Laughing again

Stand-up comedy comes out of quarantine

As live entertainment gradually returns, the challenges for comedians are twofold. First, there’s the practical aspect of how to present a show. This is, after all, a discipline that relies on an audience. While on lockdown, Juston McKinney played to his wife, two sons and dog on the couch of his Newmarket home, with his mother-in-law and dad watching on iPads, and posted it to his Facebook page. That’s the kind of performance withdrawal he experienced.

McKinney is accustomed to packed opera house shows, but said in a recent phone interview that he’ll be glad to hit open mic nights when they return. Such events have smaller audiences that are easier to socially distance. They’re also key to working up new material.

“I’m kind of jonesing because I was doing an open mic every week … a new seven to eight minutes,” he said. “I’ll tell you this: I never thought I would look forward to having four people in an audience so much in my life. I would kill for four people right now.”

As for the prospect of doing his still-scheduled fall shows at Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury and Manchester’s Palace Theatre under the current safety rules, McKinney is concerned. He expects, though, that even working with a spaced out crowd will improve over webcasts in quarantine.

“Comedy is an art form that should be done in a controlled environment — sound, lights, crowd — and we’ve lost all control of that now,” he said. “My biggest fear is someone’s never seen me ever before and the only time they see me is on one of these Zoom things and they’re like, ‘I don’t know.’ You’ve gotta see me live, not in my home office.”

Fortunately, the clouds are slowly parting for stage-hungry standups like McKinney.

Live efforts have launched, beginning May 22 with a parking lot show at Tupelo Music Hall Drive-In in Derry. Tupelo owner Scott Hayward hopes to do them every Thursday in June and beyond. Kathleen’s Irish Pub in Bristol will hold Cottage Comedy Al Fresco with JJ Jones and four other comics on June 6 in its patio area. Curlie’s Comedy Club in Rochester offers a hybrid, with pay-per-view livestreams and tickets to watch through the window from their outside deck.

The second part is equally tricky: what’s funny in a post-pandemic world?

At Tupelo, host Mike Smith joked about home schooling and masks (“everyone looks like they’re going to rob a 7-Eleven”). He then handed off to opener Paul Landwehr, who complained about having to watch decades-old Celtics games on ESPN, then closed by proposing marriage to his longtime girlfriend from the stage (she said yes). That was a novel way to avoid the elephant in the parking lot.

Mike Koutrobis followed with a set not much different from what he’d been doing in February. “I’m a little rusty,” he texted just prior to the show. Boston comic Graig Murphy offered a mixture of pre- and post-pandemic humor, quipping about drive-by birthday parties and trying his best to do crowd work, while telling jokes that would be funny crisis or not.

The latter is a path urged by Nick Lavallee, who along with Dave Carter has booked weekly comedy at Shaskeen Pub in Manchester since 2013.

“The last thing people want to hear right now is untested content about the thing that they’re bombarded with day in and day out,” he said in a recent phone interview. “If a comic who hasn’t worked in three months goes up in front of a paying audience and tries riffing on material that hasn’t been done yet … they’re going to struggle.”

On the other hand, Lavallee continued, the hunger for live standup means comics could get some leeway as they return to form.

“You’re going to have to just throw some spaghetti on the wall, see what sticks, and it’s a good time to do it because you can also do things you might be embarrassed about, like, ‘I tried something during the pandemic and it didn’t work.’ You can own it. You can blame your bombs on this. We all have thick skin, we’ve been doing this for so freaking long.”

More than a few are poised to make comedy hay from the coronavirus. Curlie’s owner Joshua Guptel, who does comedy as Jay Grove, talked about it on stage recently: “This is not funny,” he said. “But there’s a lot of funny in it.”

Upcoming comedy shows
: Kathleen’s Irish Pub, 99 Lake St., Bristol
When: Saturday, June 6, 6 p.m.
Reservations: call 744-6336
Performing: JJ Jones, Al Christakis, Paul Landwehr, Randy Williams and Mona Forgione

Where: Curlie’s Comedy Club, 12 Union St., Rochester
When: Saturday, June 6, and Saturday, June 13
Tickets: $20 per table at
Performing: Steve Scarfo (June 6) and Amy Tee (June 13)

Where: Tupelo Music Hall, 10 A St., Derry
When: Thursdays, 6 p.m. (tentative)
Tickets: $75 per car at; $20 per person for restaurant seating (starts June 12)

The High Note

Film Reviews by Amy

A singer looking to keep her career going and her assistant looking to start her career as a producer get tangled up in each other’s ambitions in The High Note, a basically enjoyable movie that has a lot of good ideas.

Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross, real-life daughter of Diana Ross, so she knows whereof she acts) is a music superstar; Maggie Sherwoode (Dakota Johnson) is her personal assistant. Grace has worked hard to reach her status in the industry; as she explains, it’s not the norm for a middle-aged female musician to still be selling out arenas and raking in money from album sales. But as her longtime manager Jack Robertson (Ice Cube) pushes her to do a Las Vegas residency (which would have her playing the same set of greatest hits night after night), Grace wants to stretch herself artistically, put out a new album, keep touring. Her record company is less than excited about this desire.

Maggie is harried but basically happy to spend her days buying Grace’s strange green smoothies and picking up her dry cleaning. After all, it puts her in proximity to recording studios and artists and the music that is her life. In her spare time, Maggie takes a stab at remixing one of Grace’s live songs, hoping to show her boss that she can do more than just run errands. When Grace finds out, she likes Maggie’s cut of the song but Grace is less keen on Maggie’s many unsolicited opinions. Jack gives her what feels like very good advice: instead of trying to start her career by mucking up his plans with his superstar artist, find her own musician to produce. Enter David Cliff (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), handsome dude singer with a great voice.

The High Note isn’t completely smooth, particularly in how the plot unfolds. I said it has a lot of good ideas, and it does, but it doesn’t seem to always know how to play out the ideas. The first two thirds of the movie is stronger than the last third, which contains a plot point that feels unnecessary. I wish the movie had found less conventional, more interesting ways to wrap up its various relationships.

For me, though, this bumpy ending didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the movie overall.

I like the way the movie seems to argue for taking big chances in your career and going for opportunities that seem beyond your reach but also sees value in experience and slogging it out in the trenches to earn a shot. Likewise, The High Note seems to take a very realistic view of Grace’s career — it’s not the “wrong” choice for her to do the residency or make the new album. The movie also has a nice mutual respect of and admiration for skills between these women. Grace is demanding and Maggie is overeager but there is no All About Eve-ing here, no The Devil Wears Prada-like judgment that somebody is doing life wrong.

Ross and Johnson probably get a lot of the credit for making these characters feel like believable women in their circumstances (they also get mostly good material to work with). I’ve always liked both of these actresses and their ability to balance comedy and deeper emotion.

And the movie has some solid supporting performances. There is the exact right amount of Ice Cube. Kelvin Harrison Jr. might be overshadowed by Johnson and Ross but he is very charming. Zoe Chao, who plays Maggie’s roommate, is delightful. She is a young surgeon primarily interested in getting sleep and, at a party Maggie brings her to, stuffing as much appetizer cheese as she can into her purse. She helps add moments of comedy that put this movie into, I guess, dramedy territory from a more straightforward drama. Or maybe the movie isn’t so much a drama as a romance but where the most interesting romances are between the characters and their careers and industry. B

Rated PG-13 for some strong language, and suggestive references, according to the MPA. Directed by Nisha Ganatra with a screenplay by Flora Greeson, The High Note is an hour and 53 minutes long and is distributed by Focus Features. Like a lot of recent Focus Features releases, The High Note is available for $19.99 for a 48-hour rental.

The Language of Butterflies

By Wendy Williams (Simon & Schuster, 240 pages)

The next time you think one of your relatives is weird, breathe deeply and think of Miriam Rothschild. Her father collected fleas.

“A flea lover since childhood,” he amassed more than 260,000 of them, writes Wendy Williams in The Language of Butterflies, explaining how Miriam Rothschild, a self-educated scientist and butterfly enthusiast, came naturally to the study of entomology.

Or consider Herman Strecker, a 19th-century stone carver who collected 50,000 butterflies. “He had a long face and a long neck and an even longer, out-of-control beard. He looked like Moses. He had deep-sunken grief-filled eyes. He lived the unkempt life of a zealot, going so far as to crawl in between his bedsheets with his pants and boots on,” Williams writes.

These unusual men, however, are peripheral characters in the story of butterflies, which Williams, a New England science writer, tells with aplomb. You may not care about butterflies. Don’t let that keep you from this book, which is more interesting than anything you will see on TV this week.

Even the most butterfly-illiterate people are vaguely aware of the monarch butterfly’s astonishing migration from Canada to Mexico, which Williams explains compellingly, having witnessed their arrival on a mountaintop, an experience that she calls “otherworldly.”

