Alouettes sans Tetes

BraiseI am reading through Paula Wolferts Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking this week.  I try not to let a cookbook like this discourage me.  Sometimes I fancy myself as a Mediterranean culinary explorer, but now this book has made it painfully clear to me that Paula Wolfert already discovered it all and wrote about it all.  The age of discovery has ended; this territory has been charted.  Then, I wonder how many people actually read all 311 pages of her stupendous work and of those,  are perhaps a good number so overwhelmed at the end that they never make a thing?  This is exactly where I see my mission.  I will choose to read through the great works and then actually pull out some gems to remember for myself and present to others who might not comb through them.

Paula Wolfert wrote in the introduction to this recipe that in France, this dish is called Alouettes sans tetes which means larks without heads.  This, of course, got me humming the French children’s song Alouette, so I researched to learn what the connection was.  Following is the French with the English translation:

Alouette, gentile alouette          Lark, gentle lark

Alouette, je te plumerai             Lark, I will pluck you

Je te plumerai la tete                 I shall pluck your head

Je te plumerai la tete                I shall pluck your head

Et la tete                                        And your head …

Following with beak, neck, back, wings, feet, and tail.

This is a terrible song!  I had no idea, but darn is it catchy.  The connection comes from the shape of the beef rolls once they are stuffed and tied.  I guess, if it was your point of reference, they might look like small decapitated song birds, not that I’m judging.

BeefThis recipe has a few different bits to prepare; I won’t lie to you.  It would work especially well if you had a kitchen friend to help prep up the various elements.  However, once it goes to braise, you only need check on it a couple of times per hour.  I am aware that I did not cook this is a clay pot.  I think, like maybe a lot of people, that I’m not completely confident in my clay pot collection.  Most of them are partially glazed, in some way, and I don’t know if they are up to this important task.  I really can imagine how clay pot cooking could add a final delicious dimension to this dish, and I will work toward that goal.

Before I write the recipe, I want to make a small tribute to radiators.  They are our comfort and joy throughout the winter months.  They not only bathe the house in a gentle warmth, but they give us ready heaters for warming towels, drying clothes, and defrosting food.  We use our kitchen radiator, everyday, to dry rewashed Ziploc bags.  I’m sure we get 20 uses from each one.  My young, old-soul friend, Leif, told me this week that he peels our various local lemons and oranges and dehydrates them on the radiator overnight.  This was an epiphany to me and I immediately tried it out.  As a result, I had dehydrated orange rind all ready for today’s dish.

RadiatorsBeef Paupiettes with Tomatoes and Wild Capers

Beef Preparation

  • 8 slices boneless lean beef, cut 1/4 inch thick from a cross rib roast, each roughly 7 by 4 inches (about 1 3/4 pounds, total), pounded*
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Stuffing

  • 8 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 tablespoon mashed garlic, plus 4 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped celery leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Braise

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, minced
  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, broken into small pieces
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste, canned or homemade
  • 3 cups meat or poultry stock, heated

Herb Bouquet

  • 3 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 celery rib, stuck with 2 cloves
  • 1 strip of orange zest

Finish

  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoons each chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and thyme, minced garlic, and grated orange zest for garnish

1.  Lay the slices of beef out on a work surface and pound gently to flatten slightly. Season with salt and pepper.

2.  In a mixing bowl, combine the pancetta, mashed garlic, parsley, celery, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Mix with your hands to blend well.  Divide the stuffing evenly among the beef spices.  Roll each slice up over the filling at the wider end, fold in the sides, roll up, and secure with white kitchen string or toothpicks.

3.  Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with 1 cup hot water;  let stand for 30 minutes to soften.  Remove the mushrooms from the soaking liquid, squeezing the mushrooms to release the liquid into the bowl.  Reserve the liquid.  Chop the mushrooms.

