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Summertime Peach Shortcake in the Winter

Peach Shortcake is one of those wonderful late summer treats, cool, juicy slices of peach sort of drooling their sticky, sweet juices all over a great crunchy/soft short biscuit. Simple. Seasonal. Delicious. Of course, at the moment it is February and raining, but if I don’t get some sort of break from this winter, I’ll go insane. I can’t make the sun come out, but I can make a great summer dessert, even in the winter, even with franken-peaches from an entirely different continent.

Peach Shortcake with whipped cream closeup


Peaches don’t grow here in February. They do, however, grow in Chile. How they get here is kind of fascinating, and kind of scary. Fruit is alive, it’s flesh made up of living cells. If they die, they rot. If you are shipping fruit a long way, or storing it for a long time, you want the cells to stay alive, but to be in hibernation, so that natural cellular processes, like ripening, enzymatic breakdown of starch, etc, slow dramatically. So, reduce temperature, reduce oxygen, and the cells slow down. But don’t remove oxygen all together, or reduce the temperature too much, or the cells will die.


Marrons aux Mont Blanc, aka Monte Bianco, aka Chestnut Meringue

My Uncle Hall is a great baker and pastry chef. He makes a living doing it and everything. But before he switched careers and started prostituting his skills to the masses, our family had him and the fruits of his labor all to ourselves. As a child, one of my favorites appeared every year late in the fall, or early in the winter. Chestnut Meringue.

Chestnut Meringue


Raw Chestnuts


He had a big chestnut tree in his yard, and all my siblings and cousins would comb the ground under the tree gathering chestnuts, and trying to avoid being pricked by their spikey seed pods. “Pricked” is sort of a gentle way of describing it, “impaled” might be more accurate.


Good Steak, Indoors

Go. Go read my post about Really Good Steak . Almost all of it applies to cooking great steak indoors too. If you don’t read that post, don’t blame me if you don’t understand why surface moisture is terrible for a good steak, you couldn’t tell a Maillard reaction from a Mallard, and why to cook your steak slow and low, then hot and intense. This post is just to help out all of you deprived souls without access to some sort of live-fire cooking device.

Steak with veggies



Really Good Steak, Over Fire

Almost everyone sucks at making steak. Misinformation abounds. Fiascos are the norm. The worst thing is that most people are too polite/kind/naive to do anything but praise whatever horror show lands on their plate. The good news is that making great steak is only a little more difficult than making bad steak, and you won’t have to spend a cent more.

Finished Steak

Cut Steak


So. What makes a good steak? (Continued)

Dry Aged Beef at Home

Boo! Yes, very scary. For some reason dry aging beef has become this big scary ordeal, usually left to professionals and the insane. I am not a professional. But it is really so simple it is almost stupid. Oh. Please don’t sue me if it all goes horribly awry,  I don’t really know what I’m talking about.  Once you have dry aged steaks in hand, read my posts about how to cook a great steak over a fire, or indoors.

Trimmed Steaks