Archive for whiskey

feasts of love

Posted in delicious places, delicious stories, vague recipes with tags , , , , on June 26, 2009 by thatwasdelicious

Here are some just straight up good eating moments that have reminded my why I love this whole goddamn messy world.

Raw Oysters: See oystahs

Burrata and Toast: Burrata is an incredibly rich cow’s milk mozzarrella. To make burrata they first make a mozzarella skin (adding vinegar to create a whey and then doing other mysterious cheese-making things to it) and then they fill that mozzarrella skin with the creamy curds of cow’s milk. Burrata straight from Italy costs about 36.00/lb and is worth every penny. One morning at work Simon noticed that our last ball of burrata was going to expire that day. So he sliced a filone in half, sliced the burrata into thick rounds, laid the burrata on the bread, drizzled the cheese with olive oil and a little sugar and then toasted the whole thing. I poured out two cups of coffee and we stood burrata and toast one hand, coffee in the other, munching away at pure bliss on bread. Sweet yeasty toasted bread married the complexly rich flavors of the burrata and olive oil, the slight crunch of sugar crystals softened the bitterness of the coffee, and the warmth of the bread and the coolness of the cheese played off of one another. Ah, yes. Ah, yes.

Halibut and Stone Fruit Salsa: My boss Jaimie loves food. She says it is the only thing that makes sense to her all of the time. The last week that I was in California, she invited my mom and I up to her treehouse in the mountains for dinner. When we arrived there was white wine waiting and a fire under the grill. She prepared for us: grilled halibut with a stone fruit salsa and quinoa. The plates that she presented to us were beautiful: The plates themselves were a deep indigo color. The quinoa was piled beneath the startling white flesh of the grilled halibut. Her stone fruit salsa was a play of pinks, mauves, and purples over the white of the fish and the toasty brown of the grain. And she had grilled whole spring onions to add a flash of green to the spectacle. And the flavor. Mmmmmmm……. The quinoa had a toasty hint to it and offered a soft sweetness to balance out the spicy heat and acidic sweet tang of the salsa. The halibut was firm but also had a melt in your mouth sweetness to it. The spring onions tasted like the grill–in a good way, that smoky woody charredness– and a bite with all of these elements made me make entirely inappropriate noises of happiness and delight. The whole thing reminded me again why food is a total expereince and why the best food is one that plays over all of the senses. When I was finished, I promised myself that I would recreate that dinner for everyone I know and love.

Apricot Lavender Jelly: Apricots stolen from an old orchard, lavender grown outside a garden gate. Sent with me as a reminder of the West coast and to bring sunlight to my new home.

Rossini and Pickled Black Walnuts: Rossini is a blue cheese with a twist. When they are done making wine, the cheesemakers place the old grapeskins in with the aging cheese. This gives the cheese a little more of a wine taste and softens the edge of the blue. Pairing this cheese with pickled black walnuts makes even more flavors jump out of the cheese. The black walnuts add an earthy note to the tastes that ground the wine/grape flavors and pull out the umami like tastes of the cheese. Startling play time on the tongue.

Hot Fudge Sundaes and Manhattans: My boss’s boyfriend is British. He is also a good man and the two of them work really well together. They are going to get married and have babies and lots of dogs and feed the world really good food. My last day at AGF, Jaimie and David invited me out for drinks. We went to their favorite bar and they did all of the ordering. One drink turned to two and two devolved into three or four and a discussion of why Withnail and I might be the best movie put out by the Brits. At one point I got up to use the restroom. When I returned, Jaimie and David told me that they had ordered hot fudge sundaes and since these hot fudge sundaes did not come with cherries, three more Manhattans. Oh dear, I thought to myself, oh dear. The hot fudge sundaes and Manhattans arrived and my mouth dropped. The sundaes were in these huge mugs. The ice cream was topped with whipped cream and salted nuts. And the best part was that the hot fudge (which was thick, dark, bitter chocolate) came in its own gravy boat and you got to put it on your sundae–balancing hot and cold however you pleased. We ate the sundaes, we finished the drinks, and then put a cherry on top of it all. The next morning I truly felt like shit, but was it worth it? Of course.

Salmon with Shaved Fennel, Arugula, and White Bean Salad (+Hooters): My last weekend in California I took the train into San Fran to see Michelle. We agreed to meet at the Embarcadero and when I arrived I was thrilled to see the white tents of a farmer’s market set up along the pier. She and I walked through the stalls sampling whatever anyone offered to us and catching up on the past months of our lives. Having toured the entirety of the farmer’s market, we suddenly realized that we were hungry for real food. We found ourselves standing beside a tent that was filled with the smoky scent of grilling salmon. Someone walked past with a piece of beautiful pink salmon balanced on top of a pile of greens and topped with creme fraiche. We were sold. We both ordered fish (Michelle’s came with eggs and toast and mine came with a sharp and fresh arugual, fennel, white bean, and cherry tomato salad aka summer on a plate). We sat on the sunny pier balancing our plates on our knees and squinting into the sun. As we ate we watched the white sails of boats swing by under the bridge. The salmon was delicious, not cooked the whole way through and nicely salted. The perfect food to be eating in the salty wind. When we were finished, we fed our scraps to a dog who had been nosing around and who reminded us both of Luna, and then we cotinued walking into the wind and sun down the pier. About three hours later, we realized that we were hungry again. So we went to Hooters and had beer and wings and I had the pleasure of watching Michelle smoke a post-lunch cigarette, an experience that is a hallmark of so many meals we have had together and one that I love because I can almost feel how much she enjoys it. An action so quintessentially her. Then we continued walking until it was time to part ways, for now.

Ceviche and Carnitas: I wanted to do something for the men that I worked with before I left so I decided that I would make lunch. I knew that Simon loved shrimp so I asked him while were working what his favorite way to eat shrimp was. He told me that he loved ceviche. Ceviche? Now there was a dish I had never made or has any aspirations to making. But it was supposed to be a hot day and there is no time like the present for learning. So Friday morning, my last day of work, I headed to the seafood market. I bought tiny, sweet, shrimp and cucumbers, avocados, cilantro, and limes. When I arrived at work, everyone was in good spirits. The radio was blaring Mexican cowboy tunes and Simon was teasing the new boy Daniel about some girl. I headed straight into the kitchen and could feel the loose happiness of cooking in my joints. To make the ceviche I juiced the limes and mixed that with rice vinegar and some chili salsa that Daniel’s mother had made. Then I chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantrol, and cucumber and mixed it all together with the shrimp and the avocado. While I was preparing the ceviche Jaimie was busy making carnitas. Salted, rubbed with chili, and cooked in a hot skillet, carnitas are delicious with fresh cojita and tacos. We called to the boys, come eat. Then we all stood around the kitchen table plucking at the hot meat with our fingers and wrapping ceviche up in tacos plucked off the open flame of the stove. Not a Sunday breakfast, but it will do nicely….