Sunday, July 29, 2007

Iron Chef Summertime

Week 5 of One Local Summer has come and gone, and this week the main goal was to use up three rather urgent items:

(1) A young turkey, about 5 pounds, that suffered a severe injury and had to be processed. This was agonizing. It's always terrible to see an animal in pain, but this was also our only male of a variety that we'd very much like to breed in the future. (That's Blue Slate, if you're curious. Really nice birds.) So I steeled myself, as you do in those situations, and did what had to be done. And then I tried my best to think of it as an ingredient. Not "the turkey," but "turkey." Ouch, what a way to ruin your day.

(2) Tomatoes. Thousands of them. Sooooo many tomatoes. Delicious tomatoes, all ripening at once. We've sold pound after pound (people are pretty impressed with the spread at the farmers' market, I think), dried some, froze some, meant to can some but didn't get to it yet, and still all the horizontal surfaces in the house are covered with toms.

(3) Ditto cucumbers. Not only do I grow them myself (three varieties!), but my friend L2 keeps foisting her extra slicers on anyone who'll take them.

What I made out of these three ingredients was sort of pan-Iberian: half Spanish and half Mexican. For the record, the two dishes didn't go together particularly well. But individually, they were both excellent.

Here's the turkey in mole sauce:

And here's the gazpacho:

The photos are awful, aren't they? Especially the mole one, which looks suspiciously like something you'd scrape off your shoe. Ew. But the flavors were outstanding.

Turkey - our own
Tomatoes - our own
Onions and garlic - our own
Dried cayenne peppers - our own
Almonds, raisins, baking chocolate, ancho chiles, lard, and other seasonings - elsewhere

Tomatoes - our own
Cucumbers - our own, and L2's (.25 mile)
Vidalia onion - central Georgia (about 130 miles)
Green pepper - L2's (.25 mile)
Stale bread - Luna Baking Corp., Athens, Ga. (35 miles)
Garlic - our own
Vinegar, olive oil, seasonings - elsewhere

As for dessert, we are struggling to keep up with a burgeoning supply of watermelons--because, I mean, who can turn one down? Fruit salads, licuados, you name it. Our most recent one was a yellow-fleshed watermelon from south Georgia that was one of the sweetest and best I've ever had. I was shocked to find that hardly anyone around here had ever seen a yellow-fleshed watermelon; I remember them from my childhood in Ohio. Maybe it's a regional thing.