Recipe: bourbon peach hand pies
use real butter was on CNN’s Eatocracy blogger spotlight yesterday if you want to check out the post.
It wasn’t a typical autumn hike, but then again – what’s typical? Autumn can be moody, so pick your permutation: sunny, windy, hot, dry, cool, rainy, overcast, misty. This day was rainy, misty, chilly. We chose a mostly valley hike in the trees with the last mile or so rising above treeline to an alpine lake nestled against the Continental Divide. There is something to be said for walking out into the woods, the mountains, the weather. I like to do it for exercise, but there is so much more than the physical benefit that gets me outside. The clutter in my head dissolves which allows me to think with greater clarity about those things that are important. As I’ve said in the past, I am insignificant when I’m out in Nature. It feels good. It feels right to me. It makes me happy.
young aspen collecting beads of rain
autumn is coming – just look at that glorious red fireweed
Alright, it doesn’t always make me happy. I’m a fan of fun #2, remember? Fun #1 is stuff like lounging on the beach sipping fruity cocktails or stuffing your face on a cruise ship. No interest whatsoever. Fun #2 involves some amount of pain and suffering which is eventually forgotten in favor of “Yeah, we really DID have fun, didn’t we? Right? Right?!” We hiked in a steady, soaking rain in 40°F for several miles up a few thousand feet. The trail became a stream where it was steep and deep puddles or thick mud where it was level. Perfect hypothermia conditions. Arriving at the lake, we saw that the Divide was obliterated by thick clouds that were pouring into the basin. And then I noticed a subtle change in the sound on my jacket hood. Tat tat tat became splat splat splat.
snow at 11,650 feet
jeremy gets bonus points for suffering my photography in the wet and freezing cold
Snow!! The winds were picking up above treeline, so we decided to head back before the weather worsened. We hadn’t seen anyone on the trails all day and then I heard Jeremy call out “hiker!” I looked up and saw a short woman clad in rain gear making her way up the trail toward us. We stepped aside to give her room. She stopped and asked where we had come from, beginning a friendly conversation as the rain continued to fall. Her friends were further back. She told us she had started ahead of them because she’s slow, that she had just recovered from a serious illness.
I looked at her closely. Her face was wrinkled, her hair gray. She had no eyelashes. Her eyebrows were thin… thin in that way I recognized. She referred to her illness in this code language. After a few more exchanges on the wildflowers, the weather, the glorious mountains, I softly asked if she wouldn’t mind telling me what her illness was. I suspected. I was right. She had cancer, had undergone her treatments recently and now she was out in the Colorado high country – in the freezing rain and snow – loving the beauty and feeling rejuvenated. I smiled and nodded. I placed my gloved hand gently on hers, “Yes, I too felt that after my treatments.” I still feel that today.
It’s not something I care to discuss with people unless they ask, but the empathy I shared with this tiny woman – a stranger – moved me to let her know that I understood. She’s had cancer three times and she is seventy-six years old. A fighter in her own quiet way, just trying to live and appreciate this amazing life. And basically kicking ass! I want to be hiking like her if I ever get to seventy-six. She shook her head and gazed at me sadly, “You’re much too young to have had cancer, my dear.” We smiled through quiet tears under the rain. We hugged. I squeezed her hand and she squeezed mine back. Strong. I think we just want to be assured that everything will be okay, except you don’t ever really know. That may be why she and I appreciate our time outside the way we do.
Not more than a few hours later I’m warm and dry at the Boulder Farmers’ Market, selecting perfectly ripe Colorado peaches while telling the farmer at the stand that it was snowing on the Divide that morning. I get to have snow AND juicy, sweet, organic, local peaches in the same day. That’s a mingling of seasons right there, folks. I wanted more peaches because I used up the last batch making something wonderful.
say what you will, but i swear colorado peaches are the best
flour, butter, sour cream, lemon, peaches
I grew up eating a lot of fruit. Fruit was usually our dessert if we had any dessert at all. I still operate in that mindset, although I must admit that the one dessert that really hits me at times is pie. Why not put some of that summer fruit in a pie? And then sometime during the planning of the pie, I’ll just eat the fruit outright and that’s the end of that. But this time I found a recipe for bourbon peach hand pies from Smitten Kitchen that I had to try because I needed an excuse to buy a bottle of bourbon and test a new flaky pastry.
cut cold butter into the flour and salt
whisk sour cream, lemon juice, ice water together
pour in half the liquid
mix it with your hands
pat the loose clumps of dough together into a ball
**Jump for more butter**