Sunday, December 20, 2009

A PERFECT ASSONANCE: CRACKED BLACKSTRAP MOLASSES COOKIES

Few phrases are as entirely look-back-over-the-shoulder sexy as "blackstrap molasses."

Perhaps it is merely the wet crack of its assonance, but even the sound of it is gripping, something with drowsy heft, pear-like in hand; blanketing and more primal than the deepest of innocent-golden and carefree honeys.
Yes, well, carefree is as carefree does. Look what happened to Caligula.

Quite unlike honey, Molasses is a knowing look from someone unexpected, a pair of liquid nutmeg eyes cast over the top of a book with a hidden title, clasped tight to the chest.

Molasses, you see, is the sexy librarian of ingredients.

Delineate each sound, sort and classify and reach:
black, strap; m'lass, ass

Is it the apothecary depth of the color, glinting red-brown?

Is it the smooth, cool cylinder of the vessel, made opaque by its contents?

Or is its attraction really about ourselves, tipped over with our own anticipation, looking up for the slow start of the trickle, suspended, as if it's so heavy with possibility it cannot hope to compete with gravity and so it poutingly attempts to defy it, cannot get itself started for fear of what will happen when it does.
Which suddenly makes vapid-sweet ketchup something we waited for before we knew what we wanted, and a complete waste of time.

But once tipped to the pelvic shelf of the spoon's bowl, once come completely undone, Molasses, like nothing else, comes racing down the sides all crazy, spirals snaking furiously foreward and back on themselves and picking up speed past catching-without-overflow, till suddenly, you're looking down to find you're licking your fingers surrepetitiously in broad daylight, grinning like a dope, thinking,
How did that happen?

Molasses is about the slinkiest old-fashioned ingredient going.

molasses, splayed

Speaking of "broad," that's Molasses: a shape of a flavor we're unused to today--a little out-of-favor, Italica little out of practice, but fully recognizable. Cracked Molasses is the 40's pin-up girl of cookies, an archetypical beauty, but not everyone's flavor...
But if those lines happen to do it for you, oh, brother, look out--they really do it for you.

And so, it stands to reason (and to the pure anti-reason of desire) that it's hardly a waifish wafer, because surely this is a cookie with hips, meant to be held onto, hard.
Called treacle by the Brits, Molasses connotes something anachronistic (yum, my, um, favourite)--slowly, drippingly arms-trailing-down-sides complex: maternal and whip-smart and yes...slightly dirty.

Blackstrap Molasses is made from the third boiling of sugar cane syrup (either young and necessarily sulphurated, or mature and unsulphurated). First, Second (also called Dark), and finally Blackstrap: the deep, swirling sugar mama of all--the most intense and complex, the least sweet, the most distilled down, with dizzyingly concentrated nutritional attributes: potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron--a power elixir, a super syrup. The slow, slippy vision at the end of the Road to Wellville.

Make no mistake, these are not your grandmother's cookies, or perhaps, they are--which is to say, you might have had them and "remember them," with something of a falling sensation.

To taste the Molasses Cookie now?--is to see suddenly and sharply the old made new; it is the gasp-taste of adult knowledge, without a child's innocent inability (or need) to savor, suddenly stripped away.

More simply put, this is...the taste of knowing, and of being known: that exchange laid out on the floor of our tongues, that interplay between our best possibilities and our only possibilities, between the push-pull of memory and fiction.

This is the cookie of the mythical space between.

And that space between, my friends, is precisely the slightly bitter & indefinable taste we are hunting here:
The "UH-OH-I-just-ate-something-in-Hades" factor involved in the Molasses Cookie, the thing you ate when you were there because ohgod,
it looked so, so good and you couldn't help it, it seemed so...familiar, you were just going to have one--for heavensakes it was made just for you, and held out, still warm and at lip-level!
Hades & Persephone, poised to eat

And it's true you were starving, you were ravenous...but now, well, you can't ever go top-side or be fully released again, because that is the way it works, any time we allow ourselves to be "known."

The Cracked Molasses cookie, it occurs to me now, as I stand here and think, drawing the warm backside of one across my lower lip, with all the sweet, masculine roughness of a beloved beard with a little grey in it, has a toothsome understanding: that we can be baking and twirling about our kitchens smiling, with our efficient hands rolling, stirring, pinching and sealing, and with our minds somewhere else all the time.

