I’ll be back with a new post soon, as we’re getting ready to take on our second round of 12 Months | 12 Dishes, but I wanted to drop in briefly to wish you all a Happy 2013, and share this photo of our New Year’s Day brunch, which the folks at Flickr have so kindly featured in Explore! Not a bad way to kick things off, eh?
The month of May has not been great for planned dinners in our little household. Between work commitments, appointments, preparing for our move across town, and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-us trip to Detroit for my Grandma’s 90th birthday, my attempts at shopping for and sticking to a meal plan have mostly been a big fat flop.
I’ve also had difficulty improvising, of late. I’ve been tired and finicky, and cooking down the pantry and freezer pre-move has been less than inspiring – it doesn’t help that it still feels like March outside. I’m in a bit of a rut, but restless, eager for simpler, lighter fare (and the weather to match, please).
Mike had to turn around and head down to NYC right on the heels of our Detroit trip, but he returned with some goodies from the Union Square Greenmarket that perked me right up, among them a beautiful bunch of asparagus that made its way into our dinner last night. We’ve missed the first couple weeks of the local stuff, so this was very welcome, and I wanted to treat it fairly simply.
I gave it a good rinse, snapped off the ends, and roasted the spears until they were just tender, serving them on a bed of creamy, cheesy polenta. I topped each plate off with a pastured local egg, fried in olive oil until the edges were crisp, and sprinkled with coarse grey salt and lots of freshly ground pepper. This may not have been the light spring dish I’ve been dreaming of, but it was perfect for the damp, chilly night, and it was just the kind of simple meal that always satisfies me.
Here, have some smoked trout deviled eggs.
This dinner for one brought to you by the serendipitous discovery of leftover cooked pasta, a conveniently open jar of Poblano Farm pasta sauce, the end of a log of olive butter, and a whisper of freshly grated Pecorino Romano. And then (as a wise woman once said), “we crack an egg on top.”
Fried pasta with egg is one of my favorite things to eat when I’m dining alone, and it was just what I needed to help me feel a little less blue. I promise to try a little harder once I’ve got the fridge and pantry re-stocked this weekend.
So this was the beautiful one, the one that worked out the way I had hoped they all would, the one that wasn’t sludgy, didn’t fall apart as I tried to flip it, the one that was tender and tasty. And the dozen or so crepes that came before it, and all but two that came after, each met different, disastrous ends in their own way.
You see, even though I promised myself that I was going to play things safe for a while, I’ve been itching to work with this local rye flour for ages. I finally brought some home on Saturday, hoping to make crepes with it, light but hearty crepes to wrap around a filling of seasonal vegetables and a fried egg. Kind of like I did here, but a wintertime version.
So I started with a base ratio for crepe-making, and I tested and tweaked, and I’m not yet there but this one crepe was so good I am determined to make it work. (The winter ratatouille was a complete success, and details will come to you soon, I promise.)
So you know that old worn out sweater that you just can’t seem to part with though it’s pilled and a little frayed at the edges, because it’s soft and warm and always makes you feel cozy? That’s what this dish is to me.
Lentils and shallot, glazed with olive oil, then cooked gently in a mix of water and dry red wine. A pile of chard cooked in my usual way, stems shaved thin and sauteed with garlic, chile flakes, the soft leaves wilted in and the whole thing hit with a shot of Sherry vinegar at the end. And the egg, fried in olive oil until the edges crisp, laid gently on top of the pile of chard and lentils, a sprinkle of Piment d’Espelette salt scattered over before serving. It’s a little brown, not the sort of thing you’d necessarily feed to company, but it’s the sort of simple, tasty supper I’ve come to really love.