Friday, February 12, 2016

Stamppot; barley

IMG 5562 IMG 5563
Eastside Road, February 11, 2016—

WE BEGIN TONIGHT with leftovers, made over: the potatoes-peas-and-kale from last night, with a little more kale and some stray chard mixed in, resulting in the best of both worlds: flavors deepened and merged over time, and new ones distinct and pointed to balance them. It's always so interesting to taste these changes — and tooth them, too, because textures evolve similarly.

Then that barley pilaf Cook likes so much to make: whole-grain barley stewed in stock, with lots of butter, and nice fresh scallions chopped in toward the end.

Green salad afterward, and a tangerine for dessert.

Cheap Barbera d'Asti, 2013

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Lamb chops

IMG 5547
Eastside Road, February 10, 2016—

NOW AND THEN — I'll confess it — we find ourselves in a supermarket. A vaguely upscale one, politically correct in a sense, but still a supermarket. So it was two days ago, when Cook was looking for something supermarkety.

And who should be there handing out samples but a charming young woman from New Zealand. The samples were of grilled lamb, and lamb is not a meat I easily resist. The chops were on sale, and furthermore she offered a four-dollar-off coupon. Who could resist?

I salted them a bit before cooking time, and then Cook simply broiled them in the gas range. With them she served another variation of a stamppot : this time English peas as well as the potatoes and kale. Delicious. The lamb was frozen, of course, but young, deep-flavored, and meaty.

Green salad afterward, and a tangerine.

The rest of the cheap Paso Robles Zinfandel

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Turkey soup

Eastside Road, February 8, 2016—

ALL I KNOW for sure is leftover turkey (frozen), chicken stock, onion, garlic, and barley. I like barley, in bread, as a hot cereal, as a pilaf. And a good hearty soup, seems to me, requires whole-grain barley like this. Not "pearl" barley: whole-grain.

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Monday, February 8, 2016


Eastside Road, February 8, 2016—
NO SUNDAY IS ROUTINE here on Eastside Road, it seems. They all start out the same, though:
Soft-boiled egg
Toast, butter, marmalade
Coffee with milk
The egg is put in a pan of cold water; the water brought to the boil; then pan is covered and the egg allowed to bask for exactly three minutes. Clearly larger eggs will be softer than smaller ones. We generally buy Large eggs, but since they come from local farms they vary. Within reason, variety is a good thing, even within routines.

A three-minute egg is soft. The word in our household is slubberij, a Dutch word we owe to our friend Hans, who can't imagine eating an egg so soft-cooked.

We usually have one slice of toast apiece at breakfast, but on Sundays two: one with butter, to accompany the egg; one afterward. I do love marmalade.

The coffee is dark roast espresso. I roast it myself, getting the beans from Sweet Maria in Oakland and roasting them in a Fresh Roast SR300 roaster, for 5.9 minutes, and try to use them no sooner than the third day after roasting.

Currently we make our coffee with a Starbuck's Barista machine bought second-hand; our beloved Faemina is on my workbench, awaiting the spring cleanup of the shop.

Yesterday we skipped lunch. We couldn't really help it: we had to drive down to Oakland, 70 miles or so, to take a couple of friends to the opera. (West Edge Opera; concert performance of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, as set by Paisiello, not Rossini; and very good in every way.) At intermission we had some kind of whole-grain fruit bar they were selling; that was lunch.

On getting home — cold roast chicken, with kale-cooked-with-mashed-potatoes: another stamppot, I suppose.

bottle ends
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Sunday, February 7, 2016


IMG 5539
Eastside Road, February 6, 2016—

IT'S A MISTAKE, I said to no one in particular, to eat here and not order sausage. So though what spoke to me immediately was the Margarita pizza, I accepted the waitress's suggestion to add some crumbled Italian sausage to it.

It was a delicious pizza. The tomato sauce is deep and highly flavored, and the basil, which was almost stewed in the juices, equally assertive. The thin crust was perhaps a tiny bit underdone, but nothing to complain about.

Dessert: an affogato, with Marsala ice cream instead of vanilla, and a couple of spicy biscotti. Yes yes.

Montepulciano, Orsi, 2014

•Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria, 21021 Geyserville Ave, Geyserville, California; (707) 814-0111

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Roast chicken

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Eastside Road, February 5, 2016—

NOT A CAPON, alas; the one we had on Christmas Eve will have to do us for the foreseeable future. But this was truly a fine bird, this chicken: free-range, firm-textured, smooth, sweet-fleshed.

Cook roasted it Judy Rodgers's way, in a very hot oven, but we did something new this time: slipped a slice or two of superannuated baguette underneath the bird while it cooked. This made a delicious morsel; you see it at the lower left corner of the plate.

Also with it, buttery mashed potatoes, cooked with a bit of parsley. Green salad afterward, and the last of that delicious Key lime pie.

Cheap Barbera d'Asti

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Piazza D'Angelo

Mill Valley, February 4, 2015—

LUNCH FORTY MILES south today at an Italian local in this Berkeley of Marin County — a birthday lunch for an old friend, organized by another; nine at table, and we ordered individually from the menu. I had a Caesarish salad to start, never a really good idea in an Italian restaurant, though in the event it was perfectly acceptable.

Afterward, these cappellati di zucco, because I plan to make some for dinner tomorrow, and wanted to get an idea of how I might proceed. The hat-shapped pasta is filled with pumpkin purée, and I think I will flavor mine a little more, with nutmeg and perhaps a bit of lemon zest. The sage leaves were a good idea, though, and the tomato sauce brought needed acidic point to the dish.

Piazza D'Angelo Ristorante, 22 Miller avenue, Mill Valley, California; 415-388-2000

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