Tomato and Burrata Salad with Basil, Olives and Capers

Tomato and Burrata Salad-2

We’re obsessing over peeled tomatoes.  Jody has even made a convert of me, Mr. No-Fuss-No-Muss.  Tomato and Burrata Salad with Basil, Olives and Capers might well have begun Peeled Tomato…  By the end of the summer you’ll either be slipping tomatoes out of their skins quicker than a fast-change artist in a costume shop. . . or you’ll be reading another food blog that doesn’t ask so much of you.  But if you do, you’ll miss the supple sensation that is a tomato without its skin, as well as a remarkable esthetic experience.  I, for one, had no idea how ordinary tomatoes metamorphosed into the Betty Grables of the garden without their skins.   They’re gorgeous.

And nothing makes it worth the effort – trifling as it is – of removing a few tomato skins than pairing the tomatoes with burrata, the really hot cousin of bufala mozzarella.  

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Affogato Corretto

Affogato Corretto TGF -2

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single espresso in possession of a good head of crema must be in want of a shot of grappa.  This shot of grappa “corrects” the espresso, resulting in an espresso corretto.  It is also a truth universally acknowledged that a single espresso in possession of a good scoop of ice cream (which combination is known as an affogato) must be in want of a shot of grappa. This “correction” brings forth an affogato corretto.  As a different writer, bearded and burley, might have observed, it’s a damn fine way to drink a damn fine espresso.

Crespelle with Lemon-Rosemary Ricotta

See the crespelle.  See Ken photograph the crespelle.  See the crespelle run away from Ken.  Run, crespelle, run. See the crespelle run all the way to Brooklyn, where Jody cooks a Thanksgiving dinner for Ken and Jody’s son Oliver and 12 of his closest friends who had to work on the actual holiday.  See Ken stuck in Boston.  See Ken get his revenge.  Ken makes a batch of crespelle with Lemon-Rosemary Ricotta and he doesn’t share.

Revenge, says Ken, is sweet.

Lamb Steaks with Herbs and Caramelized Garlic

Truth be told, we eat more red meat as as a flavoring in a pasta sauce or a stir-fry than we do as the straight-up center of attention. However, Lamb Steaks with Herbs and Caramelized Garlic make a great indulgence, especially with the Puglian wrinkle of using olive oil scented with rosemary, sage and thyme instead of a butter sauce.  The aroma of lemon, herbs and olive oil is a Proustian ticket to the sun-drenched Adriatic coast of your choice–and you’ll definitely want some bread to mop everything up.

Burnt-Wheat Pasta – Cavatelli with Tomato-Eggplant Sauce and Ricotta Salata

Making your own shaped pasta like cavatelli or orecchiette (as versus rolling out noodles) is so gleeful, so hilariously liberating, that I can only compare it to being a little kid running naked down the street hollering, “Look at me!  Look at me!”  It’s just that great.  Er… what?  You never ran outside naked as a kid?  Really?  Never?  Well, sounds to me like somebody’s got some serious catching up to do.  No, don’t take your clothes off–we’re all adults now–the naked-in-the-street developmental train left the station some time ago.  But that’s okay–you can still make Homemade Cavatelli with Tomato-Eggplant Sauce.  You don’t believe me now, but if you share the joy and invite a friend to help, a friend with a bottle of wine, after seeing each other’s first dozen cavatelli, hilarity will ensue.  Nobody’s cavatelli are bad–some are just different–and you do get better, fast.  

What the world needs now is. . . Goat’s Milk Panna Cotta with Star Anise and Grape Compote.

Another panna cotta recipe?  Really?

As well ask, Does the world need another saxophone riff?  Another short story?  Another poem?  Of course it does.  Look, if you’re filleting fugu or sautéing false morels (not advised), you want a recipe nazi with hairy calves and an I summitted K2 without O2 tattoo.   But panna cotta?  Ah, no.  Panna cotta is a melody that invites riffing, if only because sometimes no matter how wonderful the last iteration, the simple tune of cooked cream cries out for variation, a what if . . .  and because sometimes things just don’t work the way the recipe says they should, so you need to improvise.  That’s how we ended up with Goat’s Milk Panna Cotta with Star Anise and Grape Compote.

You say Apulia, I say Puglia.

Jody is still in Europe, hobnobbing with her fellow wizards, while I’m back home, working on my fourth expresso of the morning since my circadian clock stubbornly refuses to acknowledge that I’m no longer in the Mezzogiorno, the land that W. H. Auden aptly dubbed the sunburnt otherwhere.  I thought I’d post a few pictures of our trip (Wait!  Come back!) and offer a few observations about Puglia, food and biking.