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Monday October 23, 2006 // By Sandy

Recent episodes in gastronomy

It’s been about a year since we started Project: What’s In My Stomach, a simple endeavor to mark down all the recipes (or, on occasion, non-recipes) we prepare for dinner. For me, the analytical freak, making the list is reason enough to do it, but even for the more practical-minded, there are some material benefits: we get a convenient source of ideas when trying to come up with dinner plans for the week, and it allows us to mark down any tips for our future selves, should we try it again.

As if the list wasn’t enough documentation, if a dish turns out to look particularly ravishing, I am often compelled to whip out the camera, usually forcing Sarah and guests to wait, fork in hand, until I can get a few shots off. You know, for the grandkids.

Here are few recent dishes that we’ve enjoyed and that have earned their place on film. Please forgive the amateurish food styling skills.

SEPTEMBER 25. We hosted Syd, Adrienne and my mom to thank them for all their help and support with the wedding. I somehow got it in my head that we should serve duck, which I’d never made before. We simply threw it on the grill with some salt and pepper and oil, sliced it up, and served it with some roma beans and baby onions from the farm. The star of the meal, however, was the bed of colored, barbed-edged pasta, which we’d bought at a supermarket in Cura├žao because of its amazing name: Mother-in-law’s Tongue.

Grilled duck with roma beans and tomatillo salsa
Grilled duck with roma beans and tomatillo salsa

OCTOBER 1. For a recent game night with Levi, Stacey, Luke and Ellen, we felt the urge to break out the trusty pizza stone. One pizza was a Trib recipe — figs, fig preserves, parmesan and prociutto — and the others were of our own invention. They were: tomato sauce with kale and olives; pesto with tomatoes and goat cheese (fresh from my cousin’s friend’s goat); potatoes on a olive oil base with roasted garlic, basil and mozzarella.

Fig & prosciutto, kale & tomato, pesto & goat cheese, and potato and basil
Fig & prosciutto, kale & tomato, pesto & goat cheese, and potato and basil

OCTOBER 15. We found a recipe for Okonomiyaki in a Moosewood Restaurant cookbook. They called it Japanese pizza. It was pretty tasty, though a little on the doughy side. Basically we were looking for an outlet for some cabbage and daikon we’d gotten from the share. Served with a salad made from various other greens and veggies and topped with a Japanese dressing.

Japanese 'pancake' with shrimp and daikon
Japanese 'pancake' with shrimp and daikon

OCTOBER 21. Sandra, Peter and Josh came over on Friday. Snapper was on sale at Whole Foods, which I’d made before to great success, so we tried it again. The side dish was simply white rice mixed with a sauteed plantain, and tasted just like the food we ate every day in Costa Rica. The salad came from a new cookbook, and gave me opportunity to cook with two new fruits, pomegranate and persimmon.

Snapper with zucchini garlic salsa and Caribbean rice
Snapper with zucchini garlic salsa and Caribbean rice

Pomegranate, persimmon and hazelnut salad
Pomegranate, persimmon and hazelnut salad

OCTOBER 23. Broiled tilapia is a Real Simple standby we pull out for quick weeknight meals. It’s available at the local market, freezes well, and it takes just a few spices — paprika, cayenne, oregano — to turn it into something interesting. Meanwhile, we had some brussels sprouts, the last of the veggies from the last share of the year, sitting unloved in the crisper. I found a recipe that was basically brussels sprouts smothered in butter and topped with hazelnuts. Best part: all the ingredients for all the recipes were already in our fridge and freezer. Love when that happens.

Broiled tilapia w/ tomato salsa and brussels sprouts in brown butter
Broiled tilapia w/ tomato salsa and brussels sprouts in brown butter

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