Day into night at home / 02
A dose of celebration for cooking at home!
This dinner invites you to take your time. It has a rhythm. It wants you to linger at the table. You could start with the salad or eat the salad and the soup together. Either way a warm baguette with butter is an almost necessary accompaniment.
The cheese course is the punctuation, the comma, the pause, it could easily stay on the table all night while you chat and nibble. Choose a cheese that is stinky and gooey. Pull it out of the refrigerator as you start making the cake so it will be the right temperature when it’s time to eat it, but if you buy it the day you are serving it just leave it out. My choice would be either a Harbison, which is made in Vermont or an Epoisses, which is from Burgundy. Both are super decadent. Slice the top off and it becomes its own little bowl with a puddle of cheese in the middle. Each cheese is enough for about 2 to 3 people. A simple, elegant, ripe but firm juicy pear is perfect accompaniment here. Get one pear for every two people at your table.
For dessert, a flourless chocolate cake, simple and rich. You could serve it right away or clean up a bit first. Just like cooking, cleaning is a lovely group sport. There is something so comforting when you are washing up and someone grabs a kitchen towel and starts drying (or vice versa). Either way serve the slices of cake with a little creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream if you prefer.
Just like there is a rhythm in the meal there is always a rhythm in cooking. Figuring out what to cook first based on its cooking time is part of that rhythm. For this meal start with the cake. Once the cake is in the oven, clean up a bit, then get going on the lentil soup. While that cooks, clean up a bit (again) then make the shiitake bacon, potatoes and dressing for the salad. All in all the menu will take you about 2 hours from start to table.
A note on wine: Simply, this is a meal that lends itself to be had with lots of wine. I don’t think all meals need copious amounts of wine but in my mind this meal’s prep starts with the opening of a bottle of wine. Something light and zippy that you could drink all the way to dessert. Lately I’ve been into a biodynamic Sangiovese called Berta. If they have it at your local wine shop I think it would be perfect here.
Buen provecho, Ana xx
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