Some people mark the passing of the year by the seasons -- the baseball season, the football season, and the basketball and hockey seasons, which now appear to go year-round.
Others look forward to the Farmers' Market season.
Most farmers' markets in the region -- and we are blessed with a large number of them -- have already opened by now, but we do have a few stragglers. Among them is a brand new market that makes its debut July 5: the farmers' market in Wauseon.
Sponsored by the Downtown Merchants Association of Wauseon, the market will be open from 4-7 p.m. Tuesdays through Oct. 25. It will be held at Depot Park in conjuction with the popular Wauseon Cruise Nights, featuring a vast array of classic cars on display.
"All of the products at the farmers' market will be 'home-baked, home-grown, and homemade," said Wauseon Public Library Director Amy Murphy in a statement. That means they will all be grown or created within a 50-mile radius of Wauseon.
For more information, call Ms. Murphy at 419-335-6626 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the cookbook world, one name stands above all others. Julia Child is beloved, Jacques Pepin is essential, and Irma S. Rombauer's encyclopedic Joy of Cooking informed and taught generations of American cooks.
But no one has the stature of Auguste Escoffier and his world-changing Le Guide Culinaire.
First published in 1903, the mammoth work codified, standardized, and modernized French cooking, then as now considered the finest in the world. His teachings brought the French technique into the (beginning of the) 20th century and revealed the mysteries of French cuisine to professional chefs and home cooks alike. It was the Bible of cookbooks, the last word on French cuisine.
How influential was this book? It is still used as a textbook in culinary schools.
The first edition was translated into English in 1907, but although the fourth and final edition was revised in 1921 it was not translated into English until 1979.
And now that version has come out again, complete, unabridged, and massive, with more than 5,000 recipes. It also isn't cheap, coming in at a cool 70 bucks.
And if you are going to shell out the 70 clams for the work, you should first know that it was written with professional chefs in mind. Mr. Escoffier assumed his readers would know certain techniques that even the most inveterate viewer of the Food Network may not know.
But if you're up for it, it is the reference book to end all reference books.
The Tuscan fad still rages unabated.
Kitchens are given a Tuscan look. Living rooms are painted in colors that resemble Tuscan light. Bathrooms are covered in Tuscan-influenced tile.
And on Wednesday, Manhattan's restaurant goes Tuscan with its monthly wine-tasting dinner. The wines all come from the Castello Banfi vineyards in Montalcino and, as always, the food courses are paired with the wines. That means Italian food is on the menu with the Italian wines.
An appetizer course of white bean bruscetta, asparagus salad, and shrimp scampi will be accompanied by a Banfi Centine Bianco, 2009. A Caesar salad will follow, with a Banfi Centine Rosso, 2008. The pasta course will be pici di Bolognese, a thick noodle topped with a hearty tomato and meat sauce, served with Banfi Chianti Superiore, 2008. The next course will be grilled tuna with fennel and fresh tomatoes -- sounds great, doesn't it? -- paired with a Banfi Chianti Riserva, 2007. And dessert will be a traditional cheese plate, accompanied by a sweet cocktail made from Limoncello and rosemary.
As always, the price is $65 per person, including tax and tip. For information or reservations, call 419-243-6675.
Reader Dick White of Temperance would like to share a recipe that he recommends for summertime barbecues or potluck meals. He says it is the recipe Lyndon B. Johnson always made at his annual barbecue in Texas.
The crack Morsels staff of culinary researchers and American-history experts cannot vouch for the veracity of that story, or whether the recipe was actually LBJ's, or even if it tastes any good. But it looks good enough to me. I mean, the staff.
At the risk of turning this column into a recipe-exchange column, here it is:
LBJ's Bar-B-Q Beans
1 pound ground chuck
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup green peppers, chopped
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 can pork and beans
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can butter beans, drained
In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown beef, onions, and green peppers. Add salt, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, brown sugar, and ketchup, and stir until smooth. Add the contents of the skillet, along with the beans, to a crock pot. Cook for 4 hours on low.
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