June 30, 2011 § 1 Comment
Spring came & went with the blink of an eye & the putrid odor of dissected cats. I cooked almost everyday, and when I say it was my anchor amiss a sea of anatomy insanity, I tell no lie. Let me give you a quick recap of some the things I experimented with.
1. Rabbit. Yup, if you’ve never cooked it before, you definitely should try it. Rabbits eat mainly greens, which not only lends an earthy flavor to the meat, but also makes it nutritionally ideal. The first time I tried rabbit was in Italy & (I hardly ever eat meat. The exception would be sometimes, if it’s local) to say it left a lasting impression is no exaggeration. Stewing it in some type of a lightly herbed sauce (the meat tends to be quite tough if it is not braised or stewed) is no doubt the way to go. I baked mine in olive oil with herbs, & although the flavor was palatable, the texture was not so desirable. When I get it right I’ll post the recipe.
2. Spring Jam. Right before Mother’s day I dug out a whole load of frozen strawberries from last year’s harvest & decided to make a small batch of Strawberry Ginger jam for my two Nanas. It was not as exciting as concocting jam from grapes that were just foraged from high & low throughout town, but I think they may have liked it a little bit.
3. Olive Relish (& other tapenade-like dips). The recipe is amazing but very simple. The recipe, from A Platter of Figs, by David Tanis, is a reflection of Mediterranean cooking: classic yet daring. It is laced with lemon zest, olive oil & anchovies. I know, anchovies have a horrible reputation, but don’t let them scare you off- they add depth to an otherwise safe version of tapenade. This type of dip/relish/tapenade is the best way to add flavor without turning on the oven (in the summer).
4. Rum Cakes. By far one of the best desserts to please a crowd. Basically rum cakes are small orbs of a very basic dough soaked in a luscious syrup of dark rum, citrus & spices.
5. More Sprouts. The same day I some started radish sprouts, I also received mature radish sprouts as a gift (thanks Becky!) & used them to grace my goat cheese salad. There is a lot to be said for lettuce plucked right from the back yard, then topped with a healthy dose of zesty sprouts. Radish sprouts can be sprouted the same way as any other seed & are great to have on hand when you’re desperate for a quick flash of flavor.
6. Faux Pickling. After trying Bubbie’s Pickles, I felt inspired to make my own this summer. I’ve never been a big fan of pickles, but the flavor of these bad boys is incredible! After finishing a jar all by myself (I probably shouldn’t admit that) I felt like it would be a sin to throw away the rest of the “pickle juice” that was filling the large glass jar, so I used it to pickle cauliflower & fresh asparagus from the farmers market. I guess I was feeling bold, because after letting the vegetables swim around in the pickle juice for about a week, I made Quick Braised Bok Choy with Pickled Vegetable Quinoa. Unusual, yes, but I’m sure you aren’t surprised.
7. Berry Crumbles. Rhubarb Black Raspberry, Blueberry, Strawberry Rhubarb & Cherry Black Raspberry… Many combinations, all nectarous yet savory & I think I’ve tried them all! My favorite was the Rhubarb Black Raspberry but I’ll give variations on the recipe page. Crumbles are a dessert meant for a summery spring evening & are just as delightful cold, the next day.
8. Homemade Fish Tacos. Shann makes the BEST fish tacos I’ve ever had. These deep-fried-corn tortilla packages of cod, white onion & sweet chipotle cabbage slaw are irresistible. I’ll put the recipe up when I get some pictures.
My summer has finally begun & I am excited to delve farther into some uncharted territory in the kitchen. The garden is lustrous & green, the hens are happy in their coop & I am patiently awaiting the first tomato to blush at the chivalry of the handsome heat.