We’re very sad here at the Farm Box blog household. Yvette and The Gordo have ended the “California Experiment” and moved back to NYC. For a year they lived with us, and then for another 6 months they were in the (awesome neighborhood of) Hayes Valley. We loved having them around, and Alexis and Emma sure did too. But jobs land where jobs land and they had to do what they had to do. Though a part of me thinks that if they could have more readily found black clothes here in San Francisco, they might have stayed! Damn colourful Californians!
We had a few last meals with Yvette (The Gordo had already decamped to Brooklyn) and here’s one of them.
One of the things I made with the Farm Box veggies was some roasted cauliflower. Ho-hum, you say? I make that all the time, you say? Well, this time I jazzed it up with an idea I stole from Sara. She had made a dressing/sauce for something or other and it was so damn good that I made it myself and drizzled it on top of these roasted cauliflower florets. Take a few anchovy fillets, some chopped garlic, and a handful of capers and throw them in the mortar. Pound away, slowly adding some lemon juice, and when it’s all pounded up nice, start adding in some olive oil. Took all of about 4 minutes. And so tasty – come on, how can you go wrong with that ingredient list! And it went great on the cauliflower. Take a close look at the photo and you’ll see some bits of the sauce on there.
Then we had a couple bunches of Andy’s oh so aromatic basil, so that got whipped into a pesto to go with the …
… steamed carrots and the …
… roasted “happy” chicken (aka marin Sun Farms).
A great simple meal that took about 20-25 minutes of busy time, and about an hour total time, with the 35 non-busy minutes spent opening up wine and soaking up some of our last SF time with Yvette. We’ll miss you guys! (But then again, we’re really glad you got a two bedroom place in NYC! Let’s book some tickets, Melinda!)
Except for maybe lasagna, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an online recipe battle than I have when researching how to make bagna cauda. For some people it’s like their grandmother was attacked violently if someone suggested adding cream to it. To others, if the oil separated while making it, then it was like you stabbed them in the heart! Wow, such passion!
So what is bagna cauda. Well, it’s a dip. A garlicy, fishy-salty, oily dip that you have with parboiled and grilled veggies. The kind of thing you can have ready to go for a party, and just plunk down on a table as a first course with some charcuterie, some bread, and a bottle (or three) of wine.
Here are the veggies I prepared, all from the Farm Box. Parboiled cauliflower and carrots, and some grilled little summer squash.
This was my first time making bagna cauda, and after much research online, I decided to just let common sense prevail. How wrong can you really go when the ingredients are garlic, anchovies, olive oil, and butter?! Com’on, you’ve got to be making some serious mis-steps for that not to turn out great!
So I roughly slice up about 8 cloves of garlic, and filleted about 8 salt packed anchovies. Put it all in a pan with more olive oil than you think is needed and proceeded to cook it very gently on low heat. Then I put in a half stick of butter. Again, com’on, this is gonna taste great. Once the anchovies had pretty much dissolved and the garlic was gaining some colour, I threw it in the blender with the remainig half stick of butter and turned it on. It was still a little thick, so I added a slow drizzle of olive oil until, yup, you guessed it, it separated! So sue me! Here’s how it turned out, but the picture is hiding the fact that under that layer of oil is the most beautiful richly flavoured salty spicy garlicy goop. Heaven!
Along with the bagna cauda, I boiled up some potatoes from the Farm Box. My Danish mother will be so proud to see that I peeled them! Well, maybe she won’t be proud – she’ll just say “well, of course you peeled them! You *can’t* eat potatoes like that with their skin on!”
I also brined up some chicken wings and some thigh/leg combos for the grill. And yup, again I wasn’t perfect – look at that nice char!! Ugh. Thankfully, Melinda likes the skin burnt so she was happy!
For me, the best part of the meal was the bagna cauda. Does it get any better than bagna cauda! Wow. I’m going to be making that alot more often!