Zucchini Roll Ups with Provencal Roasted Tomatoes: And the Camera Calamity

One of the worst things happened to me yesterday. Not a tragedy, but certainly a calamity that has left me unsettled and distraught: My camera done got broke.
It’s not hard to imagine the fact that I use my camera just about every day. If I’m not shooting actual food for myself or for my internship, I am practicing technique, or {attempting to} teaching myself new things. It might surprise you to know that I photograph far more things than I publish. Sometimes because they are just studies, but sometimes, (and I hate to admit this), yes sometimes, things turn out dreadfully. It has been known to happen that I have trashed and completely reshot an entire recipe several times until I felt I got it.
This is, in fact, a new sort of me.

This is not to suggest anything except that I am learning to be a nit picker. Since this is not a genetic proclivity, I have a long way to go. At times it can be a bothersome struggle, but I am learning that there is  music in the process for me. Perhaps what I am really getting at is not that I am learning to be overly critical, but to go past the point of “good” creation. It’s a different realm, it’s the practice of getting to a better quality of “yes”. Sometimes it’s satisfying, mostly it’s satisfying. Some days it’s downright aggravating.

Like I said, I am nascent at this new phase. I have many baby steps ahead of me.

But today I’ve experienced a mechanical failure, and so I am derailed for the week. My beloved Canon 5D has dislodged its mirror. For those who don’t know: The mirror is behind the lens in front of the sensor. It’s main function is to reflect what you see through the lens up into the view finder so you can actually see through the camera. When you press the shutter button, the mirror flips up and allows light to enter through the lens, hit the sensor in the back of the camera, and VIOLA! record the image onto the sensor.

According to the web, I am not alone in this problem. A factory defect (bad glue?) is the culprit. So cheery Graydon at the other end of the 1-800 number, assured me that a ticket and tag and assessment etc etc will be swiftly executed, and without delay or cost my baby shall be repaired. *sigh*

His idea of swiftly was a week to ten days- an interminable amount of time to my mind. Good god.

So! Onward to Plan B. I have a point and shoot, I have my iPhone and I have plenty of other things to do. I shall make the most of it, I shall rise in the face of adversity, I shall most likely learn something very good! So thank you very much. Again… *sigh*

The breakdown occurred halfway through this shoot, specifically while I was taking a shot of the zucchini being grilled (hence no photo, sorry). Perhaps you can’t tell, that would be nice.

As a result this shoot did not turn out to the “yes” I was hoping for. I decided to let that go, it’s the karmic dada of this recipe. It was “meant” to be this way. It’s the Art of the recipe expressed. {gawd}

However, let me be clear, this only goes for the photography. The styling could have been better, I could have been a bit more creative in the shooting process, but the recipe is quite lovely.

This is a perfect dish for a luncheon or a light supper. Tangy goat cheese is rolled up in thin strips of grilled zucchini and paired with roasted tomatoes that are so sweet and flavorful, and still quite juicy.

The rolling is a little fiddly, but laying the zucchini down on a layer of plastic wrap is a fantastic tool. I really hope you enjoy this one.

Zucchini Roll-Up with Provencal Tomatoes
The rolling makes this dish look a bit fancy, but it’s really pretty easy to do, and little touches like this make the simple so special. The rolls can be made ahead of time and, either quickly rewarmed, or served at room temperature.
Serves 2
10 medium Campari tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1T olive oil
1T dried basil
2 large zucchini
1 oz goat cheese
1/2 cup part skim ricotta
Preheat the oven to 425˚
Slice the tomatoes in half through the midsection. Place tomatoes into a bowl with the garlic, oil, basil, S&P (to taste) and toss to combine ingredients.
Place the tomatoes skin side down into a roasting pan and spoon any remaining marinade over the top. Place into the oven and roast until the tomatoes start to shrink, about 35 minutes.
Slice the zucchini in thin strips along the long end of the squash. Heat a grill pan on the stove, spritz with cooking spray and grill until mostly done. The squash will continue to cook after you remove them from the heat, if you cook it to perfection on the grill they will turn to mush as they cool and not be sturdy enough to roll. The zucchini should show some opaqueness in the flesh, and the green skin should be bright.
In a food processor combine the goat cheese and ricotta and a pinch of salt and puree smooth.
Lay down a sheet of plastic wrap on your counter and line up the zucchini on it, overlapping. Carefully spread the cheese mixture in a thin layer, then using the plastic wrap for support, roll up the zucchini, sushi style.
Carefully unroll the zucchini onto the cutting board, seam side down, then cut in half.
Serve half a roll and half the tomatoes. A drizzle of fruity olive oil would be nice here, and a slice or two of peasant bread would be perfection.

Fruited Crostini and {Warming To Your Soul} Split Pea Soup

I am heading out the door again this morning. Back behind the wheel to burn up about 500 miles of road. This one is the most delicious and wonderful of my recent jauntings. I am headed to Columbus, Ohio to attend the wedding my most beautiful and amazing business partner, Lauren. She and her handsome beau, Ryan, are tying the knot on Saturday- and it is going to be a time. It will be a blessing to me to be in the presence of their love and share in their pronouncement of devotion. Truly a blessing.

What’s even better for me is that for the first time I won’t be hitting the road alone. My beautiful fiancée, Pam, will be with me. I am SO thrilled. She flew up from Louisiana last week, dodging between floods, power outages and fuel scarcity- to settle safely and warmly in my little apartment in the sky.

You might ask who is doing Lauren’s cake, and the answer is there are many hands in this one. Paola, Lauren’s assistant baked the cake, I am finishing the icing (I’m surprising Lauren with butter cream, she thought she had to contend with fondant) and driving it out, we are stashing it in the kitchen of Columbus cake expert and friend, Jan Kish, then Ruth Drennan, another dear friend and cake baker, will be decorating and finishing the cake. This is one wedding where there will be dancing and laughter and much good food eating. It’s really the best thing EVER!

As I write it’s 5:00 am, and the snow had been falling all afternoon evening here. A bitter slap in the face on the heals of Sandy- which was not welcomed in the least. My heart goes out to my dear NYers who have been struggling this week, only to be hit with another set back. So many without heat- this has really got to suck. (pardon the French, but seriously, what other word??)

So to add just another comfort food to the growing list, some warm hearty split pea soup. Nothing extraordinary here, except for the accompanying biscuits. To offset the smoky and earthy tones of the soup I made a salty and sweet cracker/crouton to go with. It’s the same recipe as the Seeded Rosemary Fig Crackers, just baked in an 8″ square pan and exchanging equal amounts of chopped dried apricots, poppy seeds and flax seeds. I sliced them a little thicker too. BTW, a slice of sharp cheddar on top of this would be a divine addition.

So I’m off to hit the highway.

Stay tuned, I am expecting some very exciting news today or tomorrow- and when it’s official I’ll let you know.

Meanwhile, keep warm and carry on.