I was asked the other night if I had been cooking anything “good” lately. I was hard pressed to think of anything, but I think that was due to the tequila. We’ve (J and I) been eating well, although I haven’t exactly been “cooking” much. For instance, I finally tried my hand at making pickles. It was a decent first effort, if I do say so myself. (J loved them, my father didn’t appreciate the allspice notes). I would make some adjustments to the pickling spices I used but they were very flavorful (if a little on the hot side). But not much “cooking” involved. I made shrimp ceviche and key lime piea few weeks ago to moderate success. (Shrimp ceviche = tasty, despite the fact I forgot the cilantro; key lime pie needs some work, turned out a little bitter, probably due to my over-zealous zesting. I think skipping the zest would cure the problem, although the delicious crust and copious amounts of freshly whipped cream helped to compensate). So there has been some new experimenting going on.
Mostly, in keeping with my previous post extolling the virtues of summer produce, we’ve been eating simply. And since our meals mostly consist of tossing fresh chopped produce together or maybe throwing some stuff on a grill or lightly sauteeing some veggies with eggs there hasn’t been much to report.
In the summer I’m also much less disciplined in my approach to meals, as opposed to winter when I insist on planning out a main dish and appropriate sides. In summer, anything goes. For instance, I found some fresh mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes today at Whole Foods. (For a non-Italian, I’m *very* picky about my mozzarella). That’s now going to be dinner tonight, along with a drizzle of olive oil, balsalmico and sea salt and maybe some grilled corn. (We eat corn this way several times a week during the summer – I never get tired of it). Sometimes I throw some grilled shrimp in the equation. It’s basically whatever I have on hand that sounds good at the moment (or whatver I need to use in my fridge – I have some purple carrots from the farmer’s market that need some attention, maybe I’ll add some slices of those tonight). Dessert tends to be fruit based – grilled pinapples with brown sugar glaze and pound cake (storebought, I’m afraid, due to lack of time and a renewed effort on my part to not go overboard and drive myself crazy when entertaining). Fresh peach milkshakes (sometimes made with homemade ice cream, sometimes not). Nectarines, just as is (I know it’s crazy, but the nectarines from Costco have been AMAZING, even if they aren’t local – J and I went through a plat of them in one week!) Blueberry compote over anything (ice cream, leftover poundcake, etc.)
In the meantime, I’ve kept up with my obessive food reading. I recently obtained Rose Levy Beranbaum‘s The Bread Biblefrom the library. I’ve been inspired and although I’ve yet to attempt my first loaf of bread I’m almost there (truly, it’s a matter of finding the time – jesus, where does it go?!!)
So, no, not a lot of “cooking” going on. But good food, nonetheless, even if rather simple. What’s going on in your kitchen? Anything inspiring lately? Let me know.