The makings of Glut sauce*(including the first ripe extremely cat-faced Brandywine) plus a bit more for peach salsa
It’s not quite full season yet with the tomatoes: we’ve mostly got the little guys going (I frankly no longer bother with cherry tomatoes) and some plums…but it’s COMING. Goodness is it ever.
Strangely, I am way ahead of the game with the peppers, eggplant and okra. Tomatoes are usually the herald of the family solanaceae, they’re the first ones reddening up and driving me crazy but this is a great year for the peppers and, especially, eggplant. I am beginning to wonder if it’s just a good year all around or if it’s because all of these plants are ones that I have saved from good-looking parent plants over the last couple of years. A mystery.
I wake up ridiculously early on Thursdays (4:00!). Thursdays have become my Cook Everything Possible In Loven And Then Eat It All Until Next Thursday day. It’s a bit of a marathon, but then again, I am cooking for (potentially) a week, and cooking bread loaves to sell…of course it’s arduous. But in the oven, in order of its hotness, goes
- Caramelization session in the hot coals: 2 cast-iron skillets with some chopped veg like onions in one pan, zucchini in the other; this requires some frequent stirring. It cooks from the top and the bottom. The veg go into bread salads, or frittatas, or on pasta; whatever, it’s cooked! and with a woodsy flavor punch!
- Push the coals back and then bake pizzas/focaccias (2 per session, turned around 3x in front of the hot flames)
- The fire burns way down. Tom scrapes it out, mops the floor, closes the door to equalize the oven’s hot spots. About an hour later, I now fill the oven with the massive bread and roast chicken baking (bread takes 1/2 hour, chicken closer to an hour)
- Remove the bread, leave the chicken in there and set a skillet full of frittata, individual potatoes (pierced with a fork, set on the floor), soaked/parboiled beans and/or rice and baked dessert (custard, souffle, etc.) and start on roasting things overnight like the glut sauce or juicy peaches. Later in the season I will have 2-3 steam table pans* full of tomatoes cooking overnight (the temp. goes from about 200 down to 150 or so)
- Dinner happens (if we’re not too stuffed with pizza) when we pull the chicken out. I made a cold veg salad the day before.
- Remove things by doneness, check temperature, and leave the glut sauce and peaches in there to cook overnight. Also overnight, in goes a glass casserole filled with a cultured milk product (buttermilk, kefir) that…cooks all night to become quark or kefir cheese. The heat separates the curds from the whey; this lovely sweet tasting caramelized grainy cheese, then, becomes one of my favorite things to spread on my morning toast.
It’s fun! And…exhausting! But heck, no cooking the rest of the week…unless we’d like to, of course.
* don’t waste your money on buying a spendy turkey roasting pan this year; 4″ or 6″ deep stainless steel steamer pans will work quite well. Buy them thick enough and they completely take the heat of my oven, too. Lasagna, dehydrating veggies, etc. etc. etc.!