A few years ago Matty and I were in San Diego for a business conference. It was my first time in California, my first time at the Pacific Ocean, and only my second time feeling waves at my feet. It was fall, and it was humid and almost chilly. He spent his days in sessions; I spent mine wrapped in a blanket, doused in sunscreen, barefoot walking the cove that the hotel sat on. Many things were memorable about this trip.
But the best was the last day. We'd rented a convertible as you ought to do when you visit California. We packed and left early so that we could have breakfast and then drive as close to the coast as we could for a few hours, following neighborhoods and highways and even freeway for a little while. I wanted to watch the ocean as long as I possibly could.
Breakfast at The Broken Yolk Cafe was discounted since we had arrived before a certain time. Seven A.M.? I don't remember now. Matty got a fried egg, bacon, and hash browns. I ordered waffles with strawberries. I was fully expecting either raw, barely ripe, cold strawberries staining the waffles with sour juice or a few tablespoons of gloppy, cornsyrupy strawberry pie filling. What I got was a revelation. They had sliced actual fresh beautiful strawberries (considering I was in California I guess I should have known better) and mashed them slightly with sugar. The result was a sweet but not too sweet, fresh, beautiful sauce. Every time I buy fruit I get excited to have waffles because that memory is so real. Especially this time of the year, when the light is just starting to lay in sideways in the evenings. The best part? You can use any ripe fruit you like.
Say, peaches, for instance. What I have here is one medium-sized overripe peach. Dripping with juice, the skin starting to wrinkle.
The recipe is to taste; you have to see how sweet the fruit is and then add sugar to taste. For 3/4 of a cup of peaches, I added about a tablespoon and a half of sugar. Not too much to make it over-sweet, but enough that mashing the fruit with the sugar gives you a bit of a syrup and isn't so tangy that your face shrivels up after you drink sugared coffee.
Mash, mash, mash. Stir and taste. Stir and taste.
Ladle into a nice glass jar and serve over your favorite waffles instead of maple syrup. Add some vanilla yogurt instead of whipped cream and you'll have a delicious, fresh breakfast (or dinner) that will really feel like summer. And when you do, think of the California coastline. I know I will.
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