Monthly Archives: August 2015

Rainy Days and Mondays

and Vincent Van Gogh

Rain-Auvres,  July 1 1890

Rain-Auvres, July 1 1890

also

Haystacks under a Rainy Sky

  Created in Auvers-sur- Oise, France in July, 1890.

Located at Kröller-Müller Museum.

Haystacks-under-a-Rainy-Skyand one more

Rain - Vincent Willem van Gogh

Rain – Vincent Willem van Gogh

Because art is good (brain) food. Read this

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Salads, Dressing

Claude Monet Jar of Peaches

Why did the peach blush?

Because it saw the salad dressing!

 There are so many things that can be salad…..really – like

Potato to make Potato Salad

Potato to make Potato Salad

Tuna for Tuna Salad (this tuna is named Charlie)

Tuna for Tuna Salad (this tuna is named Charlie)

Fruit in fruit salad

Fruit in fruit salad

even kale can be a salad

Kale and Chickpea Salad

Kale and Chickpea Salad

But the mostest salad I’ve eaten in my days is a lettucey, leafy greens base with stuff in/on/around and topped with

Dressing

Dressing that increasing came in bottle form…..

Ken's Blue Cheese Salad Dressing is on of my faves...it reminds me of steak and baked potato and a side salad. Now I mostly eat if without the steak and I'm as likely to put it on the potato as the salad. Also good on the sandwich made from the leftover steak - a thing I did not know existed in the world until I moved out and away from 4 brothers - in a sandwich with sliced tomato the next day for lunch

Ken’s Blue Cheese Salad Dressing is one of my faves.

Ken’s  reminds me of steak and baked potato and a side salad. Now I mostly eat it without the steak, and I’m as likely to put it on the potato as the salad. But when there IS steak it is also good on  leftover steak – a thing I did not know existed in the world until I moved out and away from 4 brothers – in a sandwich with sliced tomato the next day for lunch. Excellent good, in fact.

Jars replace bottle in the late '80's and '90's as even better salad dressing.

Jars replace bottles in the late ’80’s and ’90’s as even better salad dressing.

My son is a ranch Dressing lover, so this was on our table for years......

My son is a Ranch Dressing lover, so this was on our table much of the ’90’s

But this is the ranch dressing he really wanted, so these packets were part of our pantry for years...

But this is the Ranch Dressing he really wanted, so these packets were part of our pantry for years…

Newman's Own is my current bottle of choice. Bottle are convenient to carry to work for lunch salad.

Newman’s Own is my current bottle of choice. Bottle are convenient to carry to work for lunch salad.

The supper salad – the home game, versus the away game lunch salad – was increasing dressed in the bowl, like I was taught in ’60’s, but with more variety, like in Red, White and Blue Salad, which I had thought I had already shared, but it’s not showing up here when I searched for it…so here it is, possibly again

RED, WHITE AND BLUE SALAD

2 cups red cherry tomatoes (or grape tomatoes or big ole vine ripened tomatoes, chopped and equal to the grapes)

2 cups white grapes

Optional: ½ cup roasted and chopped nuts

Dressing:

         1 Tablespoon Blue cheese

1 Tablespoon wine vinegar

3 Tablespoons yoghurt

2 Tablespoons oil

1 garlic clove

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

  1. Put all dressing ingredients in blender and blend (use a food processor if you prefer. Creamy, rich, tasty goodness.
  2. Put aside.
  3. Wash and dry the fruits. Cut the cherry tomatoes and grapes in half over the bowl you toss them into.
  4. Top with the dressing and mix.
  5. Top with chopped nuts if you prefer.

Dorry Baird Norris. Sage Cottage Herb Garden Cookbook. The Globe Pequot Press. 1991, 1995. p.267

Sage Cottage Herb Garden Cook Book by Dorrie Norris

Sage Cottage Herb Garden Cook Book by Dorrie Norris

Mason jars are good to mix salad dressing in - NOT the salads, which need bowls or plates.

Mason jars are good to mix salad dressing in – NOT the salads, which need bowls or plates.

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Rat-a-tat-touille

Back to the garden……

Back in the day, we walked out back, pulled weeds and gathered what was ripe.

And tossed what was eaten by insects and animals.

One year the peppers had strange bites taken out of them, while they were still on the plant…..rabbits??? squirrels??

Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat...Maybe next time!

Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat…Maybe next time!

Turns out it was

Baby Brother

A typical mid-August haul would include zucchini, summer squash, peppers of various sorts, possibly an eggplant or two. We didn’t grow eggplant every year, some years omitted by design, some years there just weren’t any that survived drought or flood or powdery mildew or cutworm….

cutworm800px-Neil_Phillips_-_Large_Yellow_Underwing_caterpiller_(by)

Large Yellow Underwing Caterpillar

Our eggplants were always purple...

