Sunday, January 31, 2010

Babbo Confidential

My parents gifted John with Mario Batali's Babbo cookbook last week. Studied, and pages marked, I was sent on my way with the chef's shopping list. My two hour shopping journey began with a stop at my new favorite, local butcher; McCalls Meat and Fish. Nathan and Karen McCall opened this week on Hillhurst Avenue in Los Feliz. In search of ground veal and pork,calamari, and skirt steak. I wasn't disappointed! The shop boasts a local assortment as well as some sustainably farmed meats. Nathan told us he shops for his fish every morning with top local sushi chefs. My friend Olga bought some Monkfish, she was so besotted with it she had to e-mail them and recount the experience of it's ocean like scent, and it's firm, meaty texture. Rubbed with French grapeseed oil, Normandie salt, multi-colored pepper and fresh thyme from her garden then roasted and topped with Kerrygold unsalted butter. She is still talking about it 5 days later.

I found pretty much everything needed on my field trip to a multitude of shops. Minus the anchovies packed in salt- according to John's research they taste better than those packed in olive oil..if this is the case then why can't I find them?
Once home, the cooking ensued. First the prep of the pickled onions in red beet juice-we saved the beet tops which we sauteed in olive oil and garlic with a dash of sea salt.

 Onions prepped and put aside to fester for 24 hours John concentrated on the nights feast of Sicilian lifeguard style calamari. First the red sauce then the beautiful ingredients sauteed in the pan et voila'

Violet had the first bite and proceeded to begin to cry! She shrieked "SPICY!"
I proceeded with caution-we added more red sauce to our dishes- My mouth was on fire! I doused it with several glasses of Santa Margherita 2006 Chianti Classico from The Oaks Gourmet -our local gourmet shop. Now feeling sleepy and stomach burning we researched the amount of chili and found several people commented on the heat and a suggestion of reducing the amount of chili pepper from 1 tablespoon to 1 teaspoon. I rarely have espresso at 9pm, but a creamy little demitasse cured my burning belly. Happy and alert we kicked Rambo jr. and his friend out of our movie theatre and settled in to a nice evening at home.

Todays local faire: Juicy English pea pods

Once picked the fat, juicy pea pods were nearly completely devoured by children before they could reach the kitchen . We investigated what had transpired in the past day in the garden, the mystery plant revealed a green striped orb- Perhaps it is squash? The cauliflower is blooming in pastel shades of violet,green and yellow- I wonder if they will be bitter or have a buttery flavor? As in the past I don't want to wait too long to pick or they will be sacrificed to the snails and bugs that I cannot find, but am certain they are stalking my garden...

Violet and her friend discovered a giant dandelion living amongst the peas and managed to trace it's stem the the dirt and pluck it out revealing a giant hole in the dirt and about 10oz. of beautiful soil.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day one- This year I promise to eat one thing from my garden per day. Keeping me from my compulsion to buy new beautiful things my habit, my right and my former occupation... I have put my energy in to my garden and new green house, which at the moment is perched awaiting it's domestic transformation.
So far my 4 beds have provided peas, broccoli, carrots,a multitude of gorgeous little lettuces,flowers,oranges,lemons,chard,kale, and some funny things growing that I think I planted last summer- either zucchini,musk melon or possibly cucumber- I'm awaiting their maturity.
Son just walked by in full tactical assault gear, how can I be channelling green with Rambo in the house? Ok, the b.b's are biodegradable....Ignore, ignore- green, sustainability,reduce, reuse, recycle...

Friday, January 29, 2010

The pie and the patty pan

Ok, first my manifesto: I will eat at least one thing each day that I can pick from my garden this year.
Manifesto accomplished- 29 days in to the year .

I promise not to prattle on endlessly about my beautiful kale and sexy pea tendrills... and because of my love of design, fashion and what I consider beautiful I will prattle on about anything I like- so take that! Somewhat intimidated by all the beautiful blogs out there- and a bit self conscious, here I go..
Wish me luck

I learned to garden growing up - my Mom and Dad spend their days in the garden of their beautiful home in Portland, Oregon they made it seem as effortless and natural as breathing. I remember spending damp afternoons capturing smoke in glass jars while my Dad composted and burned leaves in our yard- something unheard of these days. Going in for a lunch of mock turtle soup,liverwurst, baked beans and homemade rhubarb- grown in the garden and a staple in our house, something like sour apple sauce with pink tendrils running through it.