The Sweet Smell of the Season

My first mango of summer 2012.

I don’t know when people started to use touch to test ripeness.  Smell your fruit, people.

It should be pungent, like this mango.  You’d have to be a Dustbuster to smell a mango from Guatemala at your neighborhood Whole Foods Market.

If you can smell your fruit, you won’t end up with a mealy, dry peach or a metallic-tasting mango.

If this isn’t a reminder I don’t know what is.

Let the Holiday Begin!

23E may be the very center of the Boeing 777. That’s where I’m sitting, and it might as well be first class. I wouldn’t know the difference right now with how excited I’m am, about to depart Miami on my first leg to Rome, via London, for a two week holiday touring mostly the northern regions of my favorite country in the world. I’ll be logging what I can via iPad here, as I make my way through Rome, Florence, Valle d’Aosta, Milan, Stresa and the lakes region of Lombardy, Bergamo, Orvieto and more. Buon viaggio!

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Dinner Party Fun: No Oven, No Problem

86 oven! #fail

About 2 hours before guests arrived to my mother’s dinner party last night, her gas range broke. The simple, delicious menu she had planned was a nimble one though, and with the manageable guest count of 10, was a success.

With her (also dying) electric oven still available, the vegetables that had been roasted earlier in the day could be tossed and re-heated in parsley sauce, made from the recipe in the MICHAEL’S GENUINE FOOD cookbook. What was to have been home-roasted garlic chicken thighs became store-roasted whole birds after a quick trip to Fresh Market. Expertly carved by brother Kevin, I swooped in with a homemade dressing of what was around the house: oranges and their juice, capers, a whole clove of smashed raw garlic, shaved wished-it-was-red white onion, lemon juice, sherry vinegar, rice wine vinegar, mixed olives, Teena’s Pride Farm CSA orange mint and fire sorrel, chaat masala, and Elizabeth’s amazing extra-virgin olive oil (Castillo de Tabernas) from Spain, to be spooned cool on top of the warm pieces of dark and white meat at plating.

Chateauneuf de Pape Millésime 2008 in our Burgundy glasses and in great company, all in all it was a fantastic meal!

Roasted winter vegetables with parsley sauce and arugula tossed with evoo, S&P and topped with shaved Cypress Grove "Midnight Moon" aged goat cheese.

Amazing peeta from a guest, with whole roast chicken and homemade orange dressing.

Bradley Ogden's Baked Persimmon Pudding with Mandarin Orange Curd.