I have been fed for several nights now with the gifts of the season of bounty. Pesto drizzled over saffron fettucine and grilled chicken breast. The home-made pesto was richer for the walnuts instead of pine nuts; there was a more earthiness and crunch. Watermelon salads, heirloom tomatoes, baskets of fresh corn, and free-range eggs have found their way home with me through the kindness of friends and coworkers. I have learned you can not hard-boil these eggs, but mastering the soft-boiled egg consistently is the pinnacle of cooking in my world, not to mention a damned good start to the day.
I am in the planning stages of my next drop-in cooking demo for the Monadnock Oil & Vinegar Company. My idea is a bastardized version of the popular cooking show “Chopped!” Think Donald Trump in the kitchen, it’s safer than Donald in the White House. My version involves six (or eight) contestants who pick up a “Mystery Bag” on Oct. 10th. Each bag is different, but all contain an oil, a balsamic vinegar, a herb or salt and an item from the back room. The fourth ingredient could be anything such as: pasta, cheese, infused maple syrup or a hot sauce.
The contestants have one week to prepare a recipe using all of the ingredients (and whatever else they choose) to create an appetizer, snack, bread, dessert, entre…you get the idea? On the following Saturday, October 17th during Peak Into Peterborough,( our Fall Foliage Festival.) They bring their dish to the store where the public is invited to drop by for samples and vote on the winner. This avoids anyone hating me for the results. First prize is a $100 gift certificate to the store, $50 for second place and everyone gets a bottle of their choice for participating. I get lots of recipes!
Between the bounty of food and the creative brainstorming about preparing food, The Food Network has become my nightly obsession. So many cooking shows and so little time! It is sort of the last bastion of game shows and reality TV all mixed together with, FOOD!.
But doesn’t food bring us all together? We had a great day in the store as there were four weddings happening in the area. All those out-of-towners needed something to do before or after the party. Not mere customers who were passing through; most stuck out a hand and introduced themselves, commenting on what fun they had exploring the store. How can you not feel good about food?
Thank you to people who are nourishing me in more ways than digestion.