Pits and peels #1.

Pits and peels usually disappear down garbage disposals, decay in compost piles, and fester in the trash, but once in a while a few will have a use in the kitchen. Apricot pits can be split for the poisonous but heady kernel inside (it’s worth it). Oily citrus zest sprays more flavor onto your knuckles than the flesh squirts into your mouth. However, most pits and peels go straight into the waste bin, never to be seen again.

Frozen morning glory tendril

Food blogging isn’t that different. Photographs of dishes, various recipes, and half-written posts fill my folders, but most of them will never make it onto the blog. Sometimes it’s due to unacceptably bad photography. Other times it’s a copyright problem; the post screams out for a recipe, but until I truly expand or alter the original, merely rewriting it feels lame. Most of the time it’s blogger’s block—an inability to find an approach to a topic that’s novel, funny, or interesting.

Wine-braised garlicAll three problems struck me when I recently made Stracotto, an Italian wine-braised beef dish that took me three days to prepare and used an entire bottle of red wine. My photographs annoyed me, Molly Steven’s beautifully written and loooong recipe can’t be “adapted” (I’m not even trying), and I can’t think of anything to say about it except, “Oh yum! Meat and wine! Italians yay!” Not that those things aren’t true, just, well, I like to try harder.

Yet some of the odds and ends accumulating in my folders aren’t half bad. So to keep them from swirling down the drain, I’m starting a feature that will salvage random photographs or maybe share interesting tips, I’m not sure yet. I do know—in fact, I guarantee—that Pits & Peels will wander into non-food topics, lack a cohesive theme, and fail to make sense. But I can’t say for sure what the posts will be like because I’m making this up as I go along. Aren’t we all?

So for today’s edition, the first photograph is a morning glory tendril frozen from icy rainfall yesterday. No, it’s not edible, but then, most pits and peels aren’t. The second photograph is a head of garlic cut in half and braised in wine with the Stracotto. It was mashed into a paste and served atop the beef along with the reduced wine braising juices. Yum! Garlic and wine! Italians yay!