This is a recipe from the new cookbook Vibrant Food by Kimberley Hasselbrink (of the blog The Year in Food), and I was drawn to it immediately given it’s those stone fruit summer days. The swelling afternoons of July make me recall something about the smell of smoke from the chimney during summer rains and walking down the stairs in the dark for a cup of cold water. Thoughts that float by like leaves, like feathers, like clouds, like bad similes. I’ve remembered the difference between a floating thought and shoving a thought, and I can see one satin magnolia blossom from out my office window. I recalled a truth that’s easy to forget: you can change the tape. When you think something disturbing—a recalled memory, a worry, or any random bit of negative mental detritus—you can choose to watch it float right past you. You can do it a hundred times a day, a monsoon of feathery thoughts, none resting on you and all of them finally drifting away and leaving you with the smell of smoke & rain from the chimney and a cold glass of water.
It will leave you in peace. Leave you to do as you do and be as you are. I’ve been spending these summer days baking and evenings cooking whirlwind dinners for two. Three skillets going, flames high. Oil spattering everywhere. At night, I make, in a blitz, fresh linguine with spiced anchovy shallot butter, fresh tomatoes, and fistfuls of parsley or market vegetable frittatas or my favorite farro risotto with a farm egg & collard pesto. But during the day it’s slower, the steady heat of the oven instead of the flames of the stove and time enough to do the dishes while things bake.
I’ve resolved to do something in the coming year, something I don’t usually do. Cook out of cookbooks. I love to use them as inspiration, but by nature I’m an experimenter and generally too mentally floppy to be bothered to follow a recipe. But as I embark on a project this coming year, I’m going to save a lot of my own recipes for said project and instead, on this space, share some of the brilliant work of cooks I love in addition to original recipes. Starting with this Gluten Free Cherry Clafoutis from Vibrant Food.
The book is what it sounds like, a chromatic tour of the seasons. It’s the book of an artist, and each chapter is punctuated by lively hues—pale green peas, jewel toned radishes, deep red berries—and all the attendant textures and flavors that go with those colors. She’s a cook after my own heart with recipes that remind me of the sort of food I love to make myself, like Nettle Pesto and even Bee Pollen Chocolate Truffles! Also, There are over 180 photos. I like my cookbooks with photos, what can I say. It ignites taste imagination, and inspires me to really explore the author’s culinary voice. You can get a copy of Vibrant Food here. I think as I venture into this cookbook exploration, Vibrant Food, will be a mainstay this year.