What’s been cooking?

Not much, to be honest. Even though my days at the Press are over, I spend most of my free time in the mornings at the library browsing cookbooks or other food literature, getting some form of exercise, and willing myself to start hammering out the details of my move. And I’m finally about caught up on the sleep I’ve been missing for the past couple months. I continue working at the restaurant, where I invariably learn something new every day, whether it’s a new tuber or cheese on the menu or a new method of cooking the proteins or yet another point about service I had not considered. I’ll wax about that whole experience in a separate post sometime soon.

L and I did head up to Maine for the 4th of July weekend to spend a couple days with my friend C and her fiance (congrats you two!), his family, and a couple of C’s other friends. The fiance’s family has a beach cottage along the coast about 4 hours from Boston. I was very happy for the opportunity to escape the city for the holiday weekend. We splashed around in the ocean, soaked in some of the beautiful views, showed lots of love to the family’s two dogs, and, of course, had us a feast of lobster!

Sprite, Pimm’s, fresh fruit and cucumber:

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Lobster and things. As you can see, one lobster per person is the only way to do it:

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This was the first time I killed a lobster. I ended up dunking 5 or 6 of them that night, giving the last one a ceremonial goodbye kiss. None of them put up much of a fight, and honestly I didn’t really give much thought to ending their lives. I didn’t feel any moral resistance fermenting within me, just the happy anticipation of a delicious meal. If they squealed or gave me puppy-dog eyes, that might have been a different story.

I’ve also been eating A LOT of watermelon. It’s L’s favorite summertime food and I’ve recently discovered in earnest how delicious watermelon paired with cheese can be. I know the combination of watermelon and feta gets a lot of love (with some mint for an herbaceous note). But watermelon and goat cheese makes for an equally interesting mouthful (Prof B first mentioned this version to me a couple weeks ago, and L and I had a watermelon-goat cheese salad yesterday at Sel de la Terre). Last week I also experimented to great success with watermelon, basil, and mozzarella (I labeled it a faux caprese salad for obvious reasons). I dressed everything with olive oil, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice. The basil really stood out to me, providing a crucial counterpoint to the fruit’s sweetness, as did the prudent last-minute squeeze of lemon juice. I did a little mental jig when I tasted the finished product. As I’m not the biggest fan of raw tomato (though I may be one of the biggest fans of it cooked), I’m very happy to have thought this variation up, so I can still get my fix of mozzarella. Perhaps it will offend some caprese purists, but I for one am treating this salad as my go-to meal of the summer. I think it stands for a lot of what I see (or at least want) my cooking to be about: interesting and inspired, full of personal meaning, accessible yet unexpected flavor combinations, ingredient-driven cooking, and flat-out delicious food.

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