All Together Now

One one level, this was a pretty straightforward meal: local ribeyes, a gratin, polenta, and mushrooms. On another level, though, it was, well, on a whole other level. The polenta was leftover from a few nights before, and thoroughly congealed–as is the wont of polenta. I brought it back to a pleasing pourability by whisking in some homemade beef stock, local butter, and lots of pepper. The maitake mushrooms got a long, slow sear until they were richly browned, and then I deglazed the pan with the umami-boosting blend of soy sauce, sake, and beef stock, letting them simmer a bit in the liquid to reduce it. The gratin is the first draft of an idea I had last week while out for a walk with the family (there’s nothing like a good walk for getting one’s think on). It was thinly sliced turnip alternated with mandolined ribbons of fennel and leek, and baked in buttermilk with good local cheese on top. I broiled it for a few minutes at the end uncovered to get a good brown on the cheese and evaporate a bit of the liquid.

The steaks–seasoned with salt, pepper, and herbes de Provence–got the now-standard sear in butter and finish with grated lardo. Whether or not I have the time or inclination to sous-vide a steak, this treatment is hard to beat. When the new stove arrives, I’m anticipating a whole new world of searing; losing this easy-bake™ piece of shit cooktop will be among the highlights of my life. In the meantime, we make do. The little extra care with each component really made this into a satisfying plate of food. To drink, a 2007 Domaine des Vallettes Borgueil. Not expensive, and a delightful Cab Franc after about an hour in the decanter.

Posting is going to be erratic for the next few weeks as I wrestle with the kitchen, but I’ll get to it when I can. (I’ll take lots of pictures of the takeout food I eat while the family is in Florida and I have no functioning appliances.)

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8 Comments

  1. Zoomie
    January 29
    Reply

    I know it's exciting to dream of a re-done kitchen but you have my sympathy about the inevitable intervening chaos, and for the loss of your family to warmer climes.

  2. Julia
    January 29
    Reply

    God, this looks amazing. Any word on that class? Or is that on the back burner? (So to speak.)

  3. peter
    January 29
    Reply

    Zoomie: They're not gone yet; I'm getting a few pieces of the job crossed off while they're still here.

    Julia: I'm going to begin classes when this work is done. Stay tuned for an email towards the end of the month.

  4. We Are Never Full
    January 30
    Reply

    that fucking grated lardo trick again! why do i never remember to do that!!? such an awesome thing… thank you for thinking it up.

    this post is making this hung over chick really, really hungry.

    i'm w/ julia – you just let us know when/where the class is.

  5. Heather
    January 30
    Reply

    YouTou had too much to think last night.

    Yeah! Why not have two starches? That gratin is just like the one I made when you first started commenting on my blog, a coupla years ago. Memories! Nice touch with the buttermilk, though. Veruh nice.

  6. Heather
    January 30
    Reply

    Stupid iPhone typos.

  7. lisa
    January 31
    Reply

    Buttermilk in a root veg gratin. Thank you. I never would have thought of that, but now, I'll use it!

  8. peter
    January 31
    Reply

    Amy: Look for an email soon.

    Blanche: Shouldn't you be dabbing puréed carrots on your wrist or something?

    Lisa: Happy to help- let me know how it turns out.

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