“The migration of the monarchs from points as far north as Canada all the way south to these particular mountaintops is a world phenomenon that belongs to everyone on the planet,” she writes. “It’s a source of global joy, like the migration of the wildebeest on the Serengeti Plain or the migration of gray whales off the west coast of North America.

“They are all following the sun, just as we would if we could.”

The monarch is the most famous of butterflies, and the most brutal — the males rape the females. You’d think they wouldn’t have the physiology for violence, but butterflies, Williams writes, are surprisingly sturdy. They look fragile yet have “robust” exoskeletons built for endurance.

But when it comes to interesting life stories, the monarchs have serious competition from a butterfly variety called Fender’s blue, which pupates underground, cared for by ants. When the butterfly emerges, the ants carry it to freedom above ground, as if the insect’s triumph is their own.

It’s an almost unbelievable story of a symbiotic relationship between creatures that we scarcely notice exist. The ants are motivated by the “invisible hand” described by 18th-century economist Adam Smith. Their reward is the sweet fluid that the caterpillar secretes, the ant equivalent of candy; in exchange for the treat, the ants provide protection from predators that the butterfly-to-be needs.

But it’s not the strange circumstances of butterfly existence that cause humans to be fascinated by them, Williams says. It’s their colors. “Your brain processes color information much, much more quickly than the information about movement. … What that means is that the color of an apple — or, in a spillover effect, the color of a butterfly — hits us fast and hard, in the gut.”

As flying insects with scales on their wings, moths and butterflies are cut from the same cloth, so to speak. Both belong to the second-largest category of insects, lepidoptera. But the drab moth repels us while the colorful butterfly entrances. Williams believes butterflies satisfy an innate craving for color in the human brain. In her 60s she set out to discover why the insect inspires biologists, hoarders and thieves — yes, there is a “international underground Lepidoptera market,” in case you were wondering.

The Language of Butterflies equally entrances, thanks to its author. This is not the Wendy Williams, radio host and lifestyle columnist, whose titles include Is the Bitch Dead or What? but the Wendy Williams who wrote a thoughtful history of the horse and is the co-author of 2007’s Cape Wind, a sympathetic examination of wind farming proposed off Cape Cod. Her voice is engaging and friendly; her enthusiasm for exploration, infectious. (This is a woman who keeps in her car a wide variety of footwear — hiking boots, riding boots, water shoes and so forth — just in case.)

Unlike wind farming, the subject of butterflies, approached deftly, can be apolitical. Williams worries about climate change and its effect on butterflies, wondering if one day their migration might be the stuff of lore, like the migration of passenger pigeons and North American bison. But she is neither a scold nor a Cassandra, and her tone is ebullient and hopeful. The only question she doesn’t answer adequately is what, exactly, one does with the corpses of 260,000 fleas. A

Recent events in Minnesota and New York City’s Central Park invite a reflection on the experience of being black in America. For people who haven’t had that experience, there are books.
A fine place to start is A Particular Kind of Black Man, which we reviewed here last year. (Simon & Schuster hardcover, paperback coming in August.) It’s a novel, but Tope Folarin draws on his experiences as a Nigerian-American growing up in Utah to craft a deeply moving, and sometimes painful, story.
In the opening pages the protagonist remembers an experience from his childhood: An elderly woman would sometimes appear by his side while he walked to school, often patting his head affectionately. One day she said to him sweetly, “If you’re a good boy here on earth, you can serve me in heaven.”
The child was just 5 and saw the promise as generous and magical, not the punch in the gut that it is to the reader. Folarin has said this exchange happened to him. This wasn’t 100 years ago. Folarin is 38.
On Twitter, some readers are asking for advice on books that can help them better understand the American-American experience. One title that keeps coming up is The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Michelle Alexander’s book came out in 2010, but a 10th-anniversary paperback edition was released in January by The New Press.
Also new in paperback is Mitchell S. Jackson’s Survival Math, an acclaimed memoir of growing up black in predominantly white Oregon. The prologue is a poignant letter to the first of the family to come from Cape Verde to America, in the 1700s. “This ain’t our Eden,” it concludes.
Two years old but No. 1 on Amazon for a while last week is Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility, Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism (Beacon Press). “I have never met a white person without an opinion on racism,” she writes. “… And white people’s opinions on racism tend to be strong. Yet race relations are profoundly complex. We must be willing to consider that unless we have devoted intentional and ongoing study, our opinions are necessarily uninformed, even ignorant.”
Also suddenly a bestseller is 2019’s How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, and another title co-written by Kendi, Stamped, Racism, Anti Racism, and You, co-author Jason Reynolds (Little, Brown).
To America’s credit, many of these titles are now on backorder. There will be more.

