Sky darkens quickly as Irene approaches
It’s been an odd couple of weeks.
I feel the earth move . . .
First there was that weird earthquake in Virginia that could be felt all the way here in Boston. I was sitting in my chair staring intently at my computer when all of a sudden I started to get dizzy.
I hastily took massive gulps of ice cold water, thinking “there’s gotta be something wrong with my head.” (I’m a hypochondriac in that way)
After about 5 seconds, the dizziness stopped. Moments later, loud utterances of the word “5.8 earthquake!” erupted in the hallway, all of a sudden clarifying everything.
Then there was Irene
Less than a week later, a new natural disaster decided to pay us a visit. First the governor declared a state of emergency. Then the MBTA, our public transportation system, decided to close completely on Sunday. Even church services were canceled.
So what did we do this weekend?
We had family time.
Really, really nice family time.
I invited my mom (who’s in town to help my sister with the new baby), my sister, my brother-in-law, and (of course), their new baby, along with a few friends to enjoy a crazy ambitious home-cooked Italian feast.
We began with some house cured gravlax which I had made from Copper River Sockeye salmon from Costco (only $5.99/lb – fabulous deal for such amazing fish!). I love this Thomas Keller recipe – as long as you start with really high quality fish, the end result is addictively delicious.
I love pairing the salty gravlax with a mild creamy cheese (I used farm cheese last time and marscapone this time). We had it with these hazelnut and cranberry “raincoast crisps”, just like last time.
Next, we had a lovely Insalata Caprese salad (tomato, basil, and mozzarella), with a twist! We swapped out normal mozzarella with burrata, a decadent, cream-filled mozzarella that I just absolutely love. Nothing beats farm-fresh tomatoes, creamy burrata, and chopped basil leaves tossed with extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.
While hanging out in the North End (Boston’s Italian district) last weekend, we found a little market selling whole black truffles. That black truffle was the inspiration behind our next dish: homemade fettuccine tossed with a Parmesan / olive oil sauce and topped with shaved, black truffles.
We followed that with another pasta course of homemade fettuccine (from Capone’s in North Cambridge) with artichokes, olives, tomatoes, and salmon.
I can’t really take credit for this entree. My food-loving friends Peter & Chia Chi came over and cooked right in my kitchen. I love simple dishes like this, where classic Mediterranean components like garlic, artichokes, olives, and tomatoes come together so synergistically to create a perfect melange of summer flavors.
It was absolute delicious and paired perfectly with the lightly seared Copper River sockeye salmon pieces.
Finally for our main coure we had pork osso bucco topped with gremolata over saffron rice. I typically make this dish with veal. However, I was unable to find veal on such short notice so I substituted with pork shank instead. The flavors are fantastic with pork, although I may try to use a more tender cut of meat next time. Some parts were a bit tough and could have used either a longer cooking time (I stewed for 3 hours) or some sort of tenderizing.
The Whole Italian Feast
It was seriously a crazy feast. All we did that day was chill, eat, hang with family, and watch the heavy downpour outside our windows. It was a quiet reminder of how small and powerless we really are in this world.
Hope the rest of you fared OK during the storm.
Though we were inconvenienced, I am thankful that the day turned out to be rather uneventful.
In some ways, crazy weather like this forces us all to slow down, ignore the crazy activities that usually dominates our lives, and just . . . chill, reflect, and relax.
It’s refreshing in a lot of ways, and I enjoy the forced break once in awhile (another reason why I love snowstorms).
Alas . . . back to our regularly scheduled, busy lives.
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