Reality Check

Christine finally caught The Cold, so Milo and I let her sleep and went apple picking. It was another perfect, crystalline Fall day where the impending doom of Winter sharpens our appreciation of the bounty that still surrounds us- and makes us load a metric ton of fruit into the back of the car. And then we get home and realize that we have to do something, sharpish, with said fruit or it will rot, and tomorrow is Monday, after all, and rhapsodically bittersweet autumnal romanticism combined with the inherited obsession for stockpiling massive amounts of produce have once again collided with the realities of life in a most unfortunate way. I left it all in the car for the night, and so it’s looking like tomorrow will not be the studio day I have been waiting a week to jump into, but instead a day of applesauce, peach chutney, nasturtium-sorrel pesto, and sambal. Unless I put it off again. Damn. It’s a good thing the plums were finished, or hoisin would be on the list too.

also, there were cider donuts.

Upon return, I needed to find the sweet spot between sick, unhungry wife and ravenous menfolk back from the hunting and the gathering. Two courses did the job, with a minimum of effort: miso soup and fried rice. The soup was straightforward dashi and miso (added after the broth was strained and taken off the heat to keep all those beneficial microbes from boiling alive) with cubes of tofu and scallion. I used a mix of red and white miso, because there wasn’t enough white left. It looked particularly fetching in my best effort thusfar at wheel-throwing (which isn’t saying much.)

Soup really is good food. Who knew?

The rice, as with last night’s dinner, was perfectly mundane to look at, but tasted great; instead of lardo, I used the Asian-flavored guanciale that’s been hanging for about a month so it’s approaching ideal doneness. When I cured the four jowls, I put three in the traditional cure of salt, sugar, herbs, pepper, and garlic, but the fourth one got salt, more sugar, 5- and 7-spice, cardamom, ginger, and pink pepper. It’s crazy good. The leftover brown rice used the guanciale, garlic, ginger, scallion, dried shrimp, egg, radish, kale, chard, sorrel, piquin pepper, tamari, rice vinegar, nam pla, and sesame oil. Again, the happy marriage of leftovers, garden, and a little artisanal pork made for a superbly enjoyable- if not at all photogenic- bowl of food.

…it tasted good, anyway.

I popped a 2006 Max Ferdinand Richter Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett that proved, unsurprisingly, to be the papaya drink to this dinner’s hot dog; since I went heavy on the homemade hot sauce and kimchi, the somewhat sweet, subtropical perfume of the wine set off the hot, slightly oily rice to excellent effect. To close, gratuitous cute-kid-climbing-the-hydrangea pictures, to distract you from the fact that this post may be somewhat less compelling than other recent efforts. Too bad I don’t have five kids with weird names and haven’t lowered your expectations; you’d think I was a genius right now.

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4 Comments

  1. Heather
    October 6
    Reply

    Today I learned that low-acid foods, such as Bolognese, require pressure cooking to kill botulism. I have a gallon of Bolognese in my fridge, and a dozen empty jars, but no pressure cooker. Sigh.

    At least you can store the apples in a hole in the ground.

  2. Maryann
    October 6
    Reply

    I bet this soup hit the spot! It’s so nice that you took good care of your sweety :) Hope she is feeling better.

  3. peter
    October 7
    Reply

    Heather: Freeze it. You know you’ll go though it in no time. And buy a pressure cooker; they’re awesome.

    Maryann: Welcome. It did hit the spot. She is feeling better.

  4. cook eat FRET
    October 8
    Reply

    the boy is beautiful
    those eyes…

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