This is the cookie with the delicate crumb of the following truth:
What it is to be grown-up is to realize you are not old or young (and to realize suddenly you have need of all new verbiage), but simply the same as your parents (and your grandparents), people who had trembling desires they had to darkly contain or experience parallel-ly to get dinner on the table, people, with physicalities beyond simply being...receptacles, altruistic and blank, adults who had sex after 30 for their own private set of reasons and rationalizations and pleasures and needs that didn't include you, and probably--just probably--they enjoyed it.

I now have the overpowering and inexplicable urge to buy a gross of The Bridges of Madison County (hardback), and distribute them to the readership, washing my hands of further contemplation. And since nothing is as distressing as finding yourself anywhere in Iowa against your will, especially at the hands of Robert James Waller (only slightly worse would be finding your unique and prized beach horizon forever encroached on by some horrifying indentification with Nicholas Sparks), I will simply stop here and say this:
"You think you know me, huh?--let's bake."

RECIPE:
CRACKED BLACKSTRAP MOLASSES COOKIES
(2 dozen)
6 T shortening
6 T butter, softened
1/2 C white sugar
1/2 C dark brown sugar
*1/3 C blackstrap molasses
1 large brown egg
2 & 1/2 C. unbleached flour
1 T baking soda
hefty pinch (all 4 four fingers and thumb) of salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp excellent cinnamon--if not, don't bother
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp+ freshly grated nutmeg
sugar to roll the cookies in.

METHODS & THOUGHTS:
Oven: 385 degrees; Baking Time: 11-12 minutes
I did a lot of research on Molasses Cookies: crisp, chewy, classic, updated. I am a fan of a crisp exterior, hesitating for a moment and opening up into a chewy-soft center. Most recipes I looked at were all-shortening. I use butter whenever I can (in and out of the kitchen) so I tried half of each and I got exactly what I was looking for: the texture, the cracking, and just the right spread.

You could add a teaspoon of cloves, which I omitted because they were lost in the back of my cupboard and found too late (sigh, Martha would take me to task for not having neat rows upon rows of things, one deep), but I liked the allspice save--it worked.
I mean it about the cinnamon--bad cinnamon is vile.
You could ALWAYS add more nutmeg to just about anything, in my opinion--and when you are fortunate enough to have a friend you sends you some beautiful nutmeg from her travels to Grenada...a friend who knows you...you will definitely want to. Don't hoard it, is my new mantra. Let the smell of being known permeate your kitchen (thank you Leslie, for the nutmegs and for giving me that thought).

1. Beat together the shortening and butter until fluffy.
2. Cream in the sugars.
3. Add in the egg and the Molasses until well-incorporated.
4. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl.
5. Add slowly to the bowl of your mixer until a dough forms--it will be very soft and sticky. Keep adding a little more flour until you can get it to pull off the sides a little (so it doesn't smear, consistency-wise--otherwise, you will be licking your own arm all the way to the wrist, trying to get the dough off of yourself).
6. Chill the dough (an hour or so).
7. Using a scoop, dish up a ball of dough directly into the sugar (a mini tart pan worked well), and roll and press it gently until it's covered.
8. Arrange on parchment (I used a Silpat), and bake at 385 for 11-12 minutes...do NOT let them brown around the edges.
9. The cookies will be soft--let them set in between batches, before you transfer them to cooling racks.
Easy...I know.
Sigh.
Maybe the gift of the Molasses Cookie is simply the taste of the known, of being known. Because it is a fundamental need, to know.
Swallow that, and we are reminded of who we were, who we truly are, who we might still be.
WAIT-- you don't really think it's an accident that cookies are CIRCLES, do ya?
*Hmmm...if you used Sulphurated Molasses, you could legitimately call these...Brimstone & Treacle Cookies.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

HAPPY LITTLE APPY: EATING IN THE MOMENT & the Letting Gophers recipe (bacon, brie custard & cherry bites)

My love of food is complete: Circular, salty overwhelming at times—it is a constant primal swirling sea of recognition, of ebb, flow, neap. Are we having Bay of Fundy yet?
Sigh.

Food is love, food is the constant, the North Star and the Dark Star. Food--and sex--it is my filter. These are complicated ideas we are well-acquainted with here. And this hoar has been quiet--duality noted. I am an Elephant eater, ever the whole elephant attempter, never small bites—so today, rather than apologize for myself or my absence, or land something in your...lap I have worked quite hard on and diffuse it by claiming it's "just" a little something I threw together, I thought I'd simply give you a...taste of what I've been and am thinking.

