Le Clown just left the building. Finally, I can have a glass of Gewurtztraminer and try to tell the tale of this most epic of days, the day upon which Le Clown paid a call. Of course, Le Clown skipped out on our trip to the State Fair yesterday due to his overly popular blogroll contest, but in his great magnificence decided to hang out with me despite the domestic tasks on my schedule for today.
Le Clown joined Mr. Chickadee and me for our morning espresso and cigarette (yes, we’re cutting back, seriously.) At first he only teased about wanting to bum a smoke, but before you knew it, he’d absconded with one of my few remaining cancer sticks.
Well. That’s how it goes with Le Clown around. Little did I know what a harbinger of things to come this would be. Of course, Le Clown said he’d lend a hand…
I’m sure it comes as no surprise that most of Le Clown’s “helping” involved snide comments and getting in the way. He had to stick his clown nose into the waffle batter, and was equally curious about the subsequent waffles.
Over breakfast, I briefed Le Clown about the day’s plans: salsa. Lots and lots of salsa. “What, this six-pack of spicy red salsa ain’t enough?” he quipped. “Not hardly,” I said, trying not to sound too disdainful.
I offered Le Clown a hefty dose of pharmaceutical adjustment to get his day going. For some reason, he didn’t feel like taking my ten pills. Maybe because he couldn’t take ‘em all in one gulp like me. Pussy.
So he just watched me eat my waffle-and-drugs breakfast, all the while talking a mile a minute about his brats. Right on, old dude, I muttered through my waffle.
Mr. Chickadee and I had spent most of the prior afternoon (before Le Clown showed up) preparing 8 qts of peaches and 8 qts of yellow tomatoes from the Farmer’s Market for making salsa, which speeded up today’s work.
Still, Le Clown had the privilege of witnessing my skilled tango in the kitchen, as I prepared first the jalapenos, and then the onions, when Le Clown rudely interrupted to demand a demonstration of my onion-peeling technique. He sounded a bit disturbing as he watched me work, “Yeah, peel that onion, that’s right, do it! Do it now!”
The last set of ingredients that go into the large pot were spices – cumin, chipotle, and cayenne. Le Clown looked a little uncomfortable with all that heat to contend with; he kept making comments about still being the spiciest thing in the room. No need for insecurity, Le Clown, really. It’s just spices.
Finally, it was time to prepare the peaches. They were all hand-chopped to maintain some chunkiness once the salsa was all cooked up and processed. It just took awhile, during which time Mr. Chickadee finished peeling and seeding the yellow tomatoes.
While the peach salsa started cooking, it was time to start making the tomatillo salsa verde. I had cored and quartered the tomatillos the day before, so today they went into the food processor for fine chopping.
Le Clown continued to make snide, ignorant comments about the tomatillos while I chopped up three more quarts I bought at the Farmer’s Market yesterday.
With the help of my awesome food processor, not Le Clown, the jalapenos, cilantro, garlic, and onions were quickly minced to perfection. Le Clown told me that he had invented the food processor, with some elaborate story about getting screwed out of his patent rights.
After inspecting my work, Le Clown decided to go harass Mr. Chickadee for awhile, who instead left the kitchen, sat on the couch, and listened to baseball on his iPad while petting his bitchy cat. Mr. Chickadee had already done his fair share of the work by peeling, seeding, and chopping a whole lot of yellow tomatoes.
As the stove top got cramped, Le Clown got in the way, again. Those are called “jar lifters,” Le Clown, not “weenie grabbers.”
Still, he admitted that he was impressed when he looked in to see two full batches of salsas ready for the canner. Before lunch.
After lunch – leftover peach waffles smothered in fresh peach salsa – Le Clown decided he could help me prepare for dinner. Just a simple marinade for some wild-caught sockeye salmon, a little fresh rosemary, oil, and balsamic.
But disaster loomed – I’d used up all the jars and yet still had lots of peaches and tomatoes and salsa bedecking practically every surface in my kitchen.
Of course, Le Clown was ignoring all the hard work Mr. Chickadee was doing in the background (while Le Clown was too busy pestering me.) He had peeled and grated a whole bunch of carrots, and cut more of them up into sticks for making escabeche tomorrow.
Meanwhile, I was still trying to find some way to use up all those peaches. So many peaches! Le Clown loved my idea for a special peachy treat: slices suspended in rum and dotted with a few cloves.
I was still out of jars, rings, and lids. Not to mention that I needed a few more things to make a few more things. So Le Clown and I took a short trip to the overpriced local grocery store.
At the grocery store, Le Clown played the backseat grocery shopper, except not in the backseat. He did, however, appreciate my choices of organic produce, and officially now certifies my salsas “Hipster-approved.”
Le Clown kept asking me what kind of crazy person would need this particular collection of groceries. “Me, of course!” I had to reply.
I also made a quick stop at the gas station for cigarettes. Le Clown mocked me roundly for indulging in tobacco and gummy bears. “I can’t help myself, Le Clown! I’m addicted to their disgusting charms!” I sulked and drove home in malevolent silence while Le Clown continued to pontificate.
Back home, I started on the peach barbecue sauce in an attempt to finish off what remained of the peaches. I loaded ‘em up into the trusty food processor to make all that cutting and chopping quick and smooth. Le Clown questioned my use of labor-saving devices on a philosophical basis. I ignored Le Clown.
Of course, then I discovered that the peach cobbler filling was probably responsible for a 2-cup shortfall in my peach supply. So I substituted passion fruit pulp (a safe move as it’s quite a bit more acidic than peaches).
As the peach barbecue sauce started to bubble, Le Clown took over “stirring frequently,” proclaiming the making of barbecue sauce to be manly enough for his frequent stirrings.
Le Clown started drooling when I start making a side of fresh, crisp green beans with shreds of Chinese cabbage. The combined aromas of green beans and peach barbecue wafted throughout the humid, sweltering kitchen.
I reminded Le Clown that I also made a carrot-raisin salad while cleaning up from the carrot shredding for the carrot-pepper salsa. It’s nearly dinner time!
Le Clown was simply amazed at the magnificence of Mr. Chickadee’s grilling skills. The salmon filets were absolutely perfect. The grilled vegetables were almost as good – baby Chinese cabbage spread with sriracha sauce, and roasted Hatch chilis au naturel.
Le Clown finally shut up when we give him a plate of delicious healthy American food. That’s right. This is food that Americans eat, Le Clown! Real Americans! Therefore it is American food. Delicious and healthful. So there. Now eat your vegetables.
Le Clown also enjoyed an American cigarette with us after dinner. Half a cigarette for me, thanks. I’m working on quitting. Le Clown went on and on about how he quit smoking and sold his soul to White Baby Jesus or some such crap.
Of course, what’s Sunday dinner without a little dessert? The peaches that I’d saved out earlier were unceremoniously dumped into a baking dish. I whipped up some cobbler dough from the Joy of Cooking recipe, smeared it onto the peaches, and drizzled with honey. Done.
Finally, the third batch of goods came out of the canner. Le Clown surveyed our day’s work with pride. “Look at all the salsa I’ve made!” he claimed, as though he’d lifted a finger to help.
At that point, it was pretty late in the evening. Both Le Clown and I were a bit loopy, and Le Clown kept begging annoyingly for cobbler. The cobbler was still too hot, I told him, and would certainly burn his tongue. I finally managed to shoo him out with our cobbler intact after a long, protracted, salubrious goodbye. If you insist, Le Clown, I promise, we’ll come visit you in Montreal next time, OK?
That peach cobbler was amazing.