Today, being a day of atonement- and more saliently, a day in which Milo’s school is closed- begged for some time-devouring activities to chew up the portion of the day in which I was the sole parent in charge. Copious swinging helped, as did some garden-checking (the rutabagas and black radishes are actually swelling a tiny bit! At this rate they’ll be big and fat by Christmas, except for the whole not-growing-in-winter thing, so they won’t). And since we had been the happy recipients of a big box of avocados from the gallery in Miami, I had an idea and figured that making ice cream is always a good hour-chewer when a kid is involved.
He was excited, to say the least, and not at all put off by the notion of a savory ice cream. For him, busting out the machine means good eatin’. And when I told him he could have it for lunch, well, that sealed it. So we puréed an avo with the kernels of one ear of corn, lemon juice, cayenne, cumin, salt, a drip of agave, and a little juice from a jar of salsa verde. Then I pushed it all through a tamis and spatulated it into the frozen whirligig for a chugging, adding about half an ear’s worth of kernels as it spun.
And lo- it worked. Smooth, creamy (avos being basically all fat) and with a citrus tang, and a solidly earthy warmth from the spices, it made a splendid substrate for our homemade gravlax of Arctic char, sliced thin. To finish it off, I put a couple of chopped cornichons, some capers, pickle juice, parsley, kimchi juice, a little mustard, olive oil, and pepper into a jar and stick-blended it thoroughly. Once all blended, I strained it and then blasted it again with a bit of Ultratex 8 to make it thick and sexy, then spooned it around the scoops. Very subtle, complex, and interesting- this will make a spiffy appetizer down the road. The char has a lighter flavor than salmon, so it worked better with the delicate ice cream. The pickle sauce is excellent, and cries out to be used with everything from salmon on bagels to tuna, egg, or potato salad; shit, even a burger or a dog would get off on this, and there are a million ways to tweak it for best effect.
So that was lunch. For dinner, local grass-fed sirloin well-crusted in butter and with our homemade lardo grated on top. Freaking genius. On the side, fresh-dug potatoes roasted with fat cloves of garlic and lots of olive oil, and a green mash made from the dandelions I weeded out of the potato bed while Milo dug, with lemon, walnuts, ume plum, and truffle oil, plus a pan sauce made from the butter, wine, a pinch of flour to stabilize it, and some of the super-jiggly chicken broth I made last night. Good fall fare all around.
We drank another of the just-rediscovered bottles from the cellar in VT- a 2001 La Jota Cabernet Franc from our Napa tour in 2004. It’s not bad, with good firm tannins and some layers between the grip and the fruit. Nobody’s going to confuse it with a Chinon any time soon, but it has some of the same flavor profile, if a steroidally enhanced version of it. Another 3-5 years would serve this well, allowing the tannins to relax enough to bring the other facets into better focus.