Roasted pheasant stuffed with wild rice served with pomegranate and persimmon sauce makes a flavorful winter dish.
It seems like in every movie set in Italy, inevitably one of the characters will end up being seduced by one of those famous Italian delectable frozen treats: a granita or gelato. In “Under the Tuscan Sun” a character that Diane Lane plays runs into a blonde bombshell walking along a cobblestone market street, consuming a gelato as if she were making love to one of those muscular hunky descendents of Roman gods. On a hot summer day, there’s nothing more satisfying than diving into a scoop of icy granita. And if you’ve got an ice-cream maker they’re simple to make and the lack of cream means that they’ll freeze quickly. And on a hot summer day, there’s nothing more quenching than watermelon or cantaloupe. In Oregon, we count the days until the watermelon and cantaloupe start arriving from Hermiston. Hermiston watermelon and cantaloupe granita are a perfect way to quench your thirst as well as douse that summer heat.
Cheeses and fruit, especially pears and apples, are natural companions, so deciding on a grilled cheese sandwich was easy. Vic was pressuring me to make one of my turkey dip sandwiches, but I wanted something different to pair with the meat. After a brief gestation period I decided on a sandwich filled with Willamette Valley Cheese’s aged cheddar, roasted pear slices and thinly sliced smoked turkey breast. Making a savory and sweet dipping sauce was just a matter of experimentation in a saucepan on the stovetop.
Back home in the good ol’ US of A, we have our own ways of grazing through the 4th of July. Inevitably, most celebrations will be outdoors and around some sort of grill, as it should be. Hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled meat and chicken, barbecue, potato salad, cole slaw, deviled eggs, ice cream, strawberries, blueberries, baked beans, oysters, lobster, crab, to name more than a few likely table-toppers, depending on where you celebrate.
Fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew remind me of summer. Making aguas frescas from these fruit is a delightful way to enjoy them. Add it to vodka in a cocktail shaker full of ice and voila — you’ve got a great martini!
Vic gave me a copy of The Tra Vigne Cookbook from the Napa Valley restaurant of the same name some years ago. Two recipes captured me immediately — Forever Roasted Pork, and Mozzarella Martinis. The pork recipe can be made any time of the year, but the Mozzarella Martinis are best left to when the very best vine-ripened tomatoes are available. Check back in late summer for Mozzarella Martinis — they’re not what you think.
When I came across a recipe for Sole Piccata with Grapes and Capers in Bon Appétit, I knew I had to try it. It was one of those “Holy capers Batman, this dish goes super kapow!” recipes. The grapes added a bold dimension without overpowering the lemon and capers but stood next to them equal in flavor. This is a weeknight dish that you can have on the table in a reasonably short time and can be dressed up for company if you don’t mind cooking at the last minute.
When we have dinner parties and cook Thai food for company, our guests usually ask the names of the dishes they’re enjoying. Sometimes things just don’t translate well into English! Sometimes you need a censor at our dinner table. Most of the time you just need a sense of humor. Charles usually will sit there […]
“Tonight: Pinot Noir Braised Duck Legs with Roasted Pears and Onions” I wrote in my status quote on Facebook. Friends as far away as Texas declared they could be here by dinner time. Jane Owen, oboist with the Fort Worth Symphony and frequent spokesperson for the duck in Peter and the Wolf, sounded ready to make the trek if only her orchestra schedule would allow. Gail Cook, arts aficionado and book reviewer, was nursing an injured foot and requested special pampering in the form of room service. Would that I could! Alas, in the next few hours 23 commentators had joined the trail.