Friday, August 31, 2007

Last days of summer

I finally took a few days off last week, and plan to take a few more to get all those potted plants in the ground before the rain comes. When you become a working adult, the summer goes by fast and is just another season... albeit one without much rain, which is notable in Seattle.

My vacation was spent watching the Roomba work, getting some motorcycle practice in and perfecting my latest baking obsession: galettes. I LOVE crust, so I can't believe I haven't made them before. The best dough recipe so far came from Baking Illustrated, where they call it Freeform Fruit Tart Pastry. The addition of cornmeal is delicious and the dough is easy to work with -- unlike the pâte briseé recipes I've used. So far I've made peach, nectarine & blackberry and apple galettes, finally settling on the cornmeal dough and using basic instructions from Home Baking by Naomi Duguid. Her recipe puts a thin layer of toasted almonds, walnuts or breadcrumbs underneath the fruit and I think it really adds subtle taste and texture.

The other thing I needed to deal with was a funny smell that's been brewing in my car. I asked for a detailer recommendation when I went to order some new front tires at Big O, and somebody suggested Final Touch. They were able to fit me in the next day. Meanwhile, I took a closer look at the car. Since a seagull had bombed me on the viaduct a couple months ago -- thankfully while the top was up -- I assumed it was bird shit that'd gotten into the crevices. To my horror, I spied a can of cat food that had rolled off almost into the car's netherworld. The label was faded and falling off. The smell was sickening. Ewww. Jim, bless him, retrieved the dripping can and vacuumed out what he could, but not before wretching loudly. The next day the detailers revealed another unpleasant discovery: mice had been nesting there. Ewww! Yecchh!! They cleaned the car out but could make no promise that the smell or mice wouldn't come back. Since rodents love to chew wire, I also went to my mechanic, Eizo Matsuda of Apex Auto. He's in the process of garage remodeling, but he told me how to deal with the mice. His advice was to duct tape rat poison, the food kind, near the engine. I protested about mice dying inside the car, but he said, "At least the smell will go away. Not like if you have an electrical fire and die!" Okay Eizo, you've made your point.

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