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!

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  1. Zoomie
    April 16

    What a great way to reduce portion size, increase presentation beauty, and enjoy the whole meal experience better! That wine sounds wonderful – I love rose’ even though I know it’s not fashionable now. That one sounds like it has real character.

  2. peter
    April 16

    Fashion? Fashion be damned. Rosé goes with everything, for crying out loud. Who ARE these people, the ones who decree such things? I’m supposed to be drinking caipirinhas made with sake all of a sudden?

    Style- as opposed to fashion- is being confident and comfortable with your own (good) taste. And I have good taste. So do you.

  3. em
    April 16

    so pretty!!

  4. cook eat FRET
    April 16

    in my advancing years i am less into plating and the like because i have both broken and accumulated tons of things over the years that get gone via accidents or stored away and forgotten about.

    basically i am more utilitarian and streamlined. i want less stuff and i want my stuff all white if possible.

    by the way – off topic. peter -you’re an artist right? my bro is one of the top are dealers in the country and in london. my dad was an art dealer too. so basically my family has been exploiting you people for 2 generations now…

    hey, have a lovely evening!

  5. peter
    April 17

    Em: Thanks!

    Claudia: I hear you. The problem is that I can’t ignore my geekery, so I end up with more and more gadgets and now more and more dishes. But I’ve learned to trust these impulses, since the results are usually worth it.

  6. Zoomie
    April 17

    Greetings from a fellow dish geek – love the variety! And thanks for your kind words about rose and taste.

  7. cookiecrumb
    April 17

    This is the next logical expression of an artist/cook! Irresistible. I am so thrilled by your platery.

  8. peter
    April 17

    CC: Platery will get you everywhere. Stay tuned for lots more pictures. I’m just getting warmed up; it’s simply amazing what 2300˚F will do to some mud and powdered glass.

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