Week 12 of our CSA. No surprise with the tomatoes and corn, and no disappointment either.  Though five ears corn doesn’t even cover breakfast for me. Beans were great, peaches wouldn’t want to wait longer (and one of those peaches harbors a scary stinging bug that scared the hell out of me when I bit down to the pit.  But damn, Ohio peaches?  They don’t last long but they are amazing—deeply flavored, sweet, succulent.  Georgia may grow more but they don’t grow them better. And those raspberries were more raspberrier than any I’ve had. That acorn squash, so bittersweet.  Are we moving into squash season? Are those leaves outside my window turning to brown already.  Where did summer go?  Oh, sigh.  James started school today.  Where did my youth go? How can squash make me Read On »

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Dinner, last minute vegetarian delight in this heat: a good toasted baguette, butter, and fat tomatoes that ripened whilst we discovered bahn mi in little Saigon in LA, hiked up the river to Copake Falls in upstate New York, leapt off of 40 foot ledges at an old quarry outside West Stockbridge, swam in the rivers around Dorset, Vermont, swung in hammocks as the sun descended, grilled chicken and corn, drank cold wine and sent paper lanterns to the stars. I have never had more work on my plate, two major books due more or less simultaneously this summer, and rarely has a summer included so much travel and mandatory relaxation, so many hours outdoors with Donna and the kids.  And now I’m home, work weighing on my shoulders a fortunate yoke, while the summer Read On »

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Picked up our CSA this weekend, potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, lettuce, and SURPRISE! More Zucchini! Actually, I’m starting to like the zucchini challenge.  Too hot for what I want to do for it—mix it with cheese and gratin it.  I’ll wait till cooler fall to go that route. I’ve had a nostalgic urge to make zucchini bread, which I haven’t had since my mom made it when I was a kid and the notion of a sweet cake made with a vegetable was bizarre and fascinating. But I opted for a fallback here, and still one of the best and easiest ways to make zucchini: saute it.  I think its texture is best when you julienne it.  With my handy Benriner mandoline (left), it takes about 30 seconds per zucchini. The result is Read On »

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Chef Pardus blew through Cleveland a couple weeks ago, and with summer in full swing we had loads of little cukes on hand (we also did veal heart again, got it on video, stay tuned).  While there was much to do in getting dinner out (tongue salad with new potatoes, calves liver and onions, corn relish, cucumber sunomono, grilled foie gras (grilling foie takes some serious attention!), and the grilled heart with an herb shallot vinaigrette—Pardus found time to get my pickles on the cure.  Because of time constraints and other issues, he didn’t add aromatics.  What he did was make a 3% brine. I have for years been using a 5% brine for everything, pickles, chicken, pork, etc.  But this 3% worked great and I’m thinking that if you’re not going to be removing Read On »

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Butter-Braised Radishes with Snow Peas, photo by Donna This was a last minute dish on Saturday to follow the fritters.  We had radishes, we had snow peas.  I had some mint in the garden.  Why not?  Crunchy, refreshing, satisfying, a fine vegetable dish.  You see, I don’t ALWAYS have to throw cured pork products in (though, come to thing of it, this would be delicious with some bacon or pancetta thrown in!).  When you get your CSA goods, remember that it would be hard to combine them in ways that do not go together.  I wouldn’t serve blueberries and chard but for the most part all this stuff goes well side by side. Butter Braised Radishes with Snow Peas a few tablespoons of butter Radishes, as needed, trimmed and quartered Snow peas, as needed, picked Read On »

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