I’ve been working at a local ceramic studio since the beginning of the year, and the owner/teacher fired the kiln this weekend. Today I went by to get the first of what should be several more series of plates, bowls, and cups to inspire more detailed cooking and presentation as well as smaller portions. Though I have no training in the field, I’ve always been influenced by Kaiseki cooking; now that the garden is a year-round thing and we’re pickling things and curing meat, I’m determined to take the cooking to a new level of refinement. So what better place to start than the pedestals themselves?*
We had some winning leftovers to work with, so I began with those, and let the garden do the rest. To begin, I made a batch of pie crust- my Grandmother’s recipe. It’s the best in the world. Period. Stamped into circles (with a tuna can) and filled with the rest of the pork from last night, it crimped into some lovely empanadas that I put in the oven and moved on to the soup. We had an excellent fridgestrone from a couple of days ago, with the beans, BBQ chicken bone broth, garden greens, roots, and alphabet noodles. I added some cream and pesto, then stick-blended it into a smooth purée. Once it was simmering, I added shredded sorrel and blended it again.
To complete the meal, steamed broccoli dressed with olive oil and lime juice, a bibb lettuce salad (planted in November; they’re bursting forth in vernal pulchritude) with radishes that are fattening nicely, and more of the shredded root pickle. Each got its own new plate, arrayed on the big ones I made for just this purpose. A good start, but there’s a lot more work to do. And as if all this weren’t enough, we joyously opened our first pink wine of the year: a 2007 Chiateau de Roquefort corail. Their new trainwreck of a label looks as if four different graphic designers collaborated on it, but the wine inside is as good as ever; it’s classic Provençe with strawberries on the nose and then strong acidity and garrigue to cosily escort any warm-weather food whatsoever down your gullet.
*Plus, they make great gifts! And they’re so easy to clean! Order now!