The charge: a Thanksgiving Day appetizer, a metaphor to chew on, if ever there was one.

Because I am fundamentally disinclined toward crowds, supermarkets in crisis and also because one of my gifts is being equal parts resourceful and cheap, I thought..."What can I make with what I already have on hand?"

First, let's talk turkey: I have always been and still am completely opposed to the term "Leftovers." Forgive me, but this is the linguistic epitome of sloppy seconds, and it's distasteful to this hoar.

The initial issue I have with it and primary assertion is that nothing ever actually goes away--(duh). Second, the strikingly inadequate term "Leftovers" implies an after-the-fact process, a disparate, hopeless assembly of pieces of something which was better or more whole, something glorious which has already occurred but--too bad!-- you'll never have it again, and now we're scrabbling around, rooting around in the past, trying to make do and make do, the best we can which is to put together something "not too embarrassing with what we have left." Excuse the brevity of my technical term here (and even this is borrowed, thank you Little Bush Dog), but ICK.

So, let's agree we won't call them Leftovers, I refuse--plus, this is a recipe entirely made of things around the house. I want to do this now, in the present, and I need to coin a better term for my purpose. Not Leftovers—what am I trying to say?--dammit! It's got something to do with what I have been thinking lately, something new...about letting go. About being willing to see concepts and things as they are and not so linearly (is that even a word?) or in such little tiny old and inefficient cabinets. Not Leftovers...letting go...So, these are then...Letting Gophers?

How...um...appetizing!

I refuse the term Leftovers, because there are always new permutations, combinations, unique possibilities.
Without an attitude of platitude, I will say that the single thing I am most grateful for today…is my ability to choose what I call things--don't you tell me I can't make fetch happen--of course I can. I can choose which language and definitions I want for myself--and whether those are public, or private. And that is a heady ability--the one to choose--and one I am profoundly grateful for. To choose...anything. I slept-ate through life for a really long time—I ate often or a lot even—but I didn't eat well. Because I wasn't choosing well—in fact, I wasn't choosing at all.

Close your eyes, open your eyes--decide to play, decide to recombine, decide to choose.

Make a choice today, just eat something you love, own that choice and savor-swallow and come back and tell me about it. About how it was for you, and why. About what you loved in it. Because I love to be told.

That is what I make and what I see and all I can offer of myself. To let go. To cook for you and hand you something made with these specific hands, to let you taste me.

Okay, I don't remember exactly what I did—I can't give you a recipe, I only offer you my process. Your larder is different than mine, what you have at your fingertips--and the way you see it.


LETTING GOPHERS RECIPE (makes...plenty):

So, I had some old puff pastry,--soft and somewhat dry when thawed. which seemed more appealing tham actually making my own puff pastry at 3 pm yesterday. I cut it up and laid it into some little silicone muffin cups (thank you Target Dollar Spot), kind of criss-cross wonky. I made a custard with some whipping cream and some whole milk and some eggs and some brie and some white cheddar—and even though I tempered the eggs—it still broke and what I really made was…some kind of brie ricotta—which was DAMN good.

I grabbed some handfuls of the still-endless chard from my garden, and after frying some of the bacon from "our pig" I tore up the chard and quickly turned it over in the hot fat till it wilted.

I laid the brie ricotta into on top of the puff pastry in the muffin cups, folded on a little swish of chard (of course cracking myself up all the time), then crumbled some bacon over it, a pushed a big sweet dried cherry into the little pile. Oh, and a little eency leaf of fresh basil which is still hanging on here in Baltimore. Finally, I sprinkled some of this amazing sweet-hot spice mixture my dad brought back from Italy (and is now kept in something cloudy and well-worn and looks like a dime bag) all over the top and baked it.

For maybe 10 minutes at 425—but I'm not sure. I don't know--I have no idea how they will go over later today. But they were delicious for me in the moment.

Happy Thanksgiving, enjoy ITM.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

CREDENCES OF SUMMER: THE BUTCHER'S GARDEN (recipe: Scrapple, Pear Chutney & Gorgonzola Pizza, with Matter of Thyme Crust)

A garden is a cutting place. At Summer's end, I can still hardly talk about what's happened in mine—almost. It's been a place of brutal wonder, of savage, raw tastes and devastations, of sun-in-zenith expectation; a place of soul crimes run florid, a cacophony of buzzing and birdcall, of juices in every cleft, and violences I never imagined I'd actually love--much less thrive on--when I cast out heirloom seeds in early June.

