The Garum Factory is closed today to mark the passing of George Floyd and to acknowledge what animates so many people protesting right now: George Floyd did not have to die. Jody and I have been reading and listening and – when invited – helping. We didn’t curate the list which follows. We know about …
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TRAHANA WITH TOMATOES, FETA AND A LITTLE SPICE
How often do you discover something delicious from a part of the world you know and you’ve never even heard of it? That’s the case with trahana for us, from Greece.
CHERRY COMPOTE, RICOTTA-ROSEMARY MOUSSE, ALMOND SHORTBREAD
A few years ago during a cycling trip in Sardinia, we fell in love with simple desserts that feature ricotta. I think Jody’s heart was still in Sardinia for this treat, but her head was in England, imaging fruit fools, simple summer concoctions of whipped cream layered with whatever fruit is in season. The result …
Swordfish with Olive Salmoriglio
Crossword puzzle aficionados will recognize Nobody ever told me as a familiar clue. The answer is LAMEEXCUSE. That’s all I can offer for why I didn’t recognize the orange slab of swordfish Jody brought home for this week’s blog. It’s called pumpkin swordfish – new to me – and the jack o’lantern color results from …
Bucatini with Sardines, Fennel and Breadcrumbs
In these days of masked excursions and social distancing the only thing that ought to be packed together like sardines in a can is. . . sardines in a can. Except that now you can invite them out for their own unmasked excursion where they can play with sautéed fennel, pine nuts and currants (oops! …
Spanakopita is a Greek spinach pie. Few ingredients, lots of steps. Some of you may cry, “JFC! This is what you choose for your first post??!! There’s a million steps! What were you thinking – I’m trapped in a three-room apartment with two kids while my spouse and I fight for space for our laptops on the kitchen table with the glitter gun projects and stray lego pieces!”
We made it for the simple reason that the ingredients were what we had on hand – flour, feta, lots of greens, a eek and some garlic.
Goodbye, Sardinia – Chicken Wings with Celery and Bottarga
Chicken Wings with Celery and Bottarga is not a traditional Sardinian delicacy. Bottarga and celery, yes; chicken wings, ah no. This dish is, in fact, the love child of two different desires, Jody’s yearning for wings and my own wish to do another Sardinian recipe before I throw in the towel, tuck my shorts away in my Camp Grenada footlocker. Sardinian wings were the result, and just in time. A couple of days of freezing rain have stripped more than a few trees in our neighborhood of their autumn raiment; limbs are skeletal,not festive and the uncleared sidewalks resemble the killing floor in a chlorophyll slaughterhouse. And it got cold, provoking someone in our house to violated the First Law of Yankee-dom: No one shall touch the thermostat until November 1st. The one good thing about cold weather is that it means a new harvest of bottarga will be soon at hand. And with this wings recipe in hand, when this season’s bottarga becomes available in mid-to-late November or early December, you’ll be primed. While everyone else is still fumbling with their laces you’ll be burning down the track, chicken wings and celery bundled under your arm. Nyah-nyah-nuh-nyah-yah. And how did we make this recipe if bottarga won’t be available for another month? Easy, we whittled down our own two-year-old chunk of umami ambergris that has been cooling its eggs in our fridge. No lie – I ordered it online at the end of 2012. When was the last time you consumed something from your fridge that was two years old? Still as potently delicious as the day we bought it. With chicken wings and celery it was a ménage à trois made in heaven. After Jody left at the conclusion of our cooking and shooting session, I was the only one home, not counting the Lagunitas IPA’s in the fridge. The next morning there were no wings to be found. Draw your own conclusions.
Easy Antipasto – Peaches and Prosciutto with Fresh Mozzarella and Mint Pesto
Local Massachusetts peaches seem increasingly old-fashioned to me, meaning that you make a mess when you eat one (unless a nearby vendor gives you slices) and while they taste sweet they also have a faint counterpoint of tartness. This makes them the ideal companion for salty prosciutto. I suppose we could have left it at that, but we also had a raft of mint and some pistachios, so Jody upped the ante with a pistachio-mint pesto that doesn’t require much more than a quick buzz in the food processor. Fresh mozzarella makes it a sumptuous enough to stand in for lunch, if that’s where’s you want to go. You’ll also be relieved to know that local cherry tomatoes, now at their spectacular peak, don’t require peeling. This is the easiest antipasto you’ll even encounter, especially on a hot day when instead of cooking all you want to do is savor the last days of summer.
Tomato Salad with Tuna Tapenade
I had to bite my tongue while Jody prepared this week’s Tomato Salad with Tuna Tapenade. The photographer in me was dying to speak up: Don’t you want to sneak a little preserved lemon into that? Some extra visual pop? Truth be told, my wife has always been a member of the “flavor first ” camp, with visual appeal a distant second. And we use preserved lemons in everything, so this week we’re giving tomatoes a turn, and tapenade. Is anything more summery than the crazy quilt of tomatoes just ripening in New England, along with an herby tapenade, basil and olive oil? If you’ve never sat down at a table with tapenade because you’re afraid it might once have dated an anchovy, then fear not. As Jody explains in her notes, this tuna tapenade’s for you.
On the road to Marrakech – Preserved Lemons, Limes and Kumquats
Preserved lemons may never be as commonplace to American cooks as pesto, which was once unknown outside of immigrant Italian homes. But who can say? A salty, fragrant ingredient with a hint of sweetness. Stranger things have happened. Maybe the day will come when the thought of dark greens brings preserved lemon trailing behind. And not just with greens, how about a chilled crab salad with preserved lemon? Or as a contrapuntal note in risotto with guanciale. That day has already arrived at our house. Once upon a time most Americans venturing into the world of these strange, salted citrus fruit needed a culinary anthropologist like Paula Wolfert to tell us what to do with them. No longer. Any time we need a bright, sharp flavor accent with something floral, we think preserved lemon. For seafood, for pork, for chicken, for lamb. Oddly, about the only thing we don’t have with preserved lemon is beef. But I’m open to suggestions, if you have a good one. In the meantime, if you’re someone who’s always wanted to make your own Preserved Lemons, Limes and Kumquats, this is the post for you.