t’s time to banish the recipe as GPS and tune in to the Kung-Fu-Zen-Grasshopper (c)
technique of cooking. It is time for us to cook in the ways of our ancestors, by using our senses. It is also time to cook in the modern way, which is so, like, totally, about self-indulgent self-pleasuring by making exactly what you want.
When the tomatoes are ripe on the vine and you bring them home still warm from the sun.
When the buffala mozzarella is so fresh that each slice of the cheese releases a creamy surge of goodness.Read More
Our knowledge of flavor is the sum of all things we have ever tasted. A recipe is not a free standing list of ingredients and instructions; it’s the result of experience, memories, and desire.
You are never, ever alone in the kitchen.
As I’m walking into our local grocery store, the Euro Spin, AKA “The Spin”, an elderly, hunched over lady is staggering out of the store lugging a massive flat of white mushrooms.
Of course, I’m thinking, “What the hell is she going to do with all those mushrooms??”
And the canning season begins.
A walk over to the orto to get some basil and I’m hit with the realization that there are a ton of ripe tomatoes that need to be dealt with…NOW.
On one hand a kitchen garden is forgiving; if you don’t need any onions, you can leave them in the ground for a few days and no harm done. On the other hand, there is a use it or lose it urgency to ripe tomatoes.
So much for a lazy Saturday afternoon.Read More
Get your mind out of the gutter. Crudo means raw.
And no, the cannelloni wasn’t raw, the sauce was. Actually the fresh tomato sauce was almost raw or “quasi crudo” as they would say in Italy.
The story goes like this: it’s summer, no one wants to spend extra time in the kitchen, and we have tomatoes coming out of our ears.
And thus, I’ve learned inspiration and abundance make excellent cohorts.
Is it any wonder, when the world feels baked to a crisp, why three showers a day might not be enough, and the urge to howl at the full moon seems like a perfectly good idea, that a walk to our garden, and a chat with friends, seems like a mini-vacation after the torrid heat we’ve endured?
We’ve reached the harvesting point where lunch can be made by just visiting the orto, our kitchen garden. It’s so deliciously easy now, to walk over to the garden, with no plan in mind, just a “let’s see what needs to be eaten” attitude.
Mark Bittman got it wrong. The 4th of July isn’t about eating meat, it’s about celebrating summer. And summer is about eating outdoors, with watermelon juice running down your chin, garden tomatoes tinting yellow and hinting at next week’s ripe red, casual dinners with friends, late night laughter in the piazza and incredibly star filled nights.
If there is ever a time to cook simply and eat simply, it’s now.Read More