The Simplest Salmon in the World – Really

This is the simplest salmon recipe you will ever read. Your dog could make this recipe. You put a skillet of boiling water on the lowest rack of a preheated oven. A baking dish with oiled and seasoned salmon goes on the rack above it. Everything remains in place for 45 minutes. The most succulent …

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! …

Dried Fruit Tart

Anyone not have a few abandoned silos of dried prunes sitting at the back of the cabinet shelf? Maybe some apricots like knucklebones rattling around the bottom of a bag? Good. We’re going to use up those petrified jewels in a Dried Fruit Tart. The recipe suggests figs, prunes and apricots, but if you happen …

Saloniki Spanakopita

 

 

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. 

Duck Ragu with Pancetta and Green Olives

 

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For me it doesn’t get any better than duck. Steak can be great, fish exquisite, but canard tops them all. There’s no arguing with taste, so instead of arguing with me just know that if we end up marooned on the same island, and my side has the ducks and your side has the emus or llamas or cows, and there’s only sufficient forage and fresh water for one set of domesticated farm animals, yours will have to learn to swim. Before I wrote this I ran through the blog wondering how often I’d written about duck before. To my surprise, the answer was once. If you’re living someplace warm, and fancy some grilled duck breast with peaches, have at it. The rest of us in New England are glancing skyward, like GAME of THRONES extras with their first speaking roles, muttering, “Winter is coming.” Grilling may not be in our cards these days, but as lovers of duck we are resourceful. We’re plundering one of Rialto’s most well-known dishes for its flavor combinations—Slow-Roasted Duck with Green Olives–and translating them into something much simpler. A homey pasta dish. Herewith, Duck Ragu with Pancetta and Green Olives.

PASSION FRUIT SPONGE CUSTARD

Passion Fruit Sponge Custard-8907

This week: Passion Fruit Sponge Custard.  Not the most elegant dessert we’ve ever made, but ignore the appearance, go for the taste, like the fruit itself.  Ripe passion fruit resemble hard-boiled eggs, after the apocalypse, wrinkly red-brown ovals.  But inside, oh…  a pucker-sweet crazy delicious psychedelic orange pulp dotted with black seeds.  (You eat that goop?!  I thought nature made things in bright colors as a warning – poison! poison! poison!?  Nope.  Nature wants you to eat that goop, to, uh, carry the seeds away.)  The flavor of passion fruit hovers somewhere between orange and mango, just as sweet, but way tarter than either.  The only exotic fruit with an equal effort/pleasure ratio, IMO, is the durian, but we’ll reserve durian for another day.  In the meantime, try this sponge custard, an antique English dessert that’s not really spongy or a custard, flavored with an intense sweet-sour taste of the tropics.

CARAMELIZED TURNIPS WITH BACON AND DATES

Roasted turnips with bacon and dates-9431

My father once dismissed my mumbled teenage excuse for getting home late with the family car by asking me, “Do I look like I just fell off the back of the turnip wagon?”  The image of a mule-drawn cart heaped high with a bumpy cargo silhouetted against the moon rose in my mind, with my dad tumbling off the rear end.  Wisely, I held my tongue.  Ah, turnips, once the symbol of stupidity (turnip-head, not heard much any more) or deprivation (dietary staple for stateside Americans in WWII), have rolled back into fashion.  Witness our Macomber Turnips Roasted with Bacon and Dates.  Believe me, no one will mistake this dish with anything having to do with deprivation.

Chicken Livers with Passion Fruit, Pomegranate and Caramelized Dumpling Squash

Chicken Livers with Passionfruit-1

Winter is coming, and no matter what WHO says about meat, dammit, all of us need an occasional treat to balance the scales with life’s tricks.  Herewith Chicken Livers with with Passion Fruit, Pomegranate and Caramelized Dumpling Squash, exactly the kind of meal that Jody and I cook up at home when things have been crazy and we need to remind ourselves to slow down and savor what’s in front of us.  In the last month we’ve been to Haiti, where Jody cooked and taught up a storm and I photographed it all and much besides.  Right before our departure, one of Jody’s cooks fell and broke her ankle, which will keep her out of the kitchen for several months.  Since out return Jody’s been picking up the the slack (note the state of Jody’s hands in the photos), while I’ve been processing photos for all of the institutions we visited.  When we lift our noses from the grindstone, this is what we eat.

SHOOTING NAKED – CHILLED CORN, PEACH AND BASIL SOUP

Chilled Corn and Peach Soup with Basil-4421

 

Not that kind of naked.  Naked as in camera-only.  No multiple lights, no radio controls, not even a tripod.  It has been a very long month–the PanMass Challenge, loved ones off to parts known and unknown–and during our single day of work in a week of vacation the last thing I wanted to do was set up lights and softboxes in our little vacation kitchen to make it look and feel transformed.  Sometimes all you can do is just let things be.  We had barely enough plenty of light coming though the windows and I thought why not dance on the edge a little?  Back to basics: camera – light – food.  This is a Chilled Corn and Peach Soup photographed au naturel.