Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cool Summer Shrimp and Grilled Peach Quinoa Salad

SUMMER IN THE SOUTH: A Progressive Dinner 

Appreciation is a wonderful thing; 
it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well. 
- Voltaire 


I'm a Southern Girl. Oh, I'm no Georgia Peach and my brand of South isn't the cornbread and biscuits, fried chicken and yams, collard greens and black-eyed peas South, ya'll. I grew up in Florida along the dunes and waves of Cocoa Beach and in the shadow of the rockets of NASA. My South is flavored by the tropical fruits and citrus that grow in the lush and savage flora along the Indian and Banana Rivers, the seafood fished in those rivers and in the ocean, coming in through the ports of Titusville. My Southern cuisine is shrimp, crab legs and catfish, steamed or fried, the mangoes and avocados, oranges and grapefruit, peaches and watermelon indigenous to the area, most eaten as is, fresh from the tree, rather than being elaborated in a dish. Cool respite from the sweltering heat of the Florida summer.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Panmarino becomes Italian Chive Bread

DEVOURED

Chester chooses chestnuts, 
cheddar cheese with chewy chives. 
He chews them and he chooses them. 
He chooses them and he chews them. . . . . .
those chestnuts, cheddar cheese 
and chives in cheery, charming chunks. 
- Singin' in the Rain 


I never know when something will please my son and when something won't. Homebaked, homemade goods fill him with dread and suspicion, and he jumps to the conclusion that there is something odd and horrid hidden within. Tiny flecks of green or orange convince him that I have secreted vegetables, something healthy, into a cake or bread, any red meat in a stew means fat that must be dissected away, chunks mean the dreaded mushroom. Even a plain chocolate cake if not THE chocolate cake he loves fills him with mistrust, questioning my baking integrity, assuming that I am trying to pull the wool over his eyes and trick him into eating something… weird.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Best, Old Fashioned Cherry Blueberry Cobbler

AT MOM'S

Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been 
the two most beautiful words in the English language. 
- Henry James 


Not much to do these steamy Florida afternoons. Locked in the house but to dash from inside to out to car to shops. Even inside with the sometime chill of the air conditioning when it is working one feels a summer sloth, hot and tired, too lazy to cook or bake. Infused with summer vacation. I keep mom entertained, drive her from errand to errand, and every afternoon we head to brother and sister's-in-law for a meal, talk and movie night.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Yoohoo/Mocha Frappuccino Panna Cotta

SWEET TOOTH

Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to. 
- John Ed Pearce 


The first morning, my mother and I sat in her kitchen cleaning out the cabinets as we awaited news of my wayward suitcase, which chose to remain in Paris as I flew off to Florida. First thing emptied was her large, state-of-the-art oven whose existence has been relegated to storage rather than baking. I pulled out box after box of cookies, candy bars, overly-sweetened, chocolate-studded treats trying to pass for granola bars, sweetened oatmeal and more cookies. I yanked open the tall pantry cupboard and unloaded can after can, many expired, of baked beans, tuna, soups and corn and stacked them on the counter. Out came more boxes of cookies, granola bars, cookies, sweet cereals and, yes, cookies. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Peanut Butter on Toast

THE DEATH OF A FRIEND

Gone — flitted away, 
Taken the stars from the night and the sun 
From the day! 
Gone, and a cloud in my heart. 
- Alfred Tennyson 

I've been eating peanut butter on toast, lunch and dinner, for the past two days. To be more precise, peanut butter on baguette, fresh or toasted, but that's just semantics. Fastidious. Under the circumstances. I've been eating a lot of peanut butter on toast. Peanut butter on toast is my ultimate comfort food. I eat it when I am sick and I eat it when I am sad. I woke up Tuesday morning, logged onto Facebook, as is my habit first thing after coffee, and discovered the death of a friend. A man just a year older than I, killed in an automobile accident in Orlando, Florida.

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