Saturday, February 28, 2009


Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 28, 2009
I THINK IT WAS when I was in the sixth grade, that would have been 1945 or '46, that Dad mentioned one evening at dinner that a fellow he knew didn't know what artichokes were, how to eat them, even why people did eat them. I think he said this fellow was from Colorado.

Artichokes are basically cones containing cones. Using a good-sized chef's knife, I cut the stems off, taking a bit off the bottom at the same time, and then cut the tips off, taking maybe a quarter or a third off the top. Then I cut them in half, lengthwise.

Then, using a smaller knife, I dig out the thistles by separating the few leaves still remaining that enclose that part, being sure not to lose any of the heart. I've already picked a lemon and sliced it thin, and each artichoke is rubbed with lemon each time it's cut, on the cut surface.


I've also already skinned a few cloves of garlic. Sorry to be so out-of-order with this. The artichokes get quartered now and thrown into hot olive oil in the stainless-steel skillet, the garlic not far behind. After they sizzle a bit I put a lid on, mainly to keep the stove from getting too splashed. Then the lemon slices go in and things cook a bit.

After a while I splash in a little, yes, Lisa, a little cheap Pinot grigio, and let everything stew.

That was the appetizer. Afterward, leftover polenta and red sauce. Green salad, goes without saying.
Cheap Pinot grigio; Pinot nero, "Principato," provincia di Pavia, 2006


Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 27, 2009
  • Diavola Pizzeria , 21021 Geyserville Ave. , Geyserville, CA; tel: 707-814-0111

  • OH BOY WHAT a fine meal this was. Not surprising: Diavolo is the little brother of Santi, and both owe a lot to Franco Dunn. We know him basically for two reasons: he makes absolutely wonderful sausages, which we buy at the Healdsburg Farm Market in season; and he did a stage of some kind, for some length of time, at some point, at one of the greatest restaurants in our memory, Il Vipore, outside of Lucca, Italy.

    The menu was amazing, with things like slow-roasted pork belly and ox tongue among the appetizers, baked rigatoni and pork cheeks as the one entrée. There is a number of pizzas; friends tell me they're particularly good. I settled for a pair of appetizers: Borlotti and farro soup with cabbage and pancetta, a dish that immediately made me think of sopa de ajo , so rich and deep ran its pork flavor — though the flavor of the beans was just as present, if subtler.
    sorry the photo's no better: cellphone camera; available light

    After it, braised oxtail bruschetta with roasted bone marrow and herb salad. You'd think that's simply marrow toast, not that marrow toast is anything simple: but what I had was two good-sized marrow-bones served with a decent helping of richly reduced oxtail, a spoonful of delicious black salt, and a small salad involving pickled onion as well as lettuce. With this, a perfect marrow-spoon.

    Diavola reminds me of Il Vipore, but also of Waterboy in Sacramento; and the marrow took me back to Berowra Waters in Australia, where in 1986 or so I had very much the same meal though lacking, I think, some of the depth. Now I don't have to travel more than twenty minutes for it.
    "Fred's Dago Red": Peterson Vineyards red wine

    Thursday, February 26, 2009

    The rest of the lentils

    Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 26, 2009

    THIS TIME WITHOUT the fried eggs, which changes the thing tremendously — but you can only eat so many eggs in a week. Instead, to fill out the dish, Lindsey cooked some small potatoes in the leftover lentils, otherwise treating them the same way: drizzling on a little expensive Balsamico we bought probably six or eight years ago at a Slow Food event in Torino, grating on a little of the delicious creamy Grana Padana we bought last November in Milan, then scattering on a few leaves of arugula.

    I miss the runny egg-yolk from last night's version. It adds so much, in so many dimensions: richness and substance, color and focus. But this is just as nice, in a cucina povera version. Lentils: such generous, sustaining, warming, modest things.
    Pinot nero, "Principato," provincia di Pavia, 2006

    Lentils and eggs

    Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 25, 2009

    DINNER AT HOME, and a delicious one at that, one we'd looked forward to since Giovanna wrote about it a couple of weeks ago: Lentils with eggs. At one point Lindsey sounded a little dubious: "I can't think what lentils and eggs have to do with one another." But as Giovanna says, where fried eggs are involved, it can't be bad.

