Thursday, May 28, 2020

Covid Cafe: Food+Memory=Vineyard Sauce


Here's an interesting piece on how smells, so closely linked to taste, awaken memory. I have a bunch of these associations. When I smell brewing coffee in cool fresh air, for example, my brain thinks "camping in Canada" and I'm immediately in a relaxed state.


Sounds matter too, as Rob's memories of summer trips to Martha's Vineyard attest. He writes...


It was 20 years ago this June when Wayne and I spent our first of many weeks in a cottage on Martha’s Vineyard.  We had made a scouting trip earlier and hand-picked this gem. Wayne was celebrating a milestone birthday and we had a guest staying with us.  I cooked the full week, enjoying the well-curated kitchen and the porch screen door held closed by an old spring. When it banged shut it said, “Summer.”

We ate most of our meals on the porch.

That first year, I armed myself with printed copies of all the recipes I needed for a full week.  The first night was grilled swordfish and with it I served a roasted vegetable sauce.  

We quickly learned the sauce went with everything.  A little on eggs in the morning, on a lunch sandwich, or just for vegetable dipping.  The next year I made the same sauce, and so it went for several years. On each first night I made a batch of sauce and we soon forgot the actual name and just started calling it Vineyard Sauce.



To make the sauce:
1.     Preheat the broiler.  Line a baking sheet with foil, put the pepper halves on it, skin side up, and flatten them with your hands.  Put the tomato halves and onion slices on the baking sheet in a single layer.  Lightly coat the vegetables with cooking spray.
2.     Separate the garlic head into cloves.  Place them on the baking sheet.
3.     Put the baking sheet under the broiler for about 15 minutes, or until the pepper has blackened.  Check to see if the garlic is soft; if not, remove the other vegetables and give it a few more minutes.  Put the pepper halves in a zip-top bag and seal.  Let stand for 15 minutes, then peel the pepper.
4.     Separate the garlic cloves from the vegetables.  Squeeze them to extract the pulp, discarding the skins.
5.     Put the broiled vegetables, the garlic pulp, mustard, vinegar, oil, cilantro, pepper, olives and minced garlic in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.


Taste recollections are powerful reminders of place and time.  Just making the sauce takes me to cool breezes, sand in my toes, swimming in the ocean, and loving life.


(Chefs, I can attest to the allure of the Vineyard Sauce. It's a perfect and easy pandemic project.)

Vineyard Sauce
For the sauce
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and halved 
3 plum tomatoes cut lengthwise in half (about ½ pound)
1 small red onion, cut into ½-inch thick slices
1 whole garlic head
2 tablespoons coarse-grain stone-ground mustard
1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
1-tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 green olives, pitted
4 black olives, pitted
2 garlic cloves, minced


Jack Johnson & Paula Fuga 

Country Road and Give Voice

Kokua Festival 2020 Live From Home

 Pine nuts


All our life 
so much laundry; 
each day’s doing or not 
comes clean, 
flows off and away 
to blend with other sins 
of this world. Each day 
begins in new skin, 
blessed by the elements 
charged to take us 
out again to do or undo 
what’s been assigned. 
From socks to shirts 
the selves we shed 
lift off the line 
as if they own 
a life apart 
from the one we offer. 
There is joy in clean laundry. 
All is forgiven in water, sun 
and air. We offer our day’s deeds 
to the blue-eyed sky, with soap and prayer, 
our arms up, then lowered in supplication.

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