03 October 2008

Presents from MaryEllen

Last night involved a ton of plums, a bag of free makeup, and a happy drive off into the sunset. Ooh la laa! Ok let me explain.

Apparently it's been a year since MaryEllen and I last met up for a complete and total girlfest, as evidenced by the distant memories of the BSU game on the tube last fall, and hey look! They're back on the blue! A year is too, too long. This is what we do when we get together. We have a girlfest. This usually involves talking about guys, trying on various makeup samples from MaryEllen's latest collection of Ella Rose stuff, talking about guys, eating burgers and homemade peach pie compliments of Rosemary (MaryEllen's mom), talking about guys, saying hi to Dave (MaryEllen's dad) and then letting him have his peace as he watches the BSU game or political debates, talking about guys, talking about church and where we're both at, and talking about guys. Did I mention we discuss the men in our lives? The Good, The Bad, and The Excellent?

Oh yes, the drive off into the sunset. It was only half-happy, because I had to fight traffic for an hour to get to MaryEllen's house. This was just at 5pm, as the sun was starting to go to bed but screaming all the way in its 2-year-old toddler angst glory, with bright, piercing, autumn light shining through everyone's windshields as they swerved and nearly missed the approximately 1.35 million construction workers in the mid- I mean, on the side of the road... the orange vests were everywhere, down the whole freeway to Caldwell, like the dirt from your shoe that mysteriously follows you all over your house even though you left the treads by the front door. Anyhoo. I really do love sunsets, you know?

MaryEllen's grandpa lives next door, and the property has been in the family for who knows how long. Anbody? Anybody know? So there's a plum tree out front, by the road, and the poor thing was just bent halfway to the ground with fruit. We grabbed bags and made quick work of relieving it of its extra weight. I can still hear her Texan accent as we walked back to the house.... "Oh thank you ever-so-livin'-much honey... I was scared I wouldn't lose those few pounds around my hips before I have to get all dressed up for the holidays. You just saaaaaved my life, bless your heart." Why you are so very welcome. The pounds can come to my house. In the form of clafoutis! Oh my. This is going to take miles and miles of extra hiking. And a few times up and down Table Rock. And maybe a few rides out and back to Lucky Peak (26 miles, anyone?). Oh my.

See those two bags in the background? Full. Full to the brim with plums. Woo-hoo! I started off the clafoutis by putting a teeny bit of butter in the bottom of the dish. Everything's better with butter. Then I layered halved plums in the pan.

A clafoutis is basically fruit in a dish covered and melded into one huge pancake. Good stuff. :-) Here you see the ingredients for the batter to pour over the plums: flour, sugar (I used brown), eggs, milk, dash, and an exceptionally large dash of vanilla. Just pour it in. There you go.

See how the edges are puffed? Perfect, chewy goodness. And you can smell the vanilla a mile away.

I surprised myself by liking this one. Because I am not a bread-pudding, soggy texture type of person by any means. This was a little different. You had to wait for it to cool and firm up a bit. Then top with whipped cream. Everything's better with whipped cream. Mmm... the plum skins taste like canned cherries. No, not those cherries from the store that are physical manifestations of some chemist's bad dream (although I do like the marachinos once in a while)! I mean the cherries your grandma canned when you were 10 and she must have put kirsch or brandy or something in there to make them taste so strong...

Not only did MaryEllen give me plums, she gave me makeup too! I don't wear a lot of makeup (getting out of bed and on the bus in 30 minutes kind of makes you pare down your prettifying routine, you know?). But I'm excited about MaryEllen's business Ella Rose and I think she's got a good things going. Who wouldn't want to work from home doing something she feels passionate about? And even if I don't wear this ever day, a girl's gotta have a few colors up her sleeve (in her drawer?) to pull out once in a while, right? Right.

Aren't they pretty? Thank you MaryEllen! Now can you come to my house and help me? So my bathroom walls don't acquire the same shimmer as my face?