Last Sunday a class I was in for work got done early so I went shopping at Russo's. It takes a certain amount of patience to be there during a popular day of the week/time of the day, so I take many deep breaths and "zen out" as much as possible before entering the fray. It is a little like going to the New England Mobile Bookfair for just one book (they even have t-shirts at this bookstore mocking the naive who think they can escape without a cubic ton of reading material). I ended up spending way too much time - but as always, not too much money - in my spree, realizing as I walked out I would have to cook like a maniac this week to use up what I bought before my next big trip.
I found lots of good varieties of "the usual suspects" - wonderful mushrooms, super-fresh greens and herbs, great bread, and some things I don't usually get, like pea shoots, a mess of eggplants, and poblano chilis (note to self - buy some damn latex gloves for preparing even the mildest of hot chili peppers). And I decided to grab some bocconcini - "mouth-sized" fresh mozzarella - to go with my homegrown Cherokee Purple heirloom tomatoes ripening on my kitchen counter.
Wednesday was the first night of a mad cooking frenzy involving a ratatouille to use up lots of the produce I bought (and nearly blinding myself with poblano chili juice because I didn't wear protection). I figured I better make a caprese salad with my wonderful, all-too-mortal tomatoes, basil from my garden, Russo's Boston lettuce, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and of course the mozzarella. I grabbed the container and a small knife to slice up what I assumed would be little spheres waiting in their brine. I skewered the first blob I could skewer and pulled it to the plate, gasping in delight. There was a sweet little knot of cheese, literally a hand-tied knot of fresh, milky mozzarella, waiting on the plate, created only a few days earlier at Gigi's in Everett. I have no idea if it was better or worse than any fresh mozzarella I have eaten. It was doubtless the cutest piece of cheese I have ever consumed. I was inspired to make a beautiful looking salad that we ate up in a hurry.
Nicely complementing the cute food trend of the week was a lovely birthday gift from my sister Yvette, who sent an adorable wooden box stuffed with Burdick's chocolates, including his signature chocolate mice and penguins. Some might say they are too cute to eat. While I sympathize, I have to say I haven't met any food to cute for me to eat yet.