Friday, June 23, 2017

All About Food

This week's focus has been on the stove. There are three at the table now, and I'm enjoying the change. A shake-down period is in progress, and I found myself with a small refrigerator too full of ingredients and leftovers that had but twenty-four hours to live.

A styrene container of grape-format tomatoes weren't moving, so I trimmed off the stem ends, cut them in half lengthwise, and mixed them in a sizable noodle bowl with balsamic and wine vinegar and the oiliest parts of some leftover pesto. After sitting at room temperature with frequent mild stirrings for an hour, there was little noticeable change in the texture of the tomatoes, so I set up a plastic tea kettle and rested the bowl over steaming water. It took three-quarters of an hour and several stirring inspections for the fruit to relax and the skins to ease their grip. I lifted the fruit into a shallow glass storage tray with a slotted spoon and set the marinade aside for today's something or other, probably a barbecue sauce or home-made ketchup.

Super-fluffy leftover baked potato combined with a beaten egg, minced pale green of leek, and a few shreds of hard-smoked salmon into a big patty fried crisp in an excess of butter and oil.

Thanks to Angelo Pellegrini's Lean Years, Happy Years, I saved the de-glazed pan juices of a very good steak. I trimmed the stems of broccoli into little pellets and started searing them in olive oil. Then I added the faster-cooking flower tops and a semi-reckless dash of cayenne pepper. I kept stirring until the broccoli was close to smoking and then added the juices. Gave it a stir, covered it, turned down the heat, added a splash of water to keep up the steam, and then turned the broccoli into another storage tray.

The timing of events was such that I could call the grounds crew in for an unexpectedly good hot lunch just as they were finishing up. I hadn't planned it. There's a principal of Italian cooking, I understand, that makes not much of temperature (except for food safety). I do find that good food tastes good hot or cold -30-

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