4.  Heat the olive oil in a cazuela or cast iron dutch oven, set over medium heat.  Brown the beef rolls on all sides, then remove and set aside.  Add the onion and carrot and cook until soft and golden, about 10 minutes.  Add the white wine, herb bouquet, garlic halves, tomato paste, mushrooms, reserved mushroom soaking liquid, and stock.  Raise the heat to medium and bring to a simmer.  Return beef rolls to the pot.  Reduce heat until it gently bubbles.  Cook on the stove top for two to three hours, until the liquid has reduced by more than 1/2, turning the beef rolls, from time to time,  until the beef is very tender. If you can, chill the dish at this point and degrease before serving, even the next day.

5.  Before serving, stir in the vinegar and capers, simmering for a few minutes longer.  Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper.  Garnish with the chopped parsley and thyme, garlic, and orange zest.  Serve at once with mashed potatoes or buttered noodles.

*There is an art to pounding beef for paupiettes.  Use a kitchen mallet and a combination swoop and tap, working from the center to the outer edge to achieve even thickness.  Be sure not to pound too forcefully, or the beef slice will tear.

 

Rosemary Oil

RosemaryOne of the few frustrations I have about my life on the Mediterranean is that I can’t keep a decent rosemary plant thriving in my garden.  In this region, where rosemary can be considered more shrubbery than herb, I have to coax my leggy plants along and then just rip them out and plant new ones at intervals.  I know that they don’t like our shady garden, and I’ve come to terms that I’m not going to have the aromatic, woody plants I have on Lummi Island, where the soil is well-drained and the sun is abundant (when it shines).

We had one of those winter weekends spent dreaming about the upcoming growing season.  Our winter garden, here, all greens and kale, has been giving diminishing returns, so we replanted most of it with more greens, chard and bok choy,  but now, some pole beans and onion sets.  Being unseasonably warm in the Pacific Northwest, Gabe tilled his vegetable garden, enlarging it from last year.  He picked out his seeds from Seed Saver’s Exchange, where they now offer a service of a digital layout for how you should plant your garden if you give them your dimensions and seed choices.  We have an investment in this garden, too,  as it will be coming on at about the time we get home next summer.  We are looking forward to, at least, several weeks of produce, plucked straight out of the ground.

At our farmers’ market this morning, in what I call the mirepoix row:  all carrots, celery, onions, and parsley as far as you can see, a farmer had massive bundles of rosemary for about 50 cents each.  I am reading through The French Laundry Cookbook, circa 1999,  this weekend, so I went to Thomas Keller’s method for making rosemary oil.  This batch of oil will be drizzled over roasting vegetables,  cherry tomatoes with garlic and thinly sliced new potatoes, that we will have with some crisp skinned mullet filets.

Rosemary Oil, 2Rosemary Oil

  • 1 cup rosemary leaves
  • 2 cups Italian parsley sprigs
  • 1 cup olive oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, using 1/2 cup of kosher salt to 2 quarts of water.  Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set it aside.  When the water is at a strong boil, dip the rosemary into the water for 30 seconds, then add the parsley and continue to blanch for another 10 seconds.  Remove the herbs and plunge them into the ice water.  When cool, drain the herbs and squeeze as much water from them as possible.

Place half of the herbs in a blender, covering with the oil.  Blend on medium speed for about 1 minute.  Turn the speed to high and continue to blend for another 2 minutes.  If the oil begins to get hot, stop blending until it cools.  Add 1/2 of the remaining herbs and puree for another 2 minutes, then add the rest of the herbs and puree for a final 2 minutes.

You may further strain the oil through cheesecloth, for approximately 1 hour,  without pressing the solids, but I didn’t as mine was well emulsified.

Remove to a storage container and refrigerate, using within 1 week, or freeze in small portions.  This is a good use for those tiny jam jars if you compulsively save them, like I do.

 

Recipe adapted from: Keller, Thomas, Deborah Jones, and Susie Heller. The French Laundry Cookbook. 2nd ed. New York: Artisan, 1999. 165-66. Print.

From the Market

 

PartridgesPart of the thrill of living in another country is never knowing what you might find at the local market.  There is no way of predicting what people in the countryside are cultivating or catching, and often, when you see something interesting, it is a one-time opportunity.  If you don’t grab it, it will be gone.

