Friday, July 20, 2007

The Mysterious Frites Tragedy and Upside-Down Cake

Frites is closed. Closed! Because... well, it hasn't been disclosed why it's closed, aside from some shady legal action against former employees that could waft a scent of any number of unpleasant things (embezzling? drugs? nose-picking into the mayo?). But closed. Without so much as a chance for a hopefully-it's-au-revoir-and-not-adieu sort of visit in which many fries are eaten. I'm definitely hoping that they'll be able to re-open. The kids were visibly bewildered at how something like that could have happened (it would have been more comprehensible to them if the mayor was eaten by an orca, as I have a suspicion that the little turkeys are secretly rooting for someone to be eaten by an orca), but quite frankly, the real blow will sink in around November, when all the dark, wet misery of a Northwest winter sets in, making anyone carrying any of my genes desperately crave hot, salty, greasy starch as a substitute for the sunshine they so dearly wish they had. And yes, I eat starch, salt, grease and sweets even if I'm in Hawaii or somewhere that the sun appears more regularly than it does during a Northwest winter (um... surfing badly really makes me hungry?).On other matters, I’m not used to so much dessert. This is not to say I don’t like dessert. Seriously, it's a rare post in which a bakery is not mentioned. And, although I hate outing myself on my banal little not-so-secret secrets, I am a total recidivist when it comes to sneaking sweets. Under the produce that is on the kitchen counter, I often have a box of Fran’s salted caramels or Valerie toffees running (and it is crazy-unreasonable and rather embarrassing how much Valerie toffees cost, but they are quite, quite delicious). Or I have some sort of candy bar stuffed in the back of the spice shelf to nibble away at. It’s not really hidden; if you ask either of the kids they will happily rat me out, despite me not ever exactly mentioning it to them.
The peaches pictured above were for the peach upside-down cake, and I have to say, the peaches alone were so good it was hard not to inhale them greedily instead of baking them into something that I would have to share. I think one night, soon, we'll have to have peach shortcake for dinner. And I think peaches and yogurt are going to be for breakfast fairly often for the next few weeks. Curly always wants me to share, though.

Anyway, regular dessert, every night, is not something I’ve been used to. And yet, it is really quite surprisingly hard to get enough calories into The Incredible Eating Nephew. He’s thirteen, so there’s that thirteen-year-old touchiness thing going on (in spades), and also, really, I have to say, nobody really likes the feeling that someone is constantly watching how much they eat. If I felt like my husband was watching me all the time to see if I was drifting over to my (not so) secret stashes, I would get a little cranky. Alot cranky, even. So I have some sympathy for The Incredible Eating Nephew there… and make dessert. It’s an efficient calorie delivery system for someone who, even if he gets a little balky about having seconds, always has room for dessert. Last night I made peach upside-down cake (courtesy of The Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook), as well as another custard for Fran’s chocolate ice cream (although the next chocolate thing we’ll do is either Philadelphia style from the beloved Mr. Lebovitz's Perfect Scoop, or, hmm, maybe Marcella’s recipe for dark chocolate gelato), so that tonight we had chocolate and raspberry ice cream, with just a little dollop of whipped cream. The Incredible Eating Nephew’s dollop was, well, a pile, not a dollop. But he needs to eat. I, on the other hand, feel… round. Although, mmmm, that was some gooood cake.

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