All Hail Pomona !

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It seems like only yesterday I was whining about the end of agriculture. This morning I walk in the backdoor of the kitchen to be greeted by a big pan of persimmons- the year's first. They were from Mrs. Andrews and she had also brought still more figs. All the pumpkins I got from Ken Dawson are gone. The curried pumpkin soup we made with them was very popular. Each one was a little different. Ken saves the seed from year to year, so the produce he ends up with is the product of endless self-hybridization. One looked like a classic jack'o'lantern, one like a giant gourd, one had an interior similar to a spaghetti squash, another was remarkably dry. They all needed different times and temperatures to cook.

We'll leave the orchard for a minute and focus on surf and turf. Fall means the return of fried oysters. Right now at the beginning of the season, the are the perfect size as far as I'm concerned. By spring they will have become big and gloppy. When the outside seems done the inside can still be cool and gooey. We bread ours with a mixture of half self-rising flour and half maseca, which is what Mexican cooks use to make tortillas and tamales. I stole this years ago off of the box of some seafood breader I had bought in New Orleans. As usual, we serve our oysters with a mayonnaise made with garlic that has been roasted with cumin seeds.

Fall also brings with it the return of richer, heavier sauces, so our ovens will once again be browning big pans of bones for the stock pot. I try to start cooking these in the morning, so that they can brown slowly for a long time. It is important to turn them from time to time as they cook. I love the smells that this process produces, the roasting, the deglazing of the pans, the stocks simmering. I'll hold forth on this in detail another time. For now I'll just say that I think that aroma is as important in cooking as taste.

I've gotten requests from time to time for the recipes of things that I've talked about. I have decided that rather than publish them in the text of the main blog, I'm going to add a separate link for them. Hopefully this won't take long. I've always been flattered when people ask for recipes, so readers should feel free to ask for anything that I've mentioned here.

posted by Bill Smith at 4:08 PM


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