The night was again far too muggy for cooking, and we still don’t have air conditioning in the kitchen area, but I didn’t think I would be hanging out near the range for long.
I was wrong. It was far too long.
The pasta however was quite right, and afterward we were able to treat ourselves to the first cold dessert of the summer.
- ten ounces of Afeltra spaghetti chitarra, cooked al dente, mixed with a sauce of several cloves of garlic from Whole Foods, sliced and heated in a pan along with one large dried Itria-Sirissi chili (peperoncino di Sardegna intero) from Buon Italia, where the garlic was followed by half a pound of pieces of boned smoked swordfish steak from P.E.&D.D. Seafood and some savory pangrattato (here, some homemade days-old breadcrumbs toasted with olive oil in which more garlic and some salted and rinsed anchovies from Buon Italia had first been heated for a short while), the mix then tossed together over a low flame while some of the pasta water was added, served in bowls, where it was finished with a sprinkling of mixed fresh herbs from the Greenmarket and some chopped stems of spring onions from John D. Madura Farm.
There was also a genuine dessert last night.
It was so hot.
It was a delicious dinner, but I’ll never again do something that requires so much time and stove hovering on the kind of warm and sticky night we had yesterday. To properly account for my sanity, when I started out assembling and planning the meal I had a reasonable expectation that the air conditioning in our kitchen areas was going to work.
It didn’t, but I only learned that fact about an hour before I had to begin cooking.
I made it through to the end. It was very good, but I’m certain we would both have enjoyed it more had the climate in both the kitchen and the dining area been more reasonable: I read 90º on the thermometer hanging at the edge of the kitchen after I had turned off the flames on the top of the range; there was no air moving (the fan would have inhibited the open gas flame); and it definitely wasn’t a dry heat.
- a 1-pound cod fillet from P.E. & D.D. Seafood , divided into 2 portions (to make the fish a little easier to turn over), dredged lightly in seasoned coarse stone-ground flour, then dipped into a mixture of one beaten egg from Millport Dairy and half of a cup of chopped parsley from Phillips Farm, sautéed in a long oval copper pan over medium-high heat in a mix of olive oil and ‘Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter‘ (one tablespoon of each), turning once, for about 7 or 8 minutes, garnished with chopped dill from Bodhitree Farm, and drizzled with a little lemon juice, lemon wedges served on the side
- ten small red new potatoes (the first of the year, for me), from Norwich Meadows Farm, boiled in well-salted water, drained, dried in the still-warm glass pot, rolled in a little olive oil and some chopped spring red onions (they look like scallions) from John D. Madura Farm, seasoned with good course sea salt, freshly-ground telicherry pepper, sprinkled with chopped flowering thyme from from Bodhitree Farm (I had intended to mix the potatoes with chopped summer savory from Stokes Farm, not thyme, but things were moving fast at this point, and I hadn’t yet washed and dried the savory, so, to save time (ha!), I reached for the small cup holding one of the herbs left from my preparation of the stuffed zucchini blossoms (for those, see below)]
- twelve zucchini flowers from Bodhitree Farm, prepared mostly along the lines of this recipe by Mario Batali, each stuffed with a mixture of grated Parmigiano Reggiano Vacche Rosse from Buon Italia, chopped flowering thyme from Bodhitree Farm, chiffonade-cut basil from Tamarack Hollow Farm, freshly-grated nutmeg, salt, and pepper, sautéed in a little olive oil inside a large cast iron pan until golden brown on both sides, drained on paper towels, and served at room temperature (I wasn’t crazy enough to cook them at the same time I was preparing both the cod and the potatoes, and ‘room temperature’ is perfectly appropriate for most vegetables)
- the wine was a California (Lodi) white, S & A Verdelho Calveras County 2015
- the music was from Counterstream radio
I’m a big fan of cabbage, all kinds of cabbage, but the Savoy is super, and this particular one a great beauty.
