Dorie and many parts

We had a class field trip today. First we went to a fish market, which smelled like a whore’s panties and was covered in slush and blood, but apparently was really high-end, as evidenced by the stores they supplied and also the very satisfied look of the kitten who scurried across the floor with a fishtail in her mouth. Not making that up, either. People were appalled by this, like it was unsanitary and evil to have kitten in the same area they were tossing fish around. I say two things: 1) what possible location or activity is better WITHOUT a kitten. Except maybe a surgery room, and even then it’s only bad for the patient, and 2) Bitch, please. I bet every fish mongery in the whole of Japan, as well as the Pike Place market, have stray cats loitering wishfully in the wings. This just was indoors, and the kitten had a collar.

Then we went to a hydroponic farm, which had less to do with marijuana than I could have even predicted. It was really, really beautiful though. There was an entire greenhouse with plots and plots of different kinds of basil; thai basil, lemon-lime basil, sweet basil, pepperbush basil (not a euphemism), etc. The fragrance in that greenhouse was unreal. I wanted to strip off my clothes and roll naked through the plots like a dog in a dustheap, but about half of the rest of the class just looked kind of tired and apathetic. Even in the microgreens greenhouse! How can that be? How can you just not care about teeny-weeny chervil and itty-bitty cilantro? Every miniature morsel was like holding the fresh-picked, intense flavor of live herbs underneath a palate-microscope. Mere molecules of dill made me feel like I had gargled with fresh pickling solution. Amazing. I clapped my hands in delight and fondled their produce in a manner that was probably bordering on creepy, but whatev. They gave me a free basil plant that is still attached to its foamy thing by roots, so it just has to sit in water and it stays alive. Cool. The only thing that was slightly worrying were the big containers clearly marked “battery acid” attached to tubes that were going toward the plants. Apparently very small amounts of the stuff changes the alkalinity of the water favorably. I don’t know, though…

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Tuesdays with Dorie was a flop to end all flops this week. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been sick, or what. I’ve got this slow-moving illness that started as a headache that only came on when I bent down or moved suddenly. I was told that could be sinus pressure (despite having no congestion). Then I started to have a sore throat, but the headaches went away. Then the sore throat went away, and I’ve spent last night and all of today with a fever, chills, nausea, and reflux that makes me feel like I’m having a heart attack. But as one thing comes on, the other retreats, and none of them have really taken me out. So I’ve been trudging through my day to day, hoping it’ll either get worse or get better, and only seeing it morph to different things. Chris says it’s a parainfluenza. I am not so good with the Latin, but I think that means “sort of like the flu.” I actually long for the good old days, a week ago, when I was only dealing with various tendons expressing a desire to rupture should I continue any exercise more strenuous than unwrapping a Pop-Tart, but was otherwise feeling sprightly and alert.

But I did them. The chocolate-chocolate cupcakes from Dorie Greenspan. And since I suck at baking when I’m sick (something about sensory dulling, I’m sure), they turned out terribly. The top of the cupcake was a whole separate entity from the cakey bit below. Like I had just severed the “muffin-top” off of each cupcake.

