Sunday, April 18, 2010

Intense Green: Cooking and Traveling

A PLATTER OF FIGS (David Tanis, Artisan Books, 2008). I'm still cooking my way randomly through this super-instructive book. Recent venture: Spinach Cake with Herb Salad (from menu two). Tanis describes this six-egg cake as a cross between a custard and a frittata, but it doesn't taste eggy like a custard or breakfasty like a frittata. It's firm, flips easily from the baking pan and cuts well. Two pounds is a lot of spinach; add two leeks, a little butter and parmigiano, whole milk and spices and you have brilliant green whirling in the blender. Aside from the spinach and leek prep (exact instruction provided, of course), this is the simplest of recipes. Leftovers are great. The accompanying herb salad (arugula, lettuce and endive with six fresh herbs) both tastes and looks good with the spinach cake. Directions for the vinaigrette (macerate the shallot with lemon juice and salt) are given in the usual Tanis detail - works for me. 

SPRING VACATION - GREECE.  There are lots of reasons to hike around Lesvos with good company and local guides: thousands of silvery olive trees, 
wild flowers everywhere, startled sheep, evidence of 
civilizations past (Roman aqueducts, icon-laden monasteries,Turkish baths) and present (washed-up rafts of Afghan refugees arriving in the night, growing preservation efforts, the Teriade Museum), Agean vistas and long late lunches.  The lunches: Greek beer, a little ouzo, a lot of olives, local soft cheeses, fried feta, sauteed eggplant, tomatoes and onions, fresh grilled octopus, yogurt and honey. But worth the trip all by itself is the orange right off the tree.

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