Ratatouille, day 2 — even better than ratatouille, day 1. (Full recipe here). Too bad there is no more ratatouille to see if it gets even better on day 3.
On a different note — I wrote a piece for Maisonneuve Magazine describing my favorite R. Stevie Moore video moments. I find his videos hysterical and it was a lot of fun to sift through all of his (bizarre) work. The piece was written in conjunction with an event I’m featured in on Friday, as part of POP Montreal’s Symposium series. I’ll be interviewing R. Stevie Moore at 3:30pm at the POP Headquarters — please come check it out! (Oh and finally, my friend Sean wrote a handy guide to POP Montreal for the overwhelmed. It’s enormously helpful. Check it.)
Have you ever made a proper pot of cassoulet from scratch? It sounds deceptively simple — it’s just a pot of beans and pork, right? — but the truth is that it’s a long, drawn-out, painstaking process that involves days of work and quite a lot of money. And the reward doesn’t always seem like enough, because, well, it’s still a pot of beans and pork. But it’s still one of my favorite dishes of all time.
We were recently at the Jean Talon market, and while at one of our favorite meat purveyors we noticed a small pack of goose confit tucked into a corner of the glass case. We snatched it up, and I knew that we had to make cassoulet. To be honest, our iteration wasn’t perfectly authentic — we didn’t confit the fowl ourselves, after all — but I loved it all the same. We bought the rest of the ingredients — pounds of dried cannellini beans, bacon, duck fat, Toulouse sausage — and got right to work.
And once it’s finished, a pot of cassoulet is truly the gift that keeps on giving. The flavors really peaked around the third day, but we enjoyed the leftovers all week long — I’d eat it with eggs in the morning, with lemony kale for lunch, and with extra sausage at dinner. And while it was delicious, by the sixth day I was happy to see it go.
Easter Sunday leftovers. Still amazing.
Sometimes we get these weird ideas for meals and make them, no matter how disjointed they seem in relation to everything else on the plate. Harmony in eating is helpful sometimes, but not an imperative. We had a bowlful of fresh Jean Talon market eggs (from the Captain), and I wanted to eat them all at once. So it was: a light souffle, laced with the final spoonfuls of pesto, haphazardly paired with day-old cornbread and dry-cured pork tenderloin.
[Broiled marlin with leeks in white wine; sauteed mushrooms with basil salad; black rice with lime juice and black pepper]
My boyfriend recently brought home a gorgeous pink filet of fresh marlin, and while we wondered how we were going to cook it, I rooted through our pantry to find a proper grain. Not quite desiring our usual staples — quinoa, couscous, pasta, or even some fresh bread — I fished out a dusty glass jar filled with black grains of rice.
“What the hell is this?” I asked.
I grew up eating Chinese-style rice — white Jasmine rice, steamed until fluffy — and the kind of hippie-friendly, expensive wild rices that you see in every health food store today were completely foreign to me as a kid. Later, as I grew older, I discovered that rice could, in fact, be enjoyed in a million different ways. (At the moment, my favorite way to eat rice is like this).
This black Ontario rice was a piece of cake to make because it simmered with the top off, and with constant stirring, so there was no potential for sticking or burning. The finished grains emerged glossy, firm, and with a pleasant, nutty hardness in the mouth. The rice was even better the next day, so I stir-fried it with some kale, lemon, hot sauce, and cracked black pepper.
What’s your favorite unusual rice grain? I want to try them all now!
Posted in dinner, food, grains, home, leftovers, lunch
Tagged dinner at home, experimenting with rice, marlin, ontario rice, rice and kale, wild rice
[The wrap of leftovers: pita stuffed with hummus, tabbouleh, pickled beets, spicy pickled onions]. We are racing through the last of our winter preserves. Spring needs to get here, and soon, or else I will weep when our final frozen jars of pesto, tomato sauce, or summer beets disappear.
We recently picked up a hefty lamb shoulder from one of my favorite butchers in town, Boucherie Abu Elias. Everything there is amazing and insanely affordable — especially their house-made hummus, spicy soujouk, whole chickens, and veal shank — and we were given strict instructions on how to prepare the cut. We covered the shoulder in loosely draped aluminum foil, andp laced in a pan filled with a few inches of water, where it braised in a 325 degree oven all afternoon. So simple and classic, and the results were spectacular and meltingly tender.
Because lamb shoulder is so deliciously fatty — apparently the cut’s fat content equals that of pork belly — the next day we decided to enjoy the leftovers as ‘lamb carnitas,’ and refried them in a cast-iron skillet until super crispy. With that, some seared carrots, rice pilaf, Himo’s pickled beets, the aforementioned Abu Elias hummus (its creaminess — the Platonic Ideal of hummus — is a total mystery to me, and I am in awe of its perfection), and seared green beans (blanch in water for two minutes, drain, and throw in super-hot skillet with butter until spotty with black char; toss with lemon juice and red pepper flakes and serve hot). Love it when leftovers are even more extraordinary than the first time around.