"Those who forget the pasta are condemned to reheat it." ~Unknown

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Gilded Meal

     On Saturday morning as I went over my recipe choices. I wanted to find some squid ink to make fresh squid ink pasta. We called around but couldn't find any.  Dad pointed out to me that Mark Bittman, A.K.A. The Minimalist, was picking his twenty-five favorite recipes out of the thousands he has printed before he retired.  So I got onto the computer, went to NYT.com and decided I should make this Sunday Dinner from that list of twenty-five recipes.  In the end I picked four recipes to make.  Yesterday, Dad and I started the no-knead bread and set it out to rise.  At the grocery store this morning we bought, in addition to the chicken (chicken under a brick) and pomelo (fennel and celery salad), tofu and a bar of chocolate.  Not even Sherlock Holmes would be able to tell you those would be going into the same meal.
      When I pulled the chicken out of it's bag, I realized we had a bit of a problem.  Like the chicken's spine, and collar bones.  After a little butchering I was able to season the chicken, which after it's operation was left split in half down the middle.
       It just came to my attention that, in a dinner in which the meat cleaver and poultry shears have come out of their drawers the mandolin will be coming out for the salad (insert suspenseful music here).  My thumb cowers.  The bread just came out of the oven, it is beautiful.  The loaf is perfectly round, light brown and rises into a small little mountain peak on top with a dusting of snowy flour.  The bottom is flat and is covered in wheat bran.  If I didn't know better I'd tell you it was a bakery loaf.      The chicken has gone onto the stove top for a quick searing before it goes into the oven, just like the potatoes anna.  Speaking of the potatoes anna, the fennel salad is, unlike it's other mandolin counterpart, vegetarian.  No fingertips to speak of!  I'm breathing a sigh of relief for Dad. (Dad has forbidden kids from using the mandolin.) Dad's been using the apple peeler to peel thin, curly slices from the multitude of partially used parmesan blocks in our fridge. This really pulls the celery, fennel and citrus together.
The whole kitchen smells amazing, with the intermingling notes of fresh bread, pomelo, chicken and the garlic rosemary rub.  The chocolate-tofu dessert in the fridge is almost done setting. (Dad is attempting to forbid anyone from mentioning that tofu is an ingredient of the chocolate pudding.)

      The chicken will be done soon, it just came out of the oven.  We then removed the tinfoil wrapped brick used to weigh down the skillet on top of the chicken, flipped the chicken and put it back into the oven.  Dad is slicing the bread and giving us all some to dip in this new olive oil we got from the Oregon Olive Mill, the bread and olive oil were astonishingly good.  Dinner is served.

      That was amazing.  In the salad, the pomelo was wondrous, and you could taste the parmesan, which had wrapped itself around the celery and fennel.  The chicken was wonderful, flat and crispy.  The rub was interestingly hidden beneath the chicken flavors but it poked through and you could sure smell it.  And the bread.  Oh wow.  It was phenomenal. It was very crusty, and the inside was fluffy and warm - absolutely incredible.

      I haven't even told about the mousse yet.  For dessert we had a chocolate mousse with tofu in it.  I have two things to say: 1) Dad must have skipped the tofu step while I was out of the room and 2) The only difference between it and the chocolate mousse you can get at a restaurant was the fact that it was served in a small plastic bowl vs. a tall glass.  In other words it was jaw-dropping.  That is until your mouth closed and it melted on your tongue.  That brick we used on the chicken is still sitting on the counter, wrapped in gilded foil.  Like the brick, this was a gilded meal.
      The recipes we used tonight, and others from the minimalist are  linked here. They are really simple and really good. You have to try them out!

1 comment:

  1. Dudes! Tofu dessert?

    I just made the brick____house chicken myself, being a minimalist fan, but yours looked better. Mine was still sort of slimy. (Your bread looked like a $5 loaf.) I have concluded that frying chicken is the only rational approach. Fennel on the mandoline is a great winter salad!

    Keep up the good work.