Food


TRR photos by Jude Waterston

Butternut squash, kohlrabi and red cabbage

A Greek in the woods

I answered the phone to hear a man speaking loudly, not in an angry way, more excited with anticipation. I had trouble understanding him, his accent heavy and exotic, then heard the words, “Zenon Taverna” and realized he had first said, “It’s Stelios.” Then I knew who he was.


Tomatoes laid out before baking

Love apples

I sometimes measure the success of my summer by the number of tomato sandwiches I eat. Few things capture the essence of the season better. (Except perhaps a white peach. Or grilled, buttered corn. Or fresh blackberries with cream.) A really good tomato is like a vivid, voluptuous expression of the sun.


TRR photos by Jude Waterston

Raw tomato, basil and mozzarella sauce for pasta

The tomato ceremony

If you are an antsy person, as I am, the wait for the annual planting season can seem interminable. Where we live in Sullivan County, one generally doesn’t put trowel to earth until the first week in June for fear that a stray frost may unexpectedly hit and kill your newly planted herbs and vegetables.


Chicken fricasee with tiny meatballs

Bella

My sister-in-law was visiting, and I brought her up to my bedroom to show her some changes I’d made to the décor. After she’d admired my new acquisitions, she looked down at an old wooden child’s chair on which sat a large, gangly stuffed animal, a monkey. She made a disparaging comment. “That’s Bananas,” I said defensively.


Photos by Randazzo Blau

​Lovage

All you need is lovage

Among the first plants to flourish in my garden come spring is lovage (Levisticum officinale). Known to the French as céleri bâtarde, “fake celery,” this stalk-less leafy herb does have a very similar green, slightly salty flavor with a pleasant hint of bitter.


TRR photos by Jude Waterston
Cooking lamb ragu with peppers

Looking good

You have undoubtedly heard the phrase “you eat with your eyes.” To a great extent, this is true. Otherwise, cooks and chefs alike would disband with plating and garnishing food in an appetizing way. On the other hand, some have such an avid following they don’t bother with appearances.

A one-of-a-kind pastrami soup

Last month, husband Stephen came to me and suggested that we try to make pastrami.

Pastrami is a beef brisket that is brined (for 10 days!), then crusted with spices, smoked to 150°, and then steamed to 203°. When he described it to me, it seemed like an enormous amount of work, and it also seemed like an enormous amount of fun.

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