"Bacon is the candy of meat."

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bobcats Post Dump

Because I am the worse blogger in the world, I have neglected to update the Bobcat Chronicles, and I know all three of my readers are feeling the lack. So here are some reports to bring everyone up to date.

Les Chats de Robert Go Frenchified
We had decided to go regional/country French, and loosely settled on Provence. We started the evening with savory Quiche Lorraine, paired with Patricia Wells's Chanteduc Rainbow Olive Collection, which figured into another of the evening's recipes. Our specialty cocktail of the evening was French Martinis, with an alternative beverage choice of Raspberry Lemonade. Of course Edith Piaf and accordion music were in heavy rotation on the playlist.

Our main meal centered on another Patricia Wells dish, tuna daube in a sauce of red wine, garlic, tomatoes, olives, and onion. With this we had a spectacularly rich potato gratin, grilled asparagus with vinaigrette marinade and Parmesan, and salad. We followed this with an expertly curated cheese course, complete with breads, fruits, and all luxe accompaniments. Because we had not consumed all the calories in the world, we then moved on to dessert of the world's most divine dark chocolate tart, paired with lavender-honey ice cream, and silky creme brulee. Wine? It goes without saying. Also muscato.

The most amazing part of all? We finished virtually everything, a Bobcats first.

We Deep Fry Everything Imaginable
From the sublimely sophisticated to the pinnacle of downhome goodness, we decided to mix it up and go for a Festival of Deep Frying. It's hard to be exhaustive with a list of what hit the hot oil, but the meal started with appetizers of mozzarella with marinara, chunks of mac & cheese (amazing), taquitos, spring rolls, jalapeno poppers, mushrooms with homemade ranch dressing, plantains, and hushpuppies with choice of hot sauce or maple butter.

Then it was time for the serious eating -- good thing we had invited all our kids to participate. Main dishes included
chicken, chicken fingers, halibut, french fries, corn dogs, tempura asparagus with herb mayo and lemon mayo, crimson cole slaw, cucumber salad, and green salad with feta. Of course no deep frying extravaganza would be complete without the entire party gathered around the fryer, giddily battering and frying every conceivable sweet. Dessert was consumed on a grease-stained square of butcher paper and eaten off of paper towels in the garage, mortifying our hostess. What we fried: Oreos, Nutter Butters, Devil Dogs, Twinkies, Milky Ways, mini fruit pies, ice cream balls, ice cream sandwiches, chocolate-chocolate chunk cookies, everything covered with clouds of powdered sugar. To wash it down we had a bowl of fruit salad, which my little asked if we were going to deep fry (no, even we have limits).

At the end of it all we were all desperately in need of a facial and swore to never eat again. Of course within minutes we were thinking of all the things we didn't fry, and will have to include next year -- calamari, falafel, corn fritters, apple fritters, chicken fried steak, churros, zeppole, doughnuts....

A Tour of Asia
For a perfect summer dinner, we gathered for pan-Asian grilling. We started on the patio of our hosts with an assortment of appetizers -- shrimp summer rolls, five-spice ahi tuna, beef satay, minced pork in lettuce cups. To drink, Singapore Slings, Asian beers of many nations, and lemonade. We inhaled that and moved inside.

Our main course was centered on a spectacular assortment of meat -- grilled beef with two marinades, chicken satay with Thai peanut sauce, pad thai with chicken, sauteed string beans, and Thai cucumber salad. Copious amounts of sake.

For dessert, which we enjoyed outside, we had the world's most gorgeous and fluffy coconut cake, which was presented as a birthday cake for me. Haven't had such a charming birthday celebration in years. We had that with pina colada sorbet, fruit skewers, coffee, and green tea.

Up Next
And that brings us up to date. We will gather again in September for a culinary exploration of Louisiana -- Cajun, Creole, and New Orleans inspirations.

Notes from the Tomato Garden

The tomatoes are now tantalizingly appearing. I say "tantalizing" because with the exception of two medium-size yellow ones, nothing is ready for picking and eating yet. I expect we'll once again have our "all at once" glut in the coming weeks, where I find myself pressing papers bags of tomatoes on friends and neighbors, until the end of the season comes where I harvest the half-ripened stuff left around and turn it into chutney.

Pictured below is what we are expecting this year. I'm dubious about the Flamme (the orange ones) -- the catalog copy said they were like my beloved Sungolds, but a little bigger than a cherry tomato, and quite prolific. What I'm seeing so far is a much bigger fruit, and of course where they're bigger you don't get quite so many of them, but we shall see. I love The Tasteful Garden where I get my plants, and their customer service is incredible, but last year what I thought were going to be Green Zebras turned out to be the even tastier (but not green) Black Zebras. Ah, the mysteries and excitement of gardening.

At any rate, if all goes well we should be enjoying some exceptionally tasty and amazingly colorful heirloom tomato salads, with or without the spectacular fresh mozzarella we get at North Shore Farms in town.

Yellow Taxi:
Black Cherry:


Green Giant: