The summertime chores ground me. To get the most out of the harvest I have to be in the rhythm of the earth; in tune with the seasons and the weather. It is something farmers know, but not us suburbanites. We normally do what we want when it suits us. To pick oregano when the bouquet is most fragrant, you have to do it just as it flowers. The peppermint needs to be picked in the early morning before the sun heats it and dries up its oil. If I don’t pick the blueberries when they just start turning blue the birds will enjoy every last one. If I don’t pick them when they are just ripe they will turn into hard kernels and drop off. These simple tasks, performed at the optimum time, keeps me in touch with the earth. It makes me feel connected to something bigger than myself.Leave a comment » Keep reading »
Tonight was the second night this week we thumped and punched and twirled and proofed and flattened and squeezed and generally manhandled some incredibly fluffy and elastic pizza dough. We’re trying to perfect a fluffy, crispy, and light crust that will rise conveniently fast but not too fast. We’re also working on perfecting cooking in the pizza oven — a feat that requires building a tepee of logs and lighting the paper beneath them ablaze while your whole torso is in the oven and making sure to remove your head quickly before your eyes melt. My mother, the pioneering woman she is, has this down pat. It also means adding logs every 10 minutes to keep the temperature up at 500 degrees, maneuvering hot cheese and dough in and out of the oven on peels with handles of 2-3 feet, and using a camping headlamp and a hat to be able to stand in the front of the oven without singeing the tip of your hair and still see at 4pm on a winter afternoon. In short: totally awesome. Anyone nearby will notice a boldness and exuberance combined with sheer giddiness and seriously flushed cheeks in themselves and their cohorts. Not to mention the heat.1 Comment » Keep reading »
…November 11, 2009 in Connecticut, around 3:30pm to be exact…
Girl wants to make soup for boy on a chilly afternoon. A lazy, delicious conversation ensues.
Boy: What do we have on hand?
Girl: Turnips, carrots, onions, potatoes, and homemade soup stock, some tomatoes, cannellini beans, and all the spices and herbs (at least dried) we could want. Let’s stick to the things that are in season together, and nix the tomatoes. I’ve never made a turnip soup, but let’s try one. They’re a little starchy, sweet, and a little tangy, I think. That’s a good place to start.
We spent this weekend visiting mom and pop Pelletier in Dighton. In spite of Saturday’s rain we enjoyed ourselves splendidly, visiting a couple of Portuguese bakeries, a supermarket, and a restaurant called TA (Terra Nostra) in Fall River, MA.2 Comments » Keep reading »
It’s a mellow Sunday and one of the first gorgeous days of spring. Outside thousands of New Yorkers are tucking into baked eggs and already on their second Bloody Mary.
My mother, Matt, and I are inside discussing the flavor whereabouts of a certain Potato-Leek soup we’re attempting out of The America’s Test Kitchen. We’ve decided that the recipes in the book are deliberately more about technique than flavor, partially because we love Cook’s Illustrated and want to give them props and partially because we can’t imagine why the soup is soo bland. The traditional Vichyssoise and this hot adaptation may be mild, true. But while my mother rightly pointed out, “it is potato and leek soup, so it’s not like it’s going to kick ass,” we’ve spent the brunch period building some elegant flavors out of these potatoes and leeks.3 Comments » Keep reading »
The spice of the pepper, savory crunchy sage, and nutty Reggiano make this the perfect side dish for a soup. The key, my mother learned, is that you need to take the sage leaves off and place them in a bowl, uncovered, so they remain crisp.5 Comments » Keep reading »