MAJeff bringing you some ‘pod porn, culinary style.
That’s the fried calamari at one of my favorite restaurants, The Daily Catch in Boston’s North End.
A few weeks ago, the New York Times, had an article on the return of the Jersey Tomato. Now, I’ve never had a “Jersey Tomato” so I’ll have to take the word of folks from there that it’s really tasty. I wouldn’t mind being one of the tasters they’ve got in the article, though. Coming from the rural Midwest, I’m pretty familiar with good produce.
I love the summer, and desperately miss my parents’ garden during this season. A few weeks ago, I bought some corn-on-the-cob from a local grocery store…I nearly cried, it tasted like field corn. Grocery store corn is worthless, and people here in New England have no idea what good corn is like (and it’s also impossible to get a good bratwurst here). Then again, anything that spends several days going from the field to a store isn’t going to be as good as something picked that day.
Living in an urban setting, the “picked that day” option is rarely available to me. This year, though, I planted a small window box garden on my landing–basil, mint, grape tomatoes, and a few other herbs (that window box got flooded during a couple of our early July evening thunderstorms–we’ve had a rainy summer in Boston). I’ve been eating at least one meal of fresh basil pesto per week, but now my tomatoes are starting to come in, which means basil-tomato salad for the rest of the month. It’s a good thing.
So, here’s to summer. To great tomatoes and corn and beans and peas and apples and peaches… To celebrate, share your favorite recipes. Let’s get seasonal. If you’ve got access to food coming right out of the garden, you’ll know why I’m stressing the seasonal aspect. There’s nothing quite like picking something and eating it right away.
I’ll get things started on the recipe front below the fold.
This is a soup I developed a few years ago. People seem to really like it (and I’m down to about 3 jars).
MAJeff’s Tomato-Fennel Soup:
- 3 T vegetable oil
- 2 t Ajwain seeds
- 1 t fennel seeds
- 1 t cumin seeds
- 1 t fenugreek seeds
- 1/4 t cayenne pepper
- 1 fennel bulb, roughly chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1/2 6 oz can, tomato paste
- 1″ cube of ginger, chopped.
- 4 tomatoes, chopped
- 6 c chicken stock (or veggie, if you must)
- 1 t salt (or to taste–you shouldn’t need much because of the spices)
- Juice of 1-2 limes, depending on your taste
- Heat the oil in a large stock pot, over med-high heat. When hot add the seeds. Cook, stirring, until the seeds start to pop and release their scent.
- Add the garlic, ginger, fennel, and tomato paste. Stir for about a minute.
- Add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce Heat. Simmer for about 40 minutes, or until fennel softens.
- Add tomatoes and salt. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Using a blender or a foodmill, blend the soup until smooth. (NOTE: Be very careful using a blender. Because the soup is very hot, try to avoid filling the jar more than 1/3, and don’t put the lid on firmly. Keep a space for air to get in and out, and hold a towel over the top. If you fill it fuller, or place the lid on tightly, you risk having the lid pop off and getting scalded by hot soup.)
- Once blended, return to the pot. Add lime juice. (Taste for seasoning and, if necessary, add a bit more salt as well). Simmer for about 10 minutes.
Serve and enjoy! (It goes very nicely with a semi-sweet Riesling or a GewÃ¼rtztreminer)
OK, you’ve now got one of my signature dishes. What’s yours?