Sunday, August 31, 2008

Labor Day

Here is another very simple dinner from the Market. Grilled shish-ka-bob from Hannewald Lamb. I added some mild chili peppers, also from the Market to the skewers.

Marinate the lamb in olive oil and lemon juice. You can substitute balsamic vinegar for a different taste, or soy sauce for an oriental flavor. A hot oil or chillies in the marinade would be a central Asian variant.

Friday, August 29, 2008

End of August - Hotel Ozone

Following the theme of the simple Pizza I will present some more of the simple foods that I associate with the harvest season.

One is grilled eggplant. The goal is simply to grill the eggplant until it is soft without burning it or having it stick to the grill. This doesn't require a recipe but it may take a few tries to get it just right.

Start with small eggplants 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide. As small as you can conveniently cook without having them falling through the grill. I like the white and purple ones, like these from Tom Rumple. It is a lot easier to see the color change of the skin of these as they cook than it is on pure purple ones.

Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and place the cut surface in a pan of olive oil and lemon juice for about 1/2 hour. I use about 2 parts oil and 1 part lemon juice. The ratio is not important and you can use oil only. The eggplant will absorb the oil, reduce the tendency to stick to the grill, and increase the heat transfer. The lemon juice reduces the amount of oil absorbed and reduces flame up on the grill.

Place on a moderate to low temperature oiled grill, cut side down. The ability to close the grill cover to stop any flame up is helpful, but you can start cooking at the grill edge and then move them to the center. Cook and time the cooking until the eggplants look done but not burned. It will only be 3 to 5 minutes, flip and cook on the reverse side for about the same time, maybe a minute less.

Eat them!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pizza from the August Market

Many years ago when I attended a conference in Naples I bought pizza from a vendor near the harbor. I was surprised at how simple and how good the pizza seemed compared to a typical US pizza of that time. Maybe it was just the location, but I have enjoyed making and eating simple pizza ever since.

Here is our variation of a simple pizza from the Market produce with a little help from the neighboring stores.

             Cherry Tomatoes - Carpenter Organic Produce
             Mozzarella Cheese - Zingerman's Creamery
             Kalamata Olives - Peoples Food Co-op
             Rosemary - Deloras Gracia
             Olive Oil - Sparrows Market

Baking the pizza strongly concentrates the flavor and sugar of the small tomatoes. The rosemary produces a very aromatic pizza, oregano would be more traditional, and basil an interesting alternative.

The hardest part of making the pizza is making the crust. Mill pond bakery used to bring pizza dough to the market. Perhaps if we start asking them for it they will resume bringing it and even place a sign when they have it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

August at the Market

August is the beginning of the Fall Harvest Season. Perhaps the best time at the Market. Corn and tomatoes are plentiful. The early squash are in.

But best of all is the beginning of the fall fruit. Apricots are one of my favorites. Fresh peaches may be nicer for immediate consumption, but apricots make a better pie.