Our eggplants were always purple…

It was not uncommon to bring in a haul, wash them off and start lunch.

A good circle of oil in the bottom of a good sized frying pan.

Cut up an onion (we never grew onions, for reasons I know not, which is a pity (was a pity?) because they are dead easy if you start with sets); cut up the pepper and add it next. Nothing really browns, it cooks and gets a little weepy….cut, add, stir around……

Then the green zucchini, cut into circles or half moons or triangles, depending on big around they are….they should all be the same size, and not too terribly big.

Summer squash….same delio.

Cucurbita_pepo_collage_1Salt. Pepper. Stir.

Cut and seed tomatoes.

I know you got’em

……add them last, stir again.

Any fresh herbs in your garden?

Come on – if you’ve got tomatoes, you must have basil

– wash, chop and add.

Basil-Basilico-Ocimum_basilicum-albahacaSmells good?

You betcha.

Serve over pasta or leftover rice or just put in a nice bowl ….top with grated cheese…..Lunch is ready.

Mangia!

Imagine my surprise when I caught Julia Child making this on The French Chef….and it was called

Ratatouille

Julia tasting

Julia Child – taste as you go!

Ratatouille

from Mastering The Art of French Cooking

serves 6-8

Ingredients

1 lb. eggplant

1/lb. zucchini

1 teaspoon salt

6-7 tablespoons olive oil, more if necessary

1/2 lb. (about 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions

1 pound firm red tomatoes, or 1 1/2 cups pulp

2 (about 1 cup) sliced green bell peppers

2 cloves mashed garlic

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Peel the eggplant and cut into lengthwise slices 3/8 inch thick, about 3 inches long, and 1 inch wide.  Scrub the zucchini, slice off the two ends, and cut the zucchini into slices about the same size as the eggplant slices.  Place the vegetables in a bowl and toss with the salt.  Let stand for 30 minutes.  Drain.  Dry each slice in a towel.

One layer at a time, saute the eggplant, and then the zucchini in hot olive oil for about a minute on each side to brown very lightly.  Remove to a side dish.

In the same skillet, cook the onions and peppers slowly in olive oil for about 10 minutes, or until tender but not browned.  Stir in the garlic and season to tastes.

Slice the tomato pulp into 3/8 inch strips.  Lay them over the onions and peppers.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover the skillet and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, or until tomatoes have begun to render their juice.  Uncover, baste the tomatoes with the juices, raise heat and boil off several minutes, until juice has almost entirely evaporated.

Place a third of the tomato mixture in the bottom of the casserole and sprinkle over it 1 tablespoon of parsley.  Arrange half of the eggplant and zucchini on top, then half the remaining tomatoes and parsley.  Put in the rest of the eggplant and zucchini, and finish with the remaining tomatoes and parsley.

Cover the casserole and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.  Uncover, tip casserole and baste with the rendered juices.  Correct seasoning, if necessary.  Raise heat slightly and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes more, basting several times, until juices have evaporated leaving a spoonful or two of flavored olive oil.  Be careful of your heat; do not let the vegetables scorch in the bottom of the casserole.

Set aside uncovered.  Reheat slowly at serving time or serve cold.

JCMastering

https://www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/news/in-news/ratatouille-mastering-art-french-cooking-and-day-julia

Julia cooking up ratatouille on ABC network

Julia cooking up ratatouille on ABC network

Ratatouille – it’s also a movie….starring…a Rat.

RatatouillePoster

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Filed under Eating, Influencers, Lunch, Recipe, The 1970's

Salad (in the) Day

 Once upon a time salad was leafy green….mostly that meant iceberg lettuce

iceberg lettuce Doleand tomatoes came in packets  – except when they came from the garden.

And salad dressing was a verb, what my mother did after the potatoes were mashed and before we had to wash our hands to sit down to supper,

The lettuce was ripped and put in the salad bowl, and then the tomatoes were cut on top. Cukes – peeled and sliced. Cut in half to make half moon or in quarters to make little triangles. Radishes – sliced and added but not always.

cuke3tomato

No fancy radishes - red on the outside and white on the inside radishes

No fancy radishes – red on the outside and white on the inside radishes

Not a lot of fancy ingredients – olives always got their own dish, croutons didn’t show up until the ’80’s – salad was salad and not much more.

Now do I remember the order of what comes next?????

Oil, a circle around, not too much. And not EVOO, this is before Rachael Ray. Our oil often had

Wessonality

wessonality

Toss.

Sprinkle the salt –

When it rains, it pours

When it rains, it pours

Sprinkle the pepper

pepper black tinSprinkle the dried basil

basil dried jar More tossing.

Wine vinegar – just a little.

Not balsamic, not artisan, not fancy

Not balsamic, not artisan, not fancy, salad was for supper not showing off.