    Lindsey followed the recipe that had inspired Giovanna, cooking the lentils in chicken broth with aromatics and tomato paste topping them with the eggs fried in olive oil and a few leaves of arugula. A beautiful dish.
    Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Pirovano, 2007

    Ate it

    Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 24, 2009

    BACK TO CHEZ PANISSE tonight, for a particularly good reason: Paolo's own veal was on the menu. He, or more likely his wife Meadow, raises among the dogs and cats, sheep and deer, coyotes and cougars and the occasional bear, Highland cattle: short-legged, red-haired, long-horned animals that look more like yaks than cattle, and whose hair, says Paolo, protects them so well from heat and cold they don't need the layer of fat most beef-cattle boast, making their texture quite special.

    The animals are branded 8IT. I like it: Ate it. But an erroneous space had crept between "8" and "IT" when the menu was printed, and Francophone host and chef were curious: "'ow do you zay it, is it ate eye tee?" I explained: ate it. Repeated back to me it sounded like eight-teat: no, that would be more appropriate to pork, don't you think? Ate it.

    In any case it was delicious. What a meal! Tuna tartare with Belgian endive and radish for the salad; then steamed clams and mussels with chopped-in chorizo and leeks, then


    the grilled rack and loin of the veal, with lemon and chanterelles and hand-cut pasta squares and green peas and spinach, in a sauce so delicious I demanded a spoon. And then for dessert a little mandarin shell with passion fruit and meringue.
    Kir; Grüner Veltliner; Pinot nero (Alto Adige) 2006

    Monday, February 23, 2009

    Lunch at Chez Panisse

    Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 23, 2009

  • Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley; tel. (510) 548-5525

  • WARM CHICORY SALAD with roasted vegetables and saba
    (prepared with pancetta, chaud-froid)
    Paine Farm squab agnolotti in brodo
    with Chino Ranch leeks and peas
    Cannard Farm Meyer lemon sherbet
    Oh dear, I didn't take note, Sauvignon blanc (Loire) 2007, Savigny-les-Beaune 2006

    AND THEN THIS EVENING simply two Petrale sole "dabs", fried Meuniere-style
    Unspecified white wine, Louis Preston

    Sunday, February 22, 2009

    Polenta with friends

    Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 22, 2009

    NOTHING UNUSUAL: Polenta with red sauce, the sauce made with the last of Paolo's sausage from last year; and, of course, a green salad.
    Well, one unusual thing: we warmed up standing around the kitchen island nibbling on walnut bread spread with a fine white Stilton, and we finished with a tasty Murcott mandarin. And look at these wines:
    Grenache blanc, Louis Preston, 2007; Petit Syrah, Louis Preston, 2006;
    homemade kirsch; grappa


    Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 21, 2009
  • Marzano, 4214 Park Blvd, Oakland, CA; tel. (510) 531-4500

  • DOWN IN OAKLAND to hear a concert and needing a quick early dinner we remembered this restaurant, very recently opened and well recommended. Tiny; popular. We sat at the bar; the line is just beyond. It reminded me of eating at the counter at Vanessi's, all those years ago.

    The first thing we noticed was the grissini, not at all Piemontese but utterly delicious of flour, salt, and sage. Surely we are in southern Italy. We ordered identically: a salad of nothing but small-leaf arugula dressed with oil, lemon juice, salt, and delicious pine nuts, so delicious that I asked the maître d' where they came from. M.d' asked Chef, who was standing not six feet from me supervising the rush of orders from the line, and he rolled his eyes, said he didn't know, they got them from a distributor, Italfoods.

    I see on the Italfoods website the pine nuts are in fact Chinese. Hmmm: they sure are better than they used to be. Still.

    On, then, to the plat principal, as we say in Italy: Alaska cod, "pan roasted," served in acqua pazza brodo and flavored with crushed corona beans, wild arugula, agrodolce, and toasted almonds. I glanced at Chef, who was sneaking a look to see what we thought, and gave him two thumbs up.
    Ansonica/catarratto, Donnafugata (Sicilia), 2007

