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Sunday, July 27, 2003

The Cure for Summer Angst

Actually there are two.

1. Take beautiful tree ripe peaches or nectarines. Wash and cut into chunks in a nice bowl.

Take some raspberries or blackberries (ripe! ripe! only). Wash, drain, and add to the bowl.

Scoop out some premium vanilla ice cream over the result.

Consume, with lip smacking noises.

I use my great-grandmother's Limoges shallow soup bowls.

This is the one time of year I miss the blackberry thicket in the back yard. Bought blackberries don't compare.

2. Take a ripe Brandywine tomato. Wash and cut off some slices.

Take some sourdough bread (if it's not super fresh, toast it a bit).

Spread some good mayo on the bread. Arrange tomato slices on bread.

Consume, with sighing noises.

Nice Variation: Platter cured bacon with this. Lettuce or other green such as arugula optional.

Another nice variation: Spread bread with tapenade, not mayo.
Still Another Nice Variation: Toast some goat cheese on the bread before putting the maters on.

But since this was the first of the year, I had the Classic variant.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

It Really Is Summer

I haven't been energetic enough to go to the Farmer's Market yet this year, but I did see Heirloom Tomatoes for sale at The Produce Center (and at Andronico's too, for $2/lb more). I plunked out the premium (they're less at the Farmer's Market) to get one Brandywine and one I think Black Prince (or Purple Cherokee). TOMATO SANDWICH FOR LUNCH!!!!! FIRST OF THE SUMMER!!!! YEEEHAW!! Tomato slices, sourdough bread, and Real Mayo. Food. Of. The. Gods.

Passed on the Berkeley Bowl last night - might brave it late at night this weekend (hahahaha). Had a doc's appointment yesterday and decided to go home, make a steak taco, and let the meds take effect. I've been pretty wiped out.

Today's cooking goals: raspberry muffins (rasp. are still good, amazingly) and middle eastern chopped salad. Maybe pita or That Soybean Stuff tomorrow if I recover some of my energy. I might go Middle Eastern in Full Effect since the lemon tree is still LOADED with lemons ... time to try Preserved Lemons. I have a large box of kosher salt already. And it is supposed to be ace with roast chicken (one of my favorite dishes these days).

Saturday, July 19, 2003

My Best Friend's Wedding

(this post will probably both at Berkeley Farm Girl and Love and Cooking)

Part of my blog hiatus was getting one of my best friends hitched. It was a very nice, but rather exhausting weekend. I spent much of Friday helping them around the house as sous-chef and gopher (rehearsal, and rehearsal dinner for 25, was at their house). I got to use my Kewl New Knife Roll, which the bride's caterer-but-traveled-by-plane mother appreciated, and was seriously impressed by Noel's kewl espresso machine. From Bread Coffee Chocolate Yoga I learned that it might be a Rancilio Silvia. Now I want one. It makes my Krups look like a toy.

The wedding itself was at Fern Cottage in Kennedy Grove, in the east bay hills. It was a perfect (indeed warm - I was toasty in my suit) day. The ceremony was quite Episcopalian (as I said to Elaine, "I know my lines"), the venue was in full garden bloom, and the only cloud was that my shoes HURT. One thing I liked about it is that there wasn't a SINGLE DAMN FOOFY BOW around. It's like they bothered about the things that I think are important, and let the rest slide. The cake topper was a Hello Kitty one - yes, the joke got taken that far. But it was adorable.

The favors were espresso cups ("From Ikea!" the bride and groom said) and they were arranged on a table with flowers strewn over them. It looked like a gift table but it was for us.

I went home and took a nap. Later I went over to the house and hung out. I think I finally got the present wrapped and sorted out on Sunday after I came back from work, and delivered it at the Sunday brunch at the house. Then I came home and cleaned. The place was a screaming mess with all the bubble wrap, etc., around.

The photographer's pictures are ready ... won't link to it since I don't have permission ... and Ayse says that they have 1400 prints to sort through, since the tables had the ObDisposableCameras on them.

Friday, July 18, 2003

This and that

In Food-Related News, an elderly gentleman hit the gas instead of his brakes and plowed right through the Farmer's Market in Santa Monica. I was upset by this news, one, because I was concerned that my friend Kay was at the market (she wasn't, happily), and two, because this was kind of like the Arsenic-in-the-Church-Coffee thing ... it's something that is completely innocuous (and something I do a lot). Actually I had been thinking I needed to start making time to go to the Saturday Berkeley Farmer's Market and see if they have Real Tomatoes. I have, impressively, been able to find Real Peaches occasionally at good groceries, and not just the Berkeley Bowl.

Still have hairballs! Still haven't made the middle eastern chopped salad. I might try pita again (oh yeah, that was part of the Lost Post - will be doing that one in bits and pieces to fill in) this weekend to go with it. I might be up to the work involved.

