What We Eat When We Eat Alone Part 14

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1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

2. To blanch the almonds, bring a few cups of water to a boil, then add the almonds and let stand for 1 minute. Drain, then slip off the skins. Blot them dry with a towel before adding the oil.

3. Toss the nuts with the oil and roast on a sheet pan until light golden, about 25 minutes. Stir a few times so that they color evenly. When done, add the salt, and swish them around. Taste and add more salt if desired. As they cool, they'll get crisp.

Chocolate Mousse with Cardamom Seeds Today's seductive dessert, even a chocolate one, would probably have to include seeds and bark of some kind, like bay leaf, mace, and peppercorns. One of the best chocolate mousses I recall had cardamom seeds in it-this mysterious aromatic crunchy stuff buried in the silky chocolate-and it was wonderful.

Here's a cla.s.sic chocolate mousse with cardamom seeds added, but there's nothing that says you can't make it using one of the more interesting chocolates that are available today. Just use one that hovers around 70 percent.

This is too much for two, so portion it into 4 small serving dishes. There can be seconds, and there are those who love dessert for breakfast.







1. Beat the egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the sugar and beat until smooth and firm, but not dry or hard. Leave the whites in the bowl with the whisk.

2. Put the chocolate, water, and cardamom in a 1-quart bowl and set it over a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted, then turn off the heat and remove the bowl. Quickly whisk the egg yolks into the chocolate, then add the b.u.t.ter and stir until it disappears. If it seems to be taking a while to melt, return the bowl to the pan of hot water to speed things along but without turning on the heat. You don't want to risk cooking the eggs.

3. Once the b.u.t.ter has melted, go back to the egg whites and whip them for a few seconds to bring them back together. Fold them into the chocolate mixture, then divide everything among the dessert dishes and refrigerate. It will set in an hour or so.

4. To serve, either pour the cream over the top so that each bite of mousse comes up with some cream on it, or whip it until it's soft and airy, sweeten it with a teaspoon or two of sugar, and then pile it over the mousse.

A Platter of Fruit Fruit for dessert might consist of a single variety-a peach or a pear, for example-or a virtual garden of fruits, put out whole with knives for peeling and slicing. Or a plate might be spa.r.s.ely covered with individual bites of perfection-a few garden strawberries, a cl.u.s.ter of raspberries, a soft fig, a Pixie tangerine, a sliced apple, a few nuts. Whichever way you go, what matters is that the fruit be as good as it possibly can be, which inevitably means local and in its season. This recipe is a sample fruit plate for late summer.






Arrange the fruit and walnuts on a platter and put out two plates and two knives. Slice the fruit and crack the nuts for one another. Have a gla.s.s of late harvest Riesling or Muscat wine, or finish with the wine you had at dinner.

Breakfast with the Saints Judith Espinar, who eats and reads in bed with her cat, is a serious lover of folk art. Her Santa Fe home is filled with gorgeous folk art ceramics and bright-colored weavings, and one room alone is filled with carved wooden saints, or santos. This is where Judy has breakfast.

"I used to always eat breakfast in the kitchen, but one day I noticed that when I sat in the room with my saints, I wasn't just fuelling myself for a busy day, but something else was happening."

She pauses a moment, feeling for that something else, finds it, and continues. "It's funny, but the yogurt seems to taste better when I'm with my saints. I never have it with anything but almonds, but if I'm in the kitchen I add grapes and berries and other things. I don't know why, but the almonds are enough. I slow down. Eating with the saints is the best way to start my day."

And having supper in bed with her cat is the best way to end it.

This book would not have even begun if people hadn't been willing to talk about what they eat when they eat alone. Because this project began as a curiosity on Patrick's part with no book in mind-that idea didn't come about for another decade-the names of our first travel companions and informers weren't always included among the scribbles about tingle and burn spices, the virtues of mastic ice cream for seduction, or how to cook a frozen hamburger. On countless occasions since, utter strangers have piped up with their stories about what they eat when they eat alone, and before we could find out their ident.i.ties, they were gone. Other times, people whom we know perfectly well but who don't want others to know them, go nameless, or are referred to by first names only. With or without revealing ident.i.ties, we offer our deep appreciation to each and every person who has taken part in this book.