I had envisioned a simple kitchen garden--and by this I mean 86 tomato seedlings, 54 glossy potato plants, double rows of curling, hopeful beans along one whole side of the paddock, rows of appropriately redemptive cruciferous vegetables—broccoli, cabbage, kale. A place I could draw from all Summer to Fall; to catch, to can, to freeze these labors in time.

It started with the digging; it always does.

One overgrown barnyard, one persistent, prodigal faith, one bramble vision. It's true, I'm a roto-tiller when I want something, and what I wanted this Summer was to turn over this hard rocky ground after years of living here; to get into it. This is not the activity for you if you don't like to sweat or if you need Lotto ticket proof of something, instantly. If you love to claw and rut, if you don't mind the constant saline trickle between your breasts, your body gone ropy or just plain gone, then yes, this is just the job for you.

Oh, this garden, this post!: Stage of archetypical dramas. There is bloodshed! There is subterfuge! There is suspense! There is song and dance! Costume and wild things! A pack of vicious groundhogs and doppelganger doves leaving mysterious eggs in white-platinum shells of Magical Realism. WARNING: Enter here, and you will find only the shade of a leafless, lightning-shivved Cherry tree for cover, uneven pieces of trunk fallen hard to the sides for seating, all of it some crumbling amphitheater in which to view these acts and these actors.

when the cherry tree comes down in the garden of metaphor, there is just no shade to be had.

I will also laugh and warn you now, most everything I learned about gardening this Summer was animal in nature anyway.

First, let me tell you what I've seen:

-A groundhog, a band or throng of despicable groundhogs, can raze a substantial garden to nubbins, to broken stems, in a single night. The hateful fatback or whistle pig can take five rapid shots to the body with a 22 Hornet and still run 150 yards, unfazed, still turn to leap-leer right at you before finally keeling down. You can butcher a groundhog on your patio furniture with some simple modifications, including plywood, latex gloves, a small supply of lawn and leaf bags and a hatchet. The sneer of the thing, the scythe-tooth, even lifeless, is unconscionable, however scattering the leftover body parts in the garden at points of entry is reputed to eradicate further threat.

-Doves--whether ash, wild or dark, turtle, rain or mourning--known for their softly urgent call (Coo OOO ooo, ooo!) are common but deeply selective and monogamous birds, often nesting in barnyards and gardens. Once in a long while, a dove will lay an egg in plain, low-lying sight—like right in your seed tray--allow your seeking hands in her nest, and will work alongside you in onyx-eyed company as you sweat, unruffled by clanging, swearing and sprays of dirt, mutually encouraging this daily suspension of disbelief, this bird-human breathlessness.

a watched egg is the only kind that hatches

Watch out, though! Doves are tricky! Because the male and female are eerily similar in appearance, and both incubate their egg, they're never seen together unless spied trading off, so you'll not realize it's two doves. The effect of a single seamless & tireless bird, a perfect egg hatched from a single parent, can be deceptive. Oh, and I have some news for you about doves: they're not there to bring peace.

-And finally (I told you this was a carnal post), contrary to what Freud--who is everywhere in this garden--said, a zucchini is NEVER just a zucchini.

What if I told you…told you it was all true? Well, it is all true.

The problem with writing in metaphors is that people think nothing real ever happens to you—let's just agree on this now. Poor Aesop!—what self-limiting face-to-face conversations could
he have—once the word was out? Could anyone trust him not to do the voices? Cloak everyone around him in skins and furs to make his points? Could friends count on him to just say it? Did they open their mouths in friendly conversational protest, only to be shocked to draw a wet incriminating feather from their OWN lips? A bone? A hank of hide? A gullet-slick pebble?

I mean, really, imagine the murk, the scrutiny you'd have to apply to his Facebook updates--all of them suspect or open to interpretation, except this: "Aesop is …totally FUCKED."

Most of us have a general sense we sew ourselves up tightly within our own stories, that it's an inside job, and that despite this, our treacherous tags flap away on the outside all the while. Mine says: "The Girl Who Cried Metaphor." Like any cliché, it's all right there, fully provable, knowable as a punch in the gut (to this end, I provide full documentation & photos where possible).

