10 April 2011

EuroTrip







Great mother of Neptune, I had a good food weekend.
Let me preface with a story.

Essex, VT 1999
It's Christmas, and we were living in a beautiful cookie cutter house in the suburbs. My mom had the kitchen painted spongy bright orange and yellow, and we had this brown table made out of soft wood so the words Emily and I wrote on our elementary school worksheets etched in.
My mom, being the culinary designer/most loving mother in the world that she is, decided to make us Lobster (yes capital) for special dinner. Emily and I didn't see them until they were on our plates, but when we sat down and saw something that very much resembled the living crawling creature that we saw smiling in cartoons, we just stared. I vaguely remember learning that they were boiled, though I doubt the gory details of the Lobsters screaming while scalding to death were imparted to us as well.

Anyway, we sat there, looking at the solitary Lobster on the white plate with the blue rim until I said, "Poor Lobster." I think I almost started crying. I poked at it a little bit, and we were excused to go stare at whatever we got that year. It's the only time I can remember not eating my dinner.

I still have this horrible cold feeling in my gut about rejecting that specially prepared gift from my mom. It makes me sad and remorseful, but I have no idea why. On a lighter note, I've grown up a little bit. And while I will NEVER eat Lobster again, I will eat mussels. I even helped this weekend. I know you want to hear about how the mussels died peacefully swirling in a brew of Dos Equis, but you'll have to wait.

Breakfast first.
I made it, for once. And get this - totally dormet if you want.

Tatertots, baked for 10 minutes in the oven.
Take them out in the same pan and put them on low heat with a red pepper and jalapenos, diced.
Mash everything around with some bacon fat.
While that's going, cook some eggs. Just salt and pepper. To finish them, add just a little bit of water to the pan, cover, and let the tops steam cook.
Put the beer bread that Eric gave you from a place in Denver in the toaster. You'll butter and apricot jam that. (Beer bread is amazing- super intensely flavorful and exploding with surprises)
Let some cheddar cheese melt on top of what is now hashbrowns. Turn the heat up a little so they crisp.
Serve everything with ice water, coffee/English breakfast, and if I had my way, fresh room temp orange juice!


Now it's dinner time.
My mom made a sauce out of garlic, fennel, some kind of onion, and Dos Equis because I didn't like it so she stole it. She added some chicken stock, which I think was a little unnecessary but not bad, and heavy whipping cream and chervil. Then the mussels go in to steam cook and we watched them open. It's totally beautiful.

She also grilled a steak while we talked about how they kill cows. I'm pretty sure that stunning them with a pole through the head is similar to shooting them, but that's up for debate.

Last, arugula salad with lavender cheese and pears and this orange oil stuff. Lavender is so in right now.

Done? NOPE!

We went to the homestead of our British friends! They really know how to eat.
The night started with white wine and olives and a whole artichoke. I'd never even seen one and I was completely perplexed. Carlo said the dumb vegetable is a waste of time, but it is certainly rewarding when you get to the heart after scraping at the leaves for 20 minutes.

Then we moved to grilled asparagus, peppers, and zucchini. And tomato mozzarella artichokes and basil, all drizzled in... oil? Mom help me out. That went with a piece of very soft bread with a perfect crust.

At that point we had switched to red wine and prosciutto, ham, and salami. And deviled eggs with garlic.

We finished the longest-cuss meal I've ever had (3 hours I think, 5 if you include first dinner) with Whole Foods dessert - mango tart, two kinds of cheesecake, petit fours, and macarons. All meticulously cut up for the sake of tasting everything.

That was the most wine I've ever had in my life, so I passed out in the car on the way home. Best night I've had all semester I think. It's French night next weekend, and I cannot wait.

It's too bad we don't have a chaise lounge for Carlo to... lounge in but I'm sure I'll have some good stories to relate similar to ones I heard last night about doing puzzles in togas and debating those intel chip things that will make it so you don't have to pay at the grocery store.

OH and if you haven't watched Eat Pray Love - don't bother. Just go to Italy, India, and Bali instead and you'll save yourself an hour and a half. But otherwise, muchas grazie tout le monde.


And mom - I was talking to some tri team friends and they want to come over to cook/eat.

Cheers!

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