I know, I know. This month I am having trouble keeping up with the considerable demands of food blogging. You see, June is ridiculous at work -- we have major public programs and fundraising events each weekend this month, which means a lot of preparation and a lot of extra hours and a lot of "other duties as assigned." Combine that with the fact that I'm trying to get the gardens in at home, working desperately to cultivate healthy tomato plants, "supervising" a stream of painters and demolition contractors, fighting an endless battle with invasive weeds on our property, driving the pup to and fro her many veterinary appointments, updating my Facebook status, training for a 5K, taking horseback riding lessons and making sure to catch "The Soup" each week and...well...something had to give.
It's too bad that this dear forum had to suffer. Excuses, excuses.
Today I am taking the easy way out. I'd like to share another entry from my 2004 Australia diary, into which I transcribed several delicious-looking recipes from "Delicious" magazine. I wrote this on the day I left Sydney for home -- always a sad day, no matter how many times I travel to Australia. Not that I don't like coming home. I love coming home. But I hate leaving, too. Pity that I cannot somehow live in two places at once. You'd think by now we'd have the technology for that.
Wednesday, 28 April 2004
Going home is such a pain in the ass. Well, not going home, per se, but traveling home. When it's time to go, I just want to be there, already.
We leave very early for the airport, as I take in a final glimpse of the sights around me -- the house, the Loggy, the signs leading to the M4, the Panthers Club with Krispy Kreme. It's a pretty quiet trip to the airport, and so poetic that the song playing on WSFM as we pull into the international terminal car park is Men At Work's "Land Down Under." Although I'm sure this song is played at least as often as "Cleveland Rocks" is in Ohio, I still think it is some sort of romantic poetic sign.
Inside the airport, after checking my overweight-but-no-problem luggage, we have a quick coffee before saying farewell. The goodbye is, naturally, easier than it used to be, although I am hoping very desperately that another 13 years don't pass before I see them again. [Indeed: I was to return the following year on my honeymoon, and Kerrie and Greg are traveling to the U.S. to visit us this coming August!]
The flight is full, unpleasantly. I sit next to a very friendly older couple from Perth, whose friendliness is the only reason I don't come to blows with them over constant elbowing as I'm trying -- unsuccessfully -- to sleep. Not a surprise. The flight east always sucks.
I watch "Big Fish" and "Love Actually" and listen to my new You Am I CD and Wilco's "Summerteeth" over and over again. What else can I say? We land at LAX and I call Mom, Dad and Husband. The American accent is jarring -- it's amazing how accustomed one becomes to the Australian accent in just two short weeks. I kill the requisite three hours before my flight to Cleveland, but only after the customs official doesn't believe that it's my passport. Not very welcoming; I am glad, finally, when he lets me go. I'd hate to be on their wrong side. I sleep the entire flight to Cleveland, waking up over Toledo.
I watch the shoreline of Lake Erie as we land, and think of the edges of land I've seen during this one long day -- where Australia meets the Pacific, precipitously, south of Sydney; where the Pacific meets California in a smoggy foggy haze; where Lake Erie starts its inland sea expanse reaching north to Canada. I like the edges of things -- that something so large as a continent just ends somewhere, gets to a place where it can't be anymore. And then, somewhere far away, the land can start again. And I get to see all of it from my plane window. It makes the world seem a little smaller, my beloved Australia(ns) a little closer -- that if you just go far enough, the water will end and the same land will reappear.
Adapted from "Delicious" magazine
The roasted olives are pungent and citrusy; the marinated Pecorino is somehow creamy and spicy. These two super-easy recipes are great as cocktail party snackies, appetizers or just general treats for eating at any time. Like I need to tell you when and how to eat things.
1/4 c. olive oil
6 large or 8 medium-sized garlic cloves, skin on, lightly crushed with the side of a knife
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, bruised
2 c. Kalamata olives (or other oil-packed gourmet olive such as Moroccan or Greek)
9 oz. Pecorino cheese, roughly chopped into similar-sized pieces
1 garlic clove, peeled, crushed and minced
2 T. green onions, split in half length-wise and finely chopped
1 t. dried red chili flakes (or to taste)
1/2 c. olive oil
2 t. fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/4 t. freshly-cracked black pepper
Warm crostini, to serve
Before processing the Pecorino, roughly chop it into pieces that are of similar size. This helps the cheese process evenly. Pulse the Pecorino in a food processor until the pieces are about the size of peas.
Place the Pecorino in a medium-sized bowl with the garlic, green onions, chili flakes and olive oil. Stir well. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to marinate for at least 2 hours, longer if possible. If you're going to let it marinate for longer than 2 hours, I recommend placing the bowl in the refrigerator. Then, allow the mixture to come back up to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.
Slice a baguette or other crusty white bread on the bias into pieces about 1/2' thick and toast the bread. Just before serving, add the oregano and black pepper to the Pecorino mixture and stir. Spoon about 1/2 T. of the Pecorino mixture atop each piece of bread and serve while the bread is still warm.
Serves 12 in an appetizer-like setting. Personally, I can eat just about the whole bowl, but at a cocktail party I might be more reserved. Maybe.