Last week we got a whole bag of cute little ciopollini onions from Eatwell Farm, so I'll be taking the long road and slow cooking them (on the stove) into Canal House Cooking's version of French Onion Soup, from volume #3 p. 40. Alongside will be my second favorite salad in the world, their Mock Cesar, from the same book, p. 35. Luckily I have some old bread going stale in the fridge to make into garlicky croutons to crush and sprinkle on top.
This is another tweeted recipe from my buddies @CHOW. I made this for lunch, with Eatwell Farm's radishes, romaine, parsley and chickpeas, but it could be for dinner, maybe with black beans instead. Not only is it easy and tasty, but extra nice for people like me who don't particularly enjoy following directions, because it comes in 140 characters or less.
This year I made my desires for Mother's Day known well in advance: no gifts, just a day at home in the garden and a big dinner, cooked as a family. It was delicious, and I got gifts anyway - three of Andy Goldsworthy's books, much loved by my kids after we watched his Rivers and Tides together a week or two back.
I've been struggling with pan frying cakes and patties of all varieties for a long time now. They never turn out right - sometimes they stick, sometimes they fall apart, sometimes they burn to a crisp. But tonight I asked my husband for advice, knowing that he has a tendency to remember everything he reads (but nothing I say) and that he read Russ Parson's How to Read a French Fry a thousand years ago when it first came out. Parson's book is all about kitchen science, and I seem to remember it deals with sticky patties.
The week we left San Francisco for Tucson, this summer's volume of Canal House Cooking arrived with the mail. You may already know this, but Canal House is my new favorite thing. Besides Nigel Slater, of course. I love its irreverence toward normal day to day life - for those at the Canal House, everything revolves around food. I also love its quick vignettes: trout from a friend of a friend fishing outside the window, a whole essay on why their pal likes to get a buzz on and a few words about Patricia Curtan (illustrator of Chez Panisse Vegetables) and her apricot jam.
I finally figured out, after making a wrong turn on my way home from Berkeley last week, how to find Golden Gate Fields. This is where my friend Geoff, from the Edible School Yard, sent me to remedy my compost problems. My compost has been neglected for weeks now, growing slimy, stinky, and buggy, after running out of its only source of "browns" - a season's worth of dropped leaves from our ancient apple tree.
To come clean, lemon chicken salad makes our dinner sound more special than it actually was. Ina Garten's recipe in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook calls for grilled lemon chicken, which I'm sure is delicious, but was just not in the cards tonight. I used the remainder of our roast chicken from earlier this week, and while slicing it up, marinating it and then cooking it again on the grill was enticing, it was also too ridiculous.
Today was a near perfect spring day - fitting, since May Day was this past Saturday. We had no plans this morning, which allowed me to tidy the kitchen to near acceptable standards of cleanliness, something it hasn't achieved since early two thousand six. There was only one timeout for the kids while I swept and rinsed and scrubbed and sorted, they were largely good on their own, playing "camping" in the sunny living room by redesigning the sofa into a tent complete with special secret agent devices.