At 5am I considered beef stew. At five fifteen thought about little lamb chops dipped in lardo, seared in the pan, salted up, squeeze of lemon and eaten like potato chips. At five eighteen spaghetti and meatballs showed up. I was Dorothy when all the people she loved floated to her windowsill.
I saw a heap of sauteed shitake on toasted bruschetta with a sliver of proscuitto in a wave across the top, a full turkey dinner, and gnuddi. And then croque monsieur. Hello France, but then what, cornichon? Salad and some kind of pumpkin stuffed or sliced and roasted or pureed. And mustard. Or just mustard and a big old baked ham with biscuits. A pot of greens stirred around with slow cooked onions and a smoked turkey wing, chow chow to start and an apple pie to finish. Who needs France? Well I do actually. I love France. Runaway delicious French Fall basics that steal the show, Loire valley celery and fresh walnuts. As available in Long Island City as Elvis. I gave up on horizontal inspiration and got up from the bed. I let the cold go through my bones and watched the leaves fall. Soup. Hold on to that. Maybe soup-ish.
Creamy roasted butternut squash soup with a little leek and bouquet garni and a sliver of foie gras can send people over the edge in either direction. But now I had that taste of roasted sweet squash on my tongue. I had waited til the last minute to shop for my little dinner party–to buy meat and the only fresh meat I can get by me is feedlot. Gave it up with circus bears.
I can get good bacon though.
So roasted butternut squash with bits of good bacon, fried sage and handmade gnocchi. Because I know I’m not supposed to make things up when people are coming over but I’m tired of the same old gnocchi. And it’s my kitchen. I’m cooking. I can make what I want!&%%$ Nobody else was awake. I stopped arguing with myself. I put the potatoes on to boil. Beautiful beets in the bottom drawer and squash and beets love each other. I grated the beets raw and tossed them with a tangy balsamic vinaigrette. Set them up next to a bowl of tiny arugula leaves, my true creamy love–mascarpone–and soft and luscious dates. All for a salad. Back to soup, but not soup. Lentils..tiny little lentils simmered to tender with a spill of beautiful olive oil, a cherry tomato, half a little onion, a clove of garlic and plenty of water. In the pan next to it: tiniest dice of carrot, celery, onion and garlic with sprigs of thyme and parsley, (soffritto) and two more cherry tomatoes sauteed until they were a deep caramel color and not one bit of resistance to the bite. Lifted the lentils out of their liquid and into the soffritto. Added just enough liquid to be soupish. Gave it a spill of my piece-de-la-resistance olive oil. Forgot to buy the bread. Forgot to think about appetizers. Classic (French) apple tart for dessert. Didn’t make enough (plain) gnocchi for the kids.
But everybody ate.
And it was good.
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