06 September 2016

A push

And with a snap, all things summer get stored in the memory...
Increasingly beautiful sunsets.
Air, mountains, grass, oceans (for us urbanites)
Low-power A.C. : ( (good riddance)
As I write, a powerful breeze, slightly tropical, gusts through the living room window, announcing its entrance.

It will be four years in this space next month. In my kitchen, this summer, I got extra counter space--a seemingly simple thing that now seems inconceivable was never here. 

One night, early-June, a few days shy of turning 31, I was talking to Bryan Calvert, chef at James in Brooklyn. It was a celebration of his cookbook. It was a lively evening, with delicious appetizers and cocktails, and a cookbook so big and pretty it took me weeks to make anything from it (more below..)

"I'm not good at these things," Bryan said. Like most people of his ilk, it was the process he fixated on. Our conversation centered on the home-cook versus the restaurant cook: a topic I am increasingly interested in. Mainly: how we, as home-cooks, approach our choice to cook, with optimization, like restaurant chefs must (which is why I am pouring over this other book).

That evening, arriving home, I saw the mountain of hand-washed dishes and odds and ends I'd left out on the towel mat to dry. Oops, I should have put them away before leaving. I went to do so and with a few swift motions, a pyrex glass had collided with a ramekin, shattered, danced down from the shelf, and I found my front wrist freshly sliced, the glass shards on the floor. Husband to the rescue--simultaneously caring and annoyed: I was tipsy but it hit me: I was not respecting my space enough. The next day,  in the fastest moments I've clocked at Ikea, I bought a kitchen cart. 

Sometimes you need a push. 

We celebrated our first year of marriage this month. We ate the last of our cake on the clearest day in August, and for dinner I roasted branzino, simply. Jersey Tomatoes, those August gems, with Chef Bryan's treatment-- have made many an appearance. The secret ingredient? Gin. 


notes: bryan uses more tomatoes but I've scaled this down.

one large tomato (preferably heirloom)
sea salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 teaspoon gin
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced shallot

method: core and slice the tomatoes crosswise--so the core is at the center of each slice. place in a shallow bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. add the olive oil, and gin, layer in shallots, and toss gently. Cover and let sit for 20-30 minutes, tossing after 15. Plate tomatoes then top with feta and dill and the juices that have accumulated from the tomatoes.

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