As Allan and I were leaving with our food purchases last Sunday, we spotted this breeding pair of Barbary partridges in a small homemade cage.  We loved them instantly.  They are beautiful,  but also, there is something about their personalities, calm and a little shy.  We’ve got them all set up on our terrace, now, right outside the kitchen, where we can watch them, while they watch the garden, and enjoy their gentle chucking.

That same morning, we had grabbed about a kg of these hand-harvested mini chanterelles.

MushroomsI had been planning to make a risotto anyway, so these quickly became the focal point.  I won’t go into the recipe for risotto; the process is fairly standard, and you can easily search it.  I included the mushrooms, leeks, some homemade chicken stock, and a good amount of grated parmesan, so it was loaded with umami.

Risotto 2Now, remember last spring when I was in Sicily and going on about the best arancini in the town of Taormina?  I then vowed to get into the arancini-making business, but hadn’t made a single one, yet.  As my friend, Peggy, advised me at the time, you must use leftover risotto.  The gluten in the rice transforms, so they form up perfectly a day or two later.  She was exactly right, and it was a quick process to scoop and press the balls, rolling them in a sequence of flour, beaten egg, and seasoned bread crumbs.  We then pan-fried them, in olive oil,  over very low heat until they were golden.  These freeze well.  Reheat them, right from the freezer, in a 350 degree oven.

Arancini

 

The Food Language of Love

Aloo GobiWe had two weeks in Spain with our 20-something sons over the winter break.  When we would ask them what they wanted to have for dinner, our youngest son would almost always yowl, “Indian food!”  Yes, in Spain.  We tried to get it in when we could, but we had to really hunt for it.

One night, over found Indian food, I  commented that this obviously seemed to be his favorite cuisine.  He reminded me that living in SE and South Asia from the ages of 9-18, we had eaten Indian food at least weekly if not daily.  It might seem obvious to you as readers, but I had not actually formed the awareness, in so many words, that this was the food he had eaten most often during the formative years of his palate.

Yes, I had been right there with him.  I, too, remember Sundays in Singapore when breakfast was roti paratha, a South Indian lamb curry, into which we dipped chunks of chewy, griddled flatbread.  Sunday nights, we often ordered from Dial-a-Curry, an astoundingly consistent restaurant that delivered anywhere on the island, by motorcycle, in all kinds of weather.

We then had four years together in Kathmandu.  Our kitchen there always smelled of curry spices.  Our cook, Hari,  didn’t cook Indian style food for us everyday, but Anton would go over to the little tea shop just off campus, after school with his friends, for dal bhat, spicy soups, and momos.

One of the things he finds most disappointing about living in our home town of Bellingham, Washington, is that the Indian restaurants aren’t top notch.  He is used to dynamite spices and authentic preparation.  What he finds in the restaurants there is watery, and it all tastes the same.

It occurred to me that when the four of us are together, his memories for these flavors is stimulated.  He remembers our family homes in these places and comforting, cozy meals.  There were trips we took together, to Rajasthan, to Sri Lanka, to Bali. And then there were school friends with whom he shared hundreds of little street meals.

I remember all of this, but it wasn’t the same for me.  I already had my food foundations set before I went there.  My food love language is Mexican.  I grew up on a pinto bean farm in the Southwest, and I admit I have at times grown frustrated at not being able to access those flavors I crave and associate with family in my overseas life.

So I’ve learned to cook food the way I want and need it to taste.  And this is where I hope to hook Anton.  He needs to start cooking, but so far, there isn’t anything he wants to eat badly enough to go to the trouble of cooking it.  I wonder, though, if he might be willing to try cooking Indian food if he is able to make it taste like what he remembers.

I am going to send him a small kit of spices and I will start with this recipe, which is dead easy.  You just wash and chunk up the vegetables, toss them with the spices, then cook them over low heat until tender.  Better yet, toss them into a slow cooker on low heat before leaving for the day, then come home to a comfort dish of Asia.

