Saturday, June 19, 2010


I've been cooking, but not writing, so here is some catch-up (not ketchup).

I am not sure I have ever had sorrel soup before, let alone made it, which seemed incentive enough to try. We had some crossed wires, though, and ended up with not nearly enough sorrel for a decent sized pot. Fortunately for me, there were only two of us. The sorrel cooked quickly to almost nothing, and we ended up with barely two cups. I'm not sure I would make this soup again. It was very strong. To accompany it, I fixed a pot of penne pasta, to which I added roasted cauliflower and chopped walnuts. I also made a mistake here -- I wasn't thinking when I was marketing and bought the house brand of Parmesan, which is not nearly as flavorful as the type that is properly made and aged. All in all, this was a very pretty meal -- and not much more.

One of the better meals I made, and very simple, was grouper. I prepared the sauce in advance by skinning a tomato and adding capers, balsamic, and herbs. This was an excellent, pungent sauce and very easy to make. I cooked the fish on the stove top, with lots of butter, then ladled the topping over it after it had finished cooking. For a side dish, I again turned to the penne, mixing in three types of mushrooms. Oh my gosh. I have to make this one again.

I was itching to do something with hamburgers. I had read the best way is to grind your own meat in a food processor, but Darien gave me a Look, so I backed off. Instead, I just mixed in to the patties some Dijon mustard with cognac and chives. I also read that the meat should not be too lean; the fat enhances the flavor as it grills and helps to prevent the burgers from drying out. As a side dish, I made a bow tie pasta salad with grilled asparagus and red peppers. Both of these dishes turned out well. I can't say as much for the pear dessert I prepared. I simmered the pears in sugar and butter. They were supposed to caramelize, but they cooked a lot faster than I anticipated and the mixture burned. I placed them on puff pastry and topped with whipped cream and sour cream -- which sounds odd, but actually worked. Some of the Speckled Bird got in on the food action, so we had entertainment as well.

My latest effort was a berry pie. This is berry season, and we have been getting bushels from our community share. Antonia came over and directed, while I more or less implemented. Tart cherries, along with both red and black raspberries, was the call of the day. Antonia let them sit in a sugar and port sauce while I made the crust. I followed Julia Child's instruction to get my fingers into the dough. It was like making mud pies. The result was not pretty, but tasty. We drained the berries and boiled the juice down to pour over the pie after it came out of the oven. The pie baked for a full hour and a half. I have to say, I'm sorry I had to share this one. It was berry, berry good.