Monday, July 26, 2010

Ugly Tomato

It's the holy grail of summertime food. That first ripe for-real tomato.
We talk about them and in fits of foodie rage we try pretty red specimens over and over from January to July. Always ending up disappointed with that metallic-acidic hothouse impostor.

I've been so busy but I made it to my local Farmer's Market a few weeks ago and stumbled on a red beauty and grabbed it up as though I hadn't had one in .. oh... say A YEAR... I brought that baby home and..... forgot about it. Shame!

I was sitting at work days (many days) later and I remembered that tomato and hung my head when I came to realize that even if I did locate it. I'd probably refrigerated it (unforgivable) and it was too far past its prime to be called my "first real summer tomato".
What is the matter with me?!

Then, last Tuesday night I went out sailing with my friends. I had stuffed some bratwurst and sauerkraut and a few hoagie rolls into my insulated bag to call dinner. As we started preparing dinner my friend pulled out this beauty (which is actually named Ugly) and I had catch my breath briefly.

Then by some miracle I found good sense and grabbed my phone for a picture. That was the most beautiful Ugly tomato I think I've ever seen.

When tomatoes are in season and you can get your hands on a real one. Not the hothouse impostors - Celebrate the occasion with a lovely Panzanela Salad or a spicy bowl of Gazpacho. Or a shaker of salt and a movie.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My Friend the Camera

I used to be almost religious about keeping my camera on my person at all times. For years! Then, it seems like it happened almost as fast as my life transition of recent. The battery ran down on the camera and I didn’t bother trying to find which box I’d packed the charger in.

Finally, I didn’t put the camera back in my purse.

Then, ever so slowly the habit of snapping a picture of something breathtaking (usually food) slowly faded out.

There was that inner voice that I have skillfully learned to tune out. The guilty whisper….”Hey, this might be something special! Why don’t you grab your camera?” I pretended not to hear.

Now I’m just mad at myself. I have been letting life's pictures pass me by. I should have taken a picture of that flaming cheese in the Greek restaurant last Sunday when we all shouted “OPA” in unison. Unfortunately it was just another afterthought.

I did have my camera with me a few weeks ago when I was walking through the kitchen and a young culinary student was working on these.

I couldn’t help myself. I moved in close and whispered reverently. Those are stunning! What are they made of? "Cracker dough", the student answered without looking up from his skillful maneuvering of the small very sharp knife. He was preparing for a national competition.

He left on a plane this morning with several other talented culinary students and I’ve been thinking about those kids off and on all day. I was so thankful that I had taken this picture to help seal those incredible cracker dough feathers in my mind.

I’m sending positive thoughts in the direction of those kids. And I’m packing my camera back into my purse.

Just as I was about to post this entry I received an email from a friend. The first line said, “A death certificate shows that we died…. Pictures show that we lived!”…

Sometimes timing is everything.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Personal Hurricane

You know how you put off something until tomorrow and tomorrow runs into next week and finally next month and you are no longer putting it off but running from it and the “it” becomes epic? Well, that’s what happened with this blog. Epic I tell you!

I tried to shut my eyes tight and pretend that I had actually posted since November. I have a pretty colorful imagination but even I couldn’t convince myself.

December was pretty busy. Really. I had quite a few catering jobs because of the holidays. I was house sitting and enjoying an extended visit with some dear friends up north. Then all of the sudden (have I mentioned epic yet?) I had a personal hurricane.

I had a series of events that started on December 5th and ended on the 31st. That’s right, happy New Year! I found out about a job that was a perfect fit for me. I applied, interviewed and got the job. I know! SHUT UP!

As soon as I got the job (and here the term “as soon as” means literally within hours) I was moving into a new home. Well, really it’s an old home. A place I used to live. If I wasn’t telling this story I wouldn’t believe it myself.

But I am telling it and it’s all true. Since I made that shepherd’s pie I’ve moved and started a new job! We’ve had a couple of Sunday dinners since that last posting. I’ve actually whipped up some pretty impressive stuff.

However, what I’m telling you about now is this:

That’s right. Lean Cuisine. That’s what life is about right now. Cardboard boxes and Lean Cuisine and being able to clearly see the light bulb in the back of my refrigerator. Time to start collecting condiments!

Lean Cuisine does NOT define me. But it does sustain me when I’m exhausted and searching through poorly labeled boxes for a fork to call my own.

I’ll be back. I will. I’m sorry I haven’t taken the time to tell this story until now. Like Betty Davis I was pining for a dramatic entry.

Bon Apetit!