They’re up there, in the top of the pantry. Loved only a little, and then only occasionally; otherwise, forgotten. I mean prunes. The ones I found this morning were probably a year old. Dried up, withered and hard, they looked like minor asteroids. I had an idea. Not an original idea, it should be said. Tizi and I have found a new restaurant in Rimini, thanks to our friends Adele and Luigi. They go to Montecavallo for the pizza. The […]
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. I don’t think I saw or ate a lentil until I moved to the Detroit area. The Saginaw Valley, where I […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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. 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 […]
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.
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.
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 […]
We’re talking tomato. Banish the can (or jar). Well, not entirely. But almost. You can and might and should make the red gold yourself. We buy a pizza dough from time to time. Flatten it. Stretch it. Roll it. You know where this is going. In my wife’s region of Italy (San Marino, Romagna, Marche) you get something pizza-like or foccaccia-like. Called variously spianata, fornarina, ciclista, schiacciatina. Okay, it’s a white pizza. Some of them thin thin thin, with a […]
Some dishes are better a day later. A vegetable stew, for example. Or a pork roast. My father-in-law used to say, “Non buttiamo via niente.” We don’t throw anything away. I think of him when I make a soup or a rice dish, or when I have sat down to a bowl of ribollita in Florence, a soup that is not really a re-boiled dish, but its origins must have been that–leftover bread, leftover beans, leftover chard and kale. Put […]
I love them for their color, for the way they grace the table. Boiled and sliced, seasoned with a little olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper, available year around, zucchini are simply the best. Leftover, they are fit for a frittata or omelet. Lately I have been re-purposing them in a rice dish, another almost risotto.