Tomatoes Niçoise

I wrote this piece a couple weeks ago in ode to my favorite fruit then forgot to post it. Now we’re in October and are preparing for the first freeze of the season. If you still have access to good tomatoes, keep reading and consider giving them the careful consideration they’re due. * I went…… Continue reading Tomatoes Niçoise

Once upon a summer salad : Summer chopped salad

I meant to share this recipe last week. You remember last week when the sun was fierce and unrelenting and anything other than a t-shirt felt too hot and cumbersome. Then winter showed up. Now I’m in a sweatshirt and wool socks. This salad is the product of my favorite cooking strategy: opening the fridge…… Continue reading Once upon a summer salad : Summer chopped salad

Rethinking zucchini : Lombrichelli with zucchini and guanciale

I told my friend, Sarah, I was working on a post about my favorite summer pasta dish with squash. “Send it my way,” she said. “Squash is always so drab.” It can be true, particularly with certain varieties of zucchini, whose unusually high water content render them almost flavorless. Water-logged vegetables like zucchini and radishes…… Continue reading Rethinking zucchini : Lombrichelli with zucchini and guanciale

Topping and tailing : Fagioli lessi

“I’m gonna grab an espresso. Any else want one?” Sam’s raises his hand, then continues dragging a giant crate of string beans over to one of the long wooden tables in the cortile. He lifts the crate and dumps them out in front of Cybelle, who is sitting and waiting patiently for us to join…… Continue reading Topping and tailing : Fagioli lessi

Kicking the can : Summer corn, peach, and tomato salad

My family moved to the Chicago suburbs from Wisconsin before I started school. Our house sat in the middle of a cul-de-sac. Almost all of our neighbors had kids around me and my sisters’ ages. We spent the summers playing kick the can and tag football in the street. On Saturdays, my mom went to…… Continue reading Kicking the can : Summer corn, peach, and tomato salad

Sweet and sour : Zucchini in agrodolce

The dog has pancreatitis. The beaches in Chicago are still closed. I sprained my toe three weeks ago and still can’t run on it. The coronavirus continues, leaving in its wake remnants of hope and optimistic spirits. The end is nowhere in sight and despair is never farther than a few breaths away. This week…… Continue reading Sweet and sour : Zucchini in agrodolce

Tomatoes, again : Pan con tomato

When I was a kid, my mother had a couple clusters of garden space situated on the periphery of our giant backyard. Our backyard was a rectangle shape and had two small hills of man-made landscaping on either side. The fence line buttressed the bike path and, behind that, the Metra, a commuter train that…… Continue reading Tomatoes, again : Pan con tomato

To live in the gray : Couscous salad with fresh peas and mint

I got a box of English peas in my CSA last week, my first peas of the year. The skins were firm and taut. They snapped like twigs as we shelled them. Inside were neat rows of perfectly round green orbs the size of pearls, sweet and tender enough to eat straight from the shell.…… Continue reading To live in the gray : Couscous salad with fresh peas and mint

A Puglian Condiment : Trise di verdure in agrodolce

Maria Grazia picks sage leaves and strips thyme stems as she explains her kitchen philosophy to me. “You are born a cook; you do not become one. You have to have it in your blood.” We’re cooking together in her kitchen at Masseria Potenti, a sprawling, stark white farmhouse turned luxury resort, which she runs…… Continue reading A Puglian Condiment : Trise di verdure in agrodolce

The best eggplant : Melanzane al’mattone

I recently discovered a new technique for cooking eggplant courtesy of a Cal Peternell recipe from The New York Times Cooking Web site. Cal was one of the downstairs chefs when I staged at Chez Panisse several summers ago. Chez Panisse is such a special place, and Cal’s cool, even-handed energy seemed to suit the…… Continue reading The best eggplant : Melanzane al’mattone