Eastside Road, Healdsburg, November 26, 2009—DE RIGUEUR, OF COURSE, to offer thanks on this Thanksgiving Day. Okay: to the Redwood Meat Company of Eureka, California, for the frozen grass-fed beefsteaks I bought at the Healdsburg Farm Market a few weeks ago and forgot about, first of all. I meant to make a boeuf daube from them, thinking they were stew meat, but remembered the butcher's advice, and pan-fried them instead.
But first I recalled the pretty little purple-black potatoes I bought from Murray Family Farms on Monday, as we were driving up from Los Angeles — thanks also to them for their goodness and their commitment. I cut them up and browned them in olive oil. And then there were the five promising little cipollini I'd bought from Anstead's, excuse me, Shelton's now, in Healdsburg, and thanks also to them for providing organic, sustainable, and often local food to us.
Fragrant and sweet, but not bland like Vidalia onions, these Italian-origin bulbs look hard to peel at first. There's a trick: I hold them in running cold water and scratch at the peel, just below the stem end, with my thumbnail: before long the skin starts to peel back toward the root. I leave them attached there for the present, and set them in with the potatoes, root end
Meantime Lindsey has diced up some horrid root vegetables — I detest those things, parsnips and turnips — and roasted them in the oven. Surprise! The texture is utterly changed; the flavors have been tamed!
I cook up a few leaves of chard and a couple of leaves of red lettuce — thank you, birds and rabbits, for letting us have a few leaves of lettuce; and I thank also the glorious dirt that grows such delicious chard. (And I think fondly of Lindsey's father, who supplied so much chard from his garden in the old days. And — why not? — I think fondly of her mother, too, and thank the powers that be that I knew them, and that they gave me their daughter.)
At the last minute I remove the potatoes and onions to a couple of warm plates and cook that steak, a couple of minutes on each side in the black iron skillet; and then after putting them on the plates I pour in some red wine and deglaze the pan, and pour the juices over. And there's our Thanksgiving dinner.
At the first bite, Steak, Potatoes, and Salt, say I thankfully, what could be better.
Nero d'Avola; Central Coast Syrah