Making a good cheese and meat board is an art-form that I don’t practice. I like strong flavors, and I’m perfectly happy to eat them one by one, without any pairing of fruit jelly or mustard or anything like that. And also, I’m lazy, so whatever happens to be on hand is what goes on the plate, until I think it looks full enough.
But this one came out rather pretty for once, so I thought I’d memorialize it (left–>right): Creminelli Salami Musica (with liver! so tasty and pungent, it kinda tingles your tongue like a really strong bleu cheese), Olympic Provisions Salami Nola, Ortiz octopus canned in olive oil, some Roquefort, and artichokes in olive oil. Some so-so baguette from the local Whole Foods in the background (I think it tastes too yeasty, and the crust is barely there, but it works as a palate cleanser).
This weekend, I was planning to go to the local zoo. It was projected to still be reasonably warm out and after my urban wildlife encounter last week, I figured it might be a good time to reacquaint myself with living around animals larger than a subway rat. Plus, Sunday was probably not a peak time for the zoo and hopefully that meant no packs of schoolchildren eating up all the space.
One problem: Sunday was rainy. So instead I stayed in, and am crossing my fingers for next weekend’s weather. In the meantime, I made do hua. Sort of. Do hua is pillowy-soft tofu with (at least at every dim sum place I’ve had it) gingery golden sugar syrup on top. I had the soft tofu, but I didn’t feel like boiling ginger in simple syrup for a couple hours just to get my fix. What I did have already on hand was orange blossom honey and miel de cacao, which comes from the same plant as chocolate (the cacao plant bears fruit with seeds–cacao beans–inside; chocolate is made from the beans, miel de cacao from the fruit around them). So:
Soft tofu, orange blossom honey, and miel de cacao
It’s…not bad. Miel de cacao has this really sharp tang to it, verging on bitter, kind of like espresso syrup but with more citrus notes, and the tofu softens that edge without sweetening it. But I think if I were trying this again, I’d pair it with a more assertive honey, because I couldn’t taste the orange blossom stuff I used at all.
So I ran out of food at home (unless I wanted to eat cat food, which would happen over Mango’s furry dead body, or rather mine). I really need to stop doing that, but I have had my mind on other things lately. I even ran out of peanut butter, which is a real disaster. I didn’t discover this until late last night, so it was too late to run to the store. So I decided to buy my lunch today at work–and since those usually run big, I would have enough for dinner too.
Did I say big? Try GIGANTIC.
This is the taco salad that ate your desk.
This is the Taco Salad the cafeteria was serving. It’s huge. I brought it back to my desk and was like, “How do I eat this thing without flinging salsa all over the place?” I gave up after about a third and shoved the rest in the office fridge for home. At home, Mango cannot comment on my (lack of) skill eating taco salad monsters because his own eating habits are atrocious.
Orecchiette with tomato cockle sauce
Sauce (all measurements eyeballed):
- Half a tin of cockles in brine
- Two shakes Spanish smoked paprika
1. Heat tomato and garlic paste in pan drippings till slightly runny. Add garum colatura and stir to dissolve pastes. Add cockle brine, ground black pepper, smoked paprika and simmer.
2. Boil salted water and add pasta. Cook till al dente.
3. Add red wine vinegar and let reduce for a few minutes. Then add cockles, stir a few times, and add pasta. Stir till pasta is fully cooked and then eat.
Lunch plate I put together for myself the other day: Finnish rye bread with brie (wedge) and a dollop of spreadable, spiced pork fat (stop gagging and think about it–incredibly delicious and better than butter), pickled green beans, and loukanika, a Mediterranean-flavored salami with cumin, orange and garlic (the cumin is pleasantly restrained, so it’s not like eating a citrus curry). No need to hit a pricy restaurant for a gorgeous, tasty plate.