Album Reviews 6/4/2020

OTR, Lost at Midnight (Astralwerks Records)
Well wow, I got back into the Astralwerks system just in the nick of time, because I’ve found your go-to summer-drive-to-the-beach album, right here. OTR is the producer-nom of Ryan Chadwick, who was studying aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati, where, just as he was about to write his master’s thesis, the department sort of imploded, and he dumped the whole thing to sit and chill to the sounds of two-guy soundsystem Odesza. That led to his futzing around on his own answer to that style of beauty-dripping, trance-tinged techno, which eventually led to this absolutely hypnotic debut LP. We’ve seen the way-overdue rise of prog-house and trance being incorporated into pop, starting way back with Madonna’s “Ray of Light” and then on to Britney et al, but this is the closest thing you’ll find to Above & Beyond served as a pop venture. That means that it’s less caustic than Odesza can tend to get; it’s more like a mutant hybrid of Bon Iver and mellow-mode Tiesta. You will love this record. A+

Bitter Pill, Desperate Times on the New Hampshire State Line (self-released)
We talked about this New Hampshire-based band a few weeks ago, relative to the tire-kicker single from this full-length. Turns out they’re from Somersworth, or at least Billy, the dad, is. He’s the prime mover for this quintet, which also features his daughter Emily on ukulele and the Billie Holiday and Patsy Cline imitations that are found randomly shuffled into the tracklist here. These are old souls, these people; I don’t know if they’re ever tasted real poverty, but the raw, half-jokey tunes that Billy sings bespeak a life in which broken-mirror-level stretches of luck were probably commonplace, which means they’re pretty cool as far as I can tell. I suppose I’ll have to see for myself at one of their shows if the timing is right. Their trip ranges from punkabilly to Zappa-meets-Amy Winehouse at its most alluring; to give you an idea, I expected their “Land of the Lost” to be a chill cover of the kids’ show from the 1970s, but it’s actually like Patsy jamming with Hank Williams Sr. in a perfect storm of fearless bluegrass. They’ve got a studious banjo player in Michael McKay, who gets a solo turn at one point. Listen — no, don’t be cheap, buy the full-length at A

Retro Playlist
Eric W. Saeger recommends a couple albums worth a second look.

Though live music is starting to reemerge in outdoor spaces, one of the many dreadful things about the coronavirus shutdown has been the absence of live music shows. They were replaced by remote “concerts” performed online, where band members, dutifully staying in place in their respective homes, jam together while streaming over Zoom or FaceTime or whatnot.

What I wondered about was some of the older bands, particularly the hair-metal bands, largely composed of guys whose careers had peaked way before the digital age. You may have noticed that once in a while I like to give them some love here in this space, especially the bands that have had recent albums put out by such record labels as Nuclear Blast (Accept, Agnostic Front and Anthrax, just to cover the ones beginning with the letter A) and of course SPV, which I often refer to lovingly as “SPV Mercy Hospital” or “The SPV Home For Retired Metal Acts.” Those record companies will put out basically anything as long as the band had some modicum of fame during the 1970s or 1980s. In April of last year we chatted about Suzi Quatro’s then-new album Mettavolution, and I realized then that I hadn’t heard her name in exactly 4,189 years. A bassist, she not only ran her own band but touched TV stardom, playing Fonzie’s tough-chick female-bro Pinky Tuscadero on Happy Days. Anyway, Mettavolution is full of your typical ’80s bar-rock dross, but she added a real brass section in the tunes “Strings,” which made the album interesting enough. Poor Suzi, I couldn’t find any streaming shows in her schedule, but she does have a few German shows in queue.

The other person I was worried about was former Hanoi Rocks singer Michael Monroe, who recently revealed his softer but totally metal side in a streaming chat video by holding and smooching his horrifying but beloved hairless cat while speaking to fans in his native Finnish. We last left Monroe in 2015, when he had released his solo album Blackout States, which I pronounced “a rowdy but slightly corporatized amalgam of Lords of the New Church meets Dropkick Murphys throwbacking that gets plenty of style points.” If you like New York Dolls, and who couldn’t, you won’t hate this album, and he did demonstrate an ability to go with the flow of this awful new reality by streaming an acoustic show on April 23 through the Finnish music platform Ruutu.

