I was really hoping to start this blog off with succession of short, hilarious entries about food that would make you crack up and think I’m super clever. But this is really a personal blog that happens to center around my love of food. And since it’s personal, I cannot pretend here that I’m not experiencing some major sadness this week about losing Super Kitty.
|SK, in our skinnier days
She had a long, good life. She was my twin, but in kitty form. She loved food as much as I, and had the bowling ball waistline to prove it. Like me, that cat rarely lost her appetite – no surgery, stress or illness could keep her from a meal. In fact, what clued us in that she was terribly ill is that she would not even look at the mixture of tuna juice and chicken stock that we put in front of her on her last day.
Oddly, or maybe not so, my response to her death reminded me of my strange but happy relationship with food. After hours of tears on Wednesday night, I found myself planning out a menu for Friday. My friends that I am house-sitting for, Weather-Girl and The Welshman, are returning for the weekend with cousins in tow. A few other friends will join us on the deck Friday night for food, wine, and catching up.
On Wednesday, my heavy heart instinctively knew that getting up to my elbows in some cooking would make me feel better. I don’t know why, but an old recipe from Molly Katzen
came to me. Jeweled Rice Salad
from Still Life with Menu
. The taste of olive oil, lemon, parsely, honey and garlic is such a Moosewood
-y flavor combination, and it takes me back my early 20’s, when I taught myself how to cook by making almost every recipe between it’s tattered covers. I prefer to use short grain brown rice*, and I skip the grapes and add chopped red & yellow peppers. Maybe the craving for this came to me because it’s such a cheerful looking dish, and good for the body and soul too.
I got the biggest head of cabbage you’ve ever seen from Simmon’s Farm, with which I made a simple slaw with a lime-cilantro dressing. We’ll probably grill up some of their amazing sausages or make burgers from their ground beef. Weather-Girl and The Welshman have a freezer shelf full of Simmon’s Farm meats, having been members of their CSA meat share last winter.
And it’s a scientific fact that nothing turns a frown upside down like an upside down cake. I actually think that’s how it got it’s name – wait, or is it because the fruit is first on the bottom, then on the top? Right. Anyhow. This one will have plums rather than pineapple. Local plums, if you want me to get all highfalutin about it. The cake will be baked tonight, so it can be served warm with some of Susanna’s
vanilla ice cream. I just know I’ll think of Super Kitty and miss her as I’m unwrapping the softened butter and measuring out the whole-milk buttercream, two things among many we shared a mutual love of. What I’ll miss most, of course, is the mutual love we had for each other.
But cake helps. Even SK knew that.
*For perfect brown rice: Use a heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in it, put in the rice and coat it with the oil. Let it toast, stirring now and again for a few minutes until it smells like popcorn. Add water, cover the pot and simmer over low heat for 40-45 minutes. Do not take off the lid or stir during that time. Turn the heat off, fluff with a fork then cover again & let stand for 5 minutes.