Nature is a real metaphor to contend with: pulverizer, long-vined redemptress, grueling schoolmarm, scrutinizing the details of our souls and bringing them right up between our toes and through the very ground where we must then walk.

Now, you and I know that attempting to grow anything under "controlled" circumstances is a risk--it's just another exercise in loss of control and vital fluids. The garden lets us toil in it, makes us beg to wait to see what comes next—but it does not yield to our hand. It cleverly generates body-specific soil we can't wash away when we leave, I will tell you, not seventeen cold showers and an aloofa later. It draws us in again and again by the possibility that we can change rock to loam, that we can protect our constructs and poses, even as we know there are no secure perimeters in the garden—in or out--what grows, grows.

Let me tell you, the dawn I entered the garden to find the doves had gone unceremoniously, saw the rodential massacre, the razored green ruin (I think this was the same day I fell into a rut and twisted my ankle), all I could get out was so simple, it was "But WHY now?"

It was exactly like the one you love turning away from you in the dark, no explanation but the smell of freshly turned earth, sheets of dove music, bloody post-its and gravel-cum-cuttlebones on the pillows; summer sorrels grown rangy and wild, leggy, gone to seed, rooted up and spread over all the furniture and the bed to dry to save the seeds. A shotgun, safety off, and the Wallace Stevens hid under the bed; a cloud of dust in the lane.

But didn't I get what I wanted? (and come on--can we save anyone else from what they want, even if we try?) Wasn't this the best Summer in ages? Under the bull fire dailyness of the sun, to find purpose, and during the night under stars, to rediscover the childhood game of connect-the-life. And under all of it, big splashing tears for being able to feel anything at all again, salt licks and rivulets of cathartic sweat—a salt deluge.

It was the Summer of raising foods beyond foods—metaphor and metafoods (email me privately if you'd like the recipe for bake-your-own-manna)--of cooling water from the Eden of old wells, of ancient barnyard taps painfully rushing the confines of slim copper conduits with murderous certainty, of the sudden vengeance of wriggling subterranean things, of weeping for consistency and pattern, of licking ice cubes falling into the grass from just-missed glasses on still-warm seats at the cosmic barbecue. Summer of carnival delights, of ether love escaping through the baking ground.

This is the Summer I dug up my old feelings and planted new ones, cut them down cut them out every night, only to have them spring up again by morning, espaliered. So I seasoned and seared them. I arranged them on a plate, I photographed them, ate them up—ate the evidence. Is there any evidence something happened here? In the garden overrun, can you see the fault lines?—There is no fault in the garden!—or, depending, simply piles of it to go around.

I suspect there aren't enough garden gloves to point all the fingerling potatoes.

Still, can you think of anything worth our time—no matter the outcome--like attempting to sustain and sate ourselves in the most basic ways? I can't. It was a fine Summer to grow tired, quite organically, of feeling desire could ever be too much--that I could ever be too much--of apologizing for vision, for the need to ascribe meaning, for the ways of webbing and weaving. The irony is, that in this leaf-shorn garden full of nothing but ghost-fruits, I have nothing left to offer you as a good hostess but my hungers and desires.


putting the boot down on guilt for dirty desires manifest

So, then. I can't apologize for my vision or my belly, for my animal nature, for hanging like a schoolgirl on the barndoor of the words. For planting my rows and my feet wide and trying. For believing my hands, my specifically dirty hands, must have some effect. I must continue to believe I can move landforms with my words, change my landscape, amend my soil, to believe that matter matters and exists even unseen.

The huge, the dizzying attempt, it's kind of my specialty.

And If you'd told me it would all end up this way?: the horrible groundhogs, the dove abandoners, the hours of sweat, the dark scary magic of the garden, I wouldn't have believed you anyway—mostly because NOW I get that it never ends. You can't garden for a single season, out of context. Fall follows, Fall will be here soon, sturdy and quiet and as plainly unappreciated as a root vegetable. And next Summer?—it'll be just the same but brand new, too. These may be the Credences of Summer, but this particular Summer's not the opus, the garden itself is a fine life's work, if we are very lucky.

So in the Fall, I will bow out of my too-warm kitchen, toasted spices secreted to coat pockets, and slip out again under the cover of rime. I will steal back to this garden and strike again with my spade-a-spade. At home in my thickening pelt, I will keep digging in the cold shrine.

