I’ve learned so much working at Something Sweet (www.somethingsweetcafe.com) in Middletown over the last 2 years. Besides learning about cake decorating and baking large quantities and preparing vats of soup you could practically SWIM in, I’ve learned how wonderful people can be. My co-workers are some of my best friends in the world and we laugh constantly (while still getting our work done, Boss) and have a blast together. Those among us that share our love of cooking have experienced such varying cuisines and we like to show off (kinda) and make things for each other.
Last week Amy made me a Thai vegetable curry that was fabulous. I haven’t had better in any restaurant (although a little rice would’ve been nice, Amy…. Sheesh!), and she’s always willing to give hints on where to find interesting Asian ingredients. Without Amy, I’d never know about Thai House restaurant in Nyack, NY. Great. Place. To. Eat!
Mama is a little more secretive. She’ll discreetly add a few things to a dish so you can NEVER replicate it. She’ll forget to tell you that she added some wine to that soup or some sugar to sweeten up the tomatoes. Thankfully, she loves to share her Italian culinary heritage, and I’m learning so much about how things ‘used to be made’. I love the different combinations of foods that she tells me about. One is the sweet and sour mix. Combining raisins and pine nuts and acidic juice or vinegar and garlic — I could practically make a meal of pasta dressed only with those things.
Last summer Mama taught me how to make pickled eggplant. I made my own big batch of it and still have some floating in olive oil in a jar in my kitchen. I love it piled on a nice piece of chewy bread, but one day she mentioned she makes tuna salad with it. No mayo in her tuna salad!
Today I was inspired. I mixed about 1/4 cup of it with some canned tuna, 2 t capers, salt and pepper, freshly squeezed lemon juice and some of the flavored oil from the eggplant (just enough to moisten). I piled it high on a bed of torn fresh arugula and ground some more pepper atop. What a fabulous flavor combination! Heavenly… and I ate way too much.
[You can buy pickled eggplant in supermarkets, but making your own is so much better. Perhaps you’ll learn this summer when eggplant is in season? ]
All Contents © Kasha Bialas 2010