Some Sabine views and news

I recently had the pleasure of a guest for about a week at the Sabine Farm.  And when there are guests, I cook.

The Sabine Farm has been quite lovely these days, with cool morning, warm days, and – for a while yet – prolonged evenings.

Rosy-fingered dawn will typically develop in this guise:

For me, my morning fast break is generally pretty simple, some toast and espresso or very strong filtered dark roasted coffee, but – when there are guests – I will often do more.  Here we have some tomatoes from the garden and a small piece of steak, grilled, and a mess of eggs scrambled with some fines herbes, whole wheat toast and various sauces, when desired to zip it up.  I have a couple that are nearly worthy of the flames of eternal perdition, and which tend to evoke a very sincere act of contrition, but they weren’t set out for this crew.


For the Feast of St. Augustine I picked a passel of pacchino, very zippy small savory tomatoes, and lots of basil, along with sprigs of green fennel seeds, sauteed them over extreme heat in a cold press olive oil from California, through the Olive Press this time I think, put it over linguine into which I had cut pieces of fontina cheese, since it melts nicely.  Adding just a dash of the water from the pasta, with the bit of starch and moisture created a smooth background for the tomatoes and fresh herbs. 

We managed to get it down.

Then I produced the coniglio in umido.  I had only kalamata olives to work with, but they were abundant.  After browning the whole rabbit, cut up, with the innards of course, I added white wine and springs of rosemary, again the green fennel seeds, sage parsley and thyme.  At the end I put in some few strips of bell peppers, of varied color, part green part red.  About half way into the hour or so of cooking time, I added the olives.  It was all done on the stove in a large cast iron skillet.  In the meantime, I had soaked some peeled sliced potatoes in salt water and, then, dried off, stirred through with olive oil, salt and chopped rosemary and put them in the oven at 400F to brown.  Which they did.  And which we ate with the rabbit.

A meal like this needs a cigar, afterward, with the necessary port, etc.  Here is a fine Macanudo with a splendid ash, which has developed nicely in the Sabine humidor.  They were a gift of the inimitable Fabrizio when he came to visit in June.  Penjing looks on with approval, as does Irohamomiji.

The day ends with a nice view and compline.  The Sabine Chapel is nice when lit up.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Father Bartoloma says:

    Father, I salute your impressive ash. I hope that it didn’t fall into your lap after the picture!

  2. Al says:

    I can only raise my glass of 1987 Taylors Niepoort Quinta da Terra Feita in tribute. If only I had a cigar like yours to go with it!

  3. LCB says:

    “Rosy-fingered dawn” said discrete Zuhlsdorf.

    Be careful, lest the trees rise up against you for the honor of their compatriots, Tomato and tobacco.

  4. Jason says:

    Tabasco and Crystal? I prefer Cholula myself. [Try Dave’s Insanity Sauce. But for this lot, it could not be offered… out of charity. My insurance doesn’t cover that sort of thing.]

  5. a religious says:

    I’m glad that you are not politically correct Father. Keeping enjoying you cigars.

  6. W. Schrift says:

    As always, a treat and a pleasure to catch a glimpse of your culinary finesse, Father. Dinner tonight will seem particularly less grand as a result!

  7. Mark M says:

    LCB: That sounds very Treebeard, if you ask me! :)

  8. W. Schrift: Don’t worry. Not every day must be so.

  9. Christabel says:

    What I can’t work out is how you find the time to take the photographs whilst cooking. Hmm.

  10. Luke D. says:

    Father, what beautiful meals and vista you have to offer your guests. I can’t help but wonder how you manage to keep your bonsai trees so healthy and perfectly shaped. I’m afraid I’ve killed every one that has found it’s way into my care.

  11. Geoffrey says:

    I’ve been waiting for a post like this. A feast for the senses! Fr. Z, how do you prepare your tomatoes for breakfast? My garden is full of little green tomatoes. I am looking forward to the harvest!

  12. Luke: First, in all things bonsai I try to emulate Law XIII of the House of God.  Also, I just make sure it gets water and light. 

    However, now that I have a new book, sent by a reader from the wish list, I may start planning a repotting of Penjing.

  13. Geoffrey: It is best if they are still just a bit immature it you want to fry them. A little salt and pepper, and a tiny smear of butter in a pan. Otherwise grease from bacon or sausage. If they are mature I do them on fairly low heat and slowly so they don’t fall apart, though you have to be careful. Also, if I see they are going to be delicate, I scoop them up carefully, invert the plate over them, and then with a gentle press, turn the whole thing right side up, so they don’t need to endure the shock of being flipped. In other words, somewhat immature tomatoes are easier to work with. Otherwise, you can play around with them in this season: they are abundant and cheap. Certain varieties are sturdier also. I am sure some of the readers here can say what they are growing. I am not really much of a gardener, in the final analysis. I like Heirlooms, however.

  14. Christabel: Just point and shoot. It takes but a moment.

  15. LCB says:

    Luke D:

    The Bonsai trees are fed a healthy diet of cigars and port.

  16. Dove says:

    Yum, yum, Fr. Z. I must try your rabbit recipe. Sounds great. It’s a treat having someone to cook for, that loves to eat, isn’t it?

  17. Brendan says:

    So Father, when shall I visit? :)

  18. Mikiroony says:

    Pater, remind me to send you a case of Vegafina cigars from Puerto Rico ;)

  19. PMcGrath says:

    Dear Father:

    Any news from the bird feeder?

  20. Geoffrey says:

    Fr. Z: Thank you for the tomato advice. I will definitely try it when my “Early Girl” tomatoes are ready for picking. (Early Girl tomatoes are suggested for areas such as the CA Central Coast.)

    And I think all these negative comments are just plain silly and rude; invited guests entering someone else’s home and do nothing lob insults and judgmental and condeming diatribes. What nerve. Perhaps Fr. Z needs to post a picture of nothing but bread and water. Maybe that would placate them.

    “Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
    There’s always laughter and good red wine.
    At least I’ve always found it so.
    Benedicamus Domino!”

    — H. Belloc

  21. Luke D. says:


    Even on the best diet (LOL, btw!), learning how much and when to prune, shaping the trunk and the branches, and geting the soil mix right (and keeping it that way) is beyond me. :-)

  22. Antiquarian says:

    I hope that on a blog dedicated to accuracy in language, it’s not going down a rabbit hole to note that rabbits are not rodents; they are lagomorphs.

    They’re also delicious.

  23. Jackie says:

    Fr – I say Yummy- although I am a tad bit scared of eating rabbit. I am trying to learn to cook with fresh herbs now. Im starting with basil and rosemary (those are the only ones so far that I have not killed in my window sill-pretty sad since I started with 15). I look forward to more posts like this in the future. God Bless!

  24. JustDave says:

    Rather than all the strife I’d rather have the recipe for these dishes. I’m not sure about the rabbit though as that is a meat that I have never tried to eat. They sure look wonderful. Maybe Fr. Z could write a WDTPRS cookbook.


  25. mpm says:

    It is my guess that the rabbit dish, “coneys”, one of Sam Gamgee’s special treats,
    was in commemoration of the 35th anniversary of the passing of the Professor, which
    I think was early in September, 1973.

    Which and it was a fitting thing to do!

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