28 October 2015

A Peachy Outcome from a Musical Encounter

I always said that while Krik’s Picks is mostly about food, it also would include thoughts about other things, such as music and politics. (And lately, cars too.) But this post ties together several different strands. Kinda what makes life interesting.

So let’s start with music – Edina Bands. You may know about Next Door, the online social network for neighborhoods across the nation? My neighborhood, Parkwood Knolls, participates in Next Door. One day in early August, I got an email alert from Next Door about a kid selling peaches as a fundraiser because he was going into the Edina Marching Band in the fall.

Ok, as a band kid myself (Albert Lea High School band, 1968-70; University of Minnesota Marching Band, 1970-74) I was sympathetic to his appeal. My own children graduated from Edina High School, but they weren’t band kids. But the clincher (and segue to the next strand) – I saw that he’s the grandson of a former Member of Congress who I knew fairly well – David Minge. I had met the student’s parents at another Parkwood Knolls event, so I knew they lived in the neighborhood.

David Minge served in Congress for 8 years. I was an ag lobbyist before I retired. Rep. Minge represented a very rural agricultural district in southwest Minnesota and he served on the Ag Committee. I got to know him quite well. But more importantly, I had a very high degree of respect for his sincerity and commitment to public service. There was no question that Rep. Minge was in Washington to serve the interests of his constituents and the nation.

He lost his re-election bid in 2000 by 155 votes. It was the final year of Bill Clinton’s Presidency and a tough year for Democrats. Minge knew he’d have a close race. It’s often the case that if Congress has not finished its business by October before an election, they’ll take a recess and come back after the election to finish up (in a Lame Duck session). Unfortunately for David Minge, Congress held votes all thru October, right up until a week before Election Day. I, for one, am convinced that if Minge had decided to skip votes and campaign in Minnesota, he would have gotten the votes he needed. But instead, he put the people’s business ahead of his political interest, stayed in Washington, and ultimately lost the election.

Unlike many defeated politicians, David Minge did not stay in Washington and join a lobbying firm. A year after he lost his election, then-Gov. Jesse Ventura appointed him to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. He retired from that position in 2012. 20150916_235325701_iOS

So with that little political side note, and my predisposed sympathy for band kids, I ordered a case of peaches from David Minge’s grandson. $30. The case had 45 peaches. They were big beautiful and lusciously ripe. We ate a lot of them just straight, and we gave some to each of our kids’ families.

Here’s what I cooked with the rest of them:

Grilled Scallops with Peaches, Corn and Tomatoes: I grilled the scallops and the peaches on a stove-top grill pan, not a charcoal grill. But it still turned out great. Here’s a photo =>

I made a Peach Vinaigrette. I had a recipe for a salad that called for it. But I can’t now find that recipe. But here’s the recipe for the vinaigrette. It was good, but not something I’d make regularly.

Ginger Peach Jam: This turned out really nicely. Definitely worth making again.

Sam Sifton’s Perfect Peach Pie from the New York Times. This was my first time making a peach pie; I usually make apple pie. I really liked how it turned out. But I substituted a butter crust from Land O’Lakes. This is my favorite pie crust, and I routinely use it instead of whatever other crust might be called for in a recipe.

Peach and Coconut Macaroon Cake: This has been in my recipe file for so long I almost forgot where I got it. But it’s from the Washington Post. I love this cake. But even more importantly, my wife loves it. I made it for her birthday cake in September.

Of course, all of this is sort of moot, since it’s long past the season when you can get fresh peaches in the market. Sorry. I think you could use frozen peaches for the cake and for the jam. Otherwise, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until next summer when peaches are available again.

By the way, here’s a picture of the peach pie:

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