Daily Archives: August 28, 2007

August and everything after

Japanese Yellow

August is mad at me. It’s given me tomatoes, so many tomatoes, and celery and peppers and new potatoes and big, crowded farmers’ markets, and I can’t help but feel that I’m abusing the produce. I have produce abuse guilt.

Green Zebra

I’m not smashing it or anything, I’m cooking with it, playing with my food instead of just eating it.

This is the time of year when I should be letting the ground guide me. But instead of taking cues from the stuff that lands on my counter, eating the same simple dishes day after day (potatoes roasted with sea salt, raw zucchini with lemon and garlic, simple carrot salads), I’m making August’s bounty a victim of hogwash, cornering it into new, more creative recipes when the ingredients should star as themselves, plain on a plate. I’m driving myself crazy.

I’ve made a tomato line-up on my counter with the fruits of my neighbor’s labors. Which one of you did this to me?, I’ve asked. In December, when I decided to write a recipe a day, which one of you forgot to remind me how little food needs to be changed in August? They’re not talking.

Red Zebra

Why do I feel like I’m having a hard time explaining this?

Please forgive me, if you’ve noticed. I do respect my produce, and hereby promise to use what’s bountiful in the simplest of ways next year, when this silly project is over. Next August will be for eating, not recipe writing. And these here tomatoes will not be unnecessarily harmed. Tonight I’ll set this line-up out on the porch on a cutting board, and we’ll have Tomato Tuesday, like we used to do every week on Cape Cod this time of year. We’ll dip them into good olive oil, shower them with salt, and shove fat new slices into our mouths with oily fingers before we’ve finished chewing the last bite. There will be Session stubbies (Session is the official beer of the summer of 2007 at our house), and much discussion about house painting tactics. We’ve been prepping during the evenings this week, and we’ll be starting for real on Friday night. Labor Day weekend, don’t you think it’s fitting?

Here’s how the voting was going, by the way, as of yesterday morning:

House Votes 2

Overseas leads, by a small margin, and with much commentary. Or so I thought; the tomato neighbor just called to tell me there’s been a rush on French Riviera, but I haven’t been outside yet to check.

C’mon over and say hi. Or sit on your own porch, with good heirloom tomatoes, if you’re lucky enough to have them, and appreciate how easy it is to eat in August. Soon it will be September. Then October, and August will be gone, and the farmers’ markets will be filled with things that need to be skinned and cracked, cut and cooked, somehow changed before ingestion.

And then I’ll feel really guilty.

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Filed under commentary, farmer's market

School year breakfast

After a bike ride last Saturday I had a most enjoyable form of oatmeal, at Rembrandts. It was spiked with wheat berries and steel-cut oats, spiced with cloves and nutmeg, and topped with sliced bananas and a truly obscene amount of whipped cream. This morning, thinking of my sister, who just started her last year of high school, and of the cool, crisp, fall air blowing in through our front door, I craved oatmeal.

Spiced Quinoa Oatmeal with Figs and Cream 2

Spiced Quinoa Oatmeal with Figs and Cream (PDF)
Recipe 240 of 365

Although both quinoa and oatmeal can be a little boring by themselves, combining them with fall spices, figs, and a touch of sugar makes for a breakfast with good texture, crunch, and flavor. Use regular or red quinoa, and feel free to substitute peaches, nectarines, berries, or bananas for the figs.

TIME: 15 minutes
MAKES: 2 servings

2 cups water
2 tablespoons uncooked quinoa
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup uncooked whole oats
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 packed tablespoon brown sugar (or to taste)
4 small figs, sliced
1/2 cup whipped cream (sweetened or unsweetened)

Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the quinoa and salt, and boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the oats, cover, and simmer for 5 more minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat, and stir in the spices and sugar. Serve the oatmeal in bowls, topped with the fig slices and cream.

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Filed under Breakfast, fruit, recipe