Saturday, October 25, 2014

Anginares a la Polita

Friday 24 October
There were 32 - count 'em! - tiny artichokes in $3.99 box Barbara got at Hyde Park Kroger's - what a bargain.  So we made a full meal out of them: our classic Greek artichoke stew, redolent of what Barbara experienced at the restaurant Epiros in Athens (which closed in 2005 so that Agora excavations could expand) back when she was at the American School too many years ago.

The artichokes were so small and tender that they only took 30 minutes for their first simmer.  It was only as a finishing touch that we added a handful more of minced parsley and the last of the dill fronds from our rapidly-going-to-seed plant, and gave a final stir.   The dill makes such a difference: sweet, savory, scent of Greece.

Napas and Onions with Mash

Thursday 23 October
If you're buying sausage at Kroger Brothers, you'll have to wait to get served anyway.  So while we were buying our smoked kielbasa for Monday, we had them throw in a couple of Napas too. 

They are still having some problems keeping the Napas consistent, and these gave off a lot of liquid while they fried in the pan with the onions.  But we always poach them with a little white wine anyway, so no harm.  Eventually everything browned up, and went beautifully atop a mound of cream-and-butter-mashed potatoes.

Zula, Cincinnati

Wednesday 22 October
What with giving her talk at the Art Museum and then signing copies of her new book, Kara, the AIA speaker whom we were hosting, couldn't tear herself away until at least 9 PM.  There aren't very many restaurants in Cincinnati that stay open that late, but one is Zula.
Two of our HUC colleagues, Nili and Christine, were able to come out with us, so we all got to converse about Near Eastern studies instead of Classics.  We were assisted in this by a bottle of white and a bottle of red, because Zula has the cleverest wine list ever.  Wine types are grouped by price, starting at reasonable, and passing to first, second, third mortgage, and finally Chapter 7.  So we got on the - ahem - economy flight: Domaine De Pellehaut, Harmonie de Gascogne 2012 for our white, and Campos Reales Tempranillo 2011 for the red.

Our small plate appetizers were a savory lamb “moussaka” timbale topped with a thyme roasted tomato in a sea of Moroccan tomato coulis; and yellowfin tuna crudo with tomatoes, citrus, very peppy serrano chiles, and a schmear of avocado.
Mussels are a big thing here, so we got them New Orleans style with shrimp, and a basket of good bread rolls to dip in the sauce.
Zula is secretive about what big plates it's serving, but when our server finally revealed them, we chose a fillet of medium-rare prime beef, served on a pillow of potatoes and greens; and once you started to unfurl the slices, it was quite a generous portion. 

We had a delicious time at the lecture and at our late-night dinner, so thanks to Kara, Nili, Christine, and Zula.

Grilled Pork with Beet Greens

Tuesday 21 October

We popped a couple of thick apple-cider-brined pork medallions onto the grill pan, and they were juicy and delicious, especially with Chez Panisse beet greens (with dried cranberries instead of currants) on the side.

Kielbasa with Red Cabbage

Monday 20 October
This is our classic recipe, perfect for Kroger Brothers' smoked kielbasa and a couple of the Chesapeake apples we got last week.

Barcelona, Columbus

Sunday 19 October
Today we drove up to Columbus to meet up with our friend Mari.  We spent the day chatting and strolling around the quiet alleys of the German Village, having coffee and sweets (a pink grapefruit macaron and a chocolate-hazelnut tart - with gold leaf!) at Pistacia Vera, and buying some heavy volumes at the Book Loft. 
In the evening, we headed for Barcelona restaurant - okay, not German, but we needed someplace vegetarian-friendly.  It was a pleasant, buzzy bistro, with a jazz trio that wasn't overwhelmingly loud, and decorated with what looked like Chihuly glass.

In the spirit of the place, we got a bottle of rosé cava, and settled into the tapas.  They included two pictured here: pintxos de pulpitos, baby octopus, Butifarra chorizo, and romesco on a baguette skewered with a tiny basque pepper; bravas de camote, fried sweet potatoes with brown sugar aioli; and croquetas de cangrejo, crab croquettes with poblanos, onions, and remoulade.
The other dishes were: 
almejas y alcachofas, clams, artichokes, and onions in a curry cream sauce; a special of butternut squash gnocchi; and the house paella (okay, but not as good as the tapas).  
On the whole, lots of fun, and the day was definitely worth the drive.

Semitic Swordfish with Kale Salad

Saturday 18 October
We defrosted a couple of swordfish steaks, patted them with David's homemade za'atar (that's the Semitic part), and then seared them to form a tasty crust.  A squeeze of lemon, and they're luscious.
We got a rambunctious armful of fresh kale from the Farmers' Market today, so without delay, we ran up Nancy Silverton's kale salad.  You do it about an hour ahead of the meal so that the tough leaves can relax, and you don't end up masticating five minutes per bite.  Remember to floss afterwards, too.