I had originally intended to finish with a quince purée the small rack of venison I had gotten from Ottomanelli this week, but I had been misinformed about the availability of quince this late in December. Learning the truth only the day before yesterday I quickly decided to use pears, one of the alternatives suggested by the recipe (in “D’Artagnan’s Glorious Game Cookbook“).
I had begun marinating the meat the day before that, in olive oil and crushed black pepper, along with Greenmarket rosemary, sage, and bay leaves (yes, I bought a bay branch at the greenmarket!).
Yesterday, just before searing the rack and putting it in the oven for 20 minutes, I made the sauce, chopping up firm Bartlett and Bouree Bosc pears and cooking them until tender with carmelized sugar and a combination of good Spanish red wine vinegar and stock which had been greatly reduced. The pear sauce was then puréed and kept warm. When the ribs were finished I separated them and served each portion on top of a helping of the purée, with a good portion of concentrated sauce infused with demi-glace spooned onto the meat itself and flowing onto the fruit.
The potatoes and the kale were both brought home from the Greenmarket in recent days. I found the kale in fact in the farmer’s by-then-almost-emptied wooden box, still frosted with the snow, now slightly crispy, from last week’s storm.
We had been listening to Bach’s Christmas Oratorio for much of the afternoon, but, not wanting to carry the traditional holiday playlist too far, just as we sat down to dinner we started listening to Bernstein’s “Candide“.
So for now, in this small place, in this best of all possible, possible, possible worlds:
- smoked eel from the Greenmarket (Blue Moon Fish, Mattituck, Long Island) served on a plate with lemon wedges and a salad of arugula, endive, chopped Sicilian capers, chopped shallots, horseradish, crème fraiche, lemon and olive oil; accompanied by slices of Kara’s flax bread from Garden of Eden
- rack of California venison on pear purée, sauced with a sweet and sour demi-glace-infused concentrate; accompanied by rosemary-roasted French Fingerling potatoes; and Winterbor kale (“really juicy after frosts”) from Keith’s Farm in Westtown, New York
- thin slice of pound cake with a scoop of Ronnybrook vanilla ice cream, sprinkled with chopped candied grapefruit from Garden of Eden
- wines: wine: Ferrari-Carano Fumé Blanc 2008 with the first course, and Ridge York Creek California Zinfandel 2008, and Bogle Vinyards Old Vine Zinfandel 2007, both from Phillipe Wine
Both yesterday’s lunch and this morning’s breakfast continued the holiday, or at least, winter, theme. In the afternoon on December 25 I roasted some locally-grown Greenmarket chestnuts in a perforated pan on the top of our 1931 Magic Chef. This morning I spread some truly fantastic pumpkin preserves from Marlow & Daughters on some more of the flax bread, buttered this time.