    Friday, February 20, 2009


    Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 20, 2009

    I WROTE ABOUT lamb shanks the other day, and someone commented on lamb stew — specifically, Irish stew. I have to admit that, snob that I am, the first thing that came to mind on reading it was how much I preferred a navarin to an Irish stew. Don't get me wrong: I'd never turn up my nose at an Irish lamb stew. But a navarin… well, that's something else. Wikipedia:
    Navarin is a French ragoût (stew) of lamb or mutton. Often, vegetables are added, making it navarin printanier. While the name "navarin" has been suggested to relate to the 1827 Battle of Navarino, more probably it refers to the stew's traditional inclusion of turnips -- navet, in French. [1]
    Turnip me no turnips: if a navarin is a springtime stew, it's time to say farewell to the bitter winter root vegetables: turnips, parsnips, swedes.
    Tonight we ate at a friend's house, and she served navarin. Little cubes of lamb, her own lamb, lightly browned, then first braised, later gently stewed with carrots, onions, and potatoes; peas added at the last minute. I suppose there were a few herbs thrown in: I'd use a little marjoram, not much more. On the side, a very nice white salad: frisée and Romaine, I think, and crunchy things, and a very nice vinaigrette.
    Chardonnay, Alexander Valley, 2007; Côtes de Provence, 2007

    Thursday, February 19, 2009

    The best of <i>les restes</i>

    Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 19, 2009

    I WROTE ABOUT the pork loin day before yesterday; it was every bit as good tonight, cold, with some mostarda we were given a few months ago by a woman who unaccountably did not want it herself. And Lindsey quartered some small red potatoes we bought from a local garden yesterday and fried them in the half-demitasse of duck fat I'd saved from ten days ago. What else? Why, green salad.
    Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Pirovano, 2007

    Wednesday, February 18, 2009


    Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 18, 2009

    WHEN I WAS A BOY we called it corn-meal mush, and had it rarely, and then usually as a breakfast cereal, eating it with sugar and milk. Skim milk: for I separated the cream from the milk every morning, standing at the DeLaval machine and winding it to a steady F-sharp; and then the cream went into steel cans that were picked up by a truck from a rickety platform by the side of Blank Road, a platform under which I took refuge from the pounding rains waiting for the school bus.

    But now we call it polenta. Lindsey cooks it in the stainless-steel pot, the one with one Bakelite handle left, the other long since burned off, and smoothes it with a whisk. We had red sauce left over from the pasta a couple of days ago, and it only improves with the passing days, unlike other items around here.
    Cheap côtes de Ventoux 2006, "La ferme Julien"

    Tuesday, February 17, 2009

    Roast pork loin

    Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 17, 2009

    A YEN FOR ROAST PORK today, so we bought a three-pound loin tied up nicely in a compact cylinder and took it home. I picked several sprigs of myrtle from the hedge — myrtus communis, but ours is a variety with very small leaves, much like the myrtle we enjoyed on roast pork in Sardinia so many years ago. (In fact, that's why we decided to plant it.)

    I chopped the leaves fairly fine with sea-salt crystals, then rubbed the resulting blend into every surface of the pork. Then I stabbed the pork in a number of places and inserted pegs of peeled raw garlic in the incisions.

    Lindsey browned the roast in the oven at 450° for ten minutes; then cooked it an hour and a half at 250°. Then we trundled it down the hill to Thérèse and Eric's house and with it had mild steamed cabbage flavored with garlic; steamed kasha; and of course a green salad. Dessert: a blackberry pie, first one of those I've had in months!

    Monday, February 16, 2009

    Penne, red sauce, green salad

    Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 16, 2009

    THE HEADING UP THERE says it all, except for
    Cheap côtes de Ventoux 2006, "La ferme Julien"

    Sunday, February 15, 2009

    Better the next day

    Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 15, 2009

    WE FINISHED THE LAMB SHANKS tonight. We'd cooked them a bit longer yesterday than usual, so today they were even darker and more intense. Not burned, not at all: but crisp, crunch, substantial. The gravy was that much more intense, too, and went beautifully with a baked potato. Green salad, of course.
    Cheap Pinot grigio

    Saturday, February 14, 2009

    Lamb shanks

    Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 14, 2009

    THE RECIPE IS FROM Richard Olney's Simple French Food, but we hardly need to look at it, we've made it so many times, and it's so simple:

    Ask the butcher to saw the lamb shanks into slices a couple of inches thick. Brown them on all sides in a little olive oil in a heavy pot with a close-fitting lid; then throw in a head of garlic, the cloves separated but not peeled, and let them cook very slowly — we use an asbestos pad under the pot and turn the flame as low as possible. The meat will form its own juice.

    After an hour or two sprinkle dry herbes de Provence on the meat and let it cook as much longer as you like. When all the liquid's gone you might want to sprinkle a few drops of water on the meat; we've never found that necessary.

