In the last few days, New York City has gotten the most delicious nip to its breezes; drier air and clear skies have set in and despite that fact that I maintain that I don’t wish summer to end, it’s not holding up when I hit the Greenmarket and go a little berserk over apples and squash and things that have nothing to do with stone fruit. I’m a sucker for New York in the fall. It always wins.
I am sometimes certain that I wait all year for tomato season, you know, the way a more normal person might be excited for the Giants to get back to the field or eagerly anticipate whatever sleek and minimal trinket Apple has coming out this fall. But for me, it’s just tomatoes. I eat them on eggs, in sandwiches, cooked and raw in every possible format from paste to pasta to chili and seriously, don’t even try to bring me a cream cheese-schmeared bagel without a thin slice of tomato on it. Alex did once and let’s just say, it didn’t go over well. Poor Alex.
Wow, just wow. You sure know how to give a girl performance anxiety! I mean, how do I top a wedding cake? Am I going to have to mill my own flour? (Do you “mill” flour? Should getting the lexicon right be the first step?) Should I buy a cow so I can get the milk for free (oh, how I crack myself up…) and make butter and yogurt and mm, creme fraiche? How will a simple salad keep you interested now?
As soon as the weather gets sweeter outside, I lose all interest in make any elaborate effort in the kitchen. It’s not that I don’t want to make dinner; a girl cannot live on tapas and cocktails at sidewalk restaurants alone, though lord knows I have tried. In the end, I just don’t want to fuss, and with all of the bright, seasonal produce slowly trickling into the markets, there’s no reason to. That’s the real secret of super-fresh food: you don’t need to do a lot to it to make it grand.
I’ve had a minor fixation with Israeli couscous, the larger, more pearl-like variety of couscous, since my first year of graduate school. A friend of one of my housemates who was working as a live-in nanny-slash-cook for a wealthy family in Bethesda, brought over some leftovers from the family’s dinner and what was this? This smattering of white polka dots through a tangle of greens and vegetables? You call it couscous, too? Why has nobody told me about this before!
First I talked about madeleines, and although they’re lovely (though mine were less so), they don’t exactly have a high originality quotient. Then I totally side-stepped my week of non-cooking by throwing some “new feature” at you, and now, well now I’m going to tell you that you can make a salad out of cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. And I know you’ve got to be thinking: you don’t say!
I don’t know if the name for this affliction is procrastination–hey, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least, she says, eyeing the sinkful of last night’s dishes–but when I need to get things done, I have this bad habit of doing them either right-that-very-moment or pretty much never. When I return from a vacation, I either get every single thing out of that suitcase and into its proper closet or hamper within twenty minutes, or it sits on the floor of the bedroom for weeks, as it has since we’ve returned from Charleston. I return a garment I’ve changed my mind about the very next day, or it sits in a bag, as has a certain Banana Republic blouse, for six (cough, eight) months, my husband looking pointedly at it and then back at me often enough that I just downright ignore that too. Once something leaves my short-term memory, it may as well be lost for good, but in recipes at least, today I am on a rescue mission.