After the decadence of the steak frites, we were in the mood for something cleaner. I had a bunch of ideas swirling around, so I got to work and let them take shape around the ingredients at hand. To begin, I wanted to make a simple broth to warm us up at the end of a raw fall day. So I simmered some soba-cha, dried shiitake, and toasted walnuts in water for about an hour. Strained, and with a drip of soy sauce and a garnish of chives and truffle oil, it tasted not a little like beef tea, which is what I was shooting for.
There were mashed sweet potatoes left over from the shepherd’s pies from last week, so I turned them into gnocchi with a little flour and an egg yolk. I sliced an apple, and sautéed it gently with sage leaves, then browned the gnocchi in the same pan. I crumbled the leaves over the plates, and hit them with a little maldon salt. I’ve made this before, in different versions- boiled first, sautéed in duck fat instead of olive oil- and it’s always a winner this time of year. Last year I paired it with duck confit, cranberry-wine reduction, and nettle purée for the “main” course in our insane 11-course Thanksgiving dinner. It’s quick, easy, filling, and delicious.
Next, I cooked some beets sous-vide at 83˚ C for a couple of hours- that’s the magic temp for vegetables, giving them the perfect al dente texture and rich flavor. I served them like sushi on brown rice, with a soy-balsamic sauce and lemon thyme. And to follow, kidney beans that I pressure-cooked with onion, garlic, herbs, tomato paste, spices, and their soaking water. I forgot to take a picture. I do love multi-course meals- even though they tend to dirty a lot more pots- because the variety eliminates fatigue with the same flavors, and I find that I end up feeling more satisfied with less food.