I could try to convince the reader that the generous serving on the plate above was for the two of us, but I won’t. Instead I’ll say, it just looks big.
And here it looks even bigger.
The meal was going to fall between a day with a fish entrée and one with meat, and normally I would put a pasta together a vegetarian pasta in such a situation. Instead, remembering that I had many more eggs in the refrigerator than usual, and some sympathetic vegetables to go with them, I decided to go with the eggs, and forgo our usual Sunday morning spread the next day.
I constructed still another variation of what had been merely an idea of baked eggs I had found several years ago, when Mark Bittman’s 2007 recipe, ‘Baked Egg With Prosciutto and Tomato‘ became the starting point for a number of delicious improvisations (it’s hard to go wrong with eggs, tomatoes, and most any allium, even when there’s no cured pork around, and almost anything else that can be added is, well, ‘gravy’).
But I was pretty excited about the sorrel this time.
- four medium leeks from Phillips Farms, trimmed, sliced lengthwise, and cooked in 3 tablespoons of butter inside a large heavy antique high-sided, tin-lined copper sauté pan until they were tender, after which about a cup of baby green sorrel from Lani’s Farm, mixed with some chopped parsley from Stokes Farm (the parsley added mostly to retain a green color, as the sorrel turns a dull drab olive green when heated), was added to the pot and stirred in, the leek mixture transferred to a buttered glazed ceramic oven dish and spread evenly around the bottom surface, 8 small Americauna eggs from Millport Dairy Farm cracked on top, and 6 large Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods, each cut into 3 slices, scattered around the eggs, a few ounces of heavy cream poured onto the surface of the eggs and the tomatoes, the dish seasoned with sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, a bit of crushed dried Sicilian peperoncino from Buon Italia, and a pinch of dried fenugreek from Bombay Emerald Chutney Company, the pan set on a rack in the middle of an oven that had been heated to 400º until the eggs had set and the cream almost entirely absorbed (I think it was 25 minutes this time), served on 2 plates atop 4 thick slices of a polenta boule from She Wolf Bakery that had been toasted on a wonderful no-bread-is-ever-too-thick-for-it ‘Camp-A-Toaster’ [see this post], garnished with micro scallion from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- the wine was a California (Suisun Valley and Sonoma) rosé, Evangelos Bagias California Rosé of Pinot Noir 2017, from Naked Wines
- the music was Handel’s 1711 opera, ‘Rinaldo’, his first for London, and the first opera in Italian to be written specifically for the London stage, René Jacobs conducting the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra [note: it was performed regularly in London for 6 years, and once again in 1731, in a revised version, but there were no more performances for over 200 years; an indifference visited on most every opera of the time, suggesting that 18th-century opera audiences were once more interested in new music than they are today]
At least partly because we’re living in the mythical state of sin, we celebrate not one, but five anniversaries: our meeting, the ‘magic meal’, declarations of love, exchange of rings, and happy-ever-after cohabitation.
It’s a series that stretches from 4/27/91 to 1/6/93, and since they don’t show up chronologically within a single year (unless we find a way to make every year last slightly more than 20 months), there will always be some confusion as the dates come up. This meal marked the anniversary of the first, the night we met, but only days before we had celebrated one that had occurred a year after the one we observed last night.
Fortunately the meal turned out almost as well as the event 27 years back.
- one Yellowfin tuna steak (just under 16 ounces) off of Scott Rucky’s fishing vessel, ‘Dakota’, from Pura Vida Seafood Company, halved, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper and rubbed, tops and bottoms, with a mixture of dry Sicilian fennel seed from Buon Italia that had been crushed in a samll mortar and pestle with a little dried peperoncino Calabresi secchi, also from Buon Italia, pan-grilled above a brisk flame (for barely a minute on each side), finished on the plates with a good squeeze of the juice of an organic lemon from Whole Foods Market and some Whole Foods house Portuguese olive oil, garnished with micro scallions from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- ‘Magic Molly‘ fingerling potatoes (this time barely 7 ounces) from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, washed, scrubbed, left unpeeled, dried, sliced lengthwise, mixed inside a bowl with a little olive oil, sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, a piece of crushed dried orange/gold habanada pepper, and 2 stems of very fresh rosemary leaves from Stokes Farm, roasted at 375º for abour 25 minutes, garnished with some beautiful micro red mustard from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- most of a large bunch of broccoli rabe (aka rapini) from Migliorelli Farm, wilted in a little olive oil inside a large antique high-sided tin-lined copper pot in which 2 small sliced spring garlic stems from Windfall Farms had been heated until slightly softened, the greens seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, divided onto the plates and drizzled with more olive oil
It’s now too late in the year to find mature garlic heads from the last one from our local farmers at the Greenmarket, but fortunately fresh alternatives have already begun appearing. Last night was the first time I had ever substituted fresh for dry in preparing greens, and the result was very very tasty.
