Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Monday, July 31, 2006

My new kitchen hero

I've wanted to subscribe to Martha's Living for years but could never bring myself to do it because I was so unimpressed by the most important -- to me -- section: food. In fact, I remember one particular issue that had about four of those greens/pear or apple/nuts/cheese salads all in different articles. Now, I have nothing against that particular salad combination. It's just that when I subscribe to a magazine I want to actually learn something. I mean, haven't we had that salad about a million times? It just looked like the food editor was getting tired and running out of ideas.

This summer I leafed through an issue again (August) and was pleasantly surprised. Bright, fresh ideas in enticing flavors! Has there been a changing of the guard? Yes Lucinda Scala Quinn. I don't know how long ago she took the helm as food queen but I love her already. Saturday night I served her refreshingly light sangria (made with grapefruit juice and rose) at a dinner party. Last night I used her chili citrus rub on chicken legs and paired it with her crisp, fresh beet salad with orange coriander dressing (even Jasper loved it). And tonight I made her zucchini carpachio (thinly-sliced, parboiled zucchini over watercress or arugula with shaved Parmesan and lemon dressing). This was another winner. All right then, Martha, sign me up!

A couple of caveats on the salads, should you try them: we liked the beet salad with extra coriander. Fortunately I'd toasted twice the amount and we sprinkled this over our individual servings. As for the zucchini, the watercress was all right but I think it would be better paired with arugula.

In the background you see some fregeola. It's Sardinian toasted pasta, with a nice, nutty flavor. I cooked it in beef stock (because that's what I had on hand -- chicken or fish would be better for summer) and tossed with lemon juice, tarragon, and some Italian green olives. We have tons left over so I may buy some poached salmon and creme fraiche for dinner tomorrow night. It's supposed to get over 100 degrees so I doubt I'll be in the mood to cook.