Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fish Are Jumpin', Etc.

Seems like summer always starts with putting big plans of gardening and canning and farmers markets and camping and grilling and traveling in my box, and somehow, that box gets sorted and emptied, but in vastly different ways than planned. In my case, I started working more, being on the dole less. Which meant far less writing. But never, never would that mean less food and eating.
I hit the ground running. Got all inspired when my perpetually-hopped-up-on-coffee friend told me about "this place up on Clark that does all these great sandwiches and they're calling them naanwiches and they're super soft and good and delicious and it's great because the guy is a chef and so all the little details are attended to and man oh man is it good you gotta check it out!" He was talking about, of course, the wonderful Gaztro-Wagon, and I went and saw for myself how delicious it was, and was of course inspired and decided I must make my own naan-centered spread. So what else would be fitting for the homemade naan but pork belly? (Though I must admit I am sick of the pork belly craze. Understand me: the pork belly craze. Not pork belly. I could never stay mad at pork belly. But I fear it will soon be featured on the menus of the PT McFunster's of the world.) Braised 'till nice and soft in cider and vinegar and a bunch of other stuff, then charred on the grill. Charred fat, well, it's good. Made a quick baba ghanoush and a bit of a mint harrissa I've been hooked on over the summer: mint, jalapenos, serranos, garlic, lime juice, lime zest, olive oil. Real nice. Grilled that naan up; click here for a great recipe--I've substituted just-past-expiration-date-milk and yogurt and sour cream for the milk to great results. Tang be good. Got some grilled corn involved somehow and plenty of cool garnish made the scene in the form of radish, cucumber, avocado and tomato. And yeah, in the picture above, that is a couple of glasses of beer and champagne. Why not?
Then, a bunch of melon showed up on my doorstep. One of the benefits of my lucky proximity to The Green Grocer. Plus, a farmer dropped off some lovely tomatoes at work. Sometimes--no, always--simplicity is best: thin slices of cantaloupe, julienned cucumber, tomatoes and lime juice and zest with a bit of salt. I used to always think it was weird when older people put salt on melon. Now I know what they were going for, and that I was an idiot for questioning it.

I've got more to say, so much more that I ate and cooked, but given the average blog reader's attention span, it'll go into the next post. Stay tuned.