Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Flies in the Kitchen, Tomatoes of a Certain Age

Take that, Drosophila melanogaster!
"There's flies in the kitchen, I can hear them buzzing," quips John Prine, through the soulful pipes of Bonnie Raitt in the last verse of "Angel From Montgomery", a song... as much as anything... about aging and coming of age.

Raitt was 25 then. I was -1. More numbers: I have 4 covers of the song in my digital library* and my dad has 6 versions of it, 3 on vinyl. Me and the old man would bond over this album and that, this version or that. We would listen to all kinds of music. But there was always Bonnie and her angels.

So... whenever there's flies in the kitchen, there's Bonnie Raitt singing in my head.

I was rushing all day to get from one meeting to the next, one call to another, juggling tasks and people and feeling time compressing around me. So, to answer Bonnie (or John Prine's) question, that's "how the hell can a person go to work in the morning and come home in the evening and have nothing to say".

I guess my 37 years have been getting me thinking. That's good for me but probably boring for the blog-o-dome.


But I had no one to talk to anyway alone at home, except for a nocturnal cat-beast of epic cuteness, a gay libertarian cat and about 2 dozen fruit flies, intent on ruining my precious late-August heirloom tomatoes. And I didn't have any cheap tequila to trap them with!

I guess the tomatoes were coming of age, too.

PS - Don't forget to write your parents if you can.

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Jar of awesome.
Tomatoes Confit:
  • As many tomatoes as you need to cook immediately, cut into large pieces and lightly salted.
  • Shallots or onions (cippolinis would be nice), and garlic or some combination thereof.
  • Fresh herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary, lavender, chives, whatever).
  • Enough extra virgin olive oil to almost cover (to the shoulders).
  • OPTIONAL: whole raw chicken eggs (to make baked eggs).
Lay the works out in a glass or ceramic casserole. If you are worried about sticking, you can line with a silicone mat, like I did, but I ended up not needing it.

Put into a 250ºF oven for 8-12 hours (long enough to "go to work in the morning and come home in the evening"). Your entire kitchen will smell like tomato-y magic, bringing a smile to even the most introspective mug.

You can separate the oil and tomatoes, I like to keep them in a jar together. Let cool and refrigerate. Garnish eggs, sauce pasta, top flatbread or pizza dough, spoon on foccacia dough, garnish flank or skirt steak, mix with roasted peppers for salsa roja, the list is endless.

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* The four versions: 1) Bonnie Raitt, "Streetlights"; 2) Bonnie Raitt live; 3) Bonnie Raitt and John Prine live; 4) Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne live.