Friday, October 13, 2017

Uncertain times

Eastside Road, October 13, 2017—
THESE HAVE NOT been normal times. Wildfires are burning near us as I write this. We have been lucky; the nearest fires are five or six miles away. But abrupt changes in wind patters could find us vulnerable. The most important papers and hard drives are packed in the car, in case we have to evacuate. Thousands are already evacuated, other thousands have already lost their homes.

We have only been inconvenienced, so far. One of the groceries we depend on is gone. Some supplies are running low in other stores. I've been watching the news almost obsessively. But life goes on for us, though many less fortunate have died.

It's too late to retrieve the meals since last I posted. I'll simply note repetition, at home, of favorites — ceviche, sausage and potatoes, and the like. We had one restaurant meal, in San Francisco: Beef Wellington, very nicely prepared except that the lean roast beef itself was curiously bland. Unsalted, I suspect.

     🍷Chinon, Charles Jouget, 2014

•Maybeck's, 3213 Scott St, San Francisco; 📞(415) 400-8500

Last night, delicious hamburgers at the neighbor down the hill, a birthday party for our great-grandson…

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Saturday, October 7, 2017


Eastside Road, October 6, 2017—

AFTER A BUSY DAY in the city we were home too late and too tired to think much about dinner. Something quick, yes?

I made omelets in my usual way, cooking them in olive oil rather than butter, filling them with chopped arugula and grated Parmesan cheese before folding them over. Cook handled the green salad. — just arugula tonight, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.

     🍷Cheap Italian white

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Friday, October 6, 2017

Vitello piccata

Eastside Road, October 5, 2017—

LATELY I'VE BEEN CRAVING lemon, peppers, vineggar, pickles, capers. Don't know why. A friend tells me it's a sign there are insects within: I hope she is mistaken. I've seen no signs of infestations.

In any case, charged by the Contessa with coming up with an idea for dinner, I bought a couple of thin slices of veal, a jar of capers, a package of Rustichella "trofie," a pasta I particularly like. Lemon we have; also parsley. Salt and pepper, check; olive oil, of course; white wine, no problem.

Cook handled the pasta-cooking and washed the lettuce. I seared the veal — I'd salted it when I got it home, of course — in olive oil, in the stainless-steel skillet, and after turning it scattered chopped parsley and capers on it. Salt and pepper. Lemon juice.

After plating the meat and pasta I deglazed the pan with white wine, reduced the sauce, and poured it over the scallopine and the pasta. Delicious.
     🍷Cheap Italian white wine

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Red sauce

Eastside Road, October 4, 2017—

LAST FALL — just about a year ago, I think — Cook put up several jars of tomato sauce. She used a recipe from one of Alice Waters's books, which calls for roasting the whole tomatoes slowly in the oven, then running them through the food mill and canning them in the usuual way. Salt, of course, and a little olive oil, but no other ingredients, as I recall.

She put up a lot of jars, and probably doesn't need to repeat the process this year, though of course it would be a good idea, you can't have too much of a good thing put aside for rough times.

She has the habit of never quite finishing a jar, and leftovers accumulate. Tonight she put two little containers of them together, with a bay leaf, pepper and salt, garlic, and a dash of red wine, and we had her favorite whole wheat penne with red sauce. Parmesan grated on top. Green salad afterward, of course.

     🍷Red, "Guadagno," Preston of Dry Creek

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Popeye the sailor man

Eastside Road, October 3, 2017—

MY WIFE AND KIDS know: I do love spinach. To the extent that I even like canned spinach. When the kids were little Cook used always to keep a package or two of frozen spinach in the freezer for quick meals. I haven't seen frozen spinach in forty years, I think; and it's probably longer since I last had canned spinach. But I can still taste it.

Seems to me my mother used to cook an egg atop canned spinach somehow. I haven't thought about that for over sixty years, but I'm sure she did, somehow, probably on evenings when Dad was unaccountably absent from the dinner table and she could get away with a meatless dinner.

Anyhow tonight Cook prepared a spinach side dish — just fresh spinach leaves gently cooked in a little water and some butter. The main dish was one of Franco's sausages — Toscana, I believe — and a delicious sauté of potatoes and cipollini onions. Another thing about spinach: no need for a green salad!

     🍷Red, "Guadagno," Preston of Dry Creek

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Sunday, October 1, 2017


Eastside Road, September 30, 2017—

IN FACT, salume. More precisely, soppresata, mortadella, and finicchiona. It's the second day straight we've dined on this, with buttered bread, and tonight green beans, and some dill pickle, and green salad. Pears and figs for dessert, and some chocolates.
We've been dining simply much of the time these last few weeks, when not eating out, on trips to Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, and elsewhere. It's nice to be back.

     🍷"Guadagno" red, Preston of Dry Creeek

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Home again

Eastside road, September 12, 2017

AFTER WHAT SEEMS weeks hither and yon we are home again but in no mood to cook. Cook sliced some tomatoes and prepared some store-bought ravioli; I made a vinaigrette for the salad she washed and dried. 

Dessert: delicious figs from our tree, and lemon sorbet. Perfect for a too-warm late summer evening. 

Rosé, Guilhem