This week R and I are hosting our 2nd Annual St George’s Day party. St George is the patron saint of England, but also one of the more widely known and venerated saints. In Catalonia, St George’s Day (April 23) is celebrated by exchanging books and red roses. As book lovers in constant need of cleaning off the shelves, throwing a springtime book-themed party naturally appeals to us, and thus the St George’s Day party was born (but apparently not written about… oops!)
Because of the timing of Passover and spring breaks, holding the party closer to the actual saint’s day didn’t make sense this year, but in reality the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Due to the repeated polar vortexes, the DC cherry blossoms have been delayed, so that they are expected to peak this week. We’ve already created a few flower cocktails, so adding a cherry blossom cocktail and presenting them together works. We’re also making a more concerted effort at menu planning meaning I’m attempting several new recipes and revamping a few old ones. More details to come!
It may have come to some of your attentions that Apt. 2 has a bit of a book obsession. Actually, ‘bit’ is an understatement. We have 14 bookcases of varying sizes, mostly full, housed in under 1000 sq. ft. (I’m not sure how many books we actually have, but, it’s a lot). Despite the fact that we will run out of space to put any more bookcases sooner rather than later, we continue to read and acquire books (the two, as anyone who is a fan of Nick Hornby, or books, knows, not necessarily being related). As luck would have it, a few of these are food-related – cookbooks, essays, treatises – and we thought we would share the list, to be updated with actual reviews at some point in time. And yes, we do actually read cookbooks thru, on occasion.
- The Apple Lover’s Cookbook
- Ancient Grains
- In Defense of Food
- Make the Bread, Buy the Butter
- Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
- How to Eat
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma
- Secret Ingredients
- Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
- Flavor Thesaurus
- The Pie and Pastry Bible
- The Icecreamists
- Dim Sum
- King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking
- The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion (actually torn between the two King Arthur’s – do I really need both? but I do know whole grain baking is different)
- POLPO: A Venetian Cookbook (of Sorts)
- The Bread Bible
- Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard
- Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch
So…. it’s been a while. First R had the job that ate her life, and now I have (still do, actually). But it is a new year and that means (re)committing to food and writing!
The past several months have held some interesting culinary adventures. First, there was the experiment with protein supplements, and developing gluten free bran muffins for my sister, a personal trainer and fitness competitor. Then there was the 2 week trip to China, which I’ll write about in another post. There’s been the post-China food withdrawal, and attempting to eat everything under the sun with chopsticks (fettucine alfredo defeated me). There’s been several heartaches, including some break-ups, some surgeries, and a death. Most recently there’s been 2 ‘polar vortexes’ with accompanying snow days and thus soup and grilled cheese. Plus the usual work/life imbalance, and it’s been busy, and generally food filled (gotta eat!) but not necessarily cooking filled. But for both R and I, cooking both contributes to the imbalance and helps set it right. We need to eat, but we also need to feed people. When we’re not eating, we’re thinking about eating, or thinking about feeding people, or actually feeding people. We just haven’t been as good about writing about it.
Vine-ripened tomatoes. Beefsteak tomatoes for BLTs, grape/cherry tomatoes for Greek salad, Roma tomatoes for tomates a la creme.
Zucchini. First, squash blossoms deep-fried or on pizza, zucchini sauteed with bacon, grilled zucchini, zucchini bread, zucchini ribbon pasta….
Blueberries. Blueberry muffins, blueberry buckle.
Corn. Confession: I don’t like corn that much, and especially not on the cob (needing to floss immediately afterwards always gets me), but last year I blanched sweet corn, stripped the kernels off the cob, and dried it. At the time, I envisioned chilis and salsa and stew, but now I’m thinking of grinding my own cornmeal and mixing cornbread with whole kernels.
Peaches. Sliced into sangria. Roasted in chipotle olive oil and served in tacos and tarts. Perhaps in ice cream.
This morning’s farmers’ market haul:
- Purple bell peppers
- Squash I don’t even know the name of
- White, yellow and honey peaches
- Roma and cherry tomatoes
- Fresh mozzarella
Lunch became a variation on Vintage Mixer’s Stone-fruit and Burrata Salad:
- White peach
- Last of my second round of homemade bread
- Shenandoah Sunrise Tomme, from Spring Gap Mountain Creamery
- Cherry tomatoes
- Olive oil, salt, pepper to taste