Surfacing

Feeling mostly normal, finally, I had both strength and desire to make a real meal for the first time in a long time. Beautiful short ribs from the freezer provided the focus for all the other lovely things in the fridge. The ribs, browned and then braised with our frozen mirepoix plus balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, water and herbs, were just tender by the time the other things were ready. I steamed and then puréed celery root, parsnips, and broccoli stalks with Greek yogurt, a little butter and truffle oil (I always save the stalks and use them for soups or like this; otherwise you’re composting half the money you spend on broccoli. The stalks hold their shape like a root in soups, and purée to a lovely smoothness as well.)

For a nice finish, slices of shiitake crisped in olive oil with garlic and tossed in parsley. Tender meat, rich liquid (with melting mirepoix) sweet & creamy purée and crispy mushrooms. What a joy to eat like this again. I had the last glass of Pintia, sitting opened for a full week on the counter, which had finally shed its harsh tannins and softened into something rich and wonderful. Just the thing for such a dish, and not enough to precipitate another relapse. This year’s flu has been a savage one.

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