Heirlooms and Earaches

I’ve been under the weather for a few weeks with a painful condition called glossopharyngeal neuralgia—not recommended, zero stars, would not get again—so haven’t been much good for any writing or drawing or, well, my cooking hasn’t been great, either. Fortunately it is summertime and that means Heirloom Tomatoes.

I could eat fresh heirloom tomatoes practically every day. It just so happens that we grow them in our backyard every year, and this year we planted early. The heatwave we’ve had has helped bring fruit much sooner than usual, and we may be tasting our first Brandy Boy by end of next week. Exciting!

The perfect summer sandwich is heirloom tomatoes with fresh mozzarella slices, piled high on a crusty hunk of Italian bread, drizzled with olive oil and garnished with garlic and chopped basil.

Bread is easy, but so inexpensive and good from the farmer’s market that I stick to buying it. Basil we have growing in the yard also, so that’s covered. I might just have to try growing my own garlic one of these days, though I admit I’ve become very addicted to the already-peeled stuff I pick up locally.

So really, I just need to teach myself how to make mozzarella cheese. I was thinking of trying Parmesan before discovering it takes at least two years and requires a bacteria that only grows in Italy. No wonder it’s so pricey! I guess I’ll stop complaining about it now. The stuff is worth every penny. Tonight I’m shaving fresh parm over a plate of papardelle egg noodles, with a bit of butter and salt, nothing else. Absolutely divine, and the right amount of labor for someone with a stabbing, ice-pick pain in her ear.

Any good books out there on cheesemaking? Or should I leave it to the experts?