First tomato of the season what I grew on the balcony.  Some kind of heirloom.

Peach cupcakes

As seen on the internet. Linkage: Intstpundit --> Al Dente --> Big Red Kitchen -->  some magazine, possibly Southern Living.

Special equipment: Wilton's mini ball pan.

* Mint leaves
* Cinnamon sticks for stems
* Almonds for peach pits, one for each half
* Peach schnapps, or peach flavoring (I used peach oil purchased for chocolate) I intend to experiment by blending real peaches.
* Yellow and Red food coloring. I used powder food coloring for the cake mix and liquid food coloring for the sugar. That's what the recipe used and I thought the drops in the sugar might help it stick better, but honestly, I do not know.

Hints: reviewers for the pan on Amazon agreed you should butter and flour the pans heavily so the biscuits slip out. I did that and had no problem at all. They said that was better than the spray with flour in it which I also have and like real well but since I didn't try it with these pans I don't know how it would work. I filled the pans 1/2 way with batter then trimmed off the dome when they were done with a serrated bread knife flush with the pan. I only had one pan, one box of cake mix made three batches. I cooled, cleaned, and dried the pan between each batch, and re-buttered and floured it.

For high altitude I reduced the water from 1.25 cups to 1 cup, and increased the oven temperature 25˚. They baked for 10 minutes exactly.

Colored and flavored both the cake mix and the frosting. Colored the sugar in two separate sealable containers. The question now is; what to do with the surplus colored sugar. Coffee?

Frosted each half making sure to apply it more heavily on one side so the frosting gap is broader on one end like a real peach. Roll in the colored sugar to cover entirely making sure some yellow areas stay separate from red areas to imitate the blush on a peach.

One reviewer of the pans on Amazon said frosting the assembled globe was a total bitch. Ha ha ha. What a dummkopf, what an ignoranimus, what an ul-ta-rah maroon.

Now, having said all that, except for the novelty, for the life of me I cannot see anything about these cupcakes that make them an improvement over real peaches. There's something about those cling peaches that come up from Georgia for a brief period each year that is simply inimitable. I noticed when they're left on the counter to soften and they become almost too mushy, they tend to ferment a little. They actually possess a faint hint of alcohol that makes their taste altogether extraordinary. And this opportunity lasts for only a week, two at the most. After that, the magic is gone, and peaches left to soften just go mealy.

Kids would probably enjoy these cupcakes. The pans can be used for other things too; little planets, or half planets with little plastic gee-gaws put on them, baseball hats, all kinds of sports balls, except football, of course, faces, bugs, flowers. You could probably make a strawberry pound cake with them.

Pork, chipotle

OMG! I am such a shopper.  I had no intention of buying pork, I was actually shopping for more index cards, but when I saw this for less than half price I threw it in my basket and thought of what I could do with it.

I browned the whole package in batches then cooked them under pressure with black beans that had not been soaked first. It worked well. Mixed in canned chipotles generously, which accounts for the color, then served with fresh lettuce, heirloom tomato and cucumber. I tell ya, this is delicious. Although I would not serve it for a party -- lacks universal appeal.

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