Sunday, July 08, 2007
blenheim bliss (or, when child labor is a good thing)
A lot of apricots.
More specifically, a lot of Blenheim apricots.
Like, 11 pounds worth.
Time to get to work.
H was just dying to use the borrowed canning supplies her mom brought to us on her last visit. She announced her desire for jam. I suggested that we start with some apricot, since I knew of a few sources of these heavenly jewels at the Berkeley Farmers' Market, and know that they won't be around much longer. And if it's gonna be apricot jam, then why not go with what some (like myself) consider the definition of apricot-dom: the Blenheim.
These rose tinged marvels can be overwhelmingly good.
So good, you just might have a dozen for lunch. Along with a corndog, and maybe half a peach if you're three, working on four. Luckily for us, our monkey has a gut made of steel and ingesting a huge quantity of fruit doesn't seem to be a problem. (Kinda makes you wish you could sit down and polish off a dozen of ANY of your favorite fruit huh?) They say "youth is wasted on the young," and being the proud father of two monkeys, I'm beginning to really see where this saying comes from. But in this case, the only waste is bound for the compost.
While I cruised around the house, with the little one on my arm, we directed the elder toward helping get the fruit jammed. You see, little hands are great at ripping open apricots and tossing the seeds. Now if only we can work on the focus and get that child labor to last for more than five minutes, we'd maybe go into business making the stuff. Then again, maybe not, as it would be illegal. Besides, those little hands tend to stuff the nearest mouth (their own) with the fruit of our labor, bringing the daily consumption count to somewhere near twenty apricots. That's right: two-zero. And still no intestinal distress.
Luckily, when the jam jars are fruit filled, there is always a smidge left that should be consumed, and right away. Especially if your partner has recently had a craving for poundcake. Put some on top of the buttery block of goodness and you are at least two steps closer to heaven. Eat it and you just might feel that if a bolt of lightening were to stike you dead in the next moment.......then life had certainly been worth living. Well, that and the kids I mean. You see, I really love apricots.
So, back to that child labor thing. A few weeks ago, when I first saw Blenheims at the market, I brought only 3 pounds home. When the monkey saw them on the counter she started snarfing them down. I did too. But I also managed a bit of restraint and got about a third of them safely tucked away for making ice cream. I expalined this to the monkey and she was enthusiatic, especially when I said that she could help. Tomorrow at grandma's we would follow through.
Luckily, when we arrived, papa was outside washing the car, and since water and sponges are so much fun, our vehicle got some tender rubbing from little hands and big, while I went in the kitchen and got things ready for the cold and creamy apricot bliss.
I put some cream in a pot and added a bit of sugar. I cooked the apricots (with more sugar) into a slightly chunky syrup. With the salt ready, a waiting ball (thanks Shuna!), and a freezer filled with ice, the time was now.
Now, where did the labor go? This ice cream needs some little ones to roll it around. Make them work for their treats I say.
Grandma was blessed with both of her grand-daughters for the day. I was blessed with two little people to work for their sweets, so I packed the ball with yummy ingredients in one end and salty ice in the other. Then I set it between the girls and encouraged a game of rolling the ball between them. It took some patience, and the ball was really a bit too heavy for them to roll back and forth quickly, but it got the ice cream started all the same. After the little ones burnt out on the fun (still working on delayed gratification I guess) I sat down on the couch and practised my ballhandling skills with my feet while taking in a good book.
With the ice cream done and us now back at home, we gave it a try. It was good. But it still needed a little something.
Like maybe a little more sliced something, as I just can't get enough of these things.
Treat yourself to some apricot bliss. But unless you have an iron gut or are under the age of five, keep it to under twenty per day......