Toss some more.

Put the bowl on the table, wash those hands and sit down at the table.

Things got fancier in the ’70’s…..

Good Seasons dressing

Good Seasons Dressing Mix – with cruet included

Up until a few minutes ago, I've been calling this Good Seasonings. Probably for decades.

Up until a few minutes ago, I’ve been calling this Good Seasonings Salad Dressing.

Good Seasons, of course was the gateway bottle to the Wishbone and Kraft and Kens Dressings that would flood the market – and our table – in the ’80’s…

To be continued……..

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Julia

Julia Carolyn Child (born McWilliams; August 15, 1912 – August 13, 2004)

Her kitchen is now in the Smithsonian.

Julia Child's kitchen Cambridge, Mass

Julia Child’s kitchen Cambridge, Mass

She’s on a stamp.

Juliastamp

A forever stamp, no less.

Juliaquote And if you need a recipe for that cake, she had that, too.

Julia making the Queen of Sheba Cake

Julia making the Queen of Sheba Cake – this links to the episode

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Authentic in Every Detail…

or is it Traditional?

A painting can be authenticated.

It was created at a certain time with certain materials by someone. It doesn’t really change. With good conservators, what you see now is what was available to see then. there is a through line.

Is this a DaVinci? Read rh

Is this a da Vinci? Read the Time essay

Can food be authenticated? Can it be authentic?

Can it be counterfeit, fake, false, falsified, unauthorized, ungenuine, unreal?

Let’s take pizza.

You all know what it is.

At least you think you do.

And regardless of how All-American it is packaged or that it’s available in lots of fusion forms, you probably think of it as Italian. Let’s go with that.

The term “pizza” first appeared “in a Latin text from the southern Italian town of Gaeta in 997 AD, which states that a tenant of certain property is to give the bishop of Gaeta duodecim pizze (“twelve pizzas”) every Christmas Day, and another twelve every Easter Sunday” ( Salvatore Riciniello (1987) Codice Diplomatico Gaetano, Vol. I, La Poligrafica)

Wikipedia -Pizza

What does a pizza need to be authentic?

Do the ingredients need to have a certain provenance?

If I use Italian tomatoes on my pizza is it more Italian, more authentic, then if I used  local tomatoes? (Are tomatoes even properly Italian? the subset questions – we’ll get back to that later)

So, if in Naples only San Marzano tomatoes will do, does that mean all pizza everywhere must use those, and only those tomatoes?

San Marzano tomatoes - kissing first cousins to Roma tomatoes

San Marzano tomatoes – kissing first cousins to Roma tomatoes

But, assuming my Nonna from Gaeta, Italy  who was making pizza back in the day, the day being the first third of the 20th century (she came over in 1936 – she was born in 1890. We just passed the 125th anniversary of her birth last July 26th) and that she was making ‘authentic’ pizza, did the pizza become less authentic, less pizza when she used American tomatoes? Or is it the local-ness of the tomatoes that matters?  Or do the tomatoes matter at all?

Is it the oven that makes pizza authentic pizza?

Pompeii-Oven

Oven at Pompeii – not so very far from Gaeta….

What about the pan – or lack of pan?

perforated pan for a crispy bottom

perforated pan for a crispy bottom

Pizza pans - round, aluminium

Pizza pans – round, aluminum

Is it less pizza if it's made in a skillet? I've done this, it's good pizza.

Is it less pizza if it’s made in a skillet? I’ve done this, it’s good pizza.

And we haven’t even gotten to the dough and the cheese….

But one thing I know isn’t pizza, no matter what the advertising…….

pizza dogbites

Hot Dog BITES Pizza? #pizzajumpstheshark

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Summer Still Life

Back in the day….

There was a garden at the Ancestral Home.

A practical, sensible, fully functional plot of dirt that had one and only one purpose: to put free, fresh veg on the table and into all of us.

Every year, it was both the same and yet completely different. This was not some Zen thing, but rather the place where Irish and Italian and Yankee and a growing family converge.

There would be tomatoes.

They would be purchased in flats from the garden store or a farm stand or would be a gift from someone who started too many or be started under grow lights in the cellar OR all or none of the above.

The tomatoes would be all the same variety, each plant a different variety, a hodge-podge of unknown varieties or volunteers sprouting up from the tomatoes we had missed on the plants from the season before. They would be put in too early or too late or overtaken by horn-worms or eaten by the birds or sat on by the dog or they would be the very definition of abundance..

Tomato Hornworm - pick 'em off - wash your hands REAL good

Tomato Hornworm – pick ’em off and give ’em a bath in soapy water – then wash your hands REAL good.

