Last night, I made my old Meatless Monday standby, Yotam's burnt eggplant with tahini. T just can't find much love for this dish so I tend to make it when he's away; all the better because then I can enjoy the entire serving, like a lone pig at a terrific trough.
This morning greeted the boys and me with a steady rain, and just after I got home from dropping them off at school, the skies opened; it was a solid gully-washer punctuated with brief intervals of retreat- perhaps the nimbused reservoirs used those moments to regain critical mass. Sitting near a window, emailing to friends, I loved every minute of the storm.
It moved on, and as if issuing an apology left behind unadulterated spring glory. I finished up a good amount of my to-do list for Oliver's birthday (shamrocks, Wonder Woman, golden lassos and Hello, Kitty! = what a mix), ran some errands and noodled further on how to turn my new favorite snack of ricotta + candied kumquats into a more formalized dessert. I also realized I'd soaked since yesterday morning, a pound of Rancho Gordo cassoulet beans so best figure out something to do with them. I had some gorgeous pork belly, in bacon-style strips, in the fridge, an onion here, a leek there, a can of good fire-roasted tomatoes too, marjoram, garlic, thyme, good oil. A stew of sorts came together and cooked over a slow heat for north of three hours. The boys enjoyed it for dinner, and I'm planning to do the same.
In the meantime, I took my first step in the ricotta-kumquat direction by making some shortbread dough and pressing it into a rectangular tart pan. I baked it for 20 or 25 minutes and then spooned into it a ricotta pudding batter. Upped the temp, baked that until middle-jiggly and, when still warm, dressed it with a scattershot of the candied kumquats. I can't wait to try this!
Another cool part of my day was seeing an old high school friend I've not laid eyes on in at least a decade. N and I correspond regularly via Facebook but despite the fact that we live in the same city, we've not managed to see each other. After making the greatest greenie bargain - I offered Ol's beloved crib mattress and changing pad for her sourdough starter and some lettuce seedlings she's been nurturing- over she came, bringing with her the most charming little lady bug (her 1 year old daughter) I've been able to get my mitts on recently. Plus the other goodies and some homemade yogurt cheese. It was a real treat to catch up, reconnect, meet in wildly different circumstances than the atmosphere that was high school. (Amen for that).