Last night's menu, all cooked from Nancy Silverton's Mozza:
arugula salad with mushrooms and Piave cheese
pan-roasted halibut with green peppercorns
roasted cippoline onions
Thoughts and lessons:
1. I didn't want to make or eat this particular salad because it calls for raw mushrooms which I don't like. But one of the boons of this blog is that by limiting myself to a single book I end up trying dishes I never otherwise would. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised. Like with this salad. Silverton instructs you "build" your salads, an instruction I had completely ignored because it seemed like a lot of work. I just tossed all the ingredients together in a big bowl on the assumption that it tastes the same. Not true! I went to the trouble of "building" these salads on individual plates and then drizzled dressing on top and they were spectacular. I haven't quite figured out why a carefully built salad is so much better than a tossed salad: is is the drizzled dressing? is it that the ingredients somehow maintain their integrity longer? I will be building more salads.
2. Piave cheese. Parmesan's friendly and affordable little brother. Not grainy or crumbly like Parmesan, but reminiscent. Never encountered before. Loved.
3. Halibut. Sigh. If we were all naturally slender and all felt morally at ease with eating mammals, would restaurants still bother with fish? Would I bother fish? I would not. I feel bad that all those fish are dying because we want to be slim, not because we love them. Sushi is different. Sushi does justice to fish. Salmon is different, too. Or maybe this is just my personal taste? Very possible.
4. I've never cooked onions as a dish in their own right and the roasted cippolines was a delectable sweet-sour preparation. However, like all Nancy Silverton's recipes, it has too many steps (boil the onions, cook the onions in sauce on the stove top, roast the onions, and so on.) and is not something I will make again. Too much work for onions.
5. While I was making dinner, my sister, Justine, brought over a jar of negronis. I enjoyed two. I have drunk so little in the last few months that I forgot that alcohol is a gateway drug. To cookies.
6. In this case, the cookies were the marshmallow cornflake chocolate chip cookies from Milk Bar, baked by Isabel. Alcohol is a gateway drug to cookies and a Milk Bar cookie is a gateway drug to another Milk Bar cookie. These cookies fall into a category that Justine and I call "too delicious. Which is to say, they contain a very potent combination of salt, sugar, and fat that makes them impossible to stop eating. On the one hand, what a fantastic cookie! On the other hand, what a disaster. As far as I can tell, Milk Bar cookies are all too delicious. Biscotti are an example of a cookie that is not too delicious. Here's the recipe. You've been warned.
7. Tonight: pasta and Meyer lemon gelato.
Happy Valentine's Day.