Monday, August 26, 2013

Sour Cherries, a Clafoutis and a Poem

Sour Cherry Tree
Sour, tiny, spotted, imperfect.  I unexpectedly found these cherries 1500 meters high up in the mountains, wild, free and left to be as they are.  Like a lady with no make-up and proud to show her well-earned wrinkles.  Natural and beautiful they grow.

Here I share a clafoutis and one of my favorite poems from one of my favorite poets.

I Will Wade Out
--E.E. Cummings
I will wade out
till my thighs are steeped in burning flowers
I will take the sun in my mouth
and leap into the ripe air
with closed eyes
to dash against darkness
in the sleeping curves of my body
Shall enter fingers of smooth mastery
with chasteness of sea-girls
Will I complete the mystery
of my flesh
I will rise
After a thousand years
And set my teeth in the silver of the moon

Sour Cherries - ClafoutisAA
 A clafoutis is a delight to ones mouth like Cummings is to ones soul.
Sour Cherries - Clafoutis
You can find this recipe on Tartine Gourmand's blog here. I've tried several clafoutis' and Beatrice's version is the best so far.   I adapted the recipe by mixing different flours like buckwheat and rice and all purpose flour.  I didn't have the biscuits she used, I just used the ones I had handy.  I didn't have the pistachios to garnish but I'm going to use them next time, I'm sure they make the difference. As you can see, this is a recipe you can easily play around with. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Grilled Melanzane alla Parmigiana

white aubergine
A lady comes up to me and with a low toned voice she whispers in my ear and says "don't buy them, they taste like nothing". I look at her with no words and, broken hearted, I look at the beautiful white aubergines I'm holding in my hands.  I had no clue they even existed, they were standing out from a whole variety of  vegetables and fruits like giant goose eggs.  You can imagine how enthusiastic I was when I spotted them and how I had no intention to let go.  I'm embarrassed to say that with all the aubergines I have in my vegetable garden...I bought them. Their pure white color attracted me and I needed to indulge my curiosity.

At this point, they were already in the bag and ready to go home. That lady had put a seed of doubt in my mind but if it was true that those aubergines were going to be flavorless, I was going to change that and I already knew how. 
Those words, "they taste like nothing", influenced me indeed and conditioned me to find an easy way to enhance their flavor, if they had any.  I used them in the simplest of ways by only grilling them on the barbecue so to get a light smokey flavor and then work it from there.  As soon as that first slice came off the grill it was right in my mouth...and guess what? That lady LIED! Compared to the usual black aubergines I am used to, white aubergines have a mild and delicate flavour, less bitter but full of taste and just as delicious. Truly, the difference is subtle but they are white and I had never seen them before! Which is a good enough excuse to buy them and try them. 
After the grilling, the rest came easy.  All I needed to do was combine good quality ingredients, assemble and serve. Only after combining these ingredients, I realized that they are the same you would find in a  typical "melanzane alla parmigiana", except  A) no need to fry B) no need to make the sauce C) no need to bake in the oven.  You only need to grill and this is why I named this dish "Grilled Melanzane alla Parmigiana".

This version of melanzane alla parmigiana, is grilled, light, fresh and fatigueless.  Exactly what you would want to eat for dinner tonight.

dose for 2

1 sliced aubergine (not necessarily white)
1 buffalo mozzarella cheese
1 not too ripe tomato sliced
4 red cherry tomatoes
parmigiano cheese slivers
fresh basil
extra virgin olive oil
salt for seasoning

Slice the aubergines, tomato, buffalo mozzarella cheese. Lightly season with salt all slices. Try to maintain the same size for each so that it will assemble easier together. Grill the aubergine slices keeping the flesh soft but grill enough to form the typical charcoal black lines. Grill the cherry tomatoes whole. Grill the tomato slices as well.

Assemble layers of each sliced ingredient, one on top of the other. Top with the grilled cherry tomatoes, parmigiano slivers and basil leaves. Drizzle with a generous amount of oil and season with some more salt.