Monday, July 05, 2010

I Love A Parade

We were in Vermont for the weekend, enjoying some absolutely perfect weather. Some swimming, a little (unsuccessful) fishing, and general relaxation were the totality of the agenda. And eating. That too.

I brought a cooler full of garden, and we worked our way through it over the course of our stay. To begin, a glorious treat in the form of our first zucchini flowers stuffed with local smoked gouda, dredged in local eggs and whole wheat flour, and fried quickly. I served them on a plate that my Mother made sometime before she made me.

Next up, we had a variation on many of our recent meals: some form of protein on top of stir-fried garden on top of a starch. They're all sort of phone-ins, but as long as I keep mixing up the specifics and the ethnic leanings, I can create the illusion of variety. In this case it was beautiful grass-fed ribeye atop broccoli, peas, carrots, zucchini, green beans, and herbs on brown rice vermicelli with a somewhat spicy Thai-adjacent sauce of sesame oil, rice vinegar, nam pla, soy sauce, curry powder, and a bit of maple syrup. Lots of Thai basil helped.

The next night, we had wild sockeye salmon with garlic scapes and an interesting sauce that I'll be working on over the coming months; it was sort of an accident, and got me excited about an intentional version that could go one of several ways. I seared the salmon in an iron skillet, which was pretty hot, and as I messed around with my sauce components it got hotter still. So when I went to deglaze with wine, and found that there was hardly more than a sip left in the bottle, and then followed with maple syrup, the syrup caramelized pretty hard before I added more moisture in the form of vinegar and soy sauce. So I whisked in a bit of sesame oil and poured it over the fish. It hardened into an almost candied crust with excellent flavor and a too-durable chew, but it got me thinking of Heston Blumenthal's salmon with licorice crust and how the caramel could be modified to be more supple and seamless with the meltingly tender rare-in-the-middle fish. So I'll get back to you on how that goes.

After dinner I turned some local strawberries and rhubarb into that perennial favorite, even adding a lattice because I was asked nicely.

Our last night we had Vermont-raised quail on garlic scape risotto with sautéed bok choy. We bought the quail at the Saturday farmers' market, and they were very tasty, but I was pretty mad that I had been sold six semi-boneless birds frozen in a pack only to find that there were in fact just four in there. I will be contacting the farm to determine whether this was an honest mistake or just sleazy hucksterism.

We returned home to a happy garden (a friend watered it ) and ate stir-fried garden with tofu on leftover refried brown rice. Tonight we ate penne tossed with sautéed garden and guanciale. See what I mean? But because I care, I'm not going to bore you with those pictures. Instead, I'll leave you with a couple of shots of a very unhappy mouse who we found upon our arrival in Vermont. It had probably eaten a crumb of old poison somewhere in the house, and was easily scooped into a container and released outside. Milo was very taken with its fuzzy cuteness, as we were too; if they didn't gnaw and shit on everything and carry deer ticks, I wouldn't mind their ubiquity. There was much other captured and released wildlife as well–butterflies, a frog, a salamander, tadpoles–but none had the nimbus of fuzz that this little varmint did.

1 comment:

Zoomie said...

The mouse is just a baby. I'm glad you let him go. Those little grey mice with the white tummies are usually pretty clean mice - it's the dark grey ones that make smelly nests. I was always catching wildlife when I was a kid, too, and my mother always made me let it go after a day of observation. She was a good mother. So was yours, apparently, as she taught you to make art with your hands and to raise curious children.