Saturday, July 4, 2020

Covid Cafe: When Life Gives You Shrimp...

Welcome, chefs of Covid Cafe. What are you making for the holiday weekend? Grilling may be tradition, but we had a summer squash stir-fry this morning, with leftover ground lamb and feta. Rob joins us today with an on-sale shrimp creation.
in flower

Rob writes: On the last day of the shrimp sale I bought two bags, half off. I riffed on several recipes, pulling heavily from the basil in the courtyard. Shrimp, leftover Hazan tomato sauce (ed. note: if you've never made Marcella Hazan's tomato sauce with onion and butter, click here and prepare to be amazed when you do), basil, garlic, capers, lemon, and more diced tomatoes.  Perfect!

Shrimps in the pan.  Basically a par sauté.

Shrimp came out and in went the sauce ingredients, finished with the butter, basil, and capers.  Plated up nicely over a smidge of rice.

Summer 2020 still life:
sun tea with drying masks


Laura Nyro

Save The Country

Dustin's bountiful

Nashville garden




Freedom will not come
Today, this year
            Nor ever
Through compromise and fear.

I have as much right
As the other fellow has
            To stand
On my two feet
And own the land.

I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need my freedom when I’m dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread.
            Is a strong seed
            In a great need.
            I live here, too.
            I want my freedom
            Just as you.   


Carly's growing outsized poblano peppers

in Orlando 

(remember her banana tree?)


Friday, July 3, 2020

Covid Cafe: A Day in the Life of Vegan TikTok Star Tabitha Brown

Organic raspberries
in this week's farm share

Smile this weekend. Tabitha Brown is an absolute delight...

A Day in the Life of a Vegan TikTok Star | Tabitha Brown

The actress and vegan TikTok star is so recognizable that she’s casually known as “TikTok’s Mom” to her millions of followers.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Covid Cafe: Egg Toast/French Toast Omelet Sandwich

(click here to view in browser)

More pickles 
in the offing

Chefs, hello! I'm laughing as I write because Holly's been trying to get her egg sandwich to look like the one in the video below. Under pressure from me, she finally sent some photos of this quick anytime sammie. She still doesn't like the look of it, but it's a fun easy option (bread, cheese, eggs in one pan) with a thousand possible variations.

Holly writes: This is one example of many you can find online.  I think my attempts break down when I try to flip the entire thing, but even if I do flip successfully, I do not have nice edges to tuck in. I keep trying!  At least my attempts are good enough to eat, even if they don't look sterling. Many times I add ham, too. 

Here's the step-by-step vid...(and if I'm honest I see what you mean about perfect edges).

Rob Walks Chicago:
catalpa tree

Poem to My Yellow Coat

today i mourn my coat.
my old potato.
my yellow mother.
my horse with buttons.
my rind.
today she split her skin
like a snake,
refusing to excuse my back
for being big
for being old
for reaching toward other
cuffs and sleeves.
she cracked like a whip and
fell apart,
my terrible teacher to the end;
to hell with the arms you want
she hissed,
be glad when you’re cold
for the arms you have.

Phyllis writes about growing her own food: This is our first lettuce cutting. So exciting--a first for me. We made a nice salad with veggies and leftover steak. 

7082 cukes from Row 7
are coming on strong

via Chef Dan Barber, Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Covid Cafe: Bread and Butter Pickles

Good day to you, chefs. It's summer, so please think about making pickles. Bread and butter pickles, dill pickles, all pickles. Trust me you'll start eating them with everything. We got these cuke beauties in our CSA box and have a zillion more on the vines in our gardens.

 I tore up 
some of the fresh oregano from this week's farm share
Bread and Butter Pickles
Adapted from The Dispatch Kitchen, a few other sources and personal taste
Big important note, especially if you are unfamiliar with bread and butter pickles: these babies are sweet! So very sweet! So sweet that I thought that the sugar level was a typo but sure enough, every other recipe I found listed sugar amounts in cups. Ayee. This one only called for one but I reduced my batch to 3/4 of a cup for a bread-and-butter pickle we find on par with the level of sweetness you expect from them. As in, it is probably “correct”. But, I will still reduce it to a 1/2 cup next time, to accommodate my taste preference, as you should adjust it to yours.

I also reduced the turmeric, which seemed like way too much, and added celery seed, because I like it with pickles.

Makes 4 cups of pickles, filling a 1-quart jar
1 pound cucumbers, sliced 1/4-inch thick — “pickling” or kirby cucumbers work best here
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Diamond Kosher salt [Updated: Why Diamond? Read this first.]
1/2 to 3/4 cups sugar (see note above)
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds (if ground, use 1 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon celery seed

In a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers, onion and salt. Mix well. Cover the mixture with ice. Let stand at room temperature for two hours. In a pot, bring sugar, vinegar and spices to a boil. Drain cucumbers and onions. Add to vinegar mixture and bring almost back to a boil. Remove from heat and cool. You can store the pickles in an airtight container for up to three weeks in the fridge. They will begin tasting pickled in just a couple hours.

To go with your pickles, this video will make you laugh...

Black Dads Try Other Black Dads' Barbecue

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Covid Cafe: Purple Cauliflower, Purple Rain

More crayola colors
from the CSA box

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Covid Cafe: Edible Flowers

Good day to you, chefs. Look at the edible flowers we received in our CSA box this week. Life is a little more beautiful because of them.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Covid Cafe: Shaved Asparagus, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Frittata.

Hello chefs. Are you enchanted as I am when you see a horse in a city? If so, check out Chicago's Dread Head Cowboy here. He's got some good energy. Then have a look at Rob's superb summer meal. Pretty in pictures.

Adam Hollingsworth, 33, otherwise known as “The Dread Head Cowboy,” rides his horse Prince in the Loop, Tuesday afternoon, June 16, 2020.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times 

Rob writes: I bought four HUGE cucumbers last Saturday at the farmers market and realized this morning that their time was soon to expire.  So I made two batches of cucumber salad, creamy and Asian.  After working like a dog all day fighting a project that zaps my interest I thought a good dinner would be a remedy.

I riffed on the recipe and decided to roll the goat cheese bits in fresh oregano and I kept the asparagus tips intact and softened them in the pan with some white balsamic.  First stop after assembly was the stove top.

After it begins to cook, transfer to the broiler for a finishing. It’s a beaut!

And it plated up nicely with the cucumbers.

(find the recipe here)

Thought for Today
“If your voice held no power, they wouldn’t try to silence you.” - unknown

The Chicks - March March