Aloo Gobi

Adapted from The Indian Slow Cooker, by Anupy Singla

  • 1 large cauliflower, washed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, diced (optional)
  • 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3-4 green chiles, stems removed, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon red chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 heaping tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

1.  Put all the ingredients, except the cilantro, in a slow cooker or heavy bottom Dutch oven.  Mix well.

2.  Cook on low heat for 3 hours in a slow cooker or until the vegetables are soft on the stove top.  Mix once or twice during cooking, especially in the beginning.  Eventually, the cauliflower will release enough liquid to prevent anything from sticking to the sides of the slow cooker.  If needed, add about 1/4 cup water to the pan.

3.  Add cilantro.  Mix well but gently so as not to break up the cauliflower.  Serve with basmati rice or naan with a side of onion and cucumber salad.

Slicing Thinly

Dried VeggiesIf people ask me what I did this weekend it was this:  I sat and sliced vegetables, very thinly.  I am convinced that micro-slicing vegetables gives them entirely different characteristics.  I love to then put them into salads or dehydrate them, like I did this time, to sprinkle on salads and other dishes.  These feather-light bits melt on your tongue and give dishes the slightest crispy texture and rooty flavor.  Shown here are carrots, beets, and a few turnips.

I also listened to the audiobook All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, mesmerizing and beautiful.  The paperthin slicing and the deep listening were a restorative meditation after the holidays spent in very close quarters with loved ones, making all decisions in a block.  It was wonderful, but this was nice, too.

With some super-thin eggplant slices, I made up an eggplant lasagna.  This has meat, but no pasta.  You could easily add or subtract either one.

Eggplant Lasagna

Adapted from Utterly Delicious Simple Food, by Belinda Jeffery

Meat Sauce

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 heaped tablespoon sun-dried tomato pesto (or 3 large sun dried tomatoes, chopped)
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 2 cups tomato passata or crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 heaped tablespoons thinly sliced oregano or 1 teaspoon dried

Warm the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring regularly, for 10 minutes or until they are translucent and pale golden.  Stir in the tomato pesto and let it cook for a minute or so to release its flavor.  Increase the heat a little and add the ground beef.  Cook it for a couple of minutes until it changes color, breaking it up with a spoon.  Mix in the tomato passata, red wine, and nutmeg.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Adjust the heat so the sauce bubbles gently, and let it cook for about 10 minutes until it is thick but moist.  Stir in the oregano, then leave the sauce to cool a little.

For the Lasagne

  • 1 lb. fresh ricotta*
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 6-8 small to medium Japanese eggplants or zucchini, cut lengthwise on a mandoline
  • 1/2 lb. mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 lb. freshly grated parmesan
  • Olive oil, for brushing

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly butter a medium-large, deep ovenproof dish.  Set aside.  In a medium-size bowl, mix the ricotta, eggs, salt and pepper, and nutmeg.  Set aside. Cover the base of the baking dish with a thin layer of the meat sauce, then lay down a layer of eggplant (about 1/3 of it) with the slices slightly overlapping.   Spoon half of the ricotta mixture over the eggplant and spread it as well as you can.  Top this with half the mozzarella slices and sprinkle with half of the parmesan.  Spread half of the meat sauce over the cheeses and spread evenly.  Repeat the layering with half the remaining eggplant (save your most uniform slices for last), the rest of the ricotta mixture, the remaining mozzarella, and most of the parmesan, reserving about 2 tablespoons.  Spoon the remaining meat sauce evenly over the top.  Finish with an arrangement of the reserved eggplant slices, brushed lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with the reserved parmesan.

Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes or until the contents are bubbling and the top is browned.  Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes, once removed from the oven, to settle and cool.

Serves 6

*Beer brewers:  A recycled grain bag left over from brewing makes an excellent strainer for making homemade ricotta, saving the cost of expensive cheese cloth.

Eggplant Lasagna

And Then It Was Thanksgiving

Last I remember, I was writing a Labor Day reminiscence of summer and now bang, the Thanksgiving holiday is in my forecast.  Is it my age or a symptom of our lifestyle, but I just don’t have time to yearn much for future events, anymore.  I feel most often that I am scrambling to keep up with the present week and have to be clear with myself, and others who will be involved, that yes, Thanksgiving is going to be a thing again this year, get ready, and then we just have two weeks of school after that.  It is all cued up very tightly.

