- mixed olives served with Taralli Pugliesi (Finocchio) from Puglia Sapori, both purchased at Garden of Eden
- thick culotte steak, from Dickson’s Farm Stand Meats, pan-seared, then cooked briefly in a hot oven and finished with a drizzle of oil and lemon and the addition of chopped parsley; accompanied by halved tiny ripe cherry tomatoes from Garden of Eden briefly heated in oil and finished with some chopped thyme; and wild nettles from the stall of Paffenroth Gardens in the Union Square Greenmarket wilted inside a large pan in which chopped ramps had been briefly sauteed, then finished with a squeeze of lemon
- goat cheese, “Le Cendrillon”, served with thinly-sliced ciabatta toasts (Sullivan Street Bakery, via Garden of Eden)
- wine: a medium French red, from Roussillon, Le Vignes de Bila-Haut, Côtes du Roussillon Villages 2008, M. Chapoutier, from K & D wines
The instructions for boiling pasta often suggest removing some of the liquid in which it has been cooking just prior to draining it. The suggestion is usually that about half of a cup of liquid, or even less, be set aside in case the assembled ingredients are too dry once the sauce is added to the starch. It may be necessary to add some liquid no matter how simple or complex the mix may be. I usually make sure I’ve reserved a full cup, having learned from experience that it’s best to be prepared, especially when using artisanal pasta, and especially, although not necessarily only, when you end up mixing the elements over a flame for a minute or two.
When I prepared this particular dish I ended up adding, incredibly, almost two cups of liquid! Fortunately I was well prepared (I hate it when I have to add additional water out of the tap), since I had remembered setting aside far too little the last time I had used this particular brand of pasta.
It appears to be the case that the better the pasta is the more liquid it can absorb. I have no idea why this is, and I certainly don’t know how the linguine I used here was able to soak up such an extraordinary amount, unless it was because this excellent Abruzzi pasta had been shaped by bronze molds in its manufacture. Or maybe it was the leeks?
[the close-up picture at the bottom is actually not of the brand I used, Fara S. Martino Cav. Giuseppe Cocco. Instead it’s a detail of a handful of Garafalo linguine, which is also manufactured with bronze dies, but in Gragnano, in Campania, and the image comes from localflavour]
The recipe itself? I was in a hurry, so I didn’t want to go through my files; I knew I wanted to make pasta, and I had been holding onto some smallish leeks for a few days, so I checked on line for some ideas and in a quick look for “pasta with leeks”. I quickly found a suggestion here which was described as “Adapted from Cooking New American, by the Editors of Fine Cooking”.
- linguine with leeks, lemon (zest and juice) and walnuts (toasted), generously seasoned with crushed pepper (the leeks were from the Union Square Greenmarket, but I neglected to record where I had purchased them)
- wine: Sicilian, Corvo Insolia 2008 from Philippe Wine in Chelsea
I picked up a “log” of a new goat’s milk cheese while I was at Garden of Eden last week. “Le Cendrillon” is described by the producer, Alexis de Portneuf, as a “vegetable ash-covered cheese with a marble-textured rind and a smooth ivory body; acidulous , semi-strong taste that becomes more pronounced with age”.
I admit that I was pulled in by the attractive packaging, and by the information supplied on the small poster which was a part of the modest store display. It promised something new in a goat cheese, a promise which interested this foodie, already a fan of things goat, and it was completely fulfilled. I was also attracted by its geographic heritage: Le Cendrillon is a relatively-new goat cheese and it comes from Quebec.
We enjoyed it tonight (May 6) at the end of a simple meal of pasta, accompanying it with the thinly-sliced and toasted heal of a one-week-old loaf of whole wheat from Amy’s Bread in the Chelsea Market, along with the last of the bottle of 2007 Corvo (Sicily) Insolia in from Philippe Wine in Chelsea
[image from canada.com]
For some time I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to sample a very attractively-presented cut of steak I’d first heard of and seen at The Meat Hook in Williamsburg, and spotted several times after that at Dickson’s Farm Stand Meats in Chelsea Market. On April 25 I decided it was time. I was in the Dickson’s shop without a shopping list and saw two handsome, arched and skewered steaks pressed near the window of their display cooler. I pumped the very helpful guy behind the counter for information, including cooking tips, and then picked out the larger of the two pieces (it weighed in at about 12 ounces, including a beautiful layer of fat on one side).
Barry and I weren’t disappointed with the results. It was one of the finest steaks I’ve ever eaten.
- culotte steak (a small, boneless steak cut from the sirloin, known as “coulotte” in France, “picanha” in Brazil), from Dickson’s Farm Stand Meats, seasoned and seared (I used my handy and much-treasured small red oval enameled iron pan throughout) for about two minutes on the fat side and for about 45 second on the other, then placed inside a 375 degree oven for about seven or eight minutes (I don’t remember now whether I afterward added oil, lemon and/or herbs, as I sometimes do when a steak has been taken out of the pan); accompanied by La Ratte potatoes purchased at the Union Square Greenmarket from Berried Treasures Farm (the picture shows they go pretty fast) which have been halved, tossed with oil and salt & pepper, roasted cut-side down on a ceramic oven tray, then mixed with sauteed ramps, also from Berried Treasures
- wine: Rhone, Domaine Catherine le Goeuil Cotes du Rhone Villages Cairanne Cuvee Lea Felsch 2007, a gift of a friend
- Atlantic sea bass fillet, oven-roasted after a marination of garlic and herbs (bay, rosemary, thyme, parsley), purchased from The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market; accompanied by boiled tiny Carola potatoes purchased three days earlier at the Union Square Greenmarket from Berried Treasures Farm [the name a nod to both of the farmer’s specialties: superb potatoes and awesome strawberries] in Delaware County, New York, (it was their welcome first day back in the City this season), finished with a mixture of oil, garlic, lemon (zest and juice), and parsley; and grilled ramps, also from the Greenmarket (I was so excited to find their were still ramps available by the time I was able to get to the market after the mid-day banner-drop that I forgot to record from whose stall I had gotten them)
- wine: Vermentino di Sardegna, Argiolas Costamolino D.O.C. 2008 from Phillipe Wine
- Bosc pears from Migliorelli Farm at the Union Square Greenmarket