I can't say I am a the best son. I don't visit my Mom often enough. And I probably (no, definitely) annoy her with my sarcasm and kvetching. But I always cook for her and hope that compensates for my shortcomings as a dutiful son. From this blog site to God's ear!
Last weekend, with my wife away on business, I decided to catch a train and head toward "Maman," who lives in the burbs of Connecticut. Along with a garden full of late summer tomatoes and eggplant freshly harvested from her garden.
I bought a fresh piece of Bronzini for us (farmed raised as I'm no fisherman, myself) and prepared it strewn, tied and stuffed with aromatics. Then we ate it, al fresco, sitting amid the garden that yielded the fresh delicious vegetables on our plates – relaxing in the cool late summer evening air and enjoying a chilled rose that accompanied our night time meal.
Here's the usual ritual when my wife and I visit my mother's house. It's all about cooking, eating, and then talking. But it starts with lists. Shopping lists. And then we go off to shop, sometimes remembering the lists, often forgetting them – or simply going blank on one important item on the menu. Which usually leads us to neighbors.
For hot chilies, we have our reliable friends from Vietnam next door. Another set of neighbors are good for lemons and there's even someone who can be counted on for sprigs of mint. Not a bad neighborhood, my mothers has picked, eh?
This weekend, my list left off the pignola nuts for my caponata! In this case, a neighbor rescued us with walnuts. And since in the past I've made this dish with flourishes like sultanas, mint, and fennel seed, it is no longer an orthodox caponata a'la Siciliana. Who cares? It tasted good!
The other part of the visit on which I count is to spend time with the cat who shares my mother's house. Of course, he was there this weekend, pawing at the garden table begging for his piece of fish. Of course we fed him. Thurston was once my cat but now lives with my Mom. He's keeping her company when I am not around. Unlike me, he doesn't talk back…but he meows (especially when he is hungry).
So what else happened on this uneventful but happy weekend visit? Well, since I've been behind the stove indoors a bit too long, we decided to go out to eat the last night – namely out to eat a home made dinner while sitting on her patio.
We ate a French bistro classic, more autumnal fare served for late summer, boudin noir with mashed potatoes and kale.
A nice bottle of Owen Roe's Abbots Tale.
And this lazy hot Sunday I made some Turkish mercimek
köftesi to start.
Then a pissaladiere and a fougasse.
Oh and some Quarte Qaurts for some of my
mom's neighbors, oh yes and for us!