There are days when you (I) want to spend hours upon hours in the kitchen, tasting every bit of seasoning, perfectly brunois-ing that shallot until it disappears into thin flavor air, geeking out on how amazing it would be if I could infuse smoked rose into something.
And then there are days like today, when after driving 4 and a half hours in rush hour traffic to return home from a weekend in Burgundy (not bad, not bad), I want to do nothing more than have a few slices, a glass of wine, and a Kubrick film I’ve not seen yet.
This is France’s version of a rest stop.
There’s really something I miss about living in New York, or Portland, or even LA (gasp!) for this reason: gluten-free “fast” food is so available and us Americans have gotten really creative in making it taste good. Tonight, I had no PIE by the Pound or Mississippi St. Pizza to call upon. I have a local organic store down the street that sells gluten-free bread, and some organic Italian tomato paste in my fridge. And garlic. But saying I have garlic in my kitchen is like saying I have a kitchen.
I skipped down the street, more like trotted as my ankle is killing me, to the organic store and found some gluten-free buckwheat loaf, and meanwhile found the aroma of the fresh mint in the produce section to be an irrevocable calling for purchase. Pizza and mint are not my usual idea of a dinner combination, but I’m gonna follow the old nose tonight.
Bless you naval cavities, you did good. Within 5 minutes of arriving home, I diced up some garlic, put the extra vegetables I had in my fridge through both sorts of Japanese mandolins I have at home, and popped a combination of Italian flavors topping the gluten-free bread in the oven on broil. What developed was nothing short of a delicious and surprising combination of flavors!
There are nights you want to spend hours dancing with your ingredients. There are nights like tonight where I think I could now dance for hours after only spending minutes with them.
PIZZA BREAD (serves 1 as dinner, 2 as appetizer)
ingredients: 3 slices your favorite gluten-free bread; 2 cloves garlic, minced; 2 tbs. tomato paste (organic if possible); 1/2 tbs. fresh parsley, chopped (dried works, too); a large pinch dried oregano; 1 tbs. olive oil; a large pinch sea salt or pecorino or parmesan cheese (low in lactose) or vegan parmesan shreds (both optional but good additions if possible)
method: Pre-heat oven to broil preset. Top with garlic, olive oil, parsley, and oregano. Top with tomato paste. Spread with spatula or finger until evenly distributed. Top with cheese or vegan cheese or sea salt. Broil for about 5 minutes, until top has browned and caramelized a bit.
HERB SALAD (serves 2 as a side)
ingredients: 6 red radishes, cut into thin spheres; 3 tbs. fresh parsley leaves; 2 tbs. fresh mint leaves; 1 carrot or 1/4 jicama cut into thin julienne (optional); 2 cups baby lettuce leaves of choice; 1 tbs. balsamic vinegar; 2 tbs. high quality olive oil; a pinch sea salt; a dash paprika
method: mix all ingredients in salad bowl and serve.