We’re heading up to Providence tomorrow to drop off a check and pick up our keys to our new home. We had (and still have) a lot to do to prepare for the trip, but I still made time for food safari and cooking over the weekend. To start off, Mike and I headed to Moto for brunch on Saturday morning.
Moto’s pretty special to us – we had brunch there the morning after we moved into our Bushwick apartment, and we’ve had many great meals there since. Hopefully we can squeeze one more dinner in before the 22nd.
We split up after brunch, as Mike had a lot of editing to do at home, and I continued into the city to shop. I made the usual rounds: Essex Street Market to hit Saxelby’s and Formaggio, then to Union Square Greenmarket, then home with all of my goodies.
After a bit of a rest, I put a big pot of chicken stock on the stove and pulled a few things out of the freezer to thaw for later. At Mike’s request, I had purchased a couple of Cornish game hens from Quattro’s for Saturday dinner, which were so huge we ended up roasting just one; the other is in the freezer for a future meal. The bird was delicious roasted with butter and herbs, and served with creamy buttermilk mashed potatoes and a simple pan sauce.
Sunday was another busy day of packing, punctuated by a longer-than-anticipated visit to the hair salon, so I changed up our dinner plans just a bit. I had pulled a duck breast out to thaw, which I was going to sear and serve with a flageolet gratin from Sunday Suppers at Lucques, but in the end I decided to go with something less time-intensive. I had a couple of little stem tomatoes left from stock-making, and I had thawed the remaining Ventreche from Mike’s last cassoulet, so I decided to use the two to flavor a pot of lentils.
I carved off about two half-inch slices of Ventreche and cut them into chunks, then browned them in a bit of olive oil. I cored and chopped the tomatoes and placed them in a bowl with one large shallot, chopped, a good pinch of kosher salt and some Herbes de Provence. When the Ventreche was browned I added the tomato and shallot mixture to the pan, letting the tomatoes cook down a bit, then I splashed in a tablespoon or two of Sherry vinegar. I added a couple of minced garlic cloves next, and when they were fragrant I added a cup of lentils and two cups of our fresh chicken stock. I covered the pan and cooked the lentils until tender, about 20 minutes or so, stirred in one bunch of red chard (thinly sliced), then spooned the lentils into bowls and topped them with slices of our seared duck breast. The stewed lentils were so good I could have made a meal out of them alone – I’m sure the leftovers are going to make a great lunch.
Posting will be light this week with our packing and traveling, but I’ll catch up with you again in a few days. Happy April!