As Alicia and I ascended the stairs at the gym this week I informed her that Jeff and I were organizing a fancy dinner this weekend. “Fancy dinner?”, she repeated, smirk spreading across her face, “Are you going to wear puffed sleeves?” Alicia is a phenomenal human being for a few reasons…one being her timely Jane Austen references. I explained to her that nearly a year ago I saw this awesome recipe in a fall-time Bon Appetit, and had been talking about making it ever since. Hence, fancy dinner. But before that….here are some odds and ends, since the last time I posted….
This is our typical late-summer share….
I always hate waste, so I’ve recently begun tossing all of my brightly colored unused portions of veggies into a vat of water, simmer for an hour or so, and PRESTO….an optimally healthy, organic veggie broth emerges from “scraps”.
A late summer saturday lunch….CSA eggplant (tossed in gf cornmeal and parmesan) CSA heirloom tomato and mozzarella stack, atop CSA field greens with a balsamic drizzle.
The beginning of a sunday dinner….
CSA cabbage, CSA raddichio, CSA kohlrabi, CSA broccoli, CSA green onion and CSA chive salad (which was eventually tossed with a buttermilk-bleu cheese dressing)
…and this was the buttermilk-bleu salad with granny’s, walnuts, steak and sausage.
The beginning of a family dinner night…when both sister and brother were in town…CSA frisee, buratta (my family loves cheese), olives (they love olives even more), and some rather unsightly homemade gf toast points. Making gf anything sexy is nearly impossible.
Creamy, awesome buratta, and it’s “little rags”…
…we drizzled the burratta with truffle oil from Rome, thanks to my sis and bro in law! It was sooo delicious!
The entree was a CSA Eggplant Caponata (with CSA leeks, CSA bell peppers, onion, basil, oregano, capers, raisins, chocolate and CSA tomatos) over CSA greens-pesto rissotto
…we took photos for about 5 hours before we found one we all liked…a slight waste of time, but good memories made.
When my sister and I were little we used to make crepes for breakfast nearly every Saturday. When she stayed with me recently I made this autumn-ified version…paleo pumpkin crepes with pumpkin mousse filling…and apple-maple chicken sausages. it was a pretty great throw-back.
A vegan, weeknight dinner: CSA cabbage and CSA bell pepper tossed with a peanut-coconut curry with fried tofu and yummy broccoli a la Janalyn.
Our first celery root came last week!!! (a reason to celebrate, and another wonderful indicator of autumn…)
This is a mash: a CSA potato, CSA celery root, CSA leek, CSA garlic, CSA chard and CSA kale
…after eating the “mash” as a side dish for a couple of days, I finished the remaining bit by re-purposing it into root veggie pancakes….served alongside a peachy-maple bacon gf french toast bake.
And while we’re discussing carb-heavy mornings…I experimented with a gf pumpkin-pecan french toast bake for a lazy Saturday brunch with college roomies….it received two thumbs up, and we fell into a collective coma after.
And, finally……FANCY DINNER: The Autumn Chapter
Allow me to begin by saying, despite being bewitched by the aforementioned Bon Appetit recipe….I had never, in fact, cooked a whole chicken. I spent 12-ish years as a vegetarian, and although I began eating meat again a few years ago, I wasn’t sure how ready I was to encounter the undeniable “animal-ness” of the chicken that one must, when one needs to cut through joints and bones, and as well, act in sort of a gynecologic fashion, via stuffing the cavity. Nonetheless, I took the plunge. Well, half the plunge. I forced a friend to cut through the connective tissue. That was too serial-killer-esque for me.
my “stuffing” herbs: CSA celery root tops, CSA parsley, CSA sorrel and thyme
that was not my favorite part.
then, I mixed the salt-egg white “dry brine” and essentially made a sand castle around the chicken….much less picturesque than the photo in BA…
…next, I tossed CSA kuri pumpkin, CSA celery root, CSA golden beets, CSA fennel and CSA leeks with olive oil and herbs de provence, and placed them in the oven with the chicken.
Then I had a glass of wine and admired the view from my window.
the chicken finished cooking, and became even more sand-castle-like…
…we snacked on two delicious goat cheese app’s by Jeff (tomato-balsamic and date-pine nut)…
…then Kyle began cracking into the salt-crust….there were some jack-hammer moments….
…we had some delicious side dishes in addition to the roasted veggies….broiled CSA delicata squash with cream and parmesan…
..and a CSA kohlrabi and apple slaw with caraway vinaigrette…which was so great, and another tolerable way to eat the loathsome alien turnip…
This was also Jeff’s first opportunity to use his porthole. We agreed that this infused bourbon tasted very completely like fall….
And as we all know, a fancy dinner ends with a fancy cheese course….
…”fancy” cheese = cheese with interesting labels. Many apply this rationale to wine as well. We’re ok with that.
Then, in classy fashion, we opened the porthole and ate the bourbon infused fruit with our cheese…
I came to an interesting realization at the end of the night….we all met during our undergraduate work at a religious institution. A few of us have left that denomination, and a few of us have left religion all together. We agree on fancy dinners….(the irony of the “rustic-ness” of this meal was highlighted at one point in the evening)…and we disagree about the existence of the spiritual realm…and we got pretty animated about it. But at the end of the night we made plans to be together again….in winter…which is good.