My first creative passion was music, the practice of taking a bunch of random noises and mushing them together to make something not just recognizable but emotionally resonant. It felt really good, and my guitar and I had a decent run. The tragedy of music is that you can’t eat it. Or, to put it another way, unless you are very very good–like Mark Knopfler good–people do not sit around the dinner table waiting for your tunes to spill into their bowls.
My Martin may sit on its stand collecting dust, but the All-Clads I got as a wedding gift, shit, they get a workout every day.
It’s been a few weeks since I put anything up on this blog, but as that self-indulgent preamble hopefully indicated, it’s not because I haven’t been cooking. I did individual puff pastry mushroom pies fortified with a reduced leftover goose stock, pulled together a mighty fine crab bisque, whipped up perfect diced potato home fries by taking the advice of America’s Test Kitchen (cut evenly, toss with oil, microwave for 5-10 minutes and then fry in a hot pan with butter), and speaking of whipping, made mayonnaise not once but three times. In one week.
During that time I also read Michael Ruhlman’s The Making of a Chef and acquired both the CIA’s Professional Chef (8th Edition) textbook and On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee, all three titles combining to get me as close to the inside of a Culinary Institute of America classroom as I will ever be–except for those classrooms that just happen to double as tasty–and highly entertaining–restaurants.
Speaking of restaurants, I did a lot of eating out, and spent a day tasting wine in Woodinville. This site is decidedly not about other people’s creations–as superior to my own as they generally are–but I will note that the wine tasting visit with our friends Julie and Addison (a sommelier who appears in these pages here and there) turned up some fascinating bottles: Efesté, a Cab-Syrah blend called Final-Final; at Mark Ryan, a Cab-Merlot called Water Witch and the white Dissident, which is I believe Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc; at Gorman, the Pixie Syrah and the Big Sissy Chardonnay; and even at Chateau Ste. Michelle, a surprising Cinsault.
When it comes to cooking, the most important thing that I embarked on was a joint cooking venture with my friend Noah, culminating in what will heretofore be known as The Feast of February 13th. We are both cooking nerds, but Noah is such a cooking Poindexter that I at times feel (depressingly) like a dumb jock next to him. Nevertheless, he was kind enough to let me share marquee billing as we masterminded, procured and boiled up a six-course Italy-weighted Continental dinner that tasted and looked restaurant good. Of course, we had a full day and only four mouths to feed (including our own), and there was ample wine from Noah’s cellar to shine bright rays of optimism on any near fuck-ups. But I think it was smashing, and I’m going to prove it to you. The next post I put up will be food porn and liner notes to the Feast of February 13th. Make sure you have something to munch on because I realize that salad and dungeness crab pics might not make you hungry, but everything you see coming up will. Here’s a teaser:
By the by, I know you’ve been sorta thinking about that mushroom puff pastry since I mentioned it up above. Fear not, my fellow mycophiles, it will be the subject of a story all by itself very soon.