It’s looking like a real vineyard out there, but the head of the vineyard (someone we will call eldest son B) has told me that he is “not ready” to make vino this season.
I do not know what technical problem holds up his process. We all suspect he does not think our feet are clean enough. In any case, in the face of this delay, I wish I could give my shoulders a gallic shrug and say, “There will always be next year’s vintage.” but I have a serious case of garden guilt, and this precludes any sort of relaxed response to eldest son B’s laissez faire attitude about the grape harvest.
My garden guilt means I find it painful to waste anything the garden throws at us, except for maybe zucchinis. So yesterday, I looked at the rows and rows of ripening grapes, the product of many years of eldest son B’s pruning and many hours of Sophie, Emily and me on our hands and knees weeding the small vineyard for eldest son B….
and thoughts turned to grape cookery.
First it was necessary to wipe the last peach froth from our moustaches, because the last two weeks has seen us wallowing in peaches morning noon and night.
For days we waddled back and forth to the peach trees, wearing our peaches on our hips and lips, garden guilt driving us to new heights of peach creativity. It was Top Chef all over again as we had peaches in drinks, soups, salads, main courses, and dessert.
Besides the de rigueur bowls of peaches at every meal, there were peach crumble pies, peach custard pies, peach kuchens, peach smoothies, peaches and cream, peaches on pancakes, peach blinis and that was just the normal stuff. With this year’s bumper crop, we learned that peaches go with just about everything even tacos
Why, even the dogs were dining on peaches. While usually it was just peaches for their breakfast, one day I treated them to a big slice of leftover peach kuchen, because there was another hot peach pie waiting for the humans.
But last night, as the peach harvest began to slow, it was grape time and I had one of my Sisyphus like ideas to make a GRAPE PIE.
This was a deranged idea for many reasons. First, wine grapes are about the size of my red currant cherry tomatoes. Second they are 98% seeds. But this didn’t stop me. After all, I am now spending so much time collecting wee tomatoes in the garden, I figured how bad could it be to de-seed 6 cups of eldest son B’s grapes. The answer to this question. my friends, was, “Surprisingly bad.”
Perching myself in front of Man vs Wild’s Bear Grylls with various children rooting me on, I figured I would pass the time pleasantly while Bear fought crocodiles in Northern Australia. An hour later as Bear Grylls broke through a tangle mess of mangroves to civilization, my heroic efforts had garnered us a 1/2 cup of grape skins and arms covered in sticky grape juice.
We broke for dinner which at this point in the summer is gazpacho and more gazpacho because really, just how many red currant cherry tomatoes can one pop in one’s mouth- at some point they have to be blenderized just to simplify the eating process. Plus gazpacho is great for garden guilt as it’s a great way to use abundant cukes, garlic, and peppers (and real he man tomatoes if you have them).
Two hours hard labor after dinner and STILL the bowl only had about four cups of grape skins. It was time to just make the pie and have it be a slender but delicately undernourished thing ( the only thing around here that could claim this).
My first and only GRAPE PIE came out of the oven at ten and people were frankly too exhausted by the process of watching me de-seed grapes to even try her ’til this morning. Pie for breakfast has sort of gotten mundane around here, but this morning her loveliness drew people in.
Don’t be fooled by this close up, those grapes are smaller than they look- But who’s complaining? She was delicious, tasting a lot like ……….blueberry pie………which means I have now officially sworn off ever making a Grape Pie again.
Eldest son B is out of town this week. Sadly this means he may never ever taste Grape Pie unless he battles grapes seeds in his own four hour de-seeding marathon.
4 hour marathon prep for Grape Pie + 20 minute prep for Blueberry Pie= No second Grape Pie for eldest son B
Funny how I can manage a gallic shrug about that!