Going back to 2008, I have made 10-course extravaganzas for Thanksgiving: balls-out, unfettered freestyling wherein my imagination runs wild and my skills try their best to realize the perfervid visions and tie it all together. They’re all documented here on the blog, including the one that won me a trip to France. I have enjoyed cooking every one of them. But this year I wasn’t feeling it, so I took it easy. No manic list-making, no frantic days of prep beforehand, no careful curation of the trajectory from course to course. I bought a goose, and I used the homegrown produce on hand to round it out into a meal.
This summer, a farmer I know had a box of these little plums on sale. They made for good fresh eating, but their size and rusty purple color made me think instantly of umeboshi. They’re not the same fruit—ume plums are more like apricots, and are picked yellow-green and not fully ripe—but I figured it would be worth giving them the same treatment.
Just a quick note to mention that my piece about the process behind the opening of Fish & Game for Edible Manhattan, a revised version of the one I wrote for Edible Hudson Valley, is featured in Best Food Writing 2013. It’s gratifying to see my name alongside those up there on the top, as well as many others inside. I look forward to reading through it once my copy arrives.
Sometimes a meal just comes together, like George Peppard’s plans always did on the A-Team. This almost always happens as a result of careful listening to what the garden, fridge, and pantry have to say. Ignore them at your peril.
After a sublimely warm and clear September, October’s colder and wetter demeanor imparted an urgency to my hitherto lackluster gleaning in the garden. It’s nice again now, but in my tizzy of frantic autumnal gathering I did manage to get a fair amount of food harvested and arrayed on various surfaces to dry out for storage.
For the October Chronogram, I wrote about the nuns at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut and the cheeses they make. It’s a remarkable community that produces great artisanal cheese, especially their Bethlehem, which I had the pleasure of eating yesterday; Mother Noella gave me a whole wheel to take home on the condition that I waited a few weeks until it was mature before eating it. I brought it with me on the residency I’m currently doing, and we all demolished it with great enthusiasm last night before and during dinner.
I took the pictures, too; see another one I’m fond of after the jump and be sure to click the shots in the article to embiggen them.
I was taking pictures at Fish & Game on Sunday, and they had a giant puffball in the kitchen that they were running as a bar snack: brushed with olive oil, grilled, and served with lamb sausage and a scallion-chili salad. Zak gave me a couple of slices to take home, because as I ate one of the soft, slick slices it occurred to me that the mushroom could out-wonder Wonder bread as a grilled cheese substrate.
I do so love these late summer days: warm enough to frolic, cool enough to actually cook food in the evening. And the garden is banging right now, despite June’s woodchuck invasion and the powdery mildew and squirrels, which between them devastated all of the cucurbits. The mildew killed the cucumbers and zucchini, and the miserable rodents nibbled a little bit of each winter squash so they all rotted. Their thick, waxy skins make squash impervious to the wet ground, but once punctured they turn to much in no time. How dumb does an animal have to be to see a squash, say “I wonder if that’s good to eat?” and take a bite, decide that it is not in fact good to eat, and then see another, identical squash, say “I wonder if that’s good to eat?” and take a bite, decide that it is not in fact good to eat, then see another, identical squash, say “I wonder if that’s good to eat?” and take a bite, decide that it is not in fact good to eat, and so on until they’re all ruined. I’m getting an air rifle.
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.