Day into night at home / 10

A dose of celebration for cooking at home!

When I was 37 I lived in Paris for a year. It was a year filled with tiny caneles that tasted like honey from the beeswax they were baked in, baguettes smothered with butter and filled with ham, and slabs of Kouign Amann for dessert at my favorite oyster bar.   

 

I spent part of the summer that year working at a cooking school in Beaune, which is in Burgundy. Our lunches almost always had a cheese course and the Saturday market overflowed with the most gorgeous produce, cheeses, and saucisson I have ever seen. This recollection of a year of magical eating is all to say that if you were to ask me,  “Ana, what was the best thing you ate during your year abroad in France?” I would have to tell you that the best thing I ate in France was not in France at all, but just across the border.

 

My most memorable meal of that entire year was in San Sebastian— a wine braised beef cheek nestled atop chickpea puree, drizzled with a little parsley oil, and topped with grey salt. I ate it at La Cuchara de San Telmo, standing up at the bar, as one is wont to do in Spain— and I went back the next day, and the one after that, to order it again.

 

It was so delicious, so simple, and so unusual to me, because of the chickpea puree, that I had to figure out how to make it so I could have it again once home. This, I think, is a fun frame of thinking to bring into home cooking. If you can’t stop dreaming about something you ate, deconstruct the dish’s textures and flavors in your mind, then put them back together with ingredients in your kitchen. It may not look exactly the same but I bet you will enjoy it immensely nonetheless.

 

As you might have guessed this week’s main course is wine braised beef cheeks. If you can’t find beef cheeks, short ribs will work just as well, but ask your butcher first if they have them for they are meatier, richer, and more tender than any other braising meat.

 

In my version of this dish rather than making parsley oil we will revisit the caper-currant mojo from at home 01, because it’s good on all braised meats and brightens this one. The accompanying chickpea puree is an effortless showstopper that will at once taste familiar and like nothing you’ve ever tasted.

 

To start, a salad of chicories and citrus, a fabulous and classic combination made more so by hazelnuts. All the salads we have made so far are near and dear to my heart, but perhaps none more so than this one, as it is a fleeting one. Chicories are only readily available this time of year and citrus shines most in winter. If chicories are hard to come by where you are, as they are somewhat of a niche market thing, Bibb lettuce with citrus, hazelnuts and the dressing will be really tasty too. The dressing is our standby bistro dressing but with hazelnut oil.  

 

For dessert a ginger pear crisp — a warming spice and a warm dessert perfect with a little ice cream on top. Vanilla is, of course, the classic, but green tea ice cream is also lovely here and a little less unexpected. Choose your own ice cream adventure!

 

I would love to hear what dishes you still dream about years later. If you feel like sharing hit reply.

 

Buen provecho, Ana xx

 

a little technical difficulty note:

If you have trouble clicking on the recipes below try clicking on the first word. Hope to have this fixed by the next menu.

 

Here's a break down of the steps to make the menu:

(It will take you about three hours to make everything.)

  • press play on the music 

  • salt the meat leave it out for about 45 minutes.

  • chop the vegetables for the meat and set aside

  • clean up a little

  • make the crisp topping, pears, and leave the crisp ready to go in the oven

  • clean up a little

  • toast the hazelnuts, make your dressing, slice the oranges

  • brown the meat and start your braise

  • make the chickpea puree

  • when the meat is ready, make the salad

  • before you sit down to dinner bake the crisp in a 350º oven

The Menu

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