Although it’s still August, the growing season is drawing to a close, and I’m beginning to suffer from FVFD–Fresh Veggies and Fruit Deprivation Disorder. Mr. Hambly isn’t coming to the farmers’ market any more, so no more of his wonderful tomatoes and heavenly little eggplants. Mr. Cotner’s peaches are pretty well finished, so no more eat-it-over-the-sink lusciousness. Corn is pretty well over. We’ll still have grapes and squash and apples and kale for a while.
The only good thing about it is, when winter comes, can wild mushrooms be far behind? Well, actually, yes, they’re still months and months away, but it’s something to look forward to: Those first fists of rhubarb pushing out of the ground, the first asparagus spears, the scouting forays into the woods and then–quarry spotted! Tally ho!
Meanwhile, I’m savoring what’s left, and looking forward to the fresh eggs that the cooler weather will bring.
WRITING PROMPT: Have a character realize that a certain fruit or vegetable is his or her favorite and uncover why.
From September 2006 to September 2009, I wrote a weekday column called Culinary Chronicles for Joe Barkson’s World Wide Recipes newsletter. I enjoyed it very much, mostly because it encouraged me to learn more about foods I knew and discover foods I didn’t know. Here is the column I wrote on February 12, 2008, followed by the recipe for the version I made for World on the Square this past Saturday.
This is my new food for this month. I don’t know why I suddenly got a craving for a dish I’d never eaten before, but I did. I’d heard about pasta fazool in my youth, from a couple of “novelty” popular songs and probably from Chico Marx, but I had never, to my knowledge, eaten it. I found out it’s one of those foods that originated as a peasant dish, and so has no absolute recipe. “Pasta fazool” is a corruption — or possibly a legitimate variant pronunciation — of pasta e fagioli: pasta and beans. Pasta fazool always contains some kind of small pasta (macaroni or, in a pinch, broken spaghetti) and beans, usually small white ones like cannellini or, because I didn’t have cannellini and I did have navy beans, navy beans. It also has olive oil, garlic, onion and spices. It might or might not have tomatoes or tomato sauce in it. It might be a brothy soup, or it might not be soup at all. Mine wasn’t soup, but I’ll bet a soupy version would be good.
The version I made for World on the Square was soupy and it was good. No amounts are given, because you do it as you like it.
PASTA FAZOOL–SOUPY VERSION
- Olive oil
- Small pasta, uncooked. I used campanelle, because it’s pretty.
- Diced canned or fresh tomatoes. I used canned with garlic, basil and oregano.
- Canned tomato sauce
- Cannellini or other white beans
- Chicken or vegetable broth
Heat olive oil. Cook garlic in oil until garlic just begins to turn golden. Remove and discard. Put onion, carrot and celery in blender and grate. Add to tomatoes, tomato sauce, flavored oil and broth. Add beans and bring to boil. Add pasta and reduce to simmer, stirring to keep everything circulating. Cook according to pasta package’s directions. Even better chilled and reheated.
WRITING PROMPT: Have a character cook or order a dish he or she has only heard the name of.
Repeating my contest invitation at Fatal Foodies today. Remember to mention EEL’S REVERENCE when commenting on any of my posts between now and September 26 in order to be entered.
WRITING PROMPT: Write a character who has Seasonal Affective Disorder when the days get long and the sun gets hot and bright.