A little bit of this, a little bit of that. Katherine’s delicious and virtuous shredded beet and carrot salad, seasoned with lemon juice and parsley; River Cafe-style navy beans, simmered until just tender (stewed with fresh bay, tomatoes, swiss chard, and butter; a similar recipe here); roasted beets with orange blossom water, pine nuts, dill, and sunflower oil; a few new potatoes roasted in duck fat and sage. It was pretty good eaten warm and fresh the night I made it, but even more satisfying when consumed right out of the tupperware the next afternoon, at room temperature.
Does anyone else do this? I like to make a big pot of soup (top soup: tomato, cannellini, and vegetable; bottom soup: veal tortellini and Puy lentil) and snack my way through its contents over a period of three or four days. At the end of the course, I always need a big break from that particular soup. This weekend I almost exclusively ate from a big pot of dal. Done with dal, for now.
Tacos for lunch, tacos for dinner. With all the gorgeous peppers flooding the market in the last few weeks (I love the mild Poblanos), I’ve been on a pretty serious ropa vieja kick lately; though I don’t really use a recipe, a reliable one can be found here.
Ratatouille, day 2 — even better than ratatouille, day 1. (Full recipe here). Too bad there is no more ratatouille to see if it gets even better on day 3.
On a different note — I wrote a piece for Maisonneuve Magazine describing my favorite R. Stevie Moore video moments. I find his videos hysterical and it was a lot of fun to sift through all of his (bizarre) work. The piece was written in conjunction with an event I’m featured in on Friday, as part of POP Montreal’s Symposium series. I’ll be interviewing R. Stevie Moore at 3:30pm at the POP Headquarters — please come check it out! (Oh and finally, my friend Sean wrote a handy guide to POP Montreal for the overwhelmed. It’s enormously helpful. Check it.)
Have you ever made a proper pot of cassoulet from scratch? It sounds deceptively simple — it’s just a pot of beans and pork, right? — but the truth is that it’s a long, drawn-out, painstaking process that involves days of work and quite a lot of money. And the reward doesn’t always seem like enough, because, well, it’s still a pot of beans and pork. But it’s still one of my favorite dishes of all time.
We were recently at the Jean Talon market, and while at one of our favorite meat purveyors we noticed a small pack of goose confit tucked into a corner of the glass case. We snatched it up, and I knew that we had to make cassoulet. To be honest, our iteration wasn’t perfectly authentic — we didn’t confit the fowl ourselves, after all — but I loved it all the same. We bought the rest of the ingredients — pounds of dried cannellini beans, bacon, duck fat, Toulouse sausage — and got right to work.
And once it’s finished, a pot of cassoulet is truly the gift that keeps on giving. The flavors really peaked around the third day, but we enjoyed the leftovers all week long — I’d eat it with eggs in the morning, with lemony kale for lunch, and with extra sausage at dinner. And while it was delicious, by the sixth day I was happy to see it go.
Easter Sunday leftovers. Still amazing.
We recently picked up a hefty lamb shoulder from one of my favorite butchers in town, Boucherie Abu Elias. Everything there is amazing and insanely affordable — especially their house-made hummus, spicy soujouk, whole chickens, and veal shank — and we were given strict instructions on how to prepare the cut. We covered the shoulder in loosely draped aluminum foil, andp laced in a pan filled with a few inches of water, where it braised in a 325 degree oven all afternoon. So simple and classic, and the results were spectacular and meltingly tender.
Because lamb shoulder is so deliciously fatty — apparently the cut’s fat content equals that of pork belly — the next day we decided to enjoy the leftovers as ‘lamb carnitas,’ and refried them in a cast-iron skillet until super crispy. With that, some seared carrots, rice pilaf, Himo’s pickled beets, the aforementioned Abu Elias hummus (its creaminess — the Platonic Ideal of hummus — is a total mystery to me, and I am in awe of its perfection), and seared green beans (blanch in water for two minutes, drain, and throw in super-hot skillet with butter until spotty with black char; toss with lemon juice and red pepper flakes and serve hot). Love it when leftovers are even more extraordinary than the first time around.
Cooking with leftovers:
(Leftover) truffle on buttered eggs, over-easy.
(Leftover) cinnamon-spiced roast duck, with chickpeas, red onion + basmati rice.
Unless I’m making a sandwich, my lunches are almost always cobbled together from various leftovers from the nights before. From top: leftover carnitas (from this recipe — breathtakingly simple and so, so delicious) and migas tacos with sweet potato fries dusted with smoked paprika and cumin; leftover roast chicken and garlic mashed potatoes (from this bird); Medjool dates and shredded carrot salad with leftover roasted butternut squash risotto (blatantly inspired by this risotto); more carnitas tacos with cilantro (who knew five pounds of pork shoulder would yield carnitas for a week?); leftover curried carrot soup with toast.
I adore roasting whole chickens if only for the copious amounts of leftovers that litter my refrigerator for the following week. I roasted a small 3lb chicken the Ina Garten way — with softened butter + a cavity stuffed with lemon wedges, garlic and thyme — and served it with a mixed green salad and a handful of roasted vegetables, including some beautiful purple baby potatoes and quartered carrots. It was delicious, but now that I seem to make it all the time, also felt a little bit boring.
Far more fun was the lunch I had the next day — shredded leftover roast chicken sauteed quickly with fresh summer corn, halved grape tomatoes, ribbons of basil and minced garlic, tossed with whole wheat penne and a light white wine vinaigrette. I inhaled the contents of my plate, and then served myself a second helping. I’m intrigued by this savory corn pesto with bacon that I saw at Lottie + Doof — will be making that next!