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I am not going to lie, friends. Yesterday’s trip to Louisiana was sooooo long. When we got to Houston and found that our next flight had been delayed, and then delayed again, I thought I’d perish. The boys were rolling around on the filthy floors, eating messily and popping back into their mouths what fell onto said floors. I have a very high threshold for germ toleration but this took even me down.

Meanwhile, Jack refused to remove his Pokémon glove which resulted in his looking like a terrifying cross between Michael Jackson and an 80s poser dude. Please observe. And the ever-boogery Oliver realized that if he squeezed his nose shut with his fingers and then inhaled deeply, his nose would stay shut and skeeve Jack out. I called him Voldemort, and every time Jack looked at Voldey, his eyes watered dramatically.

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On our way

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Voldenose

It was with enormous relief that we rounded the bend towards the baggage claim in LC and saw my parents. Once home, I poured a glass of wine and sat myself down. Hope y’all are well. No cooking for me today but tomorrow? Yes.

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I woke up this morning to a large cat on my stomach and two mostly-naked boys vying for sides of me. It was nice really- everything and everyone all a’purr. And then something tweaked the loving balance, plunging it into mayhem and we had to jump ship and head for the kitchen. Alas.

The boys are now wearing “jet-packs” -J’s is his giant, rolling carry-on bag, and Ol’s is a hilarious one Tom made from part of a wine shipment box and some Duck tape- and racing around the house like loons. I hope they get all this out before we get to the airport. Send me vibes, peeps. I can tell Tom is literally quivering with the desire to be quiet and alone. I get that completely. He’ll have four days in his own home by himself, and I’m happy for him.

The pie I made on Saturday was fully devoured by last night. Save for a piece I gave to M, a friend who never says no to my offers of food, bless her, T and I ate the whole thing. I had it for breakfast and twice more yesterday. Excellent!

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peach pie

I also awoke to the news that Michael Brown was shot six times. SIX. In case you have been under a rock, he is -was- the unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, MO, who was killed by policemen last week. I am seriously angry about this and Eric Garner’s death; he too was killed by a policeman, by a chokehold on a New York street. I have more to say about this but I’m not ready.

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I had an enormous hankering for remoulade anything yesterday and so at the market picked up a celery root and bunch of celery, just in case. Today was fun but too busy to do anything but keep going, but late in the afternoon, as Tom drove the boys to his parents’ house for a sleepover (yay!), I asked him to pick up a pound of shrimp on his way home. Remoulade was happening.

I peeled and julienned the hairy, alien-like orb that is a celery root. I sliced some celery on the diagonal, and a handful of their leaves too. For good measure and to prevent browning, I doused all that with a hefty bath of lemon juice. I peeled and quick-boiled the shrimp in amply-salted water, slivered some green onions and whipped up a mustardy, horseradishy remoulade sauce. And then I mixed it all together happily, ogling its golden hue and inhaling its tangy fragrance deeply. It was so good. So fresh and bright and salty and lemony and seafoody and satisfying.

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shrimp and celery remoulade

And all the while, a peach pie cooked in the oven, becoming golden and fragrant itself. And in our quiet home, we smelled good smells and watched Catching Fire and the newest episode of The Knick, and I thought about a powerful conversation I had earlier today and I felt good.

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I made this last summer but neglected to write down the amounts used of each ingredient. Yesterday, after the Brandied Peaches but still awash in peaches, I worked this up again: Ginger Peach Rhubarb. Dee-lish!

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ginger peach rhubarb jam

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After getting the boys off to their last day of camp this morning, I returned home to put up some brandied peaches. My twenty pounds o’ pêches are finally at the perfect point of ripeness, and as I’m heading home and my mother LOVES these brandied treats, I made her a few pints and also one for me. This is such an easy, wildly flavorful, impressive dessert, hell-of-a-snack recipe. Peaches, sugar, water and brandy, though I use Cognac. Leftover peach simple syrup saves well and is wonderful in iced tea. Aren’t these gorgeous?

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Brandied Peaches

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les pêches

A friend I adore but have not seen in too long came to visit while the peaches were in the waterbath canner. She and I caught up and laughed for a good while and finally parted ways with big smiles. I highly recommend this one-friend-a-day visit thing. It’s been so great seeing and having quality time with loved pals.

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Hilarity

Two hours ago, I’m in the midst of my annual physical. I love my internist. She is hilarious and smart and a great doctor, and I enjoy seeing her so much that sometimes I think I should find a new doctor just so she and I can hang out. But then I’m like, “It’s hard to find a great internist, girl. Don’t bite the hand.” And so the years pass.

In any case, we’re in the talky part of the exam -Yes, this happens! She asks how you are, what life is like! – and we end up chatting about less-good friends and naysayers and general poos and how the older we get, the less patience we have for them. At some point, if you’re a relatively sane, nice person, you just have to be who you are and not worry quite so much about those who aren’t jazzed about you.

“I mean, you’re not an Asshole Whisperer,” Doctor She says.

I full-on guffawed, and really, she did too, and I asked with real admiration, “Is that term of your own making? Because if it is, you should have cards made.”

“I think Brené Brown said it. I love her. Do you know her? Maybe it was jackass…”

I am still literally LOL’ing, and just for clarification, the actual quote is, “Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.”

Priceless. I’m going to use “asshole whisperer” but the point remains the same, and it’s a good one.

Dinner

180° to last night’s dinner. Thank you NY Times Dining. I made Melissa Clark’s Grilled Skirt Steak and David Tanis’ Griddled Corn Cakes with Spicy Salsa.

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Melissa Clark’s grilled skirt steak

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my spicy fruit salsa

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corn cakes with spicy salsa and feta

I cannot tell you the love I feel for griddled corn items and their steamed and fried kin. A good hush puppy dunked in maple syrup makes me deeply happy. Corn cakes of any stripe please me in a seriously comforting way. Tamales? There are no words. Moist cornbread? Excellent. None of that dry, crumbly shit. When I saw Tanis’ riff on corn fritters yesterday, I decided then and there to make them for dinner.

Now, he serves his with a bell-pepper tomato salsa, but I wasn’t totally in the mood for that. Plus, T hates raw bell peppers. So instead I made a scrumptious, summery fruit salsa with diced peaches and raspberries, scallions, lots of lime juice, salt and a hefty dash of cayenne. That plus crumbled Bulgarian feta (very creamy, not insanely tangy) made a marvelous topping for the corn cakes. T is very meh about the very corn products I described above, so I ate many more of these than he did which worked out well. For me.

We had plenty of steak so carnivore husband was fine. The marinade for the meat was wonderful: basil, lemon thyme, peperoncino, garlic, olive oil… I wish I’d saved some of it to serve with the finished product.

Though I have dealt with most of the tomatoes from last week, I have a couple beautiful beefsteaks left. Just one was needed for this salad. Isn’t it beautiful?

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summer tomato salad

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