Just over a month ago, I made a blueberry pie for you. A sage blueberry pie, which was also a pie made on request for my downstairs neighbor Alice. Some of you will remember Alice from that post—remember my (selfish) disappointment as I realized she was coming to the end of her (ninety-five years long) life, that hospice was there with her, that, once again, I was living with death. Many of you rejoiced with me at the gift of my time with Alice, too. Because I did, ultimately, just suck it up and sit with her. Talk to the hospice workers. Look death in the face, and not leave. Again.
Of course, the emotional pull wasn’t anything like what I felt being with my mother when she was dying. This time, I could leave at any moment I wanted, and I barely knew Alice. But in the occasional visits we had in the past month, instead of dread, I actually found a lot of joy.
Heat and heat and heat and rows and rows and rows of soft serve ice cream machines. The streets of Avignon, France were a convection oven, circulating 100º air in and around honking cars, cursing pedestrians, centuries-old building facades. Everything was old, and beautiful, and sweaty. Which is where the ice cream came in. Flavors my twenty year-old brain had never imagined before: licorice, pink grapefruit, bacio, amarena, gianduja, all dispensed from gleaming, golden soft serve machines.
It was the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college, and my friend Julie and I were there to study and attend the Festival D'Avignon—Europe’s biggest theatre and dance festival. In true French fashion, the performers went en grève (on strike) that season, and we were left to our own devices of ice cream eating and ancient city exploration. The days were sticky with a rainbow of melted soft serve and the wilted efforts of a few performers still willing to go on stage.
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If you have ventured into the produce section of your local market recently, you have no doubt seen the lovely and colorful bounty of spring vegetables starting to show up. Spring is one of the most flavorful seasons of the year and it is also a perfect time (and excuse) to make some incredible foods and celebrate the flavors of the American kitchen.
One of my favorite and delicious welcomes to this season is fried zucchini. There is just something magical about chomping into a nice delicate crust and then tasting the fresh flavors of newly harvested zucchini. When its comes to frying zucchini there are many different ways. One of my favorites is a light batter and then fried to a delicate texture.
Whereas fried zucchini can make for a wonderful and healthy snack, they are also quite nice when paired with a wine for a spring or summer garden brunch. You can also do what I do many times in the course of the spring and summer season and that is to serve them as a vegetable course with dinner. No matter how you slice them (or batter and fry them), fried zucchini is a much loved American food tradition.
BATTER FRIED ZUCCHINI (serves 4) Ingredients for Batter Fried Zucchini:
¾ cup cornstarch ¼ cup all-purpose flour 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. salt ½ tsp. ground turmeric ½ tsp. garlic powder 1 tsp. sugar 1 egg, beaten ½ cup water 2 large zucchini, sliced thick Oil for frying
1) In a large bowl, whisk the cornstarch, flour. baking soda, salt, turmeric, garlic powder, sugar, egg and water. 2) Let the batter rest 30 minutes at room temperature. 3) Re-whisk the batter. 4) Place the zucchini into the batter and stir around until completely coated. 5) In a large skillet, heat 2 inches of oil to 350 on a deepfry thermometer. 6) Carefully add the battered zucchini, in batches, to the oil and fry until golden brown. 7) Remove to a wire rack to drain of any excess oil. 8) Let cool slightly before eating.
I made some really delicious hclf, vegan lunch for my sister and mom some days ago. They asked me to do sometimes light, because the temperatures are currently quite high. So I prepared a rice noodle bowl for them, containing salad leaves, raw tomatoes, cucumber and fresh champignons, besides some Asian glass/rice noodles mixed with balsamic vinegar and freshly grounded chili powder. Topped everything with slightly roasted cashew nuts, creamy avocado and a tiny bit of ginger oil. They both really liked it and I hope you will all try out this yummy meal on a hot summer day. :) xx