Friday, March 7, 2014


Eastside Road, March 7, 2014—
ITALIAN FOR "UNFORMED", is what it is — in fact, I think, "turned out of a mold." It can be any course; meat, vegetable, or — as here — dessert. This one is one of the most delicious desserts I've ever tasted.

We'd invited company to dinner for two nights running, and Cook decided, wisely, to make a big main course that would work for both nights. It was delicious enough last night; it'll be even better today, I bet. I hope we get this sformato again.

We have a lot of cookbooks, as you'll see below. Most of them are in the study, ready for consultation or browsing as we like. A select few, the working repertoire you might say, are in the kitchen. And a few are spread open at the end of the work table: those are the ones Cook's using at the moment, or was the other day, or is thinking about for the near future. On top you may make out the books used yesterday: Giuliano Bugialli's Foods of Italy and the old Time-Life Recipes of Provincial France. Time-Life gave her the nucleus of a fine choucrôute garni; maybe I'll tell you about that tomorrow.

Right now I want to introduce you to that orange sformato seen in extreme closeup above. I wondered what was up when I saw a couple of big oranges sitting in a pot of cold water, but didn't ask. They were being tenderized or something, covered with water to which a little salt had been added. Then they're simmered for 45 minutes, drained, cooled, quartered, and ground fine in a food processor.

Chopped almonds and walnuts are added to the result, and that's added to a bowl of egg yolks blended with sugar, and the beaten egg whites are gently folded in. That mixture is turned into a soufflé dish and baked. Then you turn it out — sformare — drizzle it with a rum syrup, and serve it with whipped cream flavored with orange zest.

I haven't given you details: I refer you to the book, published in 1984 but readily available in various editions online. And, speaking of books, here's what we have around here…

A corner of the studyMain wall, studyBelow the kitchen work-tableThe work-table

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