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Excerpted : The News from Lake Dirty Dishes

May 23, 2003


The Friday before last was squid and fish night. We started with a squid

and tomato soup-stew style dish, which was followed by red snapper baked

in rock salt and green beans and saffron rice with pistachios. People

seemed happy enough with the second course, but the timing was off and I

thought everything fell 2-3 minutes on either side of being done.

Part of the timing problem was having to peel a bunch of apples and stuff

them with raisins and nutmeg and red wine so they could bake while we ate

the fish.  They were good, but if I did it again I would use port and

dates or maybe prunes. They were also really just there to serve as an

bridge (which shouldn't be interpreted as anything but a fancy way of

saying excuse) for cheese (Victor & Berthold and a Pied de Vent) and the

real dessert which were profiterolles au chocolat. The former doesn't

sound too crazy after fish but it was hard to imagine the latter.

By the time dessert rolled around, we'd lost Leguminosae and Erythronium 

leaving me and Philemon and Papaveraceae and the bottle of limoncello (the

bottle of grappa having been emptied in to the Princess's birthday

cake a few weeks earlier; I am still trying to train friends from

Montreal to drink the stuff, but meeting with little success.)

The profiterolles were the surprise of the night because the worked. I had

made them earlier in January and not really knowing what I was doing

thought they'd be good made the day and kept under wrap. They were tasty

but I was unaware that they also begin to collapse about 4 seconds after

you take them out of the oven. So this time I made them from scratch and

owing to general insecurity and the fact that I was good and liquored by

now, convinced myself that I had somehow screwed up the batter. I'd

forgotten that the batter can be fairly liquid and that they puff up in

the oven, so I baked some indelicately large profiterolles which were

tasty and puffed up right fine in the oven. It is just as well really

since no one was up for a second round of the things.

Amazingly there was still beer in the fridge at the end of the night.

Sometime in the next couple weeks, I'll do squid night again but try to

keep things simpler this time. Baked stuffed squid, with potatoes fried in

bacon fat and homemade mayonnaise (aside from the fact that it only keeps

for ~3 days and that I don't even like the stuff very much, it boggles the

mind that people buy the stuff!) Some sliced tomatoes with dill and a

light salad. I might try making ice cream the old-skool way (like the 17th

century) where you don't actually spin the container but just plunge it in

a big bucket of salt/ice for a couple hours before serving. We'll see.

Thursday was Papaveraceae's book launch and she and Philemon and I

went to the Pied du Cochon for a quick bite before the Big Event. The 

restaurant is worth the price you pay but it's not cheap and it is

busy being written up as the "place to go" in all manner of newspapers 

and magazines. I took Oenothera there for her birthday. Since then I've

wanted to go back just as they open their doors, in the evening, to

sit at the bar and have a beer and the onion soup and watch the

kitchen staff and leave before the night's rush begins in earnest.

Which is pretty much what we did, or I did anyway. Papaveraceae

decided to do more 'research' for an upcoming article and started

ordering a bunch of little things from the apperizer menu like

heart-attack in a bag (pork rinds, I think) and a plate of meats

including deer tongue (surprisingly good) and Cromiski (sp?) de foie gras.

The latter are usually talked about anytime the restaurant is reviewed.

They are die-sized cubes of foie gras that are deep fried in some magic

way that they are solid and crispy on the outside but the foie gras has

been liquified on the inside, but no so that it burns your mouth. Philemon

ordered ceviche which despite the rule against ordering fish in a

meat-place (does it count if it's a pork place?) was delicious.

I had the onion soup which was just what I wanted and a good thing because

it provided me with enough substance to soak up all the beer that was to

follow. Papaveraceae was not so fortunate but still managed to sound

chipper and friendly as she answered questions on the one of the radio 

call-in shows the next day.


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