On Monday, I took this picture of the daffodils on my kitchen table before a snowy window. By Saturday, my whole neighborhood was decked out in shorts and flip flops. The Farmers' Market has returned to summer hours and as if on cue, it seems bustling and full again. The town is in that pleasant state of suspended animation
that comes each year with the arrivals of spring break and the NCAA Men's
. I'm usually in the kitchen for the games,and of course there is no TV, so over the years I developed what I consider to be a remarkable ability to follow games on the radio. I always listen to Woody Durham and am able to keep track of time, fouls and points. This is true even of teams with which I am unfamiliar.
We're into our fourth week of corned hams. As is often the case, we'll sell completely out two Saturdays in a row, then use hardly any at all the next week. That's OK
. This Sunday night, the kitchen had dynamite ham tacos for dinner. The hams seem particularly good this year. You have to careful around them because the fat is so good. Even I can't eat whole platefuls of roasted fat without consequence, so it's best to keep myself from even starting. One taste and I'm doomed.
I'm making coconut cream pies again, with that lard and vodka crust. This time I reduced the amount of sugar in the filling a little and I think that this is an improvement. Donna Florio's
strawberry buttermilk sherbet is back for a bit. This stuff is so good and it's quick. It requires no cooking, so it's less complicated. I'm starting to think cakes again, too. We're still fairly busy despite the economic news, so one feels more confident about experimenting and expanding the menu a little. Next week I return to the Coral Bay Club on Emerald Isle to be a judge for the Crystal Coast Challenge. This is a combination fund raiser and competition that benefits the culinary program at Carteret
County Community College. I really enjoyed this last year. This year I don't even have to cook, just eat.