Saturday, May 28, 2011

Good Food

It's Memorial Day weekend, and the season of several (video) movies a week is officially over and the season of cooking has begun. Also, feel free to wear white pants and shoes after Monday.

After working today on The Art of The Saint John's Bible, volume 3, getting some kind of take on what Chronicles, Esther and 1 and 2 Maccabees are all about, I found myself thinking, now what?

I got out the hammock, which was dirty and needed its annual bleach treatment, and then was too wet to lie in and read. So the answer was obvious: COOK!

Tomorrow we have a birthday party to attend, and the instructions on the invitation were to bring an hoers d'oeuvre. For me, that meant making cheese, and I'm thinking Triscuits with homemade spreadable cheese and radishes from the garden.

Also, I hadn't yet made rhubarb bars, so I got going on a pan of those. The rhubarb had lots of really red stalks, which is unusual, and the bars turned out particularly pretty.

Then I turned my attention to dinner. I do understand why people love Deborah Madison. In my book-buying frenzy I picked up Local Flavors, her book that follows farmers' markets and offers recipes for the seasonal produce found there. Someone had left a bag of collard greens on my counter last week (I'm thinking it was my sister-in-law Annie, so I paid her back by planting 3 of my pepper plants in her garden this morning). I picked the leaves from the kale in my window box and had a good amount of greens. Deborah Madison suggests cooking them with bacon, garlic, diced potatoes, onion and red pepper flakes. That's it. Salt and pepper. No other spices, no red wine vinegar, nothing to add flavor. And they were phenomenally good. We ate them with some grilled pork with barbecue sauce and there are no leftovers. A little half-price Chianti from the wine sale and we figure the whole dinner for two was about $14.00.  (And really, it should have served four.)

One of my favorite dishes is from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. It doesn't have a fancy name, and is basically garbanzo beans, potatoes, onions and tomatoes. Again, a little red pepper. It is incredibly flavorful and feels good to eat. After I brought it to a pot luck, one woman went out and bought the book.

All in all, it was a great day. And there's still time for a movie. We have Blue Valentine from Netflix.

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