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Archive for May 5th, 2012

good, solid food

My long blogging hiatus has been filled with the flow of undocumented life: all of the usual everyday events and the everlasting universe of things. But rather than attempt a “Mont Blanc,” I’d like to be able to write a simple post in my spare moments. We have had many a good meal over the past few months, but blogging has flagged because now I have two children and two jobs. With the end of the academic semester, though, time is easing up on me, and the weather is warming up, putting me in the mood for salads. One salad in particular has caught my attention recently—a farro salad with lemon—not only because of the perfect combination of flavors—nuttiness and zest—but also because it’s linked to memories of Rome.

I’ve been thinking about Rome a lot recently because I’ve been talking with two couples who will be at the American Academy starting this fall. (And on my bus ride to work, I’ve been reading Franco Mormando’s biography of Bernini, a rich and well-written book about that incredible genius who was seemingly capable of transforming marble into flesh.) I check in with Elizabeth Minchilli’s blog when an ingredient catches my eye, and this week she caught me with her minty farro salad. I made it last night, taking out the feta and serving fresh mozzarella with cherry tomatoes, generously doused in olive oil, on the side. It was a good, simple meal on a humid night. 

Other recent, undocumented meals have had as their inspiration sources my new slow cooker and Clancey’s Meats and Fish. I’ve sung the praises of Clancey’s before, and I’m sure that I will continue to do so. They recently started selling mixed greens from Philadelphia Community Farm in Osceola, Wisconsin. These greens are the zingiest, most flavor-packed greens I’ve ever tasted. Every time I serve them, someone says the same thing. They’ve formed the center of meals. When we want something light and fresh, we’ll buy a bag of greens and a few other items from Clancey’s: a hunk of local cheese, a fillet of their house-smoked trout, a few local eggs, or a pint of pickled herring, add a baguette with olive oil and some wine, and enjoy a perfect meal.

With my slow cooker, I’ve done pulled pork soft tacos with fresh slaw, braised lamb shanks, sesame chicken thighs served with rice and seaweed, Bolognese sauce, meatballs, and a bunch of soups. Another new easy favorite: this big potato pancake from one of the best books I’ve read lately, Maman’s Homsick Pie by chef Donia Bijan.

Meanwhile, Lizzie has started eating solid food! She has tried four foods to date: rice cereal, fine-milled oatmeal, carrots, and peas.

 One thing is clear: this girl loves to eat!

Tonight, her daddy and I go on a date to the Dakota. Yippee!

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