Fresh coriander, photos by Donna

How fast this summer is receding in my rear view mirror is reflected in the ciliantro that, for all my travel and busyiness, I have let go to seed. Yet there are glories even in being remiss–the fresh coriander seeds that lends so many savory preparations a huge jolt of flavor and crunch.  Fresh coriander seed makes a great garnish on rice, in salads, on meats, in sauces. I particulary love it roughly cracked and used liberally with black pepper on any grilled meat. If you grow your own, you can pick it when it’s still green, almost fruity and a little chewy with that same flavor burst.

We’re ensconced now in an extraordinary big old house outside Great Barrington in western MA, preparing for the onslaught of a teaming brood, the entirety of Donna’s immediate family and their mates (gad zooks, 19 in all, with one infant and a toddler—what to cook?!).  Had a wonderful meal last night at Xicohtencatl, wonderful service, excellent mole, but now have to cook.  This splendid old dwelling is aptly named the Nut House, and our clan will no doubt do the place justice.

So a week of Berkshires air and and leaping from forty-foot quarry ledges and early evening cocktails, wet towels drying on fences in low sun, meat over flames, night caps, surreptitious starlit couplings and sleeping in.  Then, with a deep breath, it’s back to 20 Techniques galleys and testing, finishing Salumi, more frequent posting here (!), and always more cooking.  Always cooking. Hope everyone is reveling in their summer and embracing the bounty of August gardens and giving in to the restorative relaxation these weeks can and should bring.