I’m getting bored with studying the information anxiously every morning, bored with dangerous habits in every single place, bored with witnessing worry and loathing and oppression, bored with politics. It’s a tough time. However, although some days I need quite simple meals, I’m not bored with cooking.
I’m additionally not bored with going to the farmers’ market, or of spending time in kitchen. I don’t tire of cooking pasta, warming garlic in olive oil or making toast. I nonetheless get excited when a chunk of meals tastes inordinately good. I nonetheless need to make a salad and placed on a pot of beans. And there’s nonetheless consolation in watching the seasons change.
I do perceive the idea of kitchen burnout, extra so with the doubled-up stress of the pandemic and the vacations, however the act of cooking and the ritual of sharing meals may be enjoyable, grounding and constructive.
Consider this menu as a enjoyable one to cook dinner, perhaps in per week or so. It’s simple sufficient to arrange for a particular weeknight, although, after all, every of the dishes can stand alone, too.
There was lovely fennel at one farmer’s stand the opposite day. Now’s the time for it. It does effectively in cool temperate zones, rising slowly, feathery fronds swaying. Chilly climate accentuates the fennel’s sweetness and anise fragrance. Reducing into the bulb reveals its crisp, pale celadon heart.
Thinly sliced, it makes a most refreshing salad. Fennel dressed with anchovy, lemon juice, inexperienced olives and fruity olive oil is a mix I’ll by no means tire of. Don’t be afraid of the anchovy; rinsing and blotting the fillets tames the harshness.
When you occur to have a preserved lemon or two readily available, a little bit of the salty chopped rind provides depth. This makes a zesty, welcoming first course — or a positive salad to eat for lunch. Costume it simply earlier than serving, so the sliced fennel stays crisp. It could appear foolish to smash and pit your personal inexperienced olives, however the form seems to be higher they usually style meatier that approach. (In any case, please, don’t reduce pitted olives crosswise into little spherical slices.)
The fish man had haddock, cod and hake on the market (I went for the cod) and glossy black mussels from Prince Edward Island. I assumed they need to marry. The fish might marinate in a mix of cilantro, cumin and coriander, a intelligent Moroccan customized. Steamed collectively, the mussels would contribute their briny juices to the broth. Enhanced with a dab of spicy harissa, the ensuing stew, served in massive bowls, was deeply flavorful. Was it tiresome? In no way — it was dreamy.
You could not need an actual dessert after this meal. I’d be proud of a bowl of tangerines and a juicy pomegranate, or a scoop of ice cream, however why resist an olive oil walnut cake, just a bit slice? You’ll be able to completely bake the cake prematurely. It really retains effectively for a number of days, and appears to enhance with age, in reality. Your alternative: elegant dessert or good breakfast.
Additional-virgin olive oil offers the cake richness and a young crumb. There’s additionally an orange syrup to drench it with, greatest finished on the day it’s served. A spoonful of crème fraîche or yogurt and a topping of vibrant purple pomegranate seeds make the cake a festive sight.
So, no, I’m not bored with cooking. In reality, one way or the other, making ready meal — or one good dish — is invigorating.