This is more of a photo essay than a post, I suppose. I’ve been so absolutely smitten by the abundance at the market the past couple of weeks that I’ve overbought and am having a hard time keeping up with cooking and eating all this vegetable treasure, let alone reporting on it.
There’s been an awful lot of tomato activity around here lately. Following Shana’s lead, I made up two huge vats of sauce, one rustic and chunky and sweetened with carrots, one smooth and silky with just a touch of garlic, basil and onion, and both destined for the freezer. The past three days I’ve been doing pan after pan of slow-roasted (very slow; twelve hours at 200 degrees slow) tomatoes and slipping those into quart freezer bags and thinking about how good they’ll taste in February. Oh, they taste good now too. It’s important to sample one from each batch to make sure nothing went wrong. And then a second one to confirm.
And then, because plum madness seems to have struck the internet and everywhere I turn I run into plum recipes, there was a rocking plum crumble and a very nice plum cake. I actually made the plum cake with love and good intentions for the wonderful people who work for me when they came to my house for our annual retreat this week. But then I entirely forgot about it, perhaps because we gorged ourselves on the famous frites from the much lamented Jefferson Market. At first, I thought this was a pretty happy accident as it meant all the more plum cake for the locals, but sadly, a moist plum cake and humid weather don’t mix, and when I lifted the foil on Sunday morning, looking forward to cake and coffee, there was an alarming amount of fuzz on the surface of the plums. Sigh.
There’s still much to be done. There’s a few pounds of skinny little eggplants and a pint of heirloom cherry tomatoes waiting to be turned into Neapolitan eggplant. There are large, sweet, wonderfully red bell peppers destined to be roasted and marinated in lime juice, olive oil and garlic. It’s nonstop cooking around here right now, I tell you.
Meanwhile, here’s the way we make potatoes four out of five times in this house. It’s one of those recipes that seems to me so obvious that I don’t think to post it. But the potatoes are great right now and this may not be in your repertoire yet. Give it a try. Bone simple and delicious.
Brain Dead Roast Potatoes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees or so. A little higher if you like a bit more crisp on the outside of the potatoes.
Dice the potatoes up (I always leave skins on) into manageable cubes. The size should depend on the aesthetics of dinner, but I try for one to one and a half inch cubes mostly. Parboil the potatoes. I usually aim for five minutes of parboiling unless I’m really trying to hurry things along. Sometimes, though, I get distracted, and I think up to fifteen minutes works okay. If you parboil that long, you may need to cut down roasting time.
Drain the potatoes and toss them, while warm, with a generous amount of olive oil. I do this right in an oven proof casserole. Throw a child size handful of kosher salt on top and slosh the pan back and forth a few times to get a good even coating of the salt on the potatoes. You may want to toss in some rosemary as well.
Pop the pan in the oven for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes and your personal taste in potato resistance to the bite. Make sure they get at least golden brown. They taste best, I think, very hot, but really aren’t bad at room temperature either.