Three Saturdays ago, Tony made fresh coconut milk and then used the milk to cook rice with lemongrass.
Here he is draining off the coconut water, which we drank right away:
Making the coconut milk was quite a process because scraping the coconut flesh off the shell is a pain. Or so I observed. :-) Tony said he should have chopped the coconut smaller so as to extract more coconut flavor. Still, the rice was wonderfully tasty. And I tried the coconut milk by itself a couple days later and liked it just fine.
Tony also made scallops seasoned with only salt and white pepper; oyster mushrooms sautéed with thyme; and his Moroccan carrot-raisin salad. I shredded the carrots for him, at his request, so he only had to do one tedious thing in preparing dinner.
To drink, we had one of our standby whites: the 2012 Château La Rame from Bordeaux.
My local 'sNice is closing at the end of April, another victim of a greedy landlord. (The Park Slope location is still open, and there's a newish one on Sullivan Street in Soho.) One of the gals who works there said the lease was up then, and the rent the landlord requested was way too high. So my go-to bagel and muffin store will be no more.
Tony said that owners don't pay taxes on an unoccupied property, which gives them an incentive to kick out an established tenant and try to get a new one who's willing to pay more. That might be good public policy in a struggling neighborhood but not in the West Village.
I saw the other day that Sweet Melissa, the bakery in Park Slope that had fantastic almond croissants among other tasty treats and that was the genesis of the Cheap Ass Bill Hawley From the Sticks meme on this blog, closed last year. Another reason to sigh.
Last night for dinner, Tony made a delicious London broil on the grill. I think that's only the second time this year it's been warm enough and not too windy for him to cook outside.
He got the meat yesterday at Hudson & Charles, and we were really impressed with the quality. He actually said he thinks H&C has better beef than his much-loved Florence Meat Market.
Tony marinated the meat for a little while in a mustardy mixture. And he made a wonderful mushroom sauce using beef broth and criminis I'd picked up at the farmers market. Tony loves 'shrooms, and because I'm buying—and in some cases cooking—them for him, I'm rapidly getting over my aversion to them. I really enjoyed the sauce. Tony adapated the recipe from one his friend Karen gave him a while back that she got from Mackenzies Grill Room in Greenwich, Connecticut. She asked someone at the restaurant how they made the mushrooms that they put on their burgers so good and not the least bit oily. Tony tweaked Mackenzies' technique of cooking the mushrooms in a dry pan; he added sherry, beef broth, rosemary and, as a thickener, corn starch.
I made mashed rutabaga and Yukon Gold potatoes that were heavy on the rutabaga because one of my three taters was rotten inside and had to be composted. I seasoned them with French four spice mix from Penzeys and "mashed" them with my immersion blender after draining all of the water off.
I also sautéed Swiss chard with two small, chopped shallots. That simple side dish turned out very nicely.
To drink, we had a Bordeaux that neither of us could recall having bought. I thought I might have gotten it at Imperial Vintner over on Hudson Street. IV has lots of Bordeaux, from cheap to spendy. (Tony and I usually refer to the store as "the Benetton wine shop," or just "Benetton," because of the ethnically diverse group of people who work there.)
For being a recent vintage—2011—from a no-name estate that's almost spelled like a Sheldon Cooper catchphrase, this wine (50% merlot, 30% cabernet franc, and 20% cabernet sauvignon) was fantastic. It wasn't as complex or rich as the older wines from estates in Margaux that we sometimes splurge on, of course, but we enjoyed the hell out of it.
I felt even better about this wine yesterday when, on a day off from work, I went to IV and saw it on the shelf. It was on sale for $12.99, down from $15.99. At either price, it's a great bargain, so I bought another bottle.
Both of my Rex begonias made it through the winter in fine shape. I'm particularly proud of how beautiful the smaller, red-leaved one is.