There was a small cheese course, and because it had charmed me in the main course, I decided to throw in some of the micro red mustard.
- ‘Manchester’ goat cheese from Consider Bardwell Farm
- micro red mustard from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- dried Italian figs from Buon Italia in Chelsea Market
- the wine throughout the meal was a Portuguese (Dão) white, Quinta Dos Roques Encruzado 2015, from Garnet Wines
- the music was the final act of Richard Wagner’s 1857-1859 music drama in 3 acts, ‘Tristan und Isolde’, Karl Böhm conducting the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and the Bayreuth Festival Chorus in a 1966 recording, with Wolfgang Windgassen, Christa Ludwig, Birgit Nilsson, Martti Talvela, Eberhard Wächter, Claude Heater, Erwin Wohlfahrt, Gerd Nienstedt, and Peter Schreier
I love fluke. Only incidentally, it happens to be one of but 2 kinds of ocean fish, other than mollusks, that I have caught myself. The second was Pacific Lincod. The fluke was caught off Long Island.
- two 9-ounce fluke fillets from American Seafood Company, washed, dried, brushed with a bit of good white wine vinegar and sprinkled with sea salt, each piece halved for convenience in cooking, dredged in a coarse local stone-ground flour, sautéed in a couple tablespoons or more of good Whole Food Market house Portuguese olive oil, turning once, until barely cooked through, 4 halved Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods Market added to the pan just before the fish was removed to 2 warm plates, the tomatoes removed and also tranferred to the plates once they had softened, after which 2 or 3 tablespoons of Organic Valley ‘Cultured Pasture Butter, a couple tablespoons of Whole Foods Market organic lemon juice, and roughly an ounce of ramps (chopped bulbs and sliced leaves) from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm were added to the pan and all stirred for a minute or less before the sauce was poured over the fillets [the red bits in the picture at the top are segments of the ramp stems that retain some of their outer shell]
- one small bunch of young collard greens from Norwich Meadows Farm, stripped of most of their stems, cut very roughly, washed several times and drained, transferred to a smaller bowl very quickly, in order to retain as much of the water clinging to them as possible, braised inside a heavy antique high-sided tin-lined copper pot in which 2 Rocambole Keith’s Farm garlic cloves had been allowed to sweat in a tablespoon or a little more of Whole Foods Market Portuguese house olive oil, adding a little of the reserved water along the way as necessary, finished with salt, pepper, and a bit more olive oil
- slices of a Bien Cuit ‘Campagne’ traditional sourdough from Foragers Market
- the wine was a Portuguese (Dão), Pedra Cancela Malvasia Fina/Encruzado Reserva 2014, from Garnet Wines
- the music was Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3, Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducting the Orchestre Métropolitain
It was a something of a palate cleanser after our rich night at the opera the day before.