Although they didn't know what kind of stage they were setting (and might not have agreed to it had they known), we especially wish to thank K. Dun Gifford and Sara Baer-Sinnott of Oldways Preservation and Trust for including us on so many of those Mediterranean safaris where, over long bus rides and even longer meals, the germ of this book was born.

Our warm thanks to Peggy Knickerbocker for her generosity, good thoughts, clever ways with words, and her always appealing recipes. The t.i.tle "Men and Their Meat" is attributed entirely to Peggy as well as the quivery wine jelly.

Thank you to those partic.i.p.ants who are involved with procuring, producing, and raising food; winemakers Robert Brittan and Carl Doumani; cheesemaker Nancy c.o.o.nridge; farmers Larry Butler, Ed May, and Carol Ann Sayle; tea procurer Sebastian Beckwirth; rancher Hugh Fitzsimmons and artist-rancher James Turrell; and farmers market leaders Joanne Neft, Amelia Saltsman, and Richard McCarthy.

A special thanks to Milton Glaser for his provocative ideas.

A host of cooks and writers also contributed to this book, and we are grateful to them for their fine words and their recipes. Thank you to Daniel Halpern for his poem "How To Eat Alone," and to Jeannine Hall Gailey for her poem "Spy Girl," both of which speak so aptly to the human eat-alone condition. To Betty Fussel, Laura Calder, Paul Levy, Fran McCullough, Mas Masamoto, Rae Paris, Cliff Wright, Sylvia Thompson, Martha Rose Schulman, Blake Spalding, Joe Simone, Greg O'Byrne, Phillip Dedlow, Marilyn Ferrel, Agalia Kremezi, and Kate Manchester-our heartfelt appreciation. And we especially wish to thank Dan Welch for his unfaltering pa.s.sion in the kitchen. No one uses more (good) olive oil or has more fun doing so.

Thanks to the contribution of family members Winifred, Jamie, Lindsay Madison, and Miles Kusch, and friends old and new from every walk of life-John Flax, Harmony Hammond, Emily Hartzog, Sam Harvey, James Holmes, Bill Kissell, Charlie Johnston, Peter Jensen, Paul Johnson, Kim Carlson, Sharon Chase, Rosalind c.u.mmins, Ken Kuhne, Patrick McKelvey, Michael McCaulley, Karen Ransom, Owen Rubin, Maureen Stein, Dru Sherrod, Sandy Simon, Marsha Weiner, Brooke Willeford, and Melissa Williams.

To those who helped to turn an idea into an actual book: we warmly thank our publisher Gibbs Smith, who supported the idea from the moment he heard of it; his staff, who have taken on its production with enthusiasm and good cheer; and Jennifer Grillone for her patient bearing with editorial changes and eccentricities. It's been a rare gift to be able to not only write but also to ill.u.s.trate and design this book.

We also thank Fran McCullough, who gave What We Eat When We Eat Alone its first critical read and a nod. And always, our deep appreciation to our tireless agent, Doe Coover, who manages to make it all happen all the time.

-Deborah Madison and Patrick McFarlinGalisteo, New Mexico.

Metric Conversion Chart.

Table 1.1. Metric Conversion Chart.

Volume Measurements Weight Measurements Temperature Conversion.

U.S. Metric U.S. Metric U.S. Metric.

1 teaspoon 5 ml 1/2 ounce 15 g 250 120.

1 tablespoon 15 ml 1 ounce 30 g 300 150.

1/4 cup 60 ml 3 ounces 90 g 325 160.

1/3 cup 75 ml 4 ounces 115 g 350 180.

1/2 cup 125 ml 8 ounces 225 g 375 190.

2/3 cup 150 ml 12 ounces 350 g 400 200.

3/4 cup 175 ml 1 pound 450 g 425 220.

1 cup 250 ml 2-1/4 pounds 1 kg 450 230.

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What We Eat When We Eat Alone Part 14 summary

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