Let me recap a little from the fall, however.  Work has been busy, busy (Three busies wouldn’t even be overkill.)  First, I have a group of seventh graders who are challenging all of my 30 years of behavior management strategies, so days and nights blur with that strategizing.    I also directed a middle school play in October, and anyone who has ever done that will know how time consuming it is.  How did it go?  Well, the first act I was saying to myself, My God, they are pulling it together.  Then the second act began.  Lines started being skipped.  One student stood with his back to the audience and mumbled line fragments sending his fellow actors scrambling to pick up the dialogue.  There were awkward, long pauses, with darting glances between actors and dead time between scenes where the spotlight circled the closed curtain waiting for some action, any action.  One scene was repeated, and it was a death scene.    It didn’t turn into a full fiasco (listen to This American Life for how bad it can get.)  They kept in character and didn’t start fighting right on stage, but it ceased to be a story about a young bat hero and turned into a reality play about middle schoolers trying to bring a play to an end.  Which had its own fascination.  When we debriefed the next day, at a little cast party, they all seemed to feel pretty good about the experience.  One girl asked in a confidential tone, “Do you think anyone noticed we skipped some lines?”

“Oh, no,” I could answer in all honesty.

We took two incredible trips this fall.  One was to the south of Tunisia.

S. Tunisia

Pomegranates and Dates

Men, Dominoes

I will have to write more, very specifically about it.  I will just say that it was rare and precious, and I wish we had gone our first year here.  It won’t be our last time.

We also just got back from close to a week in Seville, Spain.  We were there for a school conference (I know), but we considered it a preview as we are going back to Spain for two weeks with Gabe and Anton over the Christmas break.  Obviously, there will be more to come about Spain, as well.  I adore it and can’t wait to go deeper.

Freshest in our minds, however, are our singular trips this week to the underworld of the stomach flu.  Allan was sick all last weekend, and I puttered around doing what people do to care for the violently infirm.  Then, on Wednesday night, the Grim Reaper came for me.  I scrawled some barely decipherable substitute notes, much like what you would write if you were being kidnapped, and then 24 hours were lost from my life.  If I wanted to look on the bright side, I guess it isn’t bad to have a complete purge diet right before the beginning of the holidays.  We’re both on our feet again, but our appetites are still a little peevish, so I’m sticking with some clean flavored comfort dishes.

I am back to reading David Tanis recipes, who I’ve written about many times before.  I like him so much because his cooking philosophy is about making something delicious using just what is lying around on your counters.  Really, in his newest book, One Good Dish, he begins with several recipes for using bread in successive degrees of staleness.  It is exactly the thing I find enduringly intriguing about French cooking.  Here is a recipe using precisely what I have on my counters, or elsewhere in my refrigerator and garden,  today.

 

Garlic Soup 2

Save-Your-Life Garlic Soup

“Like chicken broth, garlic soup is said to have all sorts of medicinal properties.  It apparently can both prevent and cure hangover, and even aid digestion…”  David Tanis

  • 2 heads garlic, preferable new crop, separated into cloves (about 16 medium) and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 sage leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 slices bread, lightly toasted
  • Chopped parsley, scallions, or chives

Slice or roughly chop the garlic cloves.  Warm the oil in a heavy pot over medium heat.  Add the garlic and sage and let them sizzle a bit without browning, about 2 minutes.  Season with about 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Add the water and bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to a brisk simmer.  Cook for 10 to 15 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

Ladle about an inch of the soup into a skillet and bring to a brisk simmer over medium heat.  Carefully crack the eggs into the pan and poach for about 3 minutes.

To serve, place a slice of toast in each soup bowl and top with a poached egg.  Ladle the soup over the eggs and sprinkle with a little parsley.

Serves 4

 

 

It Was the Summer of…

Sheep

I am reminded by posts on Facebook about capturing the “last gasps of summer” that it is Labor Day in the US.  Here on the Mediterranean, we expect to have several more weeks of warm weather.  In fact, today, I’m just putting a hem in a pair of white pants that I plan to wear quite a bit this fall.  But mentally, it is the turn of the calendar and I, too, am feeling nostalgic for last summer.

