It was another celebratory dinner. This one was the 26th anniversary of the evening Barry and I first met.
On the night in 1991 night celebrated this past Thursday (April 27), we had each been to different concerts with different good friends. These two had earlier agreed, each separately, with a second friend, to gather afterward at a relatively discrete (no windows, pub-ish) Chelsea queer watering hole, The Break. Somehow within this mathematical puzzle of 6 individuals, Barry and I were introduced to each other, as it were, through 2 degrees of separation.
I don’t remember anything else about that evening, other than that I was beguiled, and that we exchanged phone numbers.
We had tickets for a concert again on the night of this anniversary, but late in the afternoon we decided to enjoy a good meal at home instead. I defrosted some little lamb chops that I had brought home from the Greenmarket the week before. I may have gone slightly overboard on the number of vegetables with which I chose to accompany them, but they were a diverse lot.
Those sides included radishes,
whose greens were cooked separately, with equal amounts of upland cress,
and one small white-going-on-magenta head of cabbage.
- four small lamb chops (barely-3-ounces each) from Consider Bardwell Farm, dried thoroughly, cooked on a very hot enameled cast iron grill pan for about 5 or 6 minutes on each side, seasoned with salt and pepper after they were first turned over, finished with a squeeze of juice from a sweet local lemon (Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, in the Union Square Greenmarket), scattered with chopped rosemary from Stokes Farm (whose folks had recently returned from a winter hibernation), and drizzled with a little olive oil
- two Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods, halved, briefly grilled in the same pan after the chops had been removed, seasoned with salt an pepper, drizzled with olive oil
- one bunch of French Breakfast radishes from Eckerton Hill Farm, washed, the leaves removed and set aside (the little white ‘tails’ left on), sautéed in a little olive oil in a medium tin-lined copper skillet for a few minutes, or until they could be easily pierced with a thin metal skewer, some roughly-chopped wild garlic bulbs from Lani’s Farm added very near the end, when a little white wine was poured in and stirred until the liquid had evaporated, the radishes and garlic arranged on the plates and garnished with micro fennel from Windfall Farms
- radish greens, which had been removed earlier from the radishes themselves, together with upland cress from Paffenroth Gardens and one small head of white cabbage from Norwich Meadows Farm, wilted inside a large enameled cast iron pot in olive oil in which 2 bruised and halved garlic cloves fromLucky Dog Organic Farm Farm had first been allowed to sweat and begin to color, the greens seasoned with salt, pepper, part of one dried Sicilian pepperoncino from Buon Italia, crushed, then arranged on the plates with a little more olive oil drizzled on top
The lamb was preceded by a primi, the third, and final appearance of the conchiglie al forno prepared for the April 19th meal, once again embellished with a little ricotta, to make up for the slight cheese deficit when it was first prepared, and yes, I think this dish really does better each time it’s reheated.
- the wine throughout the meal was a California (Napa) red, Jac Cole Mosaico Napa Valley 2015, from Naked Wines
- the music throughout was an album of contemporary chamber works by the Portuguese composer, Luis Tinoco (we will be in Portugal in late May and early June, and we’re cramming for it)