A new look at cooking and home decorating...with an attempt to add more greens to the plate, more vegetarian options & hopefully lots of new ideas to explore

Monday, August 6, 2007

A challenge for the week

I wandered around my small garden yesterday and was quite happy. My heirloom tomatoes are starting to look nice and the chili plants are flourishing. I’m thinking about what to make once they ripen. Heirloom tomato salad, heirloom tomato salsa, I’m not sure what to try but I have some time to think about it.

Heirloom tomatoes are beautiful in color. Some are variegated green, some deep ruby, almost purple, some yellow, orange and red tones. I hate to cook them to long because the bright colors of the fresh tomatoes are so beautiful. One summer a few years ago, I made the mistake of trying to keep them for winter by turning them into a sauce and freezing them. The sauce wasn’t bad in taste, but the beautiful rainbow of color was gone. Mine are not ready yet though; I have a few more weeks to decide their fate. If you don’t grow tomatoes, you will still find Heirlooms in many general supermarkets around this time of the year. I couldn’t believe how many places carried them last year. Heirloom tomatoes seem to have become mainstream produce.

Zucchini flowers are not as common. Having learned this the hard way, I will have to remember to plant a few zucchini plants next year. I want to make stuffed zucchini flowers, but cannot find the flowers for sale, even in the most upscale markets. Shame on me. I was lazy and should have planted some with my tomatoes. My regret of summer, no ricotta stuffed, deep-fried zucchini flowers.

This week I read an interesting article in Gourmet magazine. O.K. I admit the article was from the February issue of 2007 and I’m just getting to read it now. I’ve been busy, give me a break.- The article, Pot of Gold, was about a beautiful Le Cruset Dutch oven and how it inspired author Jane Smiley to make a variety of meals from one pot of Soupe a l’oignon, done the Julia Child way. I own a few Le Cruset items and they are expensive, but an absolute joy to cook with. What amazed me was the way the author took one initial dish, and inspired by her beautiful cookware, transformed the leftovers from the first recipe to make a variety of meals for the week. Brilliant idea. I’ll have to try it myself.

Reading up on wine has also become a recent obsession. I love to drink wine but rattling off names and vintages has never been for me. Rather, my new interest is in finding and stocking up on $20 and under wines. Yes, I know, it’s a bit weird that someone who is willing to spend lot of money on French cookware is infatuated with less expensive wines. What can I say, sometimes it fun to find a good bargain.

My challenge for the week for you is this, can you find a Julia Child recipe and cook it? Can you find a nice wine under $20 to go with the dish?

Let me know how it goes…

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