Mon mari tends to take the fun out of being a traveling food blogger.
He’s quite patient at home, waiting while I take a few hundred photos of a crumb of bread: arranging and rearranging; posing and reposing; adjusting the lights and the props.
And he did ask me, very nicely, to please not embarrass him by doing the same at restaurants.
Considering that the lighting in restaurants is not, usually, conducive to good pictures, and that the head waiter is, usually, surveying all with a sharp eye, I suggested a compromise.
After much negotiation we agreed that on one evening only, I could take one photo only of each course; provided that the camera never moved more than 3 inches above the table or away from my body.
Here they are:
The evening before our amuse bouche was all in shades of green. This one is variations on orange. Left to right is a crab mousse with flecks of carrot, winter squash soup, and parsnip pudding with pumpkin sauce.
Each one was no more than 2 bites – well, with that tiny, little spoon (that matches the tiny little soup bowl), the soup was 4. It’s hard to tell but the spoon is about the size of my thumbnail.
This was the second time I had and you can see I couldn’t be bothered to take the photo before tucking in.
It was good.
It’s very simple to pan-sear foie gras at home. If you are interested in trying I give detailed instructions on my Foie Gras recipe along with my best guess for the spinach salad. I’m going to make if for Christmas….I might even share.
Next came this juicy venison tenderloin. It was accompanied by a creamy parsnip puree, woodsy sautéed forest mushrooms, slightly ‘al dente’ shredded broccoli, sweet sautéed apple wedges and ‘frites’: potatoes fried in goose fat.
Yeah, I ate it all.
But this was our third night out and, in the interest of being able to toddle up to our room unaided, I’m ashamed to admit that I skipped the cheese.
I’m even more embarrassed to admit that I ‘just said no’ to dessert.
We did have coffee, though. Our waiter, obviously thinking that we had made a very poor effort, brought us the ‘pre-dessert’ anyway: a small creme brulee.
And, of course, with the coffee came 2 small plates of sweet biscuits and one of chocolate truffles. I mean, we wouldn’t want to go to bed hungry, now, would we?
But is was so, so very, good!
Back to reality. But a reality still filled with wonderful food.
During this hectic holiday season it’s always nice to have an easy, warm, comforting pasta dish.
Or anytime. The savvy Ruth of Once Upon A Feast knew that when she started Presto Pasta Nights, over 10 months ago.
Apparently the blogosphere agrees because it is still going strong. Visit her blog on Friday for the recap of pasta from around the world and some new ideas for eating this season.
When I was growing up, in God’s country, the back of beyond, miles from nowhere, out in the tullies, in the sticks (you get the picture) there were community dinners. We called them ‘feeds’ (before RSS).
In spring there was the Rod & Gun Club Smelt Feed. Still is, come to think of it. It was unique because “the Men” did the cooking.
In early winter, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there was the Lutheran church Lutefisk Feed. (Did I mention that I was the only Catholic in Luther League?)
We always went to both.
My father was Norwegian. (My mother was German – and I have no idea…)
I still have a cousin living on the family farm in Norway.
He loved lefse, we all did.
He was, also, the type of person that ate anything put in front of him; then thanked the cook and said it was delicious.
Even he drew the line at Lutefisk.
To get actual real people to come to the Lutefisk Feeds the good ladies of the church also made huge vats of Swedish Meatballs! Now we’re talking!
They served them with…lefse, dumplings or egg noodles. I serve them with any small pasta.
8 oz ground beef (250gr mince)
1 small onion
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
2 tsp dried dill weed
1 1/2 cups (12oz, 375ml) chicken stock
1/2 cup (4oz, 125ml) Greek or plain yogurt
1 1/2 tbs cornstarch (corn flour, maizena) dissolved in 2 tbs chicken stock
1 1/2 cups small pasta
1 tbs butter
Put water on high heat for pasta. Mince onion. In medium bowl combine onion, half of the dill, the egg, breadcrumbs and beef. Mix well and form into small meatballs, about 1″ (2.5cm) in diameter. In a medium skillet with lid heat the chicken stock. When simmering add the meatballs, being careful that they don’t touch. Cover and continue to simmer until done, stirring and turning the meatballs once or twice, about 15 minutes. Cook noodles. Dissolve cornstarch in chicken stock. When meatballs are done add the dill to the stock and move the meatballs to the sides of the pan. Turn up the heat a bit and add the cornstarch mixture, stirring until thickened and clear. Drain noodles and toss with butter. Remove meatballs from heat and stir in the yogurt, mixing well. Serve, meatballs on top of or next to the pasta. Sprinkle with a bit more dill…
Still over a week left to bear your foodie soul. Search your closet/pantry for skeletons. Remember, confession is good. It can, but doesn’t have to, be an actual recipe. It could just be the description of the, um, food or a story of the, um, event; holiday related or not….
Really, any dirty little secret you feel like sharing! You have until Christmas to post – the round-up will be just before Dec. 31. The usual rules: post, link to me, send me an e-mail with permalink. Click for details!
Come on, tell! Share the pain…you’ll feel better! And so will we!