Saturday, December 3, 2016

After the feasting

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Eastside Road, December 2, 2016—

TWO RESTAURANTS and a dinner at home. Last night, after a delayed fast day, we met friends in town at a place we've neglected for a couple of years. My companion and I split a butter lettuce salad, a nice one with bits of bacon and blue cheese, and then I went on to the roast chicken, simply prepared and served with mushroom ragout and a raviolo — and not an ordinary raviolo: this one is filled with a barely-cooked hen's egg, a beautiful preparation. I've always thought there was something a little creepy about eating both egg and chicken on the same dish, but I was willing to suspend foolishness this time.

Côtes du Rhône, Domaine La Manarine, 2014

Barndiva, 231 Center Street, Healdsburg, California; (707) 431-0100

LUNCH TODAY back in town with a friend, at a new place of her choosing — a cider works serving a limited but interesting menu. She, for example, had crêpes stacked with blanched spinach and cheddar cheese, then folded in a gratinée dish, covered with a béchamel sauce, and brought all together in the oven. IMG 3203 Had it been Gruyère instead of cheddar I'd have ordered it; but I made do with a plate of charcuterie: salami, prosciutto, thinly sliced raw roast beef, and a pork-liver paté; with very nice pickles, pickled onion, capers, and little pitted black olives; also quite piquant little chile peppers - not quite relevant, I thought, but I ate them all: you gotta eat your vegetables.

Of many possibilities I chose the single-varietal Gravenstein cider, finished dry as a bone. I ordered it out of loyalty to my childhood, near Sebastopol's apple country. In those days we made a lot of cider from Gravensteins, murkier and sweeter than this (and unfermented for the most part). My friend ordered more wisely, a blend, almost as dry but with a more complex flavor.

•Sonoma Cider Taproom, 44F Mill Street, Healdsburg, California; (707) 723-7018

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DINNER AT HOME: Turkey Tetrazzini. I remember this as a staple of the church suppers I endured on Wednesday nights, I think it was, the year-and-a-half I lived with my grandparents, though I'm sure we'd have called it turkey a la king, and it wouldn't have been this good. Surprisingly there were not many recipes at hand, not even in Ada Boni's Italian Regional Cooking or The Talisman; this is perhaps an American invention, named for the soprano. Cook consulted Rose Sorce's The Complete Italian Cook Book, a book I've never looked into.

The recipe involves diced cooked turkey mushrooms, flour, broth, white wine, cream, olive oil, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese; so I suppose there's a nod to besciamella here, though the result as Cook made it was not at all heavily sauced, simply bound. She used her favored penne instead of the broken spaghetti called for by la Sorce. (I note, now, the cookbook subtitles the recipe Tacchino alla Tetrazzini, so perhaps the dish is Italian after all.)

In any case, a fine way to extend a little leftover turkey into a main dish, followed by green salad and a last sliver of that rich, noble, venerable mince pie.

Cheap Pinot grigio

RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating:  2016   2015

1 comment:

louann said...

In Montana when I grew up "a la king" meant on toast. This could be chicken, tuna, turkey etc in a mushroom/cream sauce but always on toast. I was just in Portland visiting my oldest son and his family - he has decided he is not willing to make anything he calls "casseroles" which for him means food combinations cooked usually with some kind of cream sauce and then baked. I'm not sure if this is a rejection of the Montana cooking he has had growing up or a dietary choice - but at any rate even his sons didn't know what I was talking about when I asked if they had a casserole dish. Interesting about how food choices evolve. At any rate turkey tetrazzini is something I am quite familiar with, like, and don't personally connect to Italy. It seems very midwestern to me.