,
The Brother Gardeners,
and Flowers & Herbs of Early America

And a Sarah Jarosz song, “Tell Me True”, that’s been stuck in my head this whole trip. I love her, and you will too:

For Promises, I give you the recipe for those little peachy pies I made the other day. All but two were eaten, and I’m assuming that’s because hardly anyone noticed them until late in the night… Everyone who did get into them ate one, two, three..

Bourbon Peach Hand-Pies
Originally from SmittenKitchen,
With a few changes…

Pastry (this is key!)
2 ½ c. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. table salt
2 sticks (16 tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened, cut into pieces
½ c. buttermilk*
½ c. ice water

*the recipe called for sour cream, but
I had milk & a lemon on hand so I opted
for a buttermilk crust instead. To make buttermilk
(or sour milk) use about 1 tbsp. lemon juice
per ½ c. of milk, let sit a few minutes

Filling (mmmmm)
2 lbs. ripe peaches (preferably market fresh)
¼ c. flour
¼ sugar
pinch of salt
some decent Bourbon*
and a generous amount of good vanilla**
and maybe some nutmeg, for good measure

*I have tons of respect for the gal at Smitten, but
her recommendation of 1 tsp. of Bourbon didn’t
quite cut it for me (I technically live in the South, y’know!)
so I put in a whole shot. I heard no complaints.
**Once again, a ½ tsp. of vanilla was disappointing. So I put in
approximately 2 tsp. Basically I got those little peaches wasted.

This is the vanilla I bought at the Gourmet store with part of my giftcard, and I thought it would be perfect in this recipe.

This is my first attempt at writing down a recipe, so I may skimp on details. If you’ve ever watched me in the kitchen, you may know how loosely I follow rules (or not at all)… but normally it turns out just fine, and I don’t plan on changing anytime soon. Maybe it’s my stubbornness coming out… but I like to pretend that it is inherent kitchen intuition…. *cough* Anywho, if I were you trying to make a hand-pie, I’d start by making the crust. This involves first whisking together the flour and salt in a biggish bowl, then cutting the (room temp) sticks of butter into little chunks. Some people like to tell you to cut them into ¼ in. cubes, but you can do whatever you want, just keep in mind that the chunkier they are the harder they are to cut into the flour. Just sayin’.

Next you put your butter chunks into the biggish flour bowl. With a pastry cutter (or two forks, if you are like me before last Christmas) cut the butter into the flour, until it resembles little grains. Try to get it all incorporated, with the biggest lumps the size of little peas, otherwise you’ll have problems later. Like this:

Make a little well in the mixture, then pour your buttermilk into it. Like this:

I used my pastry cutter to get it started, but you’ll have to put your hands in it to get the big lumps out. Also this is where you start adding icewater, tbsp by tbsp. Don’t let it get too sticky! It should feel like play-doh when it has the right proportions. After that, separate the big ball into two balls. I don’t know why you do this, but every pie I’ve ever made (and my mother, and her mother, etc.) called for doing this. Then cover ‘em and let ‘em chill in the fridge (aka icebox) for a bit. I don’t know how long I chilled mine, but I folded and put away the laundry and then went back to it. But you could make the filling!

The filling is easy-peasy. Cut your peaches into little chunks, smaller than you would for a pie, but we ain’t makin’ jam here! So not too small. Then put the chunks into a bowl with all your other ingredients. DO THIS TO YOUR OWN TASTE; the sugar, booze, vanilla, etc., and feel free to add spices! And don’t use lousy bourbon… I used one of those tiny bottles, of Bulleit to be exact. According to the website, Bulleit bourbon has a high rye content that gives it an oaky finish, but it’s got nice honey tones that I thought would work. I do my research, see. Maker’s Mark would be good too, but it’s a bit sweeter.

So to make the little pies, you roll out one of your dough balls onto a WELL-FLOURED surface, with a WELL-FLOURED rolling pin. I emphasize this because I ran into some issues… because of the high dairy content, the fats & oils stick stick stick the more you work with the dough. All problems aside, you should get about 12 4-inch rounds of dough from each ball, if you roll the scraps. Once you have all 24 rounds, put a generous spoonful of peach goo onto ‘em. I put just about as much as it was humanly possible to fold over top of. After they all have peach goo, get a sauce bowl of cold water, a bowl of one beaten egg, a fork, and a pastry brush. Wet your fingers before folding, because that’s how you seal them. Fold, smush/seal with your wet fingers, then use the fork to make a nice little closed edge, cut a little slit in the middle of the pie for a vent, then brush with the egg. I also sprinkled a bit of sugar over top. Then bake for about 20 minutes at 375°, or until they’re a nice golden brown on top!

I can only describe today as a melt-inducing day, and I’m not talking ice cream: today was the kind of day where you step outside and are immediately drenched in sweat and feeling as though all the air has been sucked right out of you. Basically you feel as though your insides are melting. So of course I had errands to run, and of course I found a recipe for bourbon-peach handpies that required a visit to the ol’ Blacksburg Farmer’s Market. It was well worth the [sweaty] trip, as I found the most delicious peaches for $1.69/lb.

Sadly, the peaches were so deliciously ripe & juicy that they had a bit of a rough time in my bag on the way home… they’re currently in the fridge in an attempt to save them, but I may have to make my filling a day early. We’ll see how that works out.One little guy didn’t quite make it, and he had to be sacrificed. Delicious sacrifice. The amount of juice that came out of that sweet flesh was almost indecent. YUM. Speaking of delicious liquids, aside from having some of the best-looking produce at the market, 5-Penny Farm makes awesome sodas, including a crazy-good ginger brew, a root beer, and a cherry “shrub.” I had never heard of a shrub before (in the libation sense of the word), but apparently it was a Colonial “soda” made with water, fruit juice, white vinegar, and more often than not, some sort of hard liquor. The 5-Penny Farm version is non-alcoholic, but it sure is tasty.

Bella bombed.

In general, I’ve never been a huge fan of tomatoes. Salsa, spaghetti sauce, ketchup: all great things derived from tomatoes! But “fresh” ones, I have always struggled with. I want to like tomatoes, I really do… and I’ve come to realize maybe it’s not that I don’t like tomatoes, it’s just that I’m a complete and utter snob when it comes to them. The guy at 5-Penny let me sample a gorgeous little grape tomato, warmed by the evening sun… *sigh* it was delicious. Delicious, I tell you! So maybe I do like them, as long as they are garden-fresh and sun-ripened.

And just look at these babies!

Peas of some sort.. I love the purple-y speckles.

How much is that Buddha in the window?

That was all for my anti-climactic (yet entirely pleasant!) day at the market. I’m still learning with my camera, otherwise there would be more pictures… but I’m workin’ on it. Stay tuned for those handpies!