Thursday, August 20, 2009

the only thing I like about august

Last night it happened, our first Aville market that involved rain. The worst part was, once we huddled everything inside the tent, the sun would come out. Get everything re-situatued, and it would sprinkle again. We were off to a great start, better than ever! Don't know if people were trying to beat the rain or what. It really never rained very hard, but it just kept coming. We didn't bake around it either. We loaded up. Needless to say our goods didn't fare as well as the farmer's.

The GCM, in the morning was very good. Store did very well yesterday also. Seems like the phone rang all day. Forever seeing the store folks walk around with an open laptop. That's a good sign. Whenever you see a laptop go towards the cake decorators, expensive items result.

I'm not a big fan of the month of August. It's typically hot, humid, slow, muggy, etc. The biggest bright spot for this month is Italian plums, prune plums. I love to bake with them. We received our first case, Tuesday. On Wednesday we made plum kuchen. We even made it in a square foil pan, for the market. For our kuchen we use our Danish dough. We roll it out to fit the pan and kinda "Rim up" the edges. We spread on a blend of pastry creme and almond creme, and strategically add the pitted, sliced plums. We then allow the dough to rise some, and we edge it with streussel, and sprinkle the plums with cinnamon sugar. We bake it and glaze it with apricot glace. It's one of my favorites. A piece of plum kuchen and a heavy shot of sweetened whipped creme. Can't go much further than that.

A coupe reasons I like to bake with plums. First we have a "Plum pitter". It's an old gadget that clamps to the table, and a little cup where the fruit sits. It has blade shaped like six spokes of a wheel. When the blade is forced thru the fruit it cuts it into six attached wedges, and forces the pit out the bottom. We can cut and pit a whole case of plums in minutes.

Second, they are easy to bake with. Even if they remain a little firm, after baking, they still taste great. We bake them into almond tarts and galettes. A galette is an open face kinda pie. We roll out our pie pastry and place it over a stainless steel ring that is sitting on a baking sheet. The rings are one inch high and seven and a half inches in diameter. We "Blouse" the dough down in the ring so it loosely lines the ring and hangs over the edge. We pipe straight almond creme in the bottom and sprinkle it with bread crumbs. The crumbs absorb any juices that result from baking. We pile in the pitted plums and sweeten them with sugar. We close up the top by folding inward, the dough that was hanging over the side of the ring. The result is an open top with the fruit exposed. We bake and glace them.

Not goin' upstairs today. I have fallen behind, again, here in the office. I got an email last night from the folks at Pastoral Artisan Cheese. They are opening a third location in the new French market, adjacent to the Ogilvie transportation center. When the whole indoor French market idea came about, I was very excited about it. Then word came that it was going to be open six days a week, no thanks. The folks at Pastoral are going to give us a chance to be involved regardless. I have more faith in the project now. Greg and Ken, principles at Pastoral, don't make many mistakes. Sound business guys. If the rest of the vendors at the market are equivalent to Pastoral, it will be a very successful endeavor.


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