Berries, peaches, the first of summer's sweet corn, increasingly luscious tomatoes, beans…so much comes home with me that I have to “Iron Chef” it out on the weekends and am forced to have pop-up dinner parties to consume everything that has come out of the kitchen. Galettes, summer curries, roasted things, simple cheesemaking, ice cream churning have all been happening so far, so stay tuned.
Last week I had the pleasure of sitting with Chef Michael Schlow (Tico, Alto Strado), at a preview of his new restaurant, Casolare, in Glover Park. One of the simplest things served at that lunch was also so satisfying—grilled, oiled and salted thick cut Italian bread. That bread stuck in my head, (is there such a thing as a “food worm”?), and joined a previously created craving from enjoying the homemade bread with toppings at Tail Up Goat in Adams Morgan. (The bread program there is enough of an excuse to go in for a visit.) When I saw the first cherry tomatoes at the Anne Arundel County Farm market, I knew what had to happen. Homemade ricotta (linked recipe is from Epicurious) is so easy you'll wonder why you haven't made it before. And it's delicious, made with fresh milk from Nice Farms Creamery, and slathered on oiled and salted grilled thick bread from the most excellent Bakers & Co. in Annapolis. You could stop there, but no! Top this wondrous thing and turn up the yum volume to 11 with halved and quartered cherry tomatoes that you simply toss with a clove of crushed garlic, great olive oil, fresh basil, sea salt and pepper. It was amazing, and honestly just the bread could be dinner with a side of something green, or corn on the cob.
Squash is everywhere and in all formats--zucchini, globes, patty pans. I'd already gone through a few iterations of just pan cooking and roasting squash. When I saw this recipe, "Summer Squash Curry, Shellfish Optional" from Chef David Tanis, along with tips on how to select squash, I knew that it had to happen and soon. It took a few moments to assemble, I had no peas and who cares, I added a bit of Thai green curry paste, my hot pepper wasn't hot enough and it was delicious. And no time at all to cook. We did add squid and U.S. shrimp (I’m not buying shrimp these days unless I know it is from the U.S.) and served it with sticky rice. Asian noodles would be good too. It was served at an early Sunday supper. The dinner crowd was happy and finished every last bit, and that of course, makes it all worthwhile.