I've been lax about blogging, obviously, but not about cooking; I just can't find time to do any writing. I even busted out a pretty nice 6-course dinner for a couple of friends up from the city last Friday, but the only picture I took was a repeat of the gravlax with corn-avocado ice cream and pickle sauce. Other courses were grilled chicken-miso soup, a sort of frisée aux lardons- curly endive tossed with a thick egg-yolk vinaigrette and fat lardons of our luscious bacon- mussels steamed over a sauce of tomato, red pepper, fennel, celery, carrot, wine, kaffir lime leaf, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, curry leaf, and lemon thyme that I slow-cooked for an hour before adding the mussels, serving them with crusty baguette slices as soon as they opened, lamb chops with preserved lemon mustard, beet tapenade, and bitter green mash, and a plum-pear tart for dessert.
We drank a bottle of Gaston Chiquet Champagne, then a 2002 Cheze Condrieu, then a 1998 Tignanello which took a while to open up but then delivered mightily. The progression of bottles suited the trajectory of flavors quite nicely, and the conversation was lovely; they're planning to open a restaurant soon and it was good fun to hear their ideas.
We're having a glorious fall, which is helping to make up for the wretched summer. As a result, I've been trying to fit in as much outdoor work as I can in between all the other things I need to do at any given time. Today, for example, I borrowed a friend's truck and drove down to Lee's; I wrote about him in my piece on permaculture, and he had offered to sell me some of his huge and beautiful 20-year-old blueberry bushes. He had root-pruned them ahead of time, so we levered them out with a shovel and got them into the back of the truck. One of them, a Sierra, divided when we lifted it, so I got three for the price of two. He also threw in a couple of currant bushes- a pink champagne and another pink or white variety. Next spring I'm going back to his plant sale to get some new blackcurrant cultivars to fill in the bed. It's an inspirational place, and makes me look at our spot with new eyes; by this time next year I think we'll be at a different level of food production and aesthetic splendor.
Lee writes a blog, too, and it's always worth checking in to see what he's up to. I'm too sore from diggin to type any more, so here's a picture of the blueberries, happily (I hope) ensconced in their new home. Best of all, we now have a use for the leaves we rake every fall: mulch for the acid-loving berry bushes.