The houseplant sellers at the Union Square Greenmarket were gone for weeks at a time this winter because the weather was steadily, bitterly cold, but they've been back for a little while now. Last month, I bought a prayer plant to fill in a space in the Delftware-looking container my sister gave me years ago.
My fern that I keep under my cloche isn't looking so good. I may have to abandon the idea of growing a fern under there, even if I'm giving it time out in the open air. I'm going to trim it back and see what happens.
On the day we picked up Grady, Tony made chicken in tortillas for dinner. He was going to make guacamole, but the avocado he'd bought was no good, so we put some cherry tomatoes or tomato sauce (not pictured) on them.
I made a salad with a pink lemon vinaigrette. Tony bought this (slightly) pink lemon from Fresh Direct at the same time he bought the cocktail grapefruit. The lemon cost $1.49, which Tony wouldn't let me forget.
It tasted like ... a regular old lemon.
Tony had a good line to describe the wine we had with dinner: It had "half of one note" of flavor.
We've enjoyed the red counterpart of this wine (both come in a 1-liter Tetra Pak box), but the white, made from the grillo grape, tasted like almost nothing even though it had a pretty color and a nice aroma.
For dinner on the day after we adopted Grady, I made turkey burgers with oregano and rosemary topped with sautéed onions and shiitakes, which I recently learned can be grown in the light (as opposed to portabellos, which must be grown in the dark); baked Ozette fries with sweet paprika; sautéed zucchini slivers with Tuscan Sunset seasoning; and a Finger Lakes cab franc I'd picked up at Foragers.
Tony said the burger was so tasty, it seemed like pork. The wine was good, but it wasn't worth the $41 price tag.
To start, I'd made a salad that included beet microgreens, a (green) lime vinaigrette, and fresh pomegranate seeds.
I've made several salads late this winter and early this spring with batons of raw kohlrabi on them, including one on March 25 that also featured Boston red lettuce and a Meyer lemon–lime zest vinaigrette.
For dinner that evening, we also had duck bacon and roasted taters and a grapey but still pleasurable Oregon pinot noir: the 2010 Other People's Pinot from Mouton Noir. I was down with O.P.P.
A couple days earlier, I'd made a quick apple-kohlrabi slaw with apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. It was crisp and refreshing.
The leaves at the end of that stalk had been looking like they weren't long for this world, so it wasn't a big loss. We need to get a good pair of clippers so I can snip the remaining piece of stem.
If you can stand it, here's one more photo of a salad, which we had on March 28: pea shoots with a fresh mint vinaigrette. It was yummo.
For the main, we had battered and fried ling with a lovage dipping sauce that I thought turned out very well, plus Tony's sweet potato oven fries.
And what the hell, here's a photo of the next night's delicious dinner, too: garlicky Bordeaux spinach from Bohditree farm; pork burgers that didn't taste like turkey and that I seasoned with Penzeys Bangkok spice blend, shallot and lemongrass; and steamed and roasted potatoes with chives.
The potatoes were a Peruvian variety called papa cacho.
A woman who was admiring and petting on Missy as I chose my taters told me these are good for use in soups. And she should know, because her boyfriend is Peruvian. I figured they'd turn out OK roasted since I was steaming them beforehand. (The Maine Potato Lady says to broil or roast them. The Organic Growers Research and Information-Sharing Network says broil or boil. And kudos on the wise use of the hyphen, OGRIN!)
Had I known RuPaul's Drag Race was going to feature so prominently in Part II of this post, I would have mentioned the show in the headline when I published Part I. To continue the theme, here's a fun interview with Alaska Thunderfuck, who would have snatched the crown any other season except for five, when she had to comete against my girl Jinkx Monsoon.
Cut flowers from the Greenmarket of late winter and early spring
The first tulips of winter, on March 8. It must have been rather warm in the greenhouse for the orange ones to open up so flat:
Frilly and gorgeous tulips from March 15:
Anemones from March 22:
And from this past Saturday, still more tulips. This photo doesn't do them justice: