FRIDAY WAS ONE of those days that found us driving down to Berkeley for various reasons, among them dinner at a favorite restaurant. From an enticing menu I chose cardoons white beans, and anchovies, dressed withg bread crtumbs and Parmesan cheese, as my salad: the cardoons chopped into small dice, ditto the anchovies, the dish turned into a sort of bagna cauda, one of my favorite things to eat.
Every winter — late winter, I mean — I intend to make a bagna cauda, just as I also intend to make a cassoulet. And every year, recently, somehow, the seasons slip by, and intentions extend further (I hope) that pavement leading to the underworld. Oh well.
My main course, badly photographed here, was braised and grilled lamb with Moroccan spices, preserved lemon, carrot purée (brilliant!), and chard. A scatter of green olive tapenade added further interest to the dish, satisfying in every way.
Chardonnay, Gérard Villet (Arbois), 2013: crisp and earthy
Patrimonio rouge, Domaine Giacometti (Corsica), 2015: absolutely delicious, deep and generous
•Café Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley; 510-548-5525
SATURDAY, after a sevn-mile hike on a glorious day, I returned home to find that Cook had spent the day being Gardener — not an unusual turn of events hereabouts. No mood for cooking, not for either of us. Fortunately there were some first-rate enchiladas in the freezer; we'd bought them a month ago or so on a jaunt to Sonoma. They were almost as good in our dining room as they were in Sonoma.
Grenache, Preston of Dry Creek, 2013: peak of form, rich and fruity
•El Molina Central, 11 Central Avenue, Sonoma; +1 (707) 939-1010
YESTERDAY we returned to lamb. I know I've set it here before, many times no doubt, Virgil Thomson's ditty about lamb:
Of all the meat that we do eatand I know I've mentioned before, many times no doubt, that I never tasted it as a child, not until I'd grown up and left home, because my father wouldn't have it in the house. And so of course lamb is one of my very favorite comestibles, along with goose. (And bagna cauda.)
Chicken beef or ham
The one that tickles my palate the most
Is lamb, lamb, lamb…
We had half a pound or so of ground lamb, bough a week or two ago at the Sebastopol Farmer's Market and kept, of course, in the freezer. Cook doped it with lots of vaguely North African spices, cumin to the fore, and broiled it in the oven, along with little fingerling potatoes, and messed it forth, as the Elizabethans would say, with frozen green beans. Huzzah for the freezer! Three cheers for Cook!
Grenache, Preston of Dry Creek, 2013
AND TONIGHT was exactly the same as last night, except that the lamb patties were cold, left over from last night, sliced, and served as sandwiches, with potatoes and followed by our green salad. Lamb, lamb, lamb,