I had to make brussels sprouts to practice for class. I have always hated them, and Chris has always hated them, despite neither of us ever remembering eating them. I got fresh ones, hoping they wouldn’t be as gross. I got this--to try and soften the blow for us. I served them with beef tips and baby portobella mushrooms in a Cabernet-shallot reduction.
The beef over egg noodles was grrrrreat. The sausage? Also superb. The brussels sprouts were better than I thought they would be. Chris actually said they were something he’d eat again. So I guess that’s an unqualified victory. Only one more segment til I can go pass out in my bed!
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Finally, I still had to make dinner tonight for the catering thing, so I went with butterflied chicken breast stuffed with diced gala apples, candied maple pecans, and rolled in the pecan crumbs.
I made a sauce with the gala apple butter I made and canned a while back, maple syrup, browned butter, heavy cream, salt, and rubbed sage. I so would have eaten this with a spoon if I weren’t in perpetual danger of barfing. I did a bacon-wrapped green bean (the bean was minimally cooked, so it was still ultra fresh. I used bacon that was certified humane, and that made me feel smug and kind of like I wanted to cuddle a piglet. Cranberry relish was formed of fresh cranberries, blood orange zest and blood orange supreme, water, sugar, and a vanilla bean pod that was left to simmer until the cranberries popped and released all of their glorious pectin. And then a miniature loaf of honey wheat bread, because it makes me happy. Chris took a bite of the cranberries while I was talking about something at school, and then interrupted me to yell “Arrrggghhhhhh!!!! I don’t like THAT at all!” Turns out he has always and will always HATE cranberries that aren’t in the form of the jelly that slides out in the can shape on Thanksgiving in poor households across America. I didn’t know this. He didn’t know he was eating cranberries. Not sure what he thought they were. I asked him why he doesn’t like them, and he said “because they’re all tart and horrible, and then you bite into the cranberries, and they don’t taste good, and then every once in a while you bite into a stick. They have sticks in them.” I said “mine don’t have sticks in them!” and he responded, “my parents’ did.” That was the end of the conversation. But I personally thought they were tasty, and they were the only part of the dinner besides the bread that I could eat without getting all Elizabeth Hurl-y at the table. You know, with my delicate state and all.

Now I’ve had some Benadryl for dessert and am going to go attempt to slip into a coma so I can be slightly more functional tomorrow. I have to have my wits about me to record what
some in our class feel compelled to share on the subject of mushrooms and tubers.

11 thoughts on “Dorie and many parts”

  1. Oh, I love those hydroponic nurseries. There’s one in my parents’ town that’s a “you pick it” farm and they have a bazillion rows of veggies growing in these huge hydroponic spaceship looking devices. My dad got all excited when we went there and was mid-way through ordering his own set of spaceships for their back yard until my mom bitched that he wouldn’t take care of them and “stopped all that nonsense”. Gay! I wanted spaceship veggies.

    I’m not a huge fan of the brussels either unless done right but I found an awesome way to cook them. I slice them in half, drench them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast the crap out of them in the broiler. It takes all the bitter cabage-ness out of them. Also, tossing them with some crumbled bacon is good. Bacon makes everything better.

  2. Wait, are you marrying Chris or Dalton?

    I love brussels sprouts. Try sautéeing them in a little smoked duck fat until they’re nice and caramelized, then deglaze with white wine.

  3. Mmm…brussels sprouts are yummy.

    I’m sorry you’re sick. NyQuil. It doesn’t cure you, but it puts you in a coma so you don’t feel feelings.

    That catering dinner looked delicious!

  4. Now that I think about it there are quite a few foods that people will get all bent out of shape about at Thanksgiving–Canned Cranberry vs. Fresh Cranberry (I’ll eat either one), Lumpy mashed potatoes or smooth mashed potatoes (again, I’ll eat either one), and finally Libby Pumpkin Pie vs. Non-Libby Pumpkin Pie (I don’t care, I don’t like pumpkin pie).

  5. Also, in regards to brussel sprouts:

    I remember having them once and being under the misguided impression that I liked them. Then my mom made them again and I realized that I must have been hitting the cold medicine the first time because they were horrible.

  6. I adore brussel sprouts…particularly when they’re roasted and then glazed with a maple bacon sauce. Even if you don’t like boiled brussel sprouts, which I totally get, you might want to try slicing them in half and roasting them – they get all nutty and caramelized.

    And I want to know where Peter shops. Smoked duck fat, seriously? If I was more of a felon and lived just slightly closer I’m fairly certain that I would break into his house every night and raid the pantry..unless he has a good security system. I hear that I’d have even less of a chance to find smoked duck fat in jail. Unless Martha left some behind….

  7. Tina, you’re welcome to come get it the legal way. I don’t buy it, though- every time I smoke a duck I collect all the fat and put it in a jar. A little goes a long way. Martha taught me that in the joint.

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