    Remove the meat to a hot platter, deglaze the pot with a little white wine, and pass the glaze and the garlic cloves through a food mill to make a heavy sauce for the meat. Serve with noodles. Tonight we had a small very delicate cabbage, simply quartered and steamed.
    Viognier, Louis Preston, 2006

    Sardines again

    Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 13, 2009


    HERE'S WHAT YOU DO: You hold the sardine in your left hand (assuming you're right-handed), hold the head between your right thumb and forefinger, and snap the head back, then pull away to the right. Most of the gut will come with it. Then I slide my index finger along the ventral line, inside, to split the fish open. With my nail I scrape away any remaining black, leaving the bones.

    I spread the fish open so it can be flattened rather. Then I empty the breadbox of its crumbs into an aluminum pie-pan — you wouldn't believe how many of those Lindsey has squirreled away — and add a little flour. I add salt and black pepper and shake it around to distribute it all.

    I flop the butterflied sardines into this mixture, then fry them in olive oil in a black iron skillet. Last night I then lifted the fish out onto warmed dinnerplates and then deglazed the skillet with cheap Pinot Grigio and reduced everything to a kind of gravy to sauce the fish with. Then I fried a slice of bread, quartered into triangles, in what was left in the skillet.

    Green salad, of course.
    Viognier, Louis Preston, 2006

    Thursday, February 12, 2009


    Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 12, 2009
  • Crêpes A Go Go, 2125 University Ave., Berkeley;
    tel. (510) 841-7722‎

  • THE BEST CREPES in my experience, leaving aside those made by friends in their kitchens, were in Paris, at the stand on the Boulevard St. Michel at the gate to the Luxembourg and in a crêperie up on Montmartre; and from the Chez Eric truck on the beach in Papeete. I liked the ones I ate years ago in San Francisco at Ti Couz, but it's been a long time and things may have changed.

    Today we stopped in Berkeley on our way home from Capitola, mainly to buy another pound of sardines for dinner, and had a quick crêpe at Crêpes A Go Go, which has been on its site on University Avenue for at least twelve or fifteen years, maybe longer. As I recall it was opened by a Frenchman, and the first crêpes I had there were pretty damn good. Today's were pre-cooked, I noticed, on one side. I had my favorite: spinach, cheese, and fried egg; and if only they hadn't been out of Swiss cheese it would have been quite good if a little on the thick side. Jack cheese made a satisfactory substitute, but it ain't the same.

    Wednesday, February 11, 2009

    On the road

    Aptos, February 11

    A CROISSANT AND A LATTE at Gayle's Bakery in Capitola. Fine croissant, flaky and buttery; good coffee. We always stop here when we're anywhere nearby.
    Potato-leek soup and some sliced baguette at Café Fanny in Berkeley. Nice.
    Small plates at Soif in Santa Cruz: Marcona almonds, boquerones with aioli, roasted potatoes with aioli, fried artichokes and lemons with… oh, you get the idea. A nice place with an interesting wine list.
    Soave, Pra (Garganega), 2007

    Tuesday, February 10, 2009

    Pasta, Cardinale sauce

    Capitola, February 10

    CARDINALE SAUCE IS something new to me: Bechamel, I'd guess, with maybe a little cream, and tomato. Joe cooked some spaghetti, distributed it into ramekins, and covered it with said sauce. Alongside, grilled fennel sausages; with them, artichokes with butter and garlic. Green salad. Delicious.
    Rousanne, Louis Preston, 2006; Pinot noir, Alexander Valley

    Monday, February 9, 2009

    Ham and cheese

    Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 9, 2009
  • Dierks Parkside Cafe, 404 Santa Rosa Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95404; tel. (707) 573-5955

  • ON RYE, OF COURSE. You don't order a ham and cheese otherwise. If it's grilled, so much the better; and it is here at Parkside. My only reservation is with the cheese, which is cheddar, not Swiss. Oh well. Good fries on the side, and a nice green salad.
    Ceago Lake County Sauvignon blanc

    Sunday, February 8, 2009


    Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 8, 2009

    TO THE EAST BAY there to hear a new piece by a friend's son, and disastrously got the time of the concert wrong, thereby missing the whole reason for going.

    Well, not quite true. We did get to hear the son play the first movement of the Bartók Cello Concerto (as Tibor Serly arranged it for that instrument from the original sketches for viola). And we also had drinks and dinner at said friends'. It didn't hurt our mood at all that he began by serving French 75s. He served the Cognac version, using Germain-Robin brandy, including lemon juice and sugar and the requisite Champagne.

