Sunday, November 22, 2009

John gets lamb

We celebrated our 28th anniversary on Saturday with Thad & Lynn, Ren & James. Consensus was, among those consulted, that roast chicken should be the basis of the menu.

Now, we had planned to have lamb racks for dinner a couple of weekends ago, and when John opened the packages as he prepared to put them on the grill, they were totally spoiled, stinky and awful (unusual for meat from Costco). So he has been in a lamb withdrawal mode for a bit, and we do usually celebrate our anniversary with lamb chops, it just seems so fitting some how. But the guest list inclined to roast chicken.

So we had roast chicken and dang good it was too, with a wild rice pilaf, breaded sauteed zucchini coins, carrots rapé, tossed green salad with homemade croutons, and a pear crisp with vanilla ice cream for dessert. The wines were excellent - Scharffenberger sparkling to start, La Posta Malbec all dark and cherry-ful, Chasing Venus voluptuous sauvignon blanc, and A to Z Sauvignon Blanc crisp and full, and the evening was swell over all.

But John still held a yearning for lamb, and mentioned lamb several times to many of us in a way that made clear that he wanted lamb.

So, as an anniversary gift, I got him a nice little boneless leg of lamb for him to cook for dinner Sunday - which he did perfectly with mushroom sauce and the left over wild rice, even better today, some steamed broccoli, a tossed green salad, and a very nice Alexander Valley red.

I think he is happy now.

Tea. I love Mariage Freres

Also on the "must do" list: Have tea at Mariage Freres, just around the corner from Le Loir -
I had an Assam, and John had something completely different than he expected. It is a little overwhelming to be presented with essentially a Sears and Roebuck catalog for tea - floral and green. We split a chocolate mousse and fresh raspberry tart. Oh my.

Dinner for tourists

We spent a bunch of time later in the afternoon in Paris trying to figure out where to eat.
Notes in the side of the Paris maps from last time indicated "Les Deux Magots" in the area we happened to be, so we went there.
So cute! The waiter was so wonderful! Elfin, amused, attentive, perfectly attired in long apron etc.
John had lamb, I had a warm mushroom salad that was divine, and a Beaujolais Brouilly that was splendid.

Subsequently, Ren informed us that the place is only for tourists these days....

So good!

Right away to the Doormouse in the Teapot

Arrived in Paris about 8 pm, and managed to find our hotel, in spite of having to clamber over the turnstile in the subway late in the evening. We were right next to the Tour Eiffel, beautiful in the light at night.

The next day we meandered our way toward the Marais so that lunch could be at the Le Loir dans la Theiere, our fave from the last time we were here. It was crowded as usual, and we shared a table with a lady from Poland and her daughter-in-law, who also seemed to know of the place from previous visits.

John had beef and pomme frites with Bearnaise, amazingly good, and I had an exquisite tart with epinards and a goat cheese on top. Luckily they were out of the tarte limon. The Polish ladies had a Baba instead, which was substantial. We told them not to be disappointed, the tart limon was overwhelming too.


The last morning of our cruise, following the wonderfully deep sleep engendered by the hurricare conditions overnight in the Mediterranean between Nice and Barcelona, we went for breakfast in the Grand Pacific (?) dining room. I had a very nice traditional eggs etc breakfast, but John thought he'd go for something light and just have a side of bacon. This is a man who likes his bacon with his vitamin D on a regular basis.

The side of bacon actually was a SIDECAR of bacon. John had met his match, and is still recovering.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Quick, Quick, Slow, dinner in the time it takes to cook noodles

Here's what you need:
Have in the frig some green salad all washed with carrots, sprouts, roasted red peppers, Greek olives all made by Abby's Kitchen for the backstage refreshments for the concert on Tuesday.
Also have some delectable, freshly smoked, wonderful king salmon made by Pete, and brought by his wife on Sunday and if she thought we were sharing it at dinner, just forget that.
Some organic heavy cream because the bad things hide in the fat so always buy organic butter and cream.
A bunch of green onions.
1/2 of an acorn squash roasted last night with a bit of butter.
A perfect pear.
Fettucine noodles.
A nice bottle of wine, in this case, Achaval Ferrer Malbec 2008 Mendoza, Argentina.

1) Race out to walk the dog in the howling wind and rain, gosh isn't this weather swell. Accuweather says the temperature is 35° F but feels like 11°F. Remind me why we live here.
2) Dash in and clean the kitchen from last night when you were too tired to do so.
3) Run upstairs and clean the bathroom, which you haven't been able to get to in days.
4) Build a fire, because you know that the 60 mph winds with sleet are going to take out some power pole somewhere.
5) Put the water on to boil for the noodles. Note that the box says a serving size of fettucine is 2 ounces, but discard that information as probably wrong. It's coming on winter, we need to bulk up. Once the water boils put the noodles in to cook. While that is going on:
6) Wash and slice up the green onions.
7) Pull the acorn squash out of its shell and cut into largish chunks.
8) Unwrap the fish and try not to eat the entire piece this minute.
9) Put a pot on medium heat with a lump of butter, when melted and bubbly, add the green onions, stir around, and add the squash chunks. Add what's left of the salmon. Stir around gently.
10) Add a goodly dollop of heavy cream and begin to reduce it.
11) About this time the noodles will be done, so strain them, reserving a little bit of the pasta water, and add to the salmon and squash mix. It might need more cream. A shaving of Parmesan cheese is nice, and if the waiter comes by to ask if you need freshly ground pepper, say yes.
Toss gently to mix and put on the plate that already somewhere back there has the salad, dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar added to it.
Pour a nice glass of the wine, sit down, and relax. The weather outside is frightful, but we've got no place to go, so let it snow....or sleet, or downpour....

It's OK to read at the table when there is no one else there, so Travis McGee joined me. Haven't seen him in a while, so good to get reacquainted.

ps The box was right, a serving size is 2 ounces. Lunch tomorrow....