It's simple: we're all at home, let's make it good... in the kitchen!
Food is love. And, while we have always counted gathering those we love around abundant tables to share bounty and break bread as one of the purest existential pleasures/necessities of being human, this eternal refrain resonates more deeply now than ever. It just hits different, as the kids say.
Spending time in the kitchen has forever been a labor of love for us, a meditation, an unwinding. And while it is certainly true that, at this moment, the need to nourish ourselves and our families from our own hearths and pantries is a labor born of necessity, it is also an opportunity for joy and resilience... even/especially you don't have all of the *exact* ingredients.
We are not alone. When we connect with our friends—all of whom are finding their own new ways within disrupted daily rhythms and new wild realities—the talk turns immediately to food. We are done asking and answering "how are you doing?". The next logical question, then becomes: "what are you making!?".
So, like you're on our Foundry Family text chain/email thread/zoomtime/party lines, here's what WE are making right now— if you squint your eyes and light some beeswax it'll *almost* be like we're sitting around the same big table, raising glasses to the restorative power of dinner.
This week I grilled pesto chicken. It's one of my favorite marinades for chicken in the summer when I have lots of fresh basil on hand from the garden. I'm quite obsessive about pruning and harvesting my basil plants throughout the summer and when I have a surplus I make little frozen pesto cubes so I can have that fresh basil taste all year round! I tend to use whatever I have on hand, so the recipe is always different. Last summer I made a batch with basil, arugula, fresh lemon juice, garlic, almonds, and olive oil. I just blend it all in the food processor and scoop it into ice cube trays and freeze. I've also made it with kale and walnuts. Whatever is going crazy in the garden! For the chicken marinade I thaw a few cubes and then add some extra olive oil and a little rice wine vinegar and salt and pepper. From pasta to pesto aioli it's a really great way to preserve fresh basil so you always have it on hand.
This week we made tarts—at three-year-old Lois' insistent request that we recreate one of her favorite illustrations from her big book of Mother Goose Nursery rhymes:
My husband, Andrew, and I are both still working remotely and are balancing care of Lois during the days since her school is closed indefinitely, so I had to put on my thinking cap (also similar to the one in the illustration) to make the execution of these tarts as easy and fun as possible. Andrew and Lois made his go-to shortbread recipe—a foolproof, ingredient-light dough that gets wazzed up in the food processor—in his a.m. shift with her, and she and I rolled out the dough and cut it with cookie cutters salvaged from the play-doh box when I tagged in in the afternoon. The recipe doesn't call for sticking the dough in the fridge after you make it, but lunch waits for no tart! I think it actually helped make the dough more stable and workable. I can't even with Lois using her wee children's beechwood rolling pin!
The original recipe calls for basil (below, in Andrew's cutie little writing), but we've used other herbs and aromatics (or omitted everything but flour, sugar, butter, and salt, even!) with only excellent results. I asked Andrew after the fact what herbs he used for this batch and he said "Oh, I just sent Lois to the garden and told her to pick an herb salad and she put whatever she picked straight into the processor". Like he didn't even check, Ha! I asked her later and she said: rosemary, sage, and...catmint...MEOW!
Once they were cooled—so hard to wait!—we spread peach jam on the bottom halves because that's the only kind of jam we had, and assembled the heart-sides with the bottoms to make the finished jammers. To say Lois was stoked about how they turned out is a total understatement. Tarts for the win!!
That's what we're making! What do you have cooking in the kitchen!? Seriously. We want/need to know.