March Meals

As often happens, I am eating, drinking, and working much more often than I am blogging.  Tonight I play catch-up a bit.

March has been a flurry of snowplowing, teaching, and good food and wine.  I won’t be precise on dates or ingredients (because I don’t have the details), but you should get the “flavor” of it all.

One huge benefit of all this snow is that I can scoop a pile of it into a dish or bowl and plop some freshly-shucked oysters on top at any time.  Here are some Cape oysters (only the shells remain), and a glass of Minutolo, a delicious Jan D’Amore Polvanera Fiano from Puglia.

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This was shortly after a Farro Spinach Cannellini soup, with grilled bread and Halloumi cheese, and a lovely Valtellina from my friend, Alice Feiring.

Farro Spinach Cannellini Zuppa Halloumi in pan Sassella Riserva 2006

Another soup (this is cruel, cold March after all) was a delicious vegetable soup with fresh artichoke hearts, green beans, carrots, celery, and onions, and one of my favorite little pastas for soup — Grattoni, from Rustichella d’Abruzzo.

preparing soup 1 add grattoni simmer soup Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

The wine was a real revelation, Donna Grazia, a vino bianco imported from Sicily by Nick Mucci.  What is fascinating is that it is made from two red grapes, Frappato and Nero d’Avola, and I found it to be totally charming, rich, balanced and with just the right amount of acidity.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Painted in Waterlogue

Then, on Friday night, we joined our friend Steve to celebrate his birthday.  We did it at Bondir, a superb restaurant in Cambridge.  I can’t possibly list all of the dishes and ingredients that night, but here are some of them:

  • salmon tartare with beets
  • salad of fresh chicories
  • Romanesco cauliflower, roasted beets, burdock root granita
  • Artichoke barigoule with trumpet mushrooms
  • Teff polenta, with vegetable stock, carrots, split peas, parsnips
  • vanilla-poached rhubarb with preserved strawberries, coconut milk, and powdered cocoa beans
  • and one touch I almost forgot: two different fresh breads from the kitchen, one of which was a “seafood” sourdough, made with dried shrimps, seaweed and squid ink.  It was so good, I asked for two extra pieces to take home, for toast with tapenade.

Bondir Salmon Tartare Bondir Chicories Bondir Romanesco Bondir Barigoule and Trumpet Mushrooms Bondir not sure

One glass of Baal Fiano, followed by a 2002 López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Rioja kept me very happy with the meal.

Two nights ago I made a variation of Pasta alla Norma (back to Sicily for the night).  It was an adaptation of Giorgio Locatelli’s Made in Sicily recipe, made with a whole grain Reginetti from my pasta stash.  It was quite good, and simple to prepare.  The next day I decided to jazz up the leftovers with some chopped large green olives from Puglia (not to Barbara’s taste, so this was MY lunch), and it worked out very well.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Reginetti closeup Pugliese olives and oil

The wine was a Sicilian red, Benanti Rossodiverzella from Etna, quite good.

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Finally, today’s entry was a lunch based on two excellent salad leftovers from Barbara’s dinner last night: (1) mango, black bean, celery and pea greens, and (2) cole slaw.  To these I added my favorite pickled veggies of the month: homemade pickled beets, Greek peppers, Spanish (Basque) Piparras peppers, cannellini beans cooked that morning, chopped Kalamata olives, and finely-chopped red onion.  These were tossed together into a chopped salad, and served with another Mucci Import, a 2012 Pignoletto.  I also needed a little additional protein, so I toasted my multigrain bread, topped it with Spanish tapenade, and added a roasted red pepper from the midday cooking.  Lovely.

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