ricotta, focaccia; basil-filled scallops, micro mustard; kale

It was to be a very simple meal that I could almost do in my sleep, because we had a guest, and there was going to be some serious discussion about some future construction in the kitchen. I expected to be pretty distracted, but I managed to put together a pretty tasty meal.

It turned out however that I was distracted, but not where I had expected to be: We were having so much fun that I forgot to photograph the main course. I can describe it however (there really wasn’t much to it), and I have many pictures from past meals that could stand in for what I missed capturing this time.

Our guest had brought a bottle of good champagne, which we opened once the more serious conversation was put aside.

  • some rustic Italian breadsticks, Mario Fongo grissini integrali, from Buon Italia
  • the wine was a French (Champagne) sparkling, Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Réserve Champagne, the gift of a friend

The appetizer was inspired by my visit that afternoon to some of my favorite Greenmarket people.

  • a few ounces of water buffalo ricotta from Riverine Ranch in the Union Square Greenmarket, mixed with a very small amount of Trickling Springs Creamery whole milk (they use glass deposit bottles!) from Chelsea Whole Foods Market, a little bit of some good Trader Joe’s Italian Reserve extra virgin olive oil (unfiltered, unrefined, and cold pressed), a pinch of crushed dried hickory-smoked Jamaican Scotch bonnet pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and one stalk of finely-chopped baby celery from Windfall Farms, with the leaves, the mix stirred and distributed on 3 plates, a bit more olive oil drizzled on top
  • slices of really good garlic ciabatta from Philadelphia’s Lost Bread Co. (organic bread flour, spelt, malted barley, breadcrumbs, water, local Hudson Valley Cold Pressed Oils‘ sunflower oil, garlic, herbs, salt, yeast)
  • the wine was a Spanish (Catalonia/Penedès) white, Huguet de Can Feixes Can Feixes Blanco Seleccio 2017, from Crush Wines 
Just before preparing the first course I decided to make the next one just a little bit more complicated than its outlines (minimally-prepared scallops and kale) had suggested it would be, and the fact that wanted to take on the extra step reflects how comfortable I was with our renovation conversation.

The picture below is a placeholder for the picture I didn’t take on Wednesday; it’s from a much earlier entry, one in which the scallops appeared as an appetizer.

The scallops themselves were cooked in exactly the same way as these, although there were no tomatoes.

There was micro red mustard however, which looks like this spread across a vintage Shenango China plate:

  • 21 sea scallops (a total of 20-21 ounces) from American Seafood Company, rinsed, dried, slit horizontally with a very sharp knife almost all of the way through, stuffed with a mixture of home grown basil from Barry’s Artsy colleague Becca, one medium-size clove of garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm, salt, and black pepper, all chopped together very finely and removed to a small bowl where just enough olive oil was added to form a paste, the stuffed scallops then rolled around on a plate with a little more olive oil, drained, then pan grilled in an enameled cast iron pan (they barely fit) for about 2 minutes on each side, removed to the 3 plates, finished with a squeeze of organic lemon from Whole Foods Market and a drizzle of olive oil,  garnished with some beautiful lacy micro red mustard from Two Guys from Woodbridge

  • two bunches of curly winterbor kale from Tamarack Hollow Farm, washed, drained, wilted in a little olive oil in which 3 garlic cloves from Norwich Meadows had first been allowed to sweat and begin to color, seasoned with salt and black pepper, drizzled with a little more olive oil
  • the wine was a great Portuguese (Vinho Verde) white, Vinho Verde Loureiro, Aphros 2016, from Astor Wines