About A Plum

The photography
I am definitely not a professional, but all the pictures are mine.  I don’t include step-by-step photos because, quite frankly, being in the kitchen can be stressful enough.  

I also want the final picture of the food to speak for itself.  I want it to be simple, without too many distractions. 

The food
The recipes featured here are only items that I will actually make again.  There is an unladylike amount of cursing that goes on from time to time.  You don’t see this.  But it is there.  I treat A Plum like a recipe box. The good ones stay.

I relish in homemade food and have made it a part of who I am.  Bread, butter, pasta, jam … they all start from simple ingredients like flour, cream, and peaches.

The ingredients
I buy locally whenever possible.  For food that cannot be locally sourced, I try to buy organic.  This is most important with animal products or items that may otherwise contain genetically modified organisms.

The blog title 
Plums, they got charisma.

Besides being baked into tarts, stewed into jam and stuffed into pork roast, they are a fruit with symbolic chops. They are thought to be a sign of good omen. They have also—ironically—signified both purity and fertility.
The English language is lousy with plums in poems and sayings; they’ve been romanticized about and sexed up. (See the plum apology by William Carlos Williams and you’ll know what I mean.) And yet, they have a stone fruit stepsister that is vilified as much as the plum is revered: the prune.
Where plums got purity and hope, prunes got constipation. Where plums got sex, prunes got nursing homes. I'm on a mission to change this for the prune. Refer to it as a dried plum, if you must. Say prune with a French accent if it pleases you. However you slice it the prune, my friend, is about to be reborn.
Prunes—from here on out—will be used as inspiration for how to eat and live. Because what matters in the kitchen (and in life) is what something is, not what it is called. This blog will touch upon the origins of food and the joys of cooking, but it will also be simple and honest and, with any luck, offer a little comfort when the pot of life boils over.

A few other ingredient tidbits ...

Salt: Kosher unless otherwise noted.  I love David’s brand.

Butter: Typically unsalted, unless specified. 

Olive oil: Extra virgin.  The greener the better.  I can’t help it.  I’m Italian.  

Molasses: Usually blackstrap.  I love its earthy flavor.  (And that a sweetener can also be a decent source of iron.)

Cocoa powder: I tend to shun Dutch-processed. I know this gets into the science of baking, but I like chocolate with guts.

Animal products: Usually purchased at the farmers’ markets here in Boston.  Occasional whole chickens come from Whole Foods. Eggs are usually large-sized.

Beans: Always dried.

Heavy cream: I try to use local; some larger brands have thickeners added to them.  Butterworks Farm is great if you can get it.  Whole Foods sometimes carries it.

Spices: I often buy them from Whole Foods, Formaggio Kitchen (and South End Formaggio), or Christina’s Spice and Speciality Foods, next to their ice cream shop.

Citrus: If I’m using the peel I really try to make it organic. 

The booze: Spirits and beer typically come from Charles Street Liquors and wine from The Wine Bottega.