And not the computer, neither. I know it’s Sunday, but I just discovered a trove of pictures on the camera that I had completely forgot about, and I thought of you, poor readers, frantically anticipating my next post with the impatient fervor of Ree Drummond praying for Paula Deen to stroke out on national television. So I wrote this because I feel your pain.
Yesterday evening around 5:30, hard at work in the studio, I realized that I needed to go in the house and make dinner or there would be hell to pay. I was not pleased about it, so I was grouchy, and the relative shortness of time made it even less relaxing. Fortunately, a well-stocked pantry came to the rescue as it so often does.
On assignment, I have been privileged to spend some time with Zak Pelaccio, his wife Jori Emde, and their crew as they prepare to open Fish & Game, their new restaurant, in Hudson. As part of my diligent, thorough, and extremely professional research, just like a real journalist would I went ahead and obtained a copy of his recent cookbook from the publisher, because getting occasional review copies of cookbooks from publishers is one of the few perks in the fast-paced, glamorous world of food writing; they’re the in-flight reading as I flit and glide through the rarified atmosphere of culinary relevance like Dumboone of those dinosaur things the Nazgûl rode a wounded TARDIS.
I like his book a lot; it’s personable, usable, and does a good job of communicating his unique and prodigious gifts for turning good ingredients into the kind of great food that makes a person want to have a lot of sex. If you read this blog, especially more than once, you should buy it.
This predates Christmas, and thus was photographed without a flash, but it was a pretty good dinner and warrants a quick mention. Kind of a mishmash, it nonetheless managed to be both seasonally resonant and really fucking good to eat. Which you look for in a dinner.
Consistent with the tradition in this house, there was no turkey for Thanksgiving. Turkey is boring and hard to cook well unless you take it apart. We did, however, have Milo’s awesome Lego turkey as part of the centerpiece. Also keeping with tradition around here, the meal was a seven-course exploration of whatever perfervid visions had swum into my insomniac mind during the preceding week. It’s funny; I was listening to the radio as I made the dough for the foie gras oreos—one such idea—and the guest was saying something like “The key to a stress-free Thanksgiving is never to cook something new for the first time when people are coming over.” I think that takes all the fun out of it; three out of the seven courses were things I just made up and figured wouldn’t suck.
For the second entry in the Charleston Wine and Food Festival contest thingy, the Rappahannock River Oysters company sent me a box with a big bag each of their oysters and clams. I had been thinking about what to do with them for a while, and worked out a couple of ideas that I was excited to try. Then, of course, Sandy hit, taking our electricity for most of a week, so I had to modify both recipes to require only the stove top and grill.
It’s a little-known fact, but meal planning is made so much easier when friends call up and offer to bring you a dozen soft-shell crabs and help you eat them.
Normally I flour and fry crabs and make tartar sauce, because that’s how Milo loves them and it’s hard to argue with the merits of that preparation. But this time around I had a hankering for Malaysian flavors, and a quick rummage in the fridge produced everything I needed to make a convincing, if utterly inauthentic, facsimile.