Thursday, June 29, 2006
summer in the kitchen
Summertime cooking is unique. There's more time than during the school year, and so you're free to plan menus that aren't usually practical in terms of time or effort. There's time to peel 30 shallots and blend them with a food processor into tan, pink, and red spice pastes, a process that stinks up the kitchen beyond belief and sends you running to open the windows wider and turn the fan up -- air-conditioning would only send the same pungent air circulating around and around the apartment. Being free in the middle of the day lets you drive up to the enormous grocery store uptown when it's not packed with people just coming off work; this particular store keeps its meat and dairy products in a giant refrigerated room, so you can walk in and get a blast of 45 degree air that starts you shivering. It lets you try out weird vegetables like chayote, which, I discovered yesterday, tastes like grass when raw and like cabbage crossed with cucumber when cooked. And you're free to snack on the leftovers at will, unbound to an eating schedule -- 2 meals a day plus snacking is pretty standard for me in summer. Today I'm hoping to buy some fresh vegetables from a small farmer's market nearby, and make some non-spicy food for a change.