Saturday 29 September
It was a slightly cloudy Saturday, but the weather stayed good and dry for this weekend's Streetscapes chalk-painting festival.
We invited Sharon and Liz over for a casual dinner, and while we put it together, we all snacked on our own taramasalata, Sungold cherry tomatoes, goat cheese and arugula spread, daikon, and pickled tomatoes, and somebody else's olives, olive chips, and pita.
As our main course, we cooked sole fillets on a bed of rainbow chard. We've done this before, but this time the little fillets got folded in half on their chard bed, which was attractive as well as tasty.
For dessert, Holt made a rustic pear torta from a recipe in Carol Fields' Italian Baker; and Liz brought delicious rosemary biscotti she'd made from the American Academy in Rome cookbook. This is sort of amazing, because in our time the Academy used to be renowned for its simply terrible food. A few years ago, with the aid of Alice Waters, they turned that around, and even issued a cookbook, thus this recipe.
Cantucci di pignoli e rosmarino
3/4 cup pine nuts
1 1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp. fine cornmeal
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. rosemary leaves, minced
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp. butter
1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
grated zest of one lemon
1 large egg
2 tsp. Marsala
Preheat oven to 300º. Spread pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast 8-10 mins. until golden.
Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and rosemary in a medium mixing bowl.
In or with a mixer, cream butter, sugar, and lemon zest at high speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix until well incorporated. Switch to low speed and add Marsala. Add the dry ingredients by halves to the bowl, then gently fold in the pine nuts until well combined. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 15 mins.
Raise oven temperature to 350º.
Take out dough and divide in half. On a floured surface, form each portion into a log 1 inch in diameter. Transfer the logs to a cookie sheet lined with parchment or silpat, and bake for 20 minutes.
Let the logs cool a bit, and transfer to cutting board. Slice them into half-inch slices with a serrated knife, and lay the slices out flat on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or silpat. Bake 6-8 minutes, until golden. Let cool.
These are herbaceous and not too sweet, and keep well in a sealed tin.