And now an update, because here's how the Universe works:

The exact moment you doubt that all the garden love you sweated out went unnoticed or came to nothing—that you're empty-handed? The following will occur--ESPECIALLY if you're good for a clumsy dramatic exit, which I am (think Katharine attempting to leave Count Almasy with "something to think about" under the bleachers).

The precise second you give up on the garden, slam the paddock door and try to stalk off? Be assured, you will trip over a sheaf of wild thyme which conceals, rather unfortunately or fortunately, another fucking groundhog burrow, and so, run your forehead smack into a Pear tree, which has been just outside the garden fence, seemingly dormant--a tree you suddenly notice is...now bearing.

You will stand, in knee-buckling pain, tears sprouting from your eyes, one foot in a groundhog trench, feeling very, very sorry for yourself for a second, but also contemplating, almost instantly, pear chutney. You will turn back one last time to curse the garden and all its labor pains and see red.
No seriously—RED. As in, oh my Word, hundreds of little cadmium flecks of it on the garden floor.

a surprise red carpet, the garden's drama is not over

Apparently?—undermining groundhogs are not interested in tomatoes. Ignored, unstaked, unwatered—they grew new leaves, they grew anyway. The corn made its way up, frowsy and unnoticed, and the peppers were only slow. Only slow—can you imagine? In fact, the only thing I lost were the cruciferous vegetables—and I got their first and sweetest cuts, anyway. Frankly, you really only need redemption once.

Lovey Dovey--wait, are you sure?!--and Maybe Baby~

And okay, I used the two doves for dramatic effect—they didn't actually go anywhere. The hatchery served its purpose nicely, and the two, plus their squab (christened Maybe Baby) continue to circle and light in the garden at will, without need of shifts now. And sometimes they come to my window.

You see it only takes a little Magical Realism, come to roost in the slender arms of a tree, to be stopped in your tracks, returned to the garden, new perspectives and recipes in mind.

All I have to say is, Mr. Newton, you had it wrong. Sir, it was a pear.

Go ahead and make the chutney now. You're going to need it for the Fall.

Scrapple, Pear Chutney & Gorgonzola pizza, with Matter of Thyme Crust

PEAR CHUTNEY:

This is not rocket science, it's a chuntney. Chop the peeled green fruit you have—10 pears here—and put it in a pot with 3 cups of brown sugar and 6 of cider vinegar. Add things in amounts that taste good to you: chopped crystallized ginger (1C), golden raisins (1C), chopped onion (1), some lemon peel, cinnamon (if you must), dried mustard (1 tsp), salt. Cook the heck out of it, tinker with the consistency, follow someone meticulous for canning if you like (I got 4 pints canned, plus enough for a pork roast).

PIZZA CRUST:

This is the basic dough recipe I use and then abuse for pizzas, pretzels, etc. You may be disappointed to learn I often substitute 2 cups of pedestrian cornbread/muffin mix for some of the flour because it gives it a great texture, and because, if you think with all this patient rhetoric I am immune to looking for the shortcut, you are insane. This recipe makes one enormous pizza, or about 4 smallish pizzas.

1 ½ C warm water , 2 tsp sugar , 2 tsp yeast
4 ¼ C flour combination (use unbleached + wheat + cornmeal mix, etc)
1 T kosher salt , ¼ C + olive oil
Leaves from handful of thyme


Combine the water, sugar and yeast until it foams—10 minutes.
Put everything except salt and thyme in the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attachment. Run, gather, oil the dough in the bowl, cover with a clean cloth & put in a greenhouse window (if you have one). Punch down in an hour, then continue to let rise until you use it.


PIZZA ASSEMBLY/LAYERS, bottom up:
Thyme Crust
Pear Chutney
Grated Romano
Firm pear, sliced
Fried scrapple in exceedingly compulsive matchsticks (see next post for scrapple discussion, methods & a visual trip to the butcher)
Crumbled gorgonzola
Drizzled fig vinegar
Thyme leaves ~ leave these for last, so they will stay tender and green. Be patient and wait till it's almost done, then add them in the final minutes.

Notes:
-I used scrapple because I happen to have tons of it right now. Marrow would also be fantastic.
-I used thyme because this Summer was all about thyme for me—but marjoram might be amazing. Or even rosemary.

Okay, this was a huge meal--It's a lot to eat by yourself, but it keeps, you'll see. It's kept just fine.