My favorite cooking utensil – the one I use for absolutely every meal I make, is a wooden stirrer-scraper that David made. It’s made from curly maple, and it’s the perfect combination of beauty and function. It’s long-handled, but the handle is tapered, so it doesn’t fall into your pot, or fall out of your pot and clatter in a big mess on the floor. Its straight beveled edge is absolutely perfect for scraping the bottom of the pan when you add white wine, to get all the lovely caramely tasty bits mixed into the sauce. I love that David made it, and that I use it to make meals for the family. I love that it takes on the colors of the food I cook, and that, as it does, its beautiful, rippled grain becomes more visible.
Of course I used it to make these zucchini fritters!! They’re fairly simple – crispy outside, soft in, melty with goat cheese and crunchy with pine nuts. (My god they’re good! I haven’t splurged on them in a while and I’d forgotten how delicious they are!!) The fritters are lightly flavored with fennel, lemon, and basil – summery! Malcolm invented the dipping sauce. We’d been eating salted limes, and he thought that if limes were good with salt, they’d be good with tamari. The sauce is full of flavor – ginger, garlic, lime, tamari and hot pepper. It’s unusual with the fritters, but really lovely. You could, of course, make any other sort of sauce you like with them.
Here’s The Specials with Too Hot, because it’s close to 100 degrees here, and we’re melting!
He’s more likely to eat too much quinoa, however. He loved this!! He said the quinoa tasted like Guisseppe’s pizza (that’s the place on the corner). He took seconds, and piled a big mound on his plate, with lettuce pesto on top of it, and scooped it up with bread. That’s my boy!! I cooked the quinoa for much longer than it needed to be cooked. For over an hour, probably, all told. I let it absorb all the broth, and then I liked how it got a creamy, pudding-like consistency, so I stirred in some butter and honey. It was still a little crunchy, though, cause it’s black quinoa, and that’s how it is. David just pointed out that our oven has a convection roast option, and I was eager to try it, so I cut up some potatoes and mushrooms in big chunks, tossed them with olive oil, tossed the potatoes with rosemary and the mushrooms with sage, and roasted them up. Very nice! Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. So we had them with lovely lettuce/sage/hazelnut mozzarella pesto. I used the spicy-sweet red leaf lettuce from the farm, and the mozzarella made everything get a little melty when it met the hot potatoes and mushrooms. A simple meal, but a good one!!
(Plus reddish salad greens with roasted mushroom & sharp cheddar)
When we sat down to eat yesterday, Isaac had a little fit. He didn’t want to eat his chard and olive tart (I’ll tell you about it later!). David, who has heretofore never been a big fan or radishes, told him that he was scared to try delicious radish relish, but he’d done it anyway, and he’d found it … DELICIOUS!!
While I’m at it, I’ll also briefly mention a salad we ate last night, because it was easy, and also delicious. We’d gotten some lovely, thin, flavorful reddish lettuces from the farm. They looked like they might be bitter, but they were actually quite sweet. I put a giant mound of them in a bowl, tossed it lightly with balsamic and olive oil, salt and pepper. Then I grated a fair amount of sharp cheddar on top. I added some still-warm roasted mushrooms, and they melted the cheese and wilted the lettuce just the tiniest bit. I added a ton more freshly ground pepper. Easy and delicious!!
Isaac is not a very practical eater, either. He seems to live on fruit and sunshine. He’s a vegetarian who doesn’t like many vegetables. He’s not hungry at mealtimes, but he’ll be ravenous fifteen minutes later. He only likes certain shapes of pasta, and swears that every pasta has its own flavor. He does eat a lot of pasta, so maybe he’s preternaturally discerning. As David said, “fifty words for snow…” When Isaac does eat something of a substantial meal-like nature, with vegetables and protein, it’s like seeing a rare and wonderful bird. I’ll point it out to David with quiet gestures, and he’ll gesture back not to disturb the exotic creature at the watering hole, or he’ll bolt, and leave his meal uneaten. Last night I decided to cook up some scallions and broccoli I’d gotten from the CSA. I was extremely tired after a ridiculously busy shift at work. This was quick, and had a nice mix of salty, hot, and sweet. Isaac approached it slowly. First he picked out the broccoli. Then the beans, one at a time, then he began to eat everything together, by the forkful. Huzzah!!
I’ve been waiting to cook with scallions so I could post Booker T’s Green Onions.
We didn’t go to all the trouble that the man in the movie did, to make the noodles, but we did make them ourselves. It turned out to be very easy and very very fun. Not as easy as opening a cardboard box of dried noodles, but much more delicious. We’ll be making more noodles, soon. And different shapes, too. Watch out!
Here’s Culture’s beautiful I’m Alone in the Wilderness.