- seven small skate wings (14 ounces) from P.E. & D.D., the largest of them halved to even out their number, coated all over with a local coarse polenta (‘Stone-Ground Polenta’ from Wild Hive Farm Community Grain Project) that had been seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, sautéed in olive oil and a bit of butter, for a couple of minutes or so on each side, inside a heavy enameled cast iron oven pan, then removed to 2 plates and kept warm while a little more than a tablespoons of butter was added to the pan, along with the chopped bulbs and sliced leaves of half an ounce or so of young ramps from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, stirred over a now-lowered flame, the alliums allowed to only sweat a bit before the heat was turned off altogether and another 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter added, along with the juice from half of a Whole Foods Market organic lemon, some chopped lovage from Two Guys from Woodbridge, and a bit of chopped parsley from Stokes Farm, all stirred to blend together and make a proper sauce to be divided among the ‘wings’
- slices of a Bien Cuit ‘Campagne’ traditional sourdough from Foragers Market
- one bunch of rainbow chard from Norwich Meadows Farm, wilted in a couple tablespoons of Portuguese olive oil from Whole Foods Market in which 2 small Rocambole garlic cloves from Keith’s Farm had first been heated and slightly softened, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, finished with a little lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil
- the wine was an Austrian (Burgenland) white, Furmint, Wenzel 2015, from Astor Wines
- the music was Hans Werner Henze, 1974 masterpiece, ‘Tristan‘, an orchestral work composed, for piano, tape and full orchestra, a homage to Wagner’s ‘Tristan und Isolde‘, performed by Homero Francesch, the Kölner Rundfunk Sinfonie Orchester, Hans Werner Henze conducting [it can be heard here in another performance]
It was one of our anniversaries. Actually, It was the meal which celebrated the anniversary that had we really marked a few days earlier.
We ate in the raised ‘gallery’ above the living room, as we do for special occasions, including any more formal meal with guests. While we don’t usually play music when we’re dining with friends, on Sunday night we were alone, and we listened to our song (or at least most of it), ‘Tristan und Isolde‘, in a historical, and really great recording. The music came from speakers slightly below us, in the larger room, which has windows fronting on the street (a venue that can sometimes rival the volume – and interest – of what we may be playing).
But last night, in my imagination, we were dining inside the private foyer of our own loge at the Vienna State Opera.
That one is not ours. Although our foyer is larger, our opera house is much smaller than the Wiener Staatsoper. The windows were mostly closed that night, so the street precincts beyond, which can contribute a broader tonal collage of (found) sounds, were not a factor on this night.
- *four thick really, really good 6-ounce rib lamb chops purchased from Greg and Mike at the Sun Fed Beef/ Maple Avenue Farms stand in the Union Square Greenmarket, brought to room temperature, dried well, cooked on a very hot enameled cast iron grill pan for around 12 minutes, turned over twice, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper after the first time, finished with a squeeze of juice from an organic lemon from Whole Foods Market, then scattered with the chopped bulbs and sliced leaves of an ounce and a half of young ramps from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, and drizzled with a little olive oil
- sunflower sprouts from Windfall Farms
- purple-topped turnips from Norwich Meadows Farm, washed, scrubbed, peeled, cut into half-inch-thick slices, tossed with Whole Foods Market house Portuguese olive oil, sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, plus a handful of rosemary leaves from Stokes Farm and 3 broken bay leaves from Westside Market, roasted in a large unglazed Pampered Chef ceramic pan for about 30 or 35 minutes at 425º, or until tender and beginning to carbonize (note: I don’t really have to turn them over when using this miracle oven pan, but I did this time, encouraging some crispy edges)
- green kale from Norwich Meadows Farm, sautéed, or wilted, in a tablespoon of olive oil in which 2 of Keith’s Farm Rocambole garlic cloves had first been allowed to sweat and begin to brown, seasoned with sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and a dash of more olive oil
- *the wine was a spectacular Italian (Umbria) red, Adanti Sagrantino di Montefalco 2006, from Garnet Wines
There was also an opera ice.
- a ‘Lemon Zest’ sorbet made by Vermont’s Blue Moon Sorbet, from Foragers Market, drizzled with Frankies 457 Sicilian olive oil, the gift of a friend, a bit of Maldon salt, and some zest from an organic Whole Foods Market lemon, garnished with one of Anna’s Ginger Swedish Thins
- *the music throughout the meal was Richard Wagner’s 1857-1859 music drama in 3 acts, ‘Tristan und Isolde’, Karl Böhm conducting the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and the Bayreuth Festival Chorus in a 1966 recording, with Wolfgang Windgassen, Christa Ludwig, Birgit Nilsson, Martti Talvela, Eberhard Wächter, Claude Heater, Erwin Wohlfahrt, Gerd Nienstedt, and Peter Schreier
[image from inside a red/white/gold box at the Vienna State Opera from Trip Advisor; the bottom image, a still from the 3rd act of Wieland Wagner’s ‘Tristan’, the production we listened to, from Michael Erlebach’s Pinterest]