Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Dinner al Fresco

Now that the restaurant kitchen is starting to operate more smoothly post transition to a new kitchen crew, I felt like I could take off last evening to spend some time with Ann. In fact, I decided early enough in the day that Ann and I discussed options for dinner and decided that we needed to eat some of the asparagus and eggplant from the refrigerator.

I got home around 4:30 and began prepping and Ann arrived home at 5:30 just as I was finishing cleaning up the kitchen. In an hour, I sliced and blanched all the vegetables for dinner, made a pot of chicken paprikash for Ann to eat later in the week, blitzed a pint of tomato goat cheese (fresh tomatoes, salt, and goat cheese) in the food processor, and made three cups of white bean hummus.

After Ann took a shower, we went out on the patio with this bottle of Ramey Syrah and enjoyed what proved to be an exquisitely beautiful evening. I couldn't have randomly picked any better evening to be off. Or a better random bottle of wine. This Syrah is more French than Californian with an earthy nose riding on top of plum fruit with hints of black pepper. Understated and delicious and decidedly contrarian for California.

Ramey Syrah: More France Than California
At some point later in the evening (gotta love these long days!), I fired up the grill and grilled the eggplant along with the asparagus and broccoli that I had blanched earlier. I went by the farmers market in the morning and found a few things we could use for dinner: two small cucumbers, the first of the year; a small basket of greenhouse cherry tomatoes, also the first of the year; a couple handfuls of broccoli side shoots, again first of the year; and a lone bunch of radishes, about the last of the spring. These are the first new vegetables at the market in weeks!

Vegetable Platter with Two Dips
While we were waiting for the grill to heat, I heard a big crash from inside and knew instinctively what had happened. I arrived in the kitchen about two seconds later to find a shattered platter in the floor; tomato-goat cheese spread plastered all over the dishwasher, cabinets, and walls; and the brown dog happily licking up the mess from the floor. Carter and I cleaned up the mess in the kitchen while Ann hauled Grace outside for a hose bath. Dogs!

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