Summer 2011 has been a bad season for cooking in New York City.
Record heat and humidity have kept Raphe and I cloistered in our sole air-conditioned room. We’ve filled our bellies (and emptied our wallets) with local Pakistani fare rather than heat up the apartment a tenth of a degree.
Oh, and did I mention the grad school applications? Those aren’t exactly conducive to kitchen bliss either. I have been slaving away on my personal statement and harassing college administrators for transcripts while Raphe has had to put up with my bad moods and periodic cursing at the computer.
Between the heat and the pressure the Kensington Kitchen has literally been a hot mess. Raphe has been the only culinary presence and he hates doing dishes more than I do. When we traded in a toasty 103 degrees for a downright chilly 90 degrees he roasted potatoes and braised chicken legs and sausage in white wine. When it finally cooled down to, oh, 85 degrees, he saw fit to roast a whole chicken and whip up some gravy. (Must be something from his early years in New Orleans kicking in.) Both times dishes sat for the rest of the week, until it was cool enough to spend more than 15 minutes in front of the sink. Neither time was I adventurous enough to photograph Raphe’s creations.
The good news is that half of the applications are in. The other half aren’t due until November 1st. Rain is returning to the Big Apple. I’m heading to Zamboanga City to eat my weight in mangoes. Raphe is heading to Seattle to relearn how to sleep without the AC hum in the background.
And when we get back we’re going cook up a storm.
In the mean time I present you with a no-cooking summertime recipe. Have patience: you’ll reap the benefits around Christmas.
- On cherries: any will do. We used sweet Bing cherries that were on sale nearby.
- On bourbon: use stuff that you’d mix. For us, that means Evan Williams, which is my bourbon of choice for baking.
makes two quarts
1 lb ripe cherries
Bourbon to cover (about a quart)
- Wash cherries well and remove stems. Leave pits.
- Fill two quart size jars about 3/4 full with cherries.
- Fill jars with bourbon.
- Place in a cool dark place (back of the refrigerator is good) for 5-6 months. Bourbon will take on a dark burgundy color.
- Open and enjoy both cherry bourbon and boozy cherries. Cherry bourbon is delicious neat, but can be mixed with Coke and in toddies. Boozy cherries are amazing when chopped up and added to brownies.