Eastside Road, December 16, 2013—DINNER PARTY TONIGHT, and cook did herself proud. Especially considering she's immersed in preparations for the holidays, and at the same time continuing in her mad quest for a slimmed-down, cleaned-out pantry and fridge.
It was a French country dinner, beginning with a delicious potato-and-leek soup, creamy and unctuous. That was followed by a cassoulet-of-sorts, differing from the traditional version — the traditional version here, at any rate — for its much simplified meat content: instead of goose confit, cubes of pork, and sausage, she relied exclusively on Franco's sausage — Toulouse for the most part, but one or two Italian sweet sausages as well.
The beans were cooked in goose broth, though; the top was scattered with the requisite breadcrumbs; the dish was rich and filling and very persuasive. I was tempted to call it not cassoulet but something else, the feminine form of the word, but at the last minute looked that up online to be sure it didn't have a mauvais entendre, and I'm glad I did. Let's just call it Weekday Cassoulet.
Alongside, Deborah Madison's romanesco in green herb sauce: plenty of olive oil, capers, lemon zest, oregano and thyme, and for the rest see the recipe here or, better yet, get a copy of her wonderful book Vegetable Literacy. A delicious side dish.
And then dessert: sour cherry pie, with our cherries, and Lindsey's impeccable pie crust…
Sauvignon blanc, Quivira, 2012 (grassy, smooth, balanced: thanks, Mac!); Chardonnay, Marimar Torres, 1996 (deep, mature, complex, delightful: thanks, Henry!); Cabernet sauvignon, Simi, 2000 (edgy but good varietal, a little austere: thanks, Kendall!)