Thursday, December 11, 2008

what I've been eating





Well, all that frenzy at first and then just no posts for almost a month. But what a month. Confirmation we'll be moving to London for a few years (more on that later), colds all around for everyone, a trip out to Waitsburg/Walla Walla/Dayton/Milton Freewater for Thanksgiving... So now in the spirit of catching up, and en homage to Nick Hornby's regular "What I'm Reading" column in the Believer, here's an overview of what's been in our fridge, cooked in our oven, seared on our stovetop, purchased in restaurants and on the street, etc etc etc.

1. Freshest of the fresh lamb. From our friend's farm out in Dayton- Monteillet. Sure they make the best cheese I've ever had in the US, but they also raise animals for meat. And what wonderful meat. Joan called me on a Monday and by that night I had a group of us putting in a very hefty order. One whole lamb, 4 pork shoulders, 5 chickens, some eggs and pounds and pounds of cheese later, I'm out in front of Tilth in Wallingford transferring food from cooler to cooler, money changing hands under the cover of night. Such a wholesome activity, but something felt very sneaky about it all, like we were in on some kind of secret no one else was to know. Of course, that small group of us got in on some things you can only get in some of the nicer restaurants in Seattle get, the ones who are committed to local eating. Final page in this story comes with a picture. I got home and pulled out the lamb for divying and lo and behold it was in only 3 pieces. So I had to polish up on butchering 101, using my sterilized sink as a prep area and very happily carving with my boning knife. I managed to make sense of it all, the ribs, the saddle, the shanks, etc...
2. Handmade Buckwheat Noodles with Preserved Gourd and soft Tofu. Topped with that lovely bright red Korean Hot Pepper paste or Ponzu or those crazy msg laden nori/bonito/sesame seed packets they make in Japan.
3. Well, it's a drink, but Presbyterians.
4. Petit Noirs confections, far more caffeine and sugar than I should have at night. I should curse Lan for being so dang talented but instead I praise her highly. Best toffee I've ever had in my life.
www.petitsnoirs.com Go there. Buy things. Don't worry about the shipping charges, they're worth it. Buy lots, because it goes so fast!
5. Monteillet cheese. I'm out of Larzac and craving more. Soon we'll be living just 2 hours from Paris and loads of this great cheese, minutes from Neal's Yard, just a few hours from Roquefort... but now, right now, I want some Larzac on a wheat cracker. Mmmm...
6. Squash. Acorn, butternut, delicata, kabocha. Tis the season. I think my fingertips are beginning to go orange.
7. Hibiscus Tea. I know, it's a drink.
8. This lovely citrus salad. With Cara Cara Oranges, Grapefruit, Lime, Cucumber, Fennel, Capers and copious Olive Oil. Winter olive oil is best. And a liberal sprinkling of fleur de sel. Slice all hard things very, very thin, wafer thin. Section the citrus so it is pulp only, arrange and drizzle oil and salt. A crank of pepper et le voila! Perfect.
9. Nuts. Holiday time, you have to have a bowl of unshelled ones out, don't you?
10. Vanilla confiture. Left by our friend Anne who has moved to London ahead of us. Wonderful on complex cheeses. Then again it could be delightful on Petit Basque. Mmmm...
11. Duck legs on Yellow Eyed peas.
12. Homemade Blueberry preserves sweetened with honey from our friends at Monteillet again.
13. And I will be eating soon- a gratin of dried Matsutakes (foraged by a friend's folks) and cauliflower.
I'll leave it at 13. My lucky number. I'm not totally caught up, and I'll try to be better about my posts. Aaah, life.

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