You see, I worry about these people, I really do.

If you’re in a local band, now’s a great time to let me know about your EP, your single, whatever’s on your mind. Let me know how you’re holding yourself together without being able to play shows or jam with your homies. Send a recipe for keema matar. Email for fastest response.

A seriously abridged compendium of recent and future CD releases

• Here comes the next general-release Friday, June 5, when your rock ’n’ roll dreams will come true and so on and so forth, with the help of new albums! The first new LP we’ll chat about is from Dion, whose new album, Blues with Friends, is on the way! I know, he’s super old, but come on, that’s what makes him awesome! All those old tunes your grandmother dances to at the hot dogs and beans supper, like “Runaround Sue” and “The Wanderer” and “Come Go With Me”? Yeah, that’s Dion DiMucci, and after he did those songs he did a cover of Hendrix’s “Purple Haze,” just to bum out all the straights who thought he was safe to be around, but then he got so disgusted with blotter-acid-hippies and whatnot that he started doing Christian rock, but he got sick of that, and now he has a new album, which would definitely get an automatic A+ grade in my award-winning review column if I had received the album from his PR guys. But whatever, I could probably just extrapolate and make up something, because as we’ve discussed, it’s titled Blues with Friends, which means it’s a bunch of blues songs with guest singers like the barking Bowser dog-man from Sha Na Na and whatnot, whoever’s still alive, let’s go see! Wait, whoa, this isn’t just a bunch of dead guys, Bruce Springsteen and his wife are guests on the song “Hymn to Him,” and look, guys, it’s loony bearded loon Billy Gibbons, from ZZ Top, on the song “Bam Bang Boom!” That song’s wicked cool, if you like old 12-bar blues, beards and hot chicks! This is AWESOME.

• The 10th album from Norwegian indie-folk dude Sondre Lerche is titled Patience. Mayhaps you know him from his quiet-loud-quiet Brooklyn-hipster song “Bad Law,” which was adamantly “eh,” but it’s a new year, and he’s no longer a tedious Brooklyn hipster; now he’s in Los Angeles, doing shots with all the sleazy L.A. promoters who laugh behind his back. The new single is “Why Would I Let You Go,” a sucky, pointless unplugged guitar tune that comes off like Bon Iver without the reverb cranked to 11. There’s no loud part, so I might use it to deal with my insomnia.

LA Priest is the stage name of Samuel Eastgate, an Englishman who is in the band Late of the Pier, a ska/prog/dance-punk-style Strokes-wannabe band that managed to put out an entire one album in 12 years of existence. His new album, GENE, is in your pirate radio and includes the single “What Moves,” a mildly funky quirk-chill trip that’s a little bit Jamie Lidell and a little bit Gorillaz. You might like it if you’ve recently undergone a lobotomy, and stuff.

• Lastly, it’s Australian indie-rock band Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, whose sound has been compared to fellow Australians The Go-Betweens. The new album, Sideways to New Italy, includes a song called “She’s There,” which sounds like Smashing Pumpkins trying to be a boyband. It’s OK for what it is, as far as meatless sports-bar-rock goes; at least it’s not Kaiser Chiefs.

Beer and fire pits

Fire pits are having their moment

“Want to walk over and have a beer by the fire? The kids can have some s’mores. We’ll keep our distance.”

My wife and I texted our neighbors with a version of this invitation a few weeks ago. The answer was, “yes,” so, no big deal, I have friends, but we were more than a little hesitant about the offer. Was it appropriate? Was it safe? Were we putting our friends in a tough spot where they would have to say, “No, thank you, duh, we’re in the middle of a pandemic that requires social distancing.”

I’m not trying to make light of a very real, very scary global situation, but as I walk up and down my neighborhood in the evenings, it’s very clear that if I’d somehow invested in backyard fire pits, I’d be very wealthy right now.

It makes sense. The ability to get together inside is pretty limited these days, so why not get together around the fire? I do think the current circumstances have reminded all of us of some simple pleasures we might otherwise take for granted. And there is nothing quite so simple, yet satisfying, as letting your mind go while the flames lick at a few seasoned logs.

It’s a campfire, except that when you’re ready to go to bed you can just walk into your own house.

And there is absolutely no reason why you can’t enjoy a beer with a friend sitting on the opposite side of the fire — or maybe even a couple friends, but let’s not get carried away.

