October 7, 2015
It SHOULD have been good.
Any once or current denizen of the Memphis area has likely eaten at the Cupboard, perhaps one of the best meat-and-three places ever to sling veggies onto a plate. I have eaten there something probably approaching a thousand times over the past 40 years, and am about to be jonesing to eat there Right Now.
Some while back, I bought the Cupboard’s cookbook. Just because.
And Saturday, I bought eggplant at the Farmers’ Market. Again, just because — because they were gorgeous and glossy, because it won’t be long before the fresh veggies are gone, because, for some reason, the Cupboard’s eggplant casserole was calling my name.
October 6, 2015
You’ve seen some of this before. Specifically, you’ve seen the rice, with edamame, accompanying the caramel fish last week.
(And can I just remind you, that caramel fish was good, and easy, and you ought to try it?)
Anyway, I had rice left. It seems that no matter how much rice I cook, I wind up with too much. Except for the rare occasions I don’t make enough. I don’t think I’ve ever made just the RIGHT amount of rice. So I saved it, to let it dry out in the fridge for a couple of days and find its new reincarnation as fried rice.
October 5, 2015
What day is it? What do you MEAN, it’s October? It was August yesterday, wasn’t it?
(Obviously, September was something of a blur.)
I find that not only have a page or two on the calendar slipped past me, but so has a change of seasons. While we’ll have some warm days yet — 80s later this week, in fact — some cooler days and positively crisp nights have signaled that fall is, indeed, here.
And I’ve been celebrating with soup. To be precise, soup and a couple of iterations of grilled cheese, which, if they’re not the quintessential fall meal, are damn close.
September 29, 2015
Tonight’s dinner is brought to you via the New York Times.
Specifically, by the Times’ cooking section online, which is a repository of every recipe, I guess, that’s ever been in the NYT, compiled into a computer app that’s easily searchable, with a personal “recipe box” where you can save stuff.
I have loved the NYT cooking/food section every since I’ve been reading the paper, which is something over 10 years. The one cookbook I could not live without is Mark Bittman’s “How To Cook Everything,” and I have all his Minimalist columns downloaded. I also have Martha Rose Schulman’s “Recipes for Health,” and Amanda Hesser’s cookbook of the Times’ Best Recipes. So the cooking app was like the best thing to come along in, well, a long time.
September 28, 2015
I’ve had literally thousands of restaurant meals in my life. All the way from the drive-through at Krystal to some of the best restaurants in the country. I’ve been fortunate to eat some marvelous food in some marvelous places, and some also marvelous food in some absolute dives. (I’ve eaten some bad food in nice places, too, and some pretty awful food in some dives. Chalk it up to experience.)
Sometimes, a meal is more than a meal. Sometimes, a meal is an adventure. Sometimes, it’s about wonder, and amazement, and discovery. I’ve always thought I was fortunate to have one of those meals, on a mountainside overlooking the Pacific Ocean just outside Tokyo, Japan.
Now I’ve had two.
If you ever have the chance to go to The Catbird Seat, in Nashville, do it. Do not flinch at the three-figure price tag. It’s worth it.
Warning. This is going to be a long, photo-intensive post.
September 25, 2015
I just couldn’t say goodbye to tomatoes, yet.
It’s been an up and down year for tomatoes, between the cool, wet spring that made them late, the rice herbicide drift that ended many of their bearing seasons, all the way up to the current late crop that seems to be thriving. And I got to looking at my tomato shelf in the storage room, and realized I really DIDN’T have as much ripe tomato relish as I thought I had, though surely the 20 quarts of tomatoes and the dozen or so pints of tomato-garlic sauce will hold me as far as the other tomato preparations go.
September 24, 2015
I have been most horrendously busy with work-related stuff for the past week or 10 days, plus a very necessary down day during which I slept and read to recover from some LONG workdays, plus a day with several hours spent getting my car checked out and left at the shop for a $500 repair. Dammit.
But the shop is right up the road from the one produce stand in this part of the world that still has a plenteous supply of good tomatoes, so I took advantage of my son-in-law’s chauffeuring and toting/carrying skills to stop and get a box. Those will be turned into tomato juice, tomato relish, and tomato paste today, in the last round of tomato canning for the year.
So last night, with produce in the fridge that needed to be used, I decided to make ratatouille. I had a highly touted recipe for it that called for zucchini and eggplant, both of which I had and needed to use. So I set my eggplant, salted, to draining, and went about slicing my zucchini and prepping it to roast. Rinsed the eggplant, then pressed all the water out I could, and put a cookie sheet full of eggplant and zucchini chunks, tossed in oil, in the oven to roast.