Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Late Summer Eating Chez Pollard

Despite what most of my posts would have you think, I do consider this a food blog. And since right now happens to be the best season for local food, I've been doing a lot of cooking - and even some photographing.

Like last week, when I decided to make the most of my CSA vegetables, making Gourmet's zucchini, corn and basil fusilli with bacon. Gourmet, oddly enough, suggested using store-bought pesto, which I replaced with this simple recipe.

The pasta recipe was included in a recent Gourmet email, in a paragraph about "sexy" zucchini recipes. Was it sexy? Ummm...well, it did have bacon in it. And the corn adds a nice sweet element. The pesto was fantastic (especially after I doubled the garlic).

Unfortunately, zucchini is boring. But a least it's healthy, and the meal was easy: Last Saturday, we decided to kick it up a little bit, celebrating Julia Child's birthday in style with Kyle, Jen and Bill. That meant trying to have a sit-down dinner with three little kids in the house. It almost worked. Here's the table before dinner + kids wreaked havoc: To start, we drank Spice & Ice cocktails (perfect for summer - like a spicy margarita) and ate a few simple hors d'oeuvres, including smoked hummus from Neopol, pickled garlic scapes from the Heron Hill gift shop, and grissini smothered in truffle butter and wrapped in proscuitto (from Ceriello). Everything was good, but the breadsticks (and especially the proscuitto) were excellent: Before dinner, we also sampled Mary's family's red wine. Her family, which has a farm near Pittsburgh, makes both red and white wine, and we'd heard a lot about both. Namely, that they make better sangria than anything else. As a result, I was pleasantly surprised when a nose full of Welch's turned into a not-that-terrible taste.

When we sat down, we started with a chilled cucumber and yogurt soup that's heavily flavored by pureed pepperoncini and their pickling juice (plus dill). It was refreshing and really quite tasty (though Bill wasn't a fan): At that point, dinner really kicked off, and I stopped remembering to take photos. We followed the soup with a gorgeous heirloom salad that was everything I love about late August produce, roast chicken with herbes de Provence in an homage to Julia Child, and a trio of cheeses from Atwater's. For dessert, we had homemade marscarpone ice cream (not nearly as difficult to make as I'd expected!) topped with roast peaches in a honey-rosemary sauce. It was perfect (though more perfect on Friday, when I made it, then on Saturday, when it was served).

After slacking off and ordering pizza Sunday night (I was working!) I headed back into the kitchen yesterday to make use of the pile of tomatoes we've amassed. The ones in our yard haven't even ripened, but we've been the lucky recipients of tons of gorgeous tomatoes from a couple of guys who work with Cooper. In my search for fresh tomato sauce recipes, I came across this Jacques Pepin concoction, onion flan with fresh tomato sauce.

I don't have a food mill, so I did all of my pureeing in a Cuisinart, but I don't think it made a difference. Served with a simple salad of arugula, heart of palm and Sun Gold tomatoes, this made a weeknight dinner that was both delicate and satisfying:The eating doesn't stop here, either. Tonight we go to B&O American Brasserie for dinner and later this week, we leave for Tom and Cail's bachelor and bachelorette parties, which involve pig roasting in Nags Head (for Cooper) and lots of poolside drinks and hot Miami tapas (for me).

Then, back to the grind. Which is OK, especially when the grind involves such fabulous produce.


Kate said...

Wow, that is quite the meal! Your photos are fantastic and inspiring.

Kit Pollard said...

Thanks, Kate! It was mostly much simpler than I expected it to be, which was nice!

August might be the best-ever month for food in Maryland...


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