    (The original cocktail called for gin; it would be interesting to taste it made with Citadelle, that delicious French gin.)

    The beans and the chili had been cooking, separately, all day, and were delicious. We scattered chopped scallions and cilantro and grated jack cheese on top, and there was cornbread on the side. Muy sabroso. And we had no green salad.
    A little Côtes de Rhône to wash down the 75


    Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 7, 2009

    THERE ARE NOT many things better to eat, we think, than duck. Yesterday I bought a "duck leg," which in fact was leg and thigh and a good part of the breast and back — the aft portside quarter of a duck, I suppose.

    I radically adapted a recipe in Paula Wolfert's The Cooking of South-West France, simplifying it shamelessly. I soaked four prunes in a half-cup of tea. Then I trimmed the fat from the duck and rendered it in an enamel skillet, reserving most of the resulting fat for tomorrow or later. Then I cooked the duck pieces slowly for ten minutes or so, turning them a few times. I put them in a heavy pot with a fair amount of thyme, a garlic clove or two (unpeeled), and salt and pepper.

    I sliced an onion quite thin and cooked it in the skillet, then added it to the duck. I deglazed the skillet with a teaspoon of mustard and another of wine vinegar and say a quarter-cup of red wine. When that was reduced to nearly nothing I added another quarter-cup of wine. The resulting demi-glace went into the pot with the duck, along with another splash of wine and a cup or two of stock, and a carrot.

    This simmered for an hour and a half. Then I put the duck on the serving plates, on a bed of radicchio and arugula, and put the onions, carrot, and liquid, including the tea but not the prunes, through a food mill, then reduced it to a nice heavy sauce. The prunes went alongside the duck; the sauce over. I'd boiled some potatoes to go on the side.

    Green salad, of course.
    Cheap côtes de Ventoux 2006, "La ferme Julien"

    Friday, February 6, 2009

    Split Pea Soup

    Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 6, 2009

    IT'S FROM DEBBIE'S book, Lindsey said. Which one, there are so many, I said. The big one, she said.
    That would be Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, which needs only the first word of the title dropped to make this the single cookbook you might well restrict yourself to. (So many candidates: earlier today, in a grocery store, I mentioned Ada Boni's Italian Regional Cooking.)
    Soak the split peas. Brown an onion and a couple of carrots and some garlic in olive oil. Add chopped parsley, marjoram, rosemary,paprika, and pepper; then the peas some salt, and a couple of quarts of vegetable stock. Simmer until the peas are completely cooked through.
    Lindsey omitted the first word, and began with a little bit of crumbled bacon. Green salad, of course.
    Leftover red wine

    Thursday, February 5, 2009


    San Francisco, February 5, 2009
  • Dynamo Donut & Coffee, 2760 24th Street (at Hampshire), San Francisco; tel. (415) 920-1978

  • DOLLARS TO DOUGHNUTS used to be odds the other way: when I was a kid, fresh doughnuts were a nickel apiece, fifty cents a dozen. Today we got less than a dozen, and a nonfat latte, and the bill was — well, never mind: but I was flabbergasted.
    But that's how it goes. You've got to think of a dollar as if it were a franc, a French franc I mean, worth about twenty cents. And still allow for a little inflation. Even during a Depression.
    But the doughnuts were as good as we'd been led to believe by two online (and offline) friends, Shuna Lydon and David Lebovitz. At first I thought the chocolate one was a little fat and bland, but I quickly adjusted to it; it's deep and rich and caky, a deepfried chocolate cake with fine frosting. And the hardly plain-vanilla more French-style one was light and tasty. Lindsey's lemony bismarck-style was my favorite, even it there were irrelevant little chunks of apple inside.

    A16: Polenta and pizza

    San Francisco, February 4, 2009
  • A 16: 2355 Chestnut Street, San Francisco; tel. 415.771.2216

  • FOR TOO LONG we've been forgetting about this fine Naples-style restaurant in San Francisco's Marina district, so convenient to us when we're driving into The City for a show, or out of The City after a day. Walk-ins can pretty well count on a seat at the bar or a bar table at 5:30, just the time for a pre-show supper or for sitting out what's sure to be a traffic jam in Marin county.