They would be staked with bamboo or trellised in wire cages or staked with broken hockey sticks or left unstaked (but only until Uncle Al came to visit, when he would put things to rights. He staked tomatoes like grapevines in a vineyard.)

We weren't the only ones to do this....

We weren’t the only ones to do this….click ‘broken hockey sticks’ for link.

And there would be summer squash. And zucchini. Bell peppers. Hot Peppers.

Or not.

Lettuce. Cucumbers. Basil. Parsley. Dill. Eggplants.

Or not.

Weeds.

Lots of weeds.

Chick weed, chicory, dandelion, purslane, crabgrass. Now I know many of the weeds we pulled are edible…as many things are if you’re hungry enough.

And the weeds and the peelings and the ones we missed and got beyond ripe, went into compost, to be part of the next garden, because  we were influenced by the Yankee thrift.

Or cheap.

In later years we would be green. In retrospect. But not until the Carter Administration.

A still life with Tomatoes, a Bowl of Aubergines, and Onions by Melendez, c. 1771-1774

A still life with Tomatoes, a Bowl of Aubergines, and Onions by Melendez, c. 1771-1774. Everything gathered and ready for lunch. Or supper.

For reasons that make no sense whatsoever, Lawrence Welk has been on my brain. I share this earworm.

Lawrence Welk Theme Song
Adios, Au Revoir, Auf Wiedersehn
Lawrence WelkGoodnight,goodnight,
until we meet again
Adios,Au Revoir, Auf Wiedersehn ’til then
And though it’s always sweet sorrow to part
You know you’ll always remain in my heart
Goodnight, sleep tight, and pleasant dreams to you
Here’s a wish and a prayer that every dream comes true
And now ’til we meet again
Adios, Au Revoir, Auf Wiedersehn
Goodnight
– lyrics by Jack Elliott, music by George Cates   

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A Slice of Happy

PFM’s 1st Annual PIE CONTEST!!
Thursday, August 6th, 3:30pm

In honor of National Farmers Market Week, The Plymouth Farmers’ Market invites submissions from vendors and customers for our 1st Annual Pie Contest! Pies will be judged by a Guest Judge Panel, then slices will be sold for $4 with all proceeds benefiting PFM’s Culinary Insights and health-based programming in the community.

Categories:

Most Beautiful
Best Kid Made Pie
Best Gluten-Free Pie
Best Use of Seasonal/Local Ingredients

GREAT PRIZES!!

PIE DROP OFF: 2pm-3:30pm
JUDGING: 3:30pm
PIE SLICING: 4pm

Sign up beforehand or just bring a pie last minute!
Please bring a recipe card that lists all ingredients.
For food safety reasons, NO dairy-based pies (like custards) are permitted (though butter in your crust is fine).

Email Mia at miab883@gmail.com to sign up in advance (name, email and category, please) or just bring a pie!

We can’t wait!

Plymouth Farmers' Market's photo.
And just who is amongst those judging?????

MOI

 Happy Happy Joy Joy Dance.

See you on Thursday!

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#WatermelonDay

August 3rd is National Watermelon Day. This is endorsed by the Watermelon Board.

This is a watermelon Cutting board, not the Watermelon Board. Still cool and at Target...

This is a watermelon Cutting board, not the Watermelon Board. Still cool

I’ve been somewhat melon obsessed because of work…There was a watermelon article that used a 17th century painting as a source, which made me wonder:

How do you cut into a melon in the 17th century?

How do you eat a watermelon in the 17th century?

This was the painting that started it all for me last week...is it cut into chunky bit because that's what was done OR is the artist making it more arty?

This was the painting that started it all for me last week…is it cut into chunky bits because that’s what was done OR is the artist making the melon  more artsy?

Soooooo

I looked at more paintings of melons

Lucce Forte, Naples before 1670

Luca Forte, Naples before 1670

Eckhout, before 1660

Eckhout, before 1660

The swirly bits holding the seeds are not some sort of varietal variation, but are a sign that the fruit is not ripe.

Photograph of a 21st century unripe melon, sacrificed for science!

Photograph of a 21st century unripe melon, sacrificed for science!

Buoppolo Naples late 17th century

Buoppolo Naples late 17th century

Cooseman, 17th century

Cooseman, 17th century

All of this is going to take a little more work and study…but first I must find some watermelon to EAT!

Murillo Beggar Boys Eating Grapes and Watermelon

Murillo 17th c   Boys Eating Grapes and Watermelon – not all watermelon is red – some is yellow

Moon and Stars Yellow Watermelon Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Moon and Stars Yellow Watermelon Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

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Filed under Summer

Loafing Rabbits

It’s the first of August….

which is also known as Lammas

or Loaf Mass

bunny-bread-hot-dog-buns-16pk-1sm

Rabbit

bunny-bread

Rabbit

bunny bread Andrew

Rabbit

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Filed under Summer