Sunday, March 13, 2016

AIA Dinner at the Santens'

Friday 11 March
Our friend and former AIA society president, Ann, had invited all members of our new Board of Directors over to her house for dinner; and when she found that that was the same day that Joe Greene was giving his seminar on Nabataean archaeology, she generously invited him as well. 
While Harry poured us a welcoming glass of wine (among many choices, there were a Cretan white, New Zealand and Oregon Pinots Noirs, a Falanghina white, and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc), Ann served trays of crackers topped with baked brie or paté. 
We milled around snacking and chatting, until Ann called us to the table, which was set with Harry's own vibrant, hand-thrown pottery. 
The buffet had more of Harry's dishes, loaded with quinoa, savory chicken casserole, and green salad dressed with Antonis' Spartan oil.  It made a lovely (and tasty) plateful.

And when we were done, there were brownies and coffee, for a sweet ending.  
So thanks, Ann and Harry, for a delightful evening!

Harvest Restaurant, Clifton

Thursday 10 March
Our neighborhood boîte, La Poste, just changed its name to Harvest, to go with a new (pretty old everywhere else) farm-to-table theme.  So we thought we'd take our esteemed lecturer, Joe Greene, and a couple of colleagues there to try it out.

One nice touch of the new spirit was that, unlike the old days, they had some less expensive wines to choose from.  Since most of us were eating fish, we went with Pilastri Pecorino “Organic” white from Offida, quite flinty but easy to drink.
Some of the dishes were unchanged, like the appetizer of P.E.I. mussels with white wine, chorizo, roasted tomatoes, arugula, and grilled bread.  The beef and pork meatballs with vodka cream sauce, however, were new, and both choices were pretty good.
Our mains were a nice slice of pan-fried Faroe Island salmon on a schmear of cauliflower puree, with roasted brussel sprouts and dots of beet reduction; and some tasty pan-seared diver scallops atop spinach fettuccine, with squash, zucchini, and pancetta gastrique.

The new Harvest is not so different from the old La Poste, but what changes we saw were good ones.

Stir-Fried Shrimp with Asparagus and Mushrooms

Wednesday 9 March
After a couple of nights of leftovers, we were ready for something fresh, like a seafood stir-fry.

We marinated a pound of peeled shrimp with salt, sticks of fresh yellow ginger (so bright with the grey shrimp), and a douse of Shaoxing wine.
Then we cut up a sheaf of asparagus, stir-fried the stems with salt and garlic, then added the tips. 
When they were half done, we added quartered button mushrooms and more salt, stir-fried until they darkened and gave up their juices, then simmered under cover. 
When the vedge was tender, we set it aside with a sprinkle of soy sauce, then cleaned the wok and stir-fried the shrimp and ginger.  Once the shrimp were pink, we re-added the vedge, stirred vigorously, and finished it off with a sprinkle of sesame oil.
We were thinking of adding oyster sauce, but it didn't even need it.  Savory and succulent.

Roast Beef and Celeriac Slaw

Tuesday 8 March

Sunday's rump roast made great cold sliced roast beef, relished with horseradish sauce: drained yogurt, a big spoon of mayo, and another big spoon of horseradish, plus salt and white pepper.
For a side dish, we made celeriac remoulade; the new silver food processor grates like a champ.
We ate in front of the television, watching the last episode of "Downton Abbey."  Just right for the Roast Beef of New England.  

Vegetable Curry Redux

Monday 7 March

"To curry favor, favor curry," as P.D.Q. Bach wrote in his oratorio, "The Seasonings."  
There was still half of Saturday's curry left, so we reheated and vamped it up with side dishes: thick yogurt, cranberry chutney, and sliced almonds.

Rump Roast and Potatoes

Sunday 6 March
Salted away back in the freezer was a four-pound rump roast.  We pulled it out to defrost on Friday, and by Sunday, the beast was ready to roast. 
We followed, with some trepidation, the directions here.
We just salted the sullen lump of protein, rather than stuffing it with garlic cloves, and roasted at 500º for 20 minutes.  Then we lowered the heat to 275º, and put a chopped onion and a cup of water into the pan.  We let it go for 20 mins/lb., adding quartered yukon gold potatoes when it was about an hour away from being done.
When an instant-read thermometer read ca. 130-135º, for medium rare, we took the roast out and let it rest for 7 minutes, which was about as much as we could bear.

The roast carved like a dream; and we ate it all so fast, we forgot to take a picture.  Beef: it's what's for dinner.