Monday, June 16, 2008

The end of the evening

In my mind there is a dossier in regard to how every room a home in should look and feel. The dim light of an immaculately clean kitchen in the evening and the low hum of the dishwasher running may be my most favorite bastion of orderliness.

That is the low light of perfection for the part of me that is a cook and hostess. If I roll back over the importance of all the gleaming dark kitchens in our past, it has to do with watching my Mother, Grandmother, and the uunforgettable hostess Katherine Gottsegen (author of Cooking is an Act of Love, neighbor, mentor, friend to a curious young hostess-in-training), sailing through the hostess' myriad tasks and finishing victorious: Every guest glowing. The last click of their pumps against the floor came as they checked the silver service was cared for and there were no remaining dishes. Skirts swishing behind them, the dim light signaled the hostess duties had concluded. It never occurred to me it also meant the party was over: All I knew was that they had perfected another evening. More on this over at Entertains, I promise.

There has long been a respected rule about organization with regard to kitchen clean up in our home: The chef's knife, once cleaned, is left on top of the cutting board at the center of the kitchen island. While it is common to see such a gesture between apprentices and master chefs at the beginning of prep or mise en place (oringinally a French prep concept of all things in their place which deems a kitchen ready to cook: Everything washed, cut diced, sliced, butchered, and placed in the order in which the chef moves - to oversimplify.) it may not happen often at home.

My husband watched that knife wielded with love (and at other times every other emotion a person feels who returns to a place to ease something inside themselves), went into the kitchen late at night over the years. He always picks up that heavy piece of carbon steel and moves it back to the waiting board. That gesture has always been important to me. It makes me feel everything is in place and I can begin anew. It completes the restoration of my santuary every evening. The smallest of gestures speak the loudest, no?

Make this with your knife. It is far and away one of the simplest salads or dips you will ever put on a table but is has been the most beloved by our family since I discovered it.

Avocado Salad
Serves 4 as a salad course, 10 as a dip

If the corn grilling step is too much, I assure you that it will bring as much joy with raw or left over corn cut from the cob, even 1 cup of canned corn. But if you can, pick perfect summer fresh and ripe items for your first try so you understand how perfect this easy combination is.

2 ears corn
Kosher salt and feshly ground black pepper
2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
1/2 red onion finely diced
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Place husked and cleaned corn directly on a medium flame grill for 8 minutes on two sides (sif you will). Remove from the grill and cut the kernels off of the cob. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Serve as you wish.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yuuuuuuum. katie d.c.