Archive | November, 2011

Good read: An Everlasting Meal

23 Nov

I found myself tasting a pot of almost boiling water, then I waited a few moments and tasted the fully boiling water, as advised by chef and writer Tamar Adler ( who got the idea from Julia Child). The water did taste different. Try it.

Though I have always rolled my eyes at the term, I’m trying to be more mindful. Yep, I’m getting old and trying to get wise. But not by meditating on a mountain–I’m hoping to learn mindfulness while cooking, standing in front of the stove. I count myself lucky that I’m guided by the words of Tamar Adler, who has written a great book called An Everlasting Meal. Her message is how to make something last, how to carry meals over to the next meal, how to not waste when cooking. I love her writing style–careful, full, beautiful–which is so unlike my messy way. Take this passage about shopping: “And always (buy) a few bunches of dark, leafy greens. This will seem very pious. Once greens are cooked as they should be, though: hot and lustily, with garlic, in a good amount of olive oil, they lose their moral urgency, and become one of the most likable ingredients in your kitchen.”

Adler is a professional cook with so much to teach the home chef, reading the book is like having a cooking teacher whispering suggestions in your ear. Things like how to roast vegetables, poetic methods for thinking about how to cook beans (“As they cook, beans should look like they’re bathing”), and recipes for using olives, anchovies, and capers–her favorite ingredients, and it turns out mine too. She is a fellow scrounger, who uses every scrap of animal or vegetable to make stock. There’s even an appendix that details how to salvage botched ingredients. Mindfulness, I’m discovering through this terrific book, can be delicious.

I’m looking forward to using some of her recipes tomorrow when I cook for Thanksgiving. To everyone: enjoy the day, the food, the company, the bounty–happy Thanksgiving!

Garlic Planting Time

1 Nov

Garlic’s been on my mind lately. For one thing, there’s this cool benefit event going on with First Person magazine:

Please join us for the benefit dinner and release party of First Person #5: Radical Foods!

Thursday, November 10th
7:00 pm
Church of Saint John the Evangelist
1661 15th Street, San Francisco

Legendary filmmaker Les Blank will be screening his 1980 film Garlic Is As Good As Ten Mothers.

I’m totally going. I’ve never seen that movie, which I hear is great, and the menu sounds really awesome, involving artichokes, sardines, Tartine bread, chicory salad, mashed up potato/sunchokes, and other vegetal delights. If you want to go to the event, buy tickets here; a bargain at $40.

The only problem is garlic has so disgusted me during my pregnancy that I banned the allium from our kitchen and “forgot” to order bulbs when I made my fall seed order. Maybe the baby is a vampire. Now, here it is, garlic planting season, and I found myself with no bulbs to plant (9 months from now, odds are I will be back on the garlic train).

Lucky for me, my dear friend Leilani had a stash in her bedroom. I went over to her house last night to eat dinner and see the Halloween Trick or Treaters in her neighborhood. Instead of candy, she gave me garlic. This garlic is pretty special, too: her dad is an agronomist in Oregon, and he has made some special crosses to make entire new breeds. One of them, which Leilani calls the Fire Twin, comes as a bulb with only two cloves. But the cloves are large, the size of a shallot. And they are incredibly spicy hot. Saving garlic from the Fire Twin will be a little frustrating–one for me, one for next year’s crop–but if it tastes good, it might be worth it. The other ones I selected are pink, purple, and big bulbed white. I’ll do a taste test next summer, with details about the crosses.

Hope to see you at the movie!

Buy tickets here.