Pulse Points

A friend gave me some whey left from making the Persian cream cheese that she always has on hand; dilly and sharp, it’s a dreamy dressing for cucumbers. Having that combination in mind, I used it to make a sort of tzatziki, blending in cucumbers, lots of garlic, a bit of yogurt, and enough Ultratex 8 to keep it together as a sauce since it was pretty liquid. Now it sticks to everything, and it’s better than ranch dressing by a long shot.

We had some other friends over the other night, and smoked chickens were on the menu, so I had three smoky carcasses ready for the brothing. I simmered them in the big pot with fennel, onion, carrot and celery from the garden for a couple hours while I did other things far from the stove, then strained it into containers, cooled them in the sink, and put them in the chest freezer. 9 quarts in all. I saved one, though, and cooked up a big batch of lentils with it. More of the same aromatics, plus kale and lots of fresh herbs went in that pot, and once done I let it all cool before adding vinegars, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Serving it just warm with the whey sauce, sungold tomatoes, and borage flowers made for a refreshing departure from the recent barely-cooked summer routine: winter smoky stew techniques slathered with cooling summer sauce. The remainder was even better for lunch today, and there’s still a bit left for tomorrow.

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I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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