Eastside Road, December 19, 2010—PARTLY RESEARCHED, PARTLY IMPROVISED: A birthday dinner for a very special person. Pork roast, I think: so we buy a decent three-pound shoulder — what was called a "Boston Butt" when I was a boy. I'm still in Sicily and Sardinia a lot of the time, in my mind, I mean, so — since the whole dinner was sort of my idea — I called the shots.
First, with a great deal of help from Lindsey, I made the cake, a wonderful Queen of Sheba cake (Reine de Saba sounds so much more exotic, and that's how I think of it): grated hazelnuts (thank you, Bhishma X.), a tiny bit of flour, eggs, butter, and chocolate. The recipe's in the Baker's Dozen Cookbook, and it's by Alice Medrich, and it's a real winner. We glazed it with chocolate buttercream, changing the recipe only by using hazelnuts instead of almonds.
I salted the meat as soon as I got it home, yesterday, and dried it off today and stuck in all round with garlic-clove nails. Around it in the roasting pan were five or six Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered lengthwise, and six or eight carrots, cut in half, the big halves again split. Salt, of course, and slow roasting; in the last half hour, a couple of branches of rosemary atop the vegetables.
When the roast was done I set it on a bed of small-leaved myrtle branches, lay another bed of myrtle on top of the roast, and covered it to rest half an hour while I finished the Brussels sprouts: I'd halved them and steamed them until done, then finished them by sautéeing in butter with a tiny bit of nutmeg and not quite so tiny but still a small amount of red pepper flakes.
Green salad after; and then eggnog with the cake. What a dinner! What a girl! Now let's wash the dishes.
Prosecco, Zonin, NV; Mourvedre, Preston of Dry Creek, 2008