COOK IS A LITTLE under the weather today, so I stepped in and made dinner, in rather an improvised way. I stopped in at the local supermarket and bought a couple of slices of roast beef at the deli, but they were so thin I picked up a fillet of carne asada at the same time. Also some potatoes and a few more cipollini.
Over there to the left you'll see one of my very favorite knives. It cost us $23,000 — a bargain, because with it came a two-bedroom brown shingle house in Berkeley, California. I found the knife on the workbench in the single-car detached garage, carefully wrapped in newspaper and tied up with jute cord. The newspaper was Chinese and dated, as I recall, sometime in the 1920s. The knife was completely covered in a sixteenth of an inch of rust.
I took kerosene and steel wool to it, touched it up a bit with a stone, and admired the steel. Hand forged, of course. We'd bought the house from a Chinese immigrant, a widow, who'd occupied it for half a century I'm sure. Her husband must have brought the knife with him from the old country, and forgotten it on the workbench.
Oh: dinner. I sliced four potatoes, as you see, and fried them in butter. I sliced the cipollini and treated them the same, first having seared the roast beef and carne asada and set them aside. When things were done, or approximately, I combined the potatoes and onions and set the meat on top and put a lid on the pan while some romanesco steamed in another. No salad today! No dessert!
EARLIER WE HAD MET a couple of guys an hour north, in the next county, where we had lunch at a cheerful enough pizza joint near the courthouse. I had strozzapreti with meatballs in tomato sauce, and they were okay. Ditto the bay-leaf (California myrtle, not nobilis) flavored panna cotta, and even the French press coffee…