Lentils, not Freckles

plus tomatoes

Tizi suggests a new menu item for New Year’s Eve. A local tradition in Romagna, her region of Italy. I’m sure I’ve heard the word “lentils” before in Italian and decide to try it out. Use or lose it, right?  “But why lentiggini?” I ask.

“For good luck,” she says. “And it’s lenticchie.  Lentiggini are freckles.”

Lentils, not freckles. Continue reading “Lentils, not Freckles”

Rabbit Relax

rabbit

Two words, a friend of mine’ll get a little crazy.

“Bone broth.”

We have a box of it in the fridge.  (Yes, a box.) It came in handy this morning. I’ve got some rabbit quarters on the stove, cooking long and low and slow.  

Olive oil and garlic (the more of the latter the better), salt and pepper, fresh rosemary. They brown gently, front and back, getting a tan in the pan.  Some white wine extends the cook, quarter cup, turning those rabbit quarters every 20-30 minutes to avoid stickage.  Continue reading “Rabbit Relax”

If I Were a Chicken Thigh

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This is how I would want to be cooked. Lay me down in olive oil and onion.

I woke up today thinking about olives. It was 4:00 a.m., my usual time to wake up thinking about something. This morning it was olives, and lunch. Confession: I often wake up thinking about lunch.

A fond reminiscence in our family is how food-oriented my father-in-law was; well, a better word is obsessed. He too often awoke with food on his mind and began planning the mid-day meal before his head even left the pillow.  He would turn to Rose, my mother-in-law, and  say to her, whispering quietly so as not to disturb her rest, “Ro, do you think we should defrost that chicken for lunch today?” It pissed her off. He too, I should add, was inclined to wake up early. She would harrumph, Sta Zitto, Gigi. Che piaga! Translating roughly to: What a pain in the ass you are.  He would roll out of bed and head for the kitchen. Continue reading “If I Were a Chicken Thigh”

When the Artichokes Spoke

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I listened.

The first time I tasted artichoke, I was already in college. As far as I know it was not an item they stocked at Pat’s Food Center in Freeland, the one-stoplight farm town where I grew up.  If I had seen one at all, it was probably the likeness of an artichoke on someone’s apron. Continue reading “When the Artichokes Spoke”

Hey, You Guys!

The Michigan–how do you take your plural–asparagus or asparaguses or asparaguys are on the shelves, and they are fantastic. These lovelies we had for lunch today have distinctive blue tips. The stalks are shaved, giving them a more delicate green. Suitable for framing. Unless you’re hungry.

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Always make too much, always make too many.  Doing so, if you have a couple ounces of restraint, will mean you have a couple leftover asparagus to enjoy with a rice dish the next day.  Ahhh, leftovers. How did they become the poor cousins on/at the menu? Pictured here, brown rice, chopped tomato, and sliced asparagus. Served cool, with sea salt and fresh ground paper. No oil.

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Veal Feathers

calves

On the package it says “Plume de veau.” I read that as “veal feathers.” Thinking: Now what have they done to those poor animals?

It’s hard not to feel guilty. The don’t-eat-the-veal campaign in the 1980’s just about ruined osso buco for me. The Wall Street Journal reports that per capita consumption of veal in the US fell from 2.3 pounds in 1986 to just 0.3 pounds in 2014. But now, early in the 21st century, veal has been rehabilitated. Continue reading “Veal Feathers”

Cauliflower: Boil Now, Eat Later

hamlet

If I had to do college all over again, I would probably still major in English. But this time around, I would definitely minor in cauliflower.

Consider the lowly cauliflower, resting on the kitchen counter. I hold it aloft and admire it, like Hamlet lifting Yorick’s skull and addressing it: “a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.” Cauliflower, a vegetable of infinite possibility, of most excellent taste. Continue reading “Cauliflower: Boil Now, Eat Later”

Yes, Rabbit

rabbit done

In the kitchen I originate very little. I’m an homage cook.  I replicate and modify. One dish I’m proud of is a modified arrabiata pasta. Very modified.  Extremely modified. Actually, it has little to do with arrabiata. The story:

One year my wife and I had a long lunch in Montepulciano, the one in Tuscany known for noble wine–literally Il Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. After touring the wine caves we asked 3-4 people where we could get a good lunch and found ourselves served a “bis”–two orders of pasta divided between two people. (You can also do a “tris,” a tris for two, a tris for three or four.) One pasta was light, satisfactory, and forgettable; the other was penne with sausage, tomato, and red pepper.  A bomb. And I mean a bomb in the best possible way. Continue reading “Yes, Rabbit”