Saturday, February 5, 2011

Summer Smugness

I've been trying to figure out how to get back into this thing after almost a year (with sheepish countenance, is one answer), but two dinners this week made it impossible not to start.

Thursday was Film Night at The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe (there's one post awaiting). We were having some new people over who were half-sold just on the basis of our food at camp last week (another one), so I kind of wanted to up the ante. I planned to pick up some monkfish at the fish factory (again) for a chiant-and-sage piccata, but fate intervened: no monkfish today. Instead, I had to pull a wild pork butt (insert promissory note #4 here) out of the freezer and give it the Italian milk pot-roast treatment. The tomatoes are trickling in (that's #5) and Krys's last loaf of bread was getting kind of stale, so: Bruschetta!--only with friseed super-peppery arugula instead of basil. The volunteer potatoes are performing, and Krys brought in a bushel of green beans, so they went on the table with butter and salt and pepper. And the fig tree is, after two years, dropping these figs like sugar bombs and some goat cheese is on the verge of expiring, dictating the family classic salad of figs, goat cheese, arugula and shallot vinaigrette. Finally, she couldn't just let others bring dessert, so here comes a clafouti with organic sour cherries and home-made buttermilk.
Bottom line, it wasn't until the middle of the meal that I realized: the only things on the table that didn't come from our garden or from people we know were the salad dressing ingredients. If that's not an occasion for stopping to think and appreciate...

...which brings me to tonight. Look closely at the picture, and you'll see:

* bratwurst that came from the same wild pig
* newly-aged sauerkraut from cabbage in the garden; the beginning of what I think will be a long-term love affair with fermented food (#6)
* first corn of the year
* first tomato salad: just the fruit of the vine, basil, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper
* zucchini with toasted almonds from Smitten Kitchen
* Krys's famous bread with a new twist: sunflower seeds and molasses

But wait! Not pictured: dessert. We have Tuscan melons literally falling off the vines. Sadly, we've only just realized what this means: we waited too long, and we've now TWICE faced the depressing sight of a melon past its prime and, what's far, far worse, past saving with, say, homemade prosciutto (#7). Not being inclined to, say, eat it, I figured What's the worst that can happen? I skinned it, blended it with sugar and a little lime juice, and stuck it in the freezer. Of course it froze solid, but a few minutes out of the freezer and rock turned to slurry, so I could fluff it up and refreeze. And that was dessert: Salvaged Melon Ice. Oh, I forgot to mention that temperatures parked over 90° today, so you can just imagine how welcome THAT was.

With the second melon, I smartened up and blended it with an egg white like yr supposta, this time kicking it with some limoncello. Maybe that's #8, maybe not.

So anyway, here we are, with much water on the bridge and many calories across the table. I think that much backing and forthing is coming. Hope you don't mind if it's not all about food.

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