Sunday, June 24, 2007

Ahh... the light nights and the bright days!

Midsummer... the traditional bonfire floating in the harbour, Copenhagen's mayor Ritt B. at the mike for the traditional speech. Nice to be in town with an old friend and her half-daughter, now a young women. Nice that Jonas grew up with these good people and all our network-families.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

New potatoes, new beets and baby lettuce

Yesterday's cats and dogs rain is just a memory, it's summer.... pre-summer.... almost midsummer. The trip home on the back roads from Rørvig was pre-summer beautiful, wheat and safflower fields, poppies and elderflowers. I picked up some new potatoes and tiny new organic beets at a roadside stand.

Had them boiled on baby lettuce leaves from the garden. With a simple dressing of
1 part Greek yoghurt
1 part homemade mayonnaise and
salt, pepper and chopped chives.

It was the mayo, made with safflower germ oil, that made it taste so good. If I hadn't had homemade mayonnaise, I would have made a different dressing, probably of safflower germ oil, a little lemon juice, salt, pepper and some freshly chopped herbs.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Polenta with butter and cheese

Antonio Carluccio writes somewhere that braised cime di rapa is good with polenta. It is. For years, I didn't like polenta. Until I started making it with butter and cheese. Real polenta, that takes 45 minutes to cook, has a better consistency than instant, 1-minute polenta. Not so much better, though, that I make it very often. Til polenta for 2:

4,5 dl. boiling water
1/2 tsp. salt
1,5 dl. good quality instant polenta
1-2 tbsp. butter
1 dl. freshly grated Parmigiano or Pecorino

Wisk the polenta in the saltet, boiling water until it thickens - it takes about... a minute. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the butter and cheese.

Eaten with braised cime di rapa and a little leftover rabbit and rabbit sauce. I thought the hot cime would be too strong for the rabbit, but they were fine together. The chili actually brought out the rabbit's slight sweetness. Mediterranean summer dreams, with a glass of Rosso Piceno, right out of the fridge.


Braised cime di rapa

The weather's hot and sunny and my cime, growing like weeds from seeds I bought last summer in Florence, is bolting. Them for dinner, before their small, yellow brocoli flowers really start bloomimg.

Blanched for about 2 minutes in boiling water to soften the slightly bitter cabbage taste. Then in cold water to keep them bright green. Braised for a few more minutes in olive oil with a clove of chopped garlic, half an inch of finely chopped chili without the seeds, a pinch of salt and a few tablespoons of water.


Thursday, June 7, 2007

Somebody's Grandma's salad dressing

'Old fashioned' salad dressing, eaten on Boston lettuce, one of the only kinds of green salad everyone but the odd gourmet ate, when I arrived in my adopted country 30+ years ago. It was a hard transition - one I never fully made, having grown up on all sorts of salads and a lot of crunchy, tasty Romaine.

But it's food for the divine, this cream and lemon dresing on a freshly picked head of soft Boston lettuce. Last night we ate it with chicken, new potatoes and raw, sugar marinated rhubarb.

9 tablespoons of heavy cream
3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
2-3 teaspoons of sugar
salt and freshly ground pepper

Mix everything and let the dressing sit for half an hour. Toss with the washed and thouroughly dried leaves of a head of Boston lettuce just before eating.

The wine was a 2005 Sauvignon Blanc from St. Clair in Marlborough, New Zealand. It's a heady Sauv, with more concentration and less acid than the Loire Sauvignons, that I usually drink - and love - with this kind of food. A real pleasure, though, and great with the rhubarb. Good with asparges, too.