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A Celebratory Offer, Some Fall Feelings & Fancy Toast
Plus, One Last Tomato Salad - Unlocked!
As much as I’ve tried to keep it at bay, like clockwork, the melancholy that sets in this time of year works its way through any cracks it can. My therapist calls it a grieving. Not just of the sunny and carefree days (of which there were few), but an actual death of the season when the leaves start to fall, the magical light takes on a different glow and things begin moving from outside to inside, both physically and mentally in my case. There is a perpetual lump in my throat and I get weepy at the drop of a hat and while it might be hormones (who knows what is happening these days), I still love this time of year as much as I mourn everything that comes along with it. Summer feels like a “gearing up” and fall a “slowing down” where I want to find my routine again, go to bed early and nourish my body. It doesn’t help that I am manically busy (all wonderful things!), but I’m finding that it doesn't make me thrive the way it used to. You?
On thriving, I had a surprise and delight last week, which couldn’t have happened at a better time. While on a call with the lovely Sophia at Substack, Elizabeth Gilbert (Yes, the Eat Pray Love Liz) happened to be in her office working on her then just about to launch newsletter Letters from Love. Sophia was kind enough to turn her computer around to explain why she needed to move our call to the following day, and in return, I got a big, warm hello from a legend. Letters from Love has now launched and is a beautiful newsletter, please check it out.
Speaking of Substack, I am so proud to share that this newsletter was recognized last week as a featured publication! I got a badge and everything! Given this news and the fact that I failed to acknowledge our one year Substack anniversary in July - it’s time to celebrate!
From today through next Wednesday, September 13, I’m offering 50% off yearly subscriptions. I rarely do these types of promotions, so if you’ve been on the fence about becoming a paid subscriber, now is your time! It truly does help me keep going and keeps this publication afloat and I would be so grateful if you are able. Click CELEBRATE to sign up for the offer.
📚 Buying books from: Golden Hour Books! My friend Angie Venezia (we’ve actually never met in person, but have incredibly similar sensibilities in food and literature, so I know we’d be IRL friends), just opened a book store in Newburgh, NY! It is beautiful and I can’t wait to visit her when I get back. Please sign up for their newsletter, follow them on Instagram and most importantly buy some books there! You can do so online. She told me that she sold a copy of Back Pocket Pasta over the weekend - my heart swelled!
🖊️ Purchasing a New Notebook and a Le Pen: I’m not going back to school, but I treat myself to a new sketch book every fall. I love writing recipes and menus down by hand, making fridge lists, writing notes to myself and even drawing the occasional doodle of, say, a clam. I like a sketch pad for the thickness of the paper and also because I keep them all to refer to at a later point and want something substantial. This does not need to be a fancy pad. I recently found an old one laying around and it ended with me scrawling “spend more time in Europe and buy a house in Nova Scotia.” It was dated 2018….
🍷 Still Drinking: Bigger rosés. My palette is over the light Provencal-style rosés. I like fuller bodied, jewel toned rosato-like bottles. The Tavel region in France has a good selection and this Château de Trinquevedel bottle is from there. No, you don’t have to buy a 1500ml bottle, but our friends Tom and Kevin are coming this weekend and I’m feeling festive.
Monday: Roasted sausages and new potatoes, served with my first (!) caprese of the year. Tomatoes come in late in these parts! I’ve unlocked my recipe from last summer for One Last Tomato Salad for you, which is truly so good.
Tuesday: A version of this Spicy Pork and Broccolini Soup from last year, which I published in the same time frame. I am nothing if not consistent.
Wednesday and Thursday: I can’t say! Recipe tested three recipes for the new book. Two are fish dishes and the other is one for corn. This is going to get tricky! Do you have any requests for recipes for the next book?
Friday: Dan brought guanciale from Hudson earlier this summer and left some behind. Thank you, Dan! I made Bucatini all'Amatriciana. Should you not have guanciale lying about, I can’t say that I would be surprised, sub in pancetta.
Saturday: We went to Deanne and Robert’s for dinner with their family. I finally met their daughter Adele who is just as wonderful as they are! It was truly special and one of my favorite nights of the whole summer. Deanne made delicious fish tacos with a tomato and mango salsa. Try this recipe! I made a black bean salad with quick pickled jalapeños and shallots, cucumber, feta cheese, olive oil and lime juice. The salad was just OK. I wouldn’t share this with anyone but you all, but I undercooked my beans and brought shame upon this house. Oy vey. That’s how frazzled I am…
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Here is one for the busy school nights, when you need to get dinner on the table quickly. Fancy toast counts as dinner! Adults, drink red wine…
Things on toast just taste better. It is reliable, delicious, and easy to prepare. I adore it underneath a bowl of brothy beans. It is comforting after I’ve braised all day and am still too darn lazy to make potatoes, or really anytime I need a warm, buttery snack. One summer we spent many a weekend at Chad’s studio in Ghent. With only a hammock and a grill the two of us put together some pretty lovely meals, and I coined the term “fancy toast,” which simply means piling ingredients you generally utilize in other ways on top of grilled or toasted bread.
Broccoli Rabe Toast with Melted Provolone
1 bunch broccoli rabe, cut into 1-inch (12 mm) pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 to 5 oil-packed anchovy fillets
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Calabrian chiles, thinly sliced, or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3 ounces (85 g) freshly grated extra-sharp provolone
6 slices (3/4 inch/2 cm thick) crusty country bread or boule
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the broccoli rabe for 3 to 4 minutes. You want it on the softer side, so “over-blanching” is a head start that will save you time in the pan. Drain the broccoli rabe.
Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch (30.5 cm) deep-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the anchovies, garlic, and chiles and cook until the anchovies have melted and the garlic is fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add in the broccoli rabe and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s cooked down and very tender, adding in a tablespoon or two of water if needed to help it along. Stir in the lemon zest.
While the broccoli rabe cooks, preheat the oven to broil. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a sheet pan and toast until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Remove from the oven and top each toast evenly with the broccoli mixture. Sprinkle each toast evenly with the grated provolone and return to the oven to broil until the cheese melts and turns golden in spots, about 2 to 3 minutes more, watching closely to make sure the toasts don’t burn. Serve whole or cut in half and eat with gusto.
Paid subscribers, I’ll see you Sunday!