Have I told you lately that I love the new Bon Appetit? Like many of the food magazines, they are changing. (I am very sorry that Gourmet is gone but I could never figure out why Conde Nast had two pretty-much-the-same food magazines).
With all the new formats, I notice that I don't know most of the new food writers. Perhaps this is because I am getting older, although, like old soldiers, we mostly fade away. I miss Colman Andrews from Saveur and Ruth Reichl from Gourmet. But the new writing is crisp, fun and intelligent.
I have been writing about food since 1976, long before I knew enough about food to be kidding myself into thinking I should be doing such a thing. But, while writing about food or anything else, except neurosurgery or training manuals about how to fly a plane, it is all about learning.
On a radio show some years ago, someone called in and asked just how many ways can there be to make an omelet or grill a steak. I thought for a few seconds (which is all you really have on radio or television) and said, "Look at how much composers have done with just seven notes."
To get back to the newest issue of Bon Appetit, Adam Rapoport, the young editor-in-chief, spent a few days in Tuscany with Ruth Rogers and two of her chefs. Each summer Rogers, executive chef and owner of London's River Café, and her family spend a month in a rented house in Italy. Lucky Rapoport watched and helped and ate the very simple food made by world-class chefs with ingredients freshly foraged from local markets.
Here is one of the recipes from that article for a frittata with tomatoes. I made this one a few times, then riffed that recipe with other ingredients from my own garden, friends' gardens and those from Chester's farm market. These few ingredients, plus a couple of eggs for me, make a quick, inexpensive and delicious meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Because I have so many herbs right now, I add some thyme or parsley or chopped basil into the mixture before I cook it.
Yield: 6 servings
3 tablespoon olive oil
6 large eggs
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
1 garlic clove, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 and one-half pounds ripe plum tomatoes (5 to 6 medium), cored, cut crosswise into one-quarter slices
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a large nonstick* skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly beat eggs in a medium bowl. Stir in cheese and garlic and season with salt and pepper. While oil is simmering, pour egg mixture into pan and cook until eggs begin to turn golden brown around the edges. Arrange tomato slices on top of egg mixture. (Some slices may sink.)
Transfer skillet to oven and bake frittata until eggs are just set in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a heat-proof spatula, loosen frittata from pan and slide into a warm plate. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.
*While many recipes call for nonstick pans, I only have one nonstick pan that I use only to make crepes. I have found that food I cook in my All-Clad, stainless steel pans do not stick as long as the oil or butter is hot enough (and even if food might stick a tiny bit, it is so easily to clean that it might as well be non-stick).
About a year ago, a friend told me about an ice cream available at big supermarkets packaged in clear plastic pint jars. You open the jar by unscrewing the top. Cute, I thought, and I started to buy a few of the pints.
Most of the flavors are off-beat and many are luscious. I am particularly taken by the salted caramel and the Mediterranean mint. One with banana is also delicious. The ice cream is a bit more expensive than Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry's. But the jar can be cleaned on the top shelf of the dishwasher and will make great gifts when filled with something I make for the holidays, as soon as I figure out what I will make for the holidays.
Available at Stop & Shop and Big Y