    Yesterday I started with a bowl of chestnut polenta with mushrooms, a poached egg, and well-seasoned, fresh tomato sauce, while Lindsey ate a more healthful beet and arugula salad; then we split a mushroom pizza with ricotta salata and olives. Delicious.
    Red Umbrian wine, "Scacciadiavolo", 2005

    Tuesday, February 3, 2009

    Vanillas at Foreign Cinema

    Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 3, 2009

    JUST ABOUT THE ONLY organization I belong to these days is The Baker's Dozen, a group of serious home and professional bakers that meets every three months in San Francisco to pool ideas, answer questions, socialize, and eat lunch. You couldn't find a nicer bunch or people. We meet at Foreign Cinema, a favorite restaurant of mine because of the quality of its food and the quiddity of its place. At night they'll throw movies up against the white-painted wall back of the outdoors dining room, but that's no good at lunch. Not that we need it; we're plenty entertaining enough without the movies.

    Today we tasted seven different vanilla extracts: from Bourbon-Madagascar, India, Java, Mexico, Tahiti, Uganda, and (ringer) the Safeway. First we listened to three guests who described, from professional and experienced points of view, how to go about such a tasting. Then we each of us looked at seven little plastic cups, identical except for the numbers one to seven printed on them, each containing 94.8% water, 5% sugar, and 0.2% vanilla extract.

    Oh boy, I said to Lindsey, this is going to be embarassing, I've never made any secret how much I love Tahiti vanilla, what do you bet it comes in near the bottom. Then we looked at them — four rather watery looking, numbers 3 and 5 a little darker, #7 hinting at a bit of color. Then we sniffed them. Then we tasted.

    I thought the watery-looking ones were, well, a little watery. I liked the floral taste of #1, the peachy overtones of #3. I didn't like #6 at all. Best of all was #5: full and complex and substantial. Then the room was asked to vote on each in turn: Number 5 was the overwhelming favorite.

    Then we had lunch, and what a nice lunch! A risotto galette — I'd have said a rissole — creamy inside, crunch out; on a fine lettuce salad with impeccable vinaigrette and shavings of wonderful Parmesan cheese.

    Next, grilled mahi-mahi with little boiled potatoes, romanesco, cauliflower, all in a green coconut curry sauce, piquant and delicate at the same time.

    Finally, grapefruit and blood orange granitas.

    Oh: the vanillas? #1: Java; 2: Bourbon-Madagascar, 3: India fair trade, 4: Uganda, 5: Tahiti (yes yes yes), 6: Safeway, 7: Mexico. We win.
    In the nature of ladies lunching, perhaps, no wine at this meal. Wouldn't a nice Riesling have hit the spot!

    Monday, February 2, 2009


    Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 2, 2009

    IT WAS ALL so good, why not stay with it one more day? So I splashed a little white wine into the leftover risotto (and shook some drops of water into it from my fingers) and heated it very slowly while making the salad dressing.
    I'd halved the chicken breast yesterday, and reserved the little flaps — don't they have a real name of their own? What is it? So tonight I flash-sautéed them in hot olive oil, crumbling some myrtle leaves on them (salt and pepper, too, of course). Green salad of course.
    Leftover wine, too, from last night, q.v.

    Sunday, February 1, 2009

    Sunday dinner

    Eastside Road, Healdsburg, February 1, 2009

    A CHICKEN EVERY SUNDAY, that was the promise eighty years ago, as I understand it. It's been a long time since I dealt with a chicken, but it came back to me. Cut at the wing joints, the thigh joints; remove the back by cutting through the ribs; split the breast into two and bone them out. Wingtips, neck, and back go in the stock pot.

    So then it was make the usual risotto — an onion minced fine and sweated in butter and olive oil; add the rice and heat until it turns powdery white and translucent along the edges; add the chicken stock ladle by ladle, and a glass of white wine along the way.

    Lindsey broiled the chicken. We sliced a white truffle (the Christmas truffle) onto the risotto. Green salad, made tonight with shallots, not garlic.

    Dessert: Lindsey adapted an orange upside-down cake from this month's Gourmet magazine, substituting almond flour and potato starch for the polenta. (We had a non-eater of wheat at table.) We thought it quite delicious, though she's not sure about the advisability of the potato starch.

    How nice to have Sunday dinner with your family!

    Pinot bianco "la Viarte", 2005 (!), Friuli; Côtes du Rhône "les Moirets", 2006