The best news of all is that beer has always been perhaps the single greatest accompaniment to a fire. I don’t know that I ever appreciate a beer as much as I do alongside a fire. There is something about the flames and the smoke and the cool evening air that just pairs perfectly with a can or a bottle or a plastic cup of ice-cold beer.

Any beer that suits you works in this instance. You want a rich, dark coffee stout? Perfect fit! What about something light, like a simple Pilsner? Excellent choice! Thinking about trying out that bottle of raspberry wheat ale? You don’t need to bring me one but by all means go for it.

Unless it’s a blazing hot summer night, in which case I might be likely to decline the fire altogether, I tend to lean toward beers with a bit more substance, like a brown ale, such as Kelsen Brewing Co.’s Paradigm Brown Ale, or perhaps something like Throwback Brewery’s Oma’s Tribute, which is a black lager boasting big roasted malt flavor.

Able Ebenezer Brewing Co.’s Burn the Ships smoked IPA would be an obvious and perfect fireside brew.

I think the fire is the time to bust out, and presumably share, some barrel-aged brews, like Stoneface Brewing Co.’s barrel-aged Mistadoppelina, which is a “malt-forward lager with notes of toffee, caramel and dates,” according to the brewery, or Stoneface’s 2020 bourbon barrel-aged Russian imperial stout that “is dominated by bourbon and barrel characteristics like sweet oak and vanilla.” Maybe you wouldn’t normally go to a big stout in summer, but the fire helps you relax and appreciate the nuances and complexities of barrel-aged brews.

The point is, there’s a lot we can’t or maybe shouldn’t do right now, but one thing we can do is enjoy a beer by the fire, so go do it, and consider setting up a couple chairs for friends — six feet apart.

Photo: Any beer pairs well with a fire, including Henniker Brewing Company’s Kolsch Style Ale. Courtesy photo.

What’s in My Fridge
Juliette by Amherst Brewing Co. (Amherst, Mass.) Wow. I’ve come to love this brewery over the past few months. This IPA, in particular, might be my favorite. It’s brewed with flaked oats and “local Valley Malt Warthog Wheat,” and brewed with Summit, Eureka! and Citra hops. This is a brewery and a beer you should seek out. Cheers!

Caramelized peaches with bacon & blue cheese

There is nothing quite like a perfectly ripe peach as an afternoon snack. When a peach is tender and so juicy that you need to have a napkin nearby, it should be enjoyed on its own. There is nothing else this peach needs to evoke all of its flavors.

Sometimes, though, you have peaches that aren’t perfectly ripe. Then it is time to transform those peaches into an entirely different snack. Allow me to introduce you to a ridiculously simple recipe that turns ho-hum peaches into something much more spectacular.

You need only four ingredients and less than 30 minutes to create a dish that could be an appetizer or a side dish. It could even be your lunch if you wanted. Even better, slightly underripe peaches work well in this dish because the roasting time brings forth tenderness and sweetness. Topped with salty bacon and savory blue cheese, this makes an amazing mix of flavors and textures. Oh yes, this simple recipe produces a show-stopping dish.

A few notes on this recipe:

1. You don’t want to use thick-cut bacon, as you want the bacon to be really crispy after cooking so that it will crumble nicely.

2. I found it easier to cut through the pit, as opposed to trying to pull the peach flesh off the pit. Pulling resulted in squishing the fruit.

3. Be very watchful when broiling the final product. It takes mere seconds and will go from caramelized to burnt in the blink of an eye.

Although peaches are lovely on their own, after making this recipe you may be hard pressed to think about peaches without also considering blue cheese and bacon.

Caramelized Peaches with Bacon & Blue Cheese
Serves 2-4

3 slices regular-cut bacon
2 peaches
3 tablespoons blue cheese
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat large frying pan over medium heat.
Add bacon and cook until crisp.
Transfer fully cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.
Cut peaches in half (using the crease as a guide) and remove pit.
Place peaches, cut side down, on a greased, rimmed baking dish.
Roast for 8-10 minutes or until tender.
While peaches bake, place blue cheese in a small bowl.
Crumble bacon into small pieces, adding it to the cheese.
Use a fork to combine the cheese and bacon.
Remove peaches from oven, and flip so that they are cut side up.
Change oven from bake to broil.
Move a rack to the highest shelf in the oven.
Fill peach centers with blue cheese and bacon.
Sprinkle sugar over peaches.
Place under broiler for 15-30 seconds.*

*Instead of broiling the peaches, you can caramelize them with a kitchen torch.

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