Stuff I Forgot

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I'm really lucky. People are always bringing me stuff. Great stuff. Elizabeth Karmel's mother Lynn sent me one of this year's persimmon fruit cakes. I've almost devoured the whole thing, but I did force myself to save a quarter for soaking. Like I said this fall about Japan, the cake is as beautiful as it is delicious. Then there is Frances Mayes. She and her husband Ed have begun producing olive oil on their property in Tuscany and they brought me a bottle. It is delicious. Believe it or not, I first tasted it on cornbread.

The magic of leftovers. A slower time of year tends to yield more leftovers and odds and ends and the time to make use of them. For instance, yesterday in my kitchen I had a half a gallon of whey, left from clarifying butter, a bucket of egg whites because we need lots of yolks to make ice cream, a few cartons of blueberries left over from brunch, a bunch of almonds from the last time we had catfish amandine and a half a case of pink grapefruits from our last duck entree.
I realise that nobody has this much whey at home but in the restaurant kitchen, we produce it routinely. I used this batch in sweet potato soup, but the very best use I've found for it is as the liquid in risotto. The almonds became a torte. The blueberries I stewed down into a runny compote that I used to soak the layers of this torte. The grapefruits became the prettiest pale pink sorbet.

I have a small piece in the February issue of Our State Magazine. Every once and a while the editor Vicky Jarrett asks me for a contribution and I am always flattered. This issue is entitled Why We Love North Carolina. I talk about how the marshes down east smell like home.

Finally, one of my Oaxacan friends received a package from home this week. It contained letters and pictures and unfortunately bread (because it took more than two months to get here). Although intact, it was no longer edible. But it was holiday bread from a tiny puebla way up in the mountains so I took this picture. I once attended a wedding in this village, Santa Maria de Ipalapa, which was no mean feat, so I appreciate the bread's journey.

posted by Bill Smith at 4:09 PM


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