There's a type of cookie in Italy called "brutti ma buoni" -- a plain cookie with nuts, dropped from a spoon and baked. It looks like a jumble -- hence the name, which translates as "ugly but good."
I'm doing a lot of "ugly but good" cooking today. We're going out of town next week, and I'm madly trying to use, or preserve, perishables in the refrigerator and the garden.
Right now, all the cherry and pear tomatoes are being cooked down to be frozen for use in soups this winter. Natalya, the four-year-old next door, commented that the kitchen "smells like Spaghetti-Os." Hmm...The tomatoes look a bit weird because the pot contains equal amounts red, yellow, and orange tomatoes.
Finally, I took the last of a batch of brown rice out of the fridge and turned it into a pudding with eggs, milk, rum, brown sugar, golden raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg. There was a lot of liquid in the mixture, so I have it cooking very slowly at 300 degrees, like an Indian pudding.
In and around the cooking, I climbed up on a ladder in the side yard and hunted through a great snarl of grape vines to pick the Candace grapes -- which Natalya was eating almost as fast as I could pick them. Last year was a bad year for grapes; this year, the grapes are good, but sparse. (August didn't get hot enough.) There are still ripening grapes on the vine, and they won't need to be picked until a freeze is imminent.
Although rain threatened all day, it didn't show up until dusk. The afternoon was all "oyster light" -- that luminous, mother-of-pearl light that makes green plants seem to glow all on their own. Many of my flowers are still blooming, so there's a mix of bright pinks and purples with the yellow and orange autumn leaves. The pleasure of working in all that beauty manages to balance out the experience when the patio cushions I was storing released a few gallons of water onto my sneakered feet.
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