Sometimes We Go Out to Eat
Like a marriage between a nobleman and a peasant, elegant saffron marries with the humble celery leaf, creating a bit of risotto magic.
Shall we yank back the misty veils of history, and get real?
I’m standing in our orto where most of the celery had wintered over and is now very robust. Which meant, I better chop some of this down and start using it!
This bowl of soup is why people get on a plane and travel. It can only be served in one place on earth and it tastes of that unique place and time.
You can’t make this soup at home. You can make a variation, but never this soup. In fact, this soup only exists for one day, one batch at a time.
News Flash: Until fruits and vegetables taste good, and are affordable people won’t eat them.
How do we create the desire in people to eat more vegetables? How do we make vegetables sexy and in demand? Who does PR for the artichoke? Who speaks for the carrot? And silly, childish, cartoon vegetables are not the answer. And neither are shrill spokespeople who intone the wisdom of plant eating from a pillar of self-congratulation.
In all the chaos of the past few months, I was struck with by a lightening bolt moment of clarity. And, gee, no surprise, it was at the dinner table.
With all the intriguing restaurant dinners, hastily grabbed meals, take out and delivery, we were losing our personal social mooring. Gobbling food in front of a computer does not a dinner make. Shared meals matter and it wasn’t until I was making this dinner that I realized how much they matter to us. What’s that silly pop song? “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone?”
We went on a ‘dry run’ of one of our optional tours that will be offered during Conference. Escorted by the charming Kian Lam Kho of Red Cook, we fearlessly boarded the No. 7 train to Flushing Queens. He took us to three of his favorite restaurants: a Taiwanese, a Shanghai and a northern Chinese restaurant where we had the most amazing cumin crusted rack of lamb ribs. Cumin lamb ribs are Chinese? I would go back to Flushing in a heartbeat to eat these crispy, crunchy cumin-y ribs!
From New York City to Philadelphia to Baltimore to Washington NJ, we gave thanks. Thanks for family, thanks for friends who are extended family, and thanks for the memories to those who were not with us this weekend. Make no mistake, we ate and drank extremely well, but it was all about sharing.
Mother Nature is giving us one last sensory overload before the dark and quiet of winter. Colors are vibrant but tinged with decay. The air carries the scent of earth and smoke; the smell of sunlight and freshness is relegated to the back of the closet along with t-shirts and sandals.
Our Umbrian fall smells of abundance.
Sundays in Italy revolve around lunch. I know. You’re surprised. You thought every day in Italy revolved around meal time. And it’s true, but Sunday lunch is meal obsession on steroids. Yes, Italy is a Catholic country, but the true altar is the dining table.
Our only plan for Sunday, was to have a joyous lunch.
Great. I’ll have the line caught tuna. It is line caught, right?
How do you prepare that?
Sous vide, then finished with a lightly smoked foraged cedar ash char?
But, could you do that with just a half char? I really like just a touch of char on my tuna.
It can be so overpowering.
My mother always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” And ordinarily if we go to a restaurant and we don’t like it, we don’t blog it.
But, this one got to me.
We had gone to Il Clandestino in Porto Novo a few years ago and had an astonishing, memorable, can’t wait to go back meal.