This was the second time I had prepared this delicious pasta, and once again it was a winner.
It’s Bittman’s recipe, pretty much to the letter, although reduced to 75% in its proportions, I used a very different pasta from the one he indicates, and once again I finished it with a combination of parsley and lovage.
- my ingredients included emmer reginetti from Sfoglini Pasta Shop, organic garlic from Whole Foods, canned salted anchovies from Buon Italia, dried Itria-Sirissi chili (peperoncino di Sardegna intero) from Buon Italia, Italian bay leaves from Buon Italia, a Savoy cabbage from Norwich Meadows Farm, parsley from Phillips Farm, and lovage from Bodhitree Farm
- the wine was a California (Napa) white, Matthew Iaconis Napa Valley Chardonnay 2014 (a Burgundy style, it’s Matt’s wine, and comes to us via Naked Wines
- the music was Francisco José de Castro’s Trio Sonatas
It was also lunch.
It was pretty hastily thrown together around noon today, and the ingredients included some which had ben prepared fresh for the meal the night before ( call it ‘overstock’).
- The eggs and bacon were from Millport Dairy; the San Marzano tomatoes, seasoned, pan-grilled, then drizzled with olive oil and white balsamic vinegar, were from Stokes Farm; there were at least half a dozen herbs, from (various) local farms, tossed around among both the eggs and the torn branches of some wonderful flowering half-wild watercress from Lucky Dog Organic Farm; various spring alliums from two different local farms, sliced, were added to the pan in which the eggs were frying; there were 5 different peppercorns (including ‘pink peppercorns’, which are not actually pepper) and several pinches of some kind of paprika, an unlabelled bonus envelope inside the package of sauces I had ordered from L’eKama a while back; and the bread was a Bien Cuit baguette from Foragers Market
- the music, on this anniversary of Stonewall, was that of the brilliant, kindly, generous, out-queer composer, Lou Harrison, from the Naxos album, ‘Homage to Lou Harrison‘
It was a warm evening.
The first course never got anywhere near a stove.
I was very fortunate in the greens I had been able to bring home from Union Square on Friday: They were a perfect, spicy foil to the headiness of the smoky pork.
None of the elements of the second course spent more than a few minutes on the top of the range.
I had constructed the meal around the second course, a beautiful piece of fresh wild salmon that I was determined to cook without using the oven, and the rest of the meal had to go with the same proviso. Fortunately there were no taste sacrifices anywhere along the line.
- thinly-sliced Alto Adige Speck from Eataly, each piece rolled around the tines of a fork and put on a plate, drizzled with some very good olive oil from Campania, accompanied by a handful of semi-wild flowering cress from Lucky Dog Organic Farm dressed with the same oil, a little white balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper
- slices of a She Wolf Bakery sourdough baguette
- the salmon was prepared in a manner slightly modified from this interesting Melissa Clark recipe, using one fresh wild 14-ounce sockeye salmon fillet from Whole Foods, marinated in the refrigerator in a covered dish for about 4 hours while coated on both sides with a mix of light brown turbinado sugar, sea salt, freshly ground tellicherry pepper, freshly ground allspice, freshly ground nutmeg, and the zest of half of an organic lemon from Whole Foods, after which the fish was rinsed, patted dry, brought to room temperature, oiled generously, and cooked on an enameled grill pan, flesh side down, removed, dusted with dried Pollen Ranch Dill Pollen, sprinkled with chopped fresh dill from from Bodhitree Farm, drizzled with olive oil and served with lemon wedges, organic, from Whole Foods
- two Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods, sliced, mixed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and chopped basil from Tamarack Hollow Farm
- flat green pole beans from Norwich Meadows Farm, blanched, drained and dried, then reheated in oil, mixed with chopped red-tinged Japanese scallions from Norwich Meadows Farm, and finished with salt, pepper, and chopped lovage from Bodhitree Farm
There were cherries, from Kernan Farms.