Since the boys have been in university, our summers have had a consistent pace, but this summer, some things changed.  We aren’t pulling them off to be with us in our overseas life as much, anymore.  They have their own involvements and responsibilities, now, and they can’t just up and leave for several weeks like they used to.

This was the summer of girlfriends.  Having significant others hanging at the house with us was a completely new development, and we really liked it.  It was fascinating to watch our sons attend to women they have chosen to have in their lives,  and I was proud to see their consideration and more grown-up ease with themselves.

This was the summer of full-time jobs. Most parents, I’m sure, would agree that it is enormously satisfying to send your able-bodied young person off for a big ol’ day of work.  This was, at the same time,  the summer of baby animals.  Gabe has a real gentleman’s  farm in operation on the island.  He took in a menagerie of Craig’s List babies last spring:  lambs, chickens, turkeys, and ducks and then there is the biggest handful of them all, his beautiful preschooler dog, Geist (he just turned 1 so he’s technically not a baby anymore).  Allan and I became quite enchanted by the whole free-ranging brood and were perfectly happy to send Gabe off for a 12-hour work day in exchange for tending the animals.  I could have and now think should have taken so many more pictures of them as we watched them grow.  It was fascinating how they made choices and communicated to each other,  everyday, about where they wanted to go on the property and what they wanted to do.  They were so silly sometimes, but my heart was happy seeing them have completely natural, stimulating lives.

Turkeys

This was the summer of nieces.  I think the generation of my siblings and me has shifted slightly and our children are stepping up to be our friends and to provide us with authentic support.  Through this season of the passing of our mom, my nieces, in particular, came forward to not just cook and help arrange things, which they did capably and creatively, but they made us laugh and amazed us at all of their adult involvements.  I know that my mom would have been so happy to know how her passing strengthened and even changed our relationships in many wonderful ways.

Finally, this was the summer of home-town affirmations.  Allan and I have had our wonderings, over the years, if our plan to eventually repatriate back to Whatcom County will be the right choice.  We have other overseas friends who are building their retirement nests in farmhouses in France, condos in big cities, someplace warm.  We love Lummi Island, but we haven’t always been sure that we could fit back into the culture we left, now, 15 years ago.  This summer, though,  we had encounter after encounter, often by chance, with people we have known in the past, but didn’t know so much about presently.  We were astounded, first of all, by what positive lives so many old friends are pursuing.  Many have lost unneeded pounds and as a result, feel fantastic.  Many have become incredibly active, riding bicycles, taking strenuous hikes.  Many have let go of negativity and are living in grateful places.  Several have completely stopped drinking.  I found myself becoming genuinely excited thinking of living in community, in the future,  with these old friends and our Lummi Island neighbors.  Of course, lots of conversations turned toward our bounteous summer provisions in the Northwest and how we were preparing and/or preserving them.  I am really looking forward to sharing cooking when we can.  One of the cookbooks I read cover to cover this summer was Monday Morning Cooking Club, and I can picture that sort of get-together with old and new friends to learn more about and from each other and to enjoy the cooking skills so many of us have been honing these long years.

Gabe
Gabel, after a Sunday of preserving. He put away 4 gallons of blackberries (slated for blackberry wine-making in the fall), 4 pints of beets, two bags of blanched beet greens, and a crock of sauerkraut, all from his own garden and yard.

One friend and I already got the conversation going when she and her husband came out to spend an evening of crab-eating, sunset watching,  and visiting with us.  Even though she had worked that day, she had, because she’s just like this, baked off a heavenly loaf of artisanal bread in the morning to bring out.  She swore that nothing could be easier than making up this no-knead bread, developed by Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City, and once I tried it, I became a devotee, too.  It is also a wonderful dough to form into foccacia or pizzas.   I am not going to retype the recipe.  Go to this link because you will also find some short videos that will illustrate a couple of the finer points involved in the process.  Peggy, I hope that this is the beginning of a long and delicious conversation.

Recipe: No-Knead Bread

 

Artisan Bread