August 09, 2005
Studio summer lunch
It's hot. Threats of thundershowers, humid, only in the 70s this morning, but about 87F in the loft. Writing this with a patch over my left eye. Just back from the eye doctor, who removed foreign bodies from my cornea, after about four days of discomfort and discombobulation about the cause and solution to the misery. So, it's a one-eyed affair for the next 24 hours.
Lunch today for the team, Max, Anthony, Giovanni, and Dolly, who is from Ecuador.
- Potato salad: Red bliss potatoes, medium to smallish in size. Trick is to put them in a pot of cold water, cover, bring to a slow boil, and check in on them after about 20 minutes. Do not overcook--you can tell you've gone too far if the skins start to split--so pierce periodically with a sharply pointed knife to check the centers. They are done when firm, but not hard. Drain the potatoes and let cool, which will also firm them up, before dicing them skins and all. Dress with fresh chopped dill, thinly sliced red onion, capers, juice from the capers, and diced salted lemons (my very own).
- Eggplant caviar: Grilled a big fresh eggplant (sliced in half) along with a big fleshy green pepper (seeded and sliced in quarters in the length) on my Hamilton Beach grill--dry, with nothing added. I would love to prepare over an open gas flame, but alas my fate is an electric stove. Avinadav says look for an eggplant that is light in weight relative to its size, which means it has less water, fewer seeds, and is less likely to be bitter. When everything is soft, remove from grill. Let sit till cool enough to handle. Then, use a big spoon to scrape the eggplant from the skin. Drain liquid from the peppers. Don't bother trying to peel them. Put everything on a wooden board and using a nice big chef's knife, chop away till you have a mixture the consistency of caviar. The flavors are lovely as is. I add nothing else.
- Black eye pea salad: Summer is the time for bean and grain salads. Yesterday, I soaked a cup of organic black eye peas overnight, drained them, and cooked them in fresh cold water briefly, till they were just cooked through. They cook very quickly and you do not want them to become mushy and fall apart. Drain them well, let cool, and dress with diced Spanish onion and bright green very fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped, diced salted lemons (my own), and fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
- Chatpati Channa Chaat: As I was noodling around looking for bean and grain salads (I've soaked and cooked soft wheat berries and sprouted mung beans they will be the basis for the next salads), I came across one that calls for channa, which is the smallish Indian chick pea with the rusty brown skin, famous for its perfect glycemic index and celebrated by diabetics. I also have another kind of channa, with a green skin, which I am eager to try. This is such a fascinating dish (and the world of chat more generally), I'll give it an entry of its own. That's where you will also find recipes for Chat masala, the seasoning, which includes black salt, which earned its own entry.
- Green salad: Simple salad today, just romaine, red leaf, arugula, and purslane, with sliced red onion, ripe avocado, and Anthony's dressing, a proper vinaigrette, with Dijon mustard.
Posted by BKG at August 9, 2005 12:49 PM
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