Saturday 15 September
It was a perfect blue and gold late summer Saturday, the sort that Cincinnati provides only in late summer and early fall. We nosed around Findlay Market trolling for finds: a couple of Asian eggplants from the young farmers, a beautiful bouquet of golden beets with their fresh greens from Madison's, and a couple of chickens from Charles Bare.
We've had an urge to fire up our little charcoal and chip smoker for a while, but the heat and the mosquitoes had been discouraging us. Now was the perfect day. Normally we'd smoke a duck, but the only kind we could get would have taken the whole day to defrost. Instead, we got these two fresh fryers at half the price of one duck - after all, if you're going to all the trouble of running the smoker, you might as well smoke extra (yes, you guessed it: smoke 'em if you got 'em).
The two little chickens got intertwined on the middle rack, and since there was room we sliced up the eggplant and threw it on the top rack. They smoked slowly over mesquite chips all afternoon, and then we brought them in and finished the chicken in the oven.
So dinner was two of the smoked chicken breasts, plus those crisp beet greens sautéed with diced garlic and shallots and set aside to simmer with a shot of wine. Amazing.