Starting to shed some of the small amount of extra poundage (I'm not thinking I'm fat, here, but at the top end of my normal range) acquired in My Month of Food, which is good. Especially since I want to try making pie pastry (regular) in the FP. With summer fruit. I still have loads of food in the fridge but do need to go to the Bowl tonight to get meat, milk, stuff for next week's breakfasts, and maybe some more makin's for what I call "That Soybean Stuff". Since I actually typed out my "recipe" for rec.food.cooking, I'll dig it out and revise (my formatting was crap since I posted thru google) and post it here. With the truffle recipe. And I'll put them on my recipes page.

Sunday, July 13, 2003


I'm wiped. I feel completely asleep when I was having a little lie-down during the BBC news and was very zonked during my afternoon errand run. But I finished making the enchiladas. Except for breakfasts, the only thing I have to worry about next week's meals is containerizing them.

Still have remnants of the cold. Will start on the vinegar and honey again. But felt up to eating one of the Real New York bagels (from the freezer) with some of the smoked whitefish Elissa brought me from Zabar's. This has been a Day of Nosh, appropriate for the schedule and the eventual heat. I had half of one of the berry tarts before I went off on errands. I will have the 2 enchiladas in the au gratin dish (my big pan fits ten and I always make twelve as to not have leftover corn tortillas) for dinner tonight.

Will make the middle eastern chopped salad tomorrow. I think unloading and reloading the dishwasher is going to about do me in tonight. I am definitely NOT up to making pita!

Might do some cleaning in my large cabinet over the fridge, though ... I'm still thinkin' about that ice cream maker ...

Whoo hoo

Well, the mini FP is da bomb for shredding cheese, once I got the correct parts installed. I passed on chopping up the onions and peppers in it, though, since it really was time for a dishwasher run. I did figure out how to get the bowl detached so it could go in the dishwasher rack.

I got the Soybean Stuff done this morning. I will probably do the enchiladas this afternoon. The cheese shredding is really the most time consuming part (well, the onions and peppers do need to be sauteed, but that's for some reason not as onerous). The fridge is filling up with Good Cooked Things, rather than with Good Things which Need To Be Cooked.

Noontime mini snack - white peach, apricot, and a fig from the yard with mascarpone cheese and lavendar honey. Yum.

Off to declutter the house some, and declutter my yahoo mailbox (filling up).

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Obviously still recovering

I am obviously not back up to snuff yet because I am pretty wiped out from my efforts so far in the kitchen, although I do have some lovely berry pies and in about half an hour I will have some roast chicken to show for it. I haven't made the enchiladas or the soybean succotash yet, although I did cook all six ears of corn and cut the kernels off. So I'm getting there. I also found the manual for the FP which explained how to put the shredder disk in the FP.

Corn tip, from a Cook's Illustrated reader: Get a cookie pan with sides and put a towel in the bottom. Scrape off the kernels in there. They will not go flying all over the kitchen.

Part of my Lost Post was that I thought it was dangerous that there was a Williams Sonoma at the newish Bay Street mall three miles from here (actually on the other side of the railroad tracks from Chiron, where I worked for years). But I went to the mall at 2.30 this afternoon and it was chaos in the parking structure. So I might not be terribly tempted to run over there and spend money all the time after all. I exchanged some things I had bought for Noel and Ayse (they already had spreaders, and I have enough that I can't justify keeping them for myself). Got myself some small items, including a truffle scooper for my cousin Ami so she can make them. I am still debating whether to buy the Cuisinart Ice Cream maker since they are doing a deal where the second bowl is free. I'll try to do some kitchen organizing this weekend and see if I can justify the space :-). Odd because I don't eat that much ice cream. Maybe my "It's a Deal!" is kicking in. Of course there have been some HOT HOT HOT days this summer and ice cream sounds good. Actually it sounds good today. I might go over to Andronico's and get a pint of Ben and Jerry Vanilla to go with all this yummy summer fruit I have (More figs on the tree, apricots, peaches) and let the berry pies wait for me.

Back to a more normal schedule

I composed a long post about my adventures in the last few weeks, and they have been many. But it got munched by Blogspot, and I had stupidly deleted the original. Grrrr.

So I will redo at some point in the not too distant future.

I have had a cold so I have been very low energy. But I feel like cooking today. I got a Cuisinart combo Smart Power Duet Food Processor/Blender for my birthday (got it the 27th during the family reunion/anniversary party) and it is da bomb. I had the brilliant idea on Thursday night that I could shred the cheese and chop the onions and peppers for the enchiladas and save myself some effort. So I will be trying this out. I certainly put the thing through its paces on July 4 for the party - it pulverized graham crackers for crumb crust for the fresh berry pie (from the recent Cook's Illustrated), pureed the berry filling for said pie, and made Ranee's hummus in about two minutes flat. Beats tar out of the mini-chop, which is going in the giveaway box. I am really thinking of trying to make some standard pie pastry in it but My Month of Food has left me at the top of my desireable weight range. I might do it anyway since I have the small pie tins and some yummy, yummy peaches.

Off to make some huevos rancheros for my breakfast before I go up to North Berkeley and do my food shopping run.