August 1, 2008
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Cooking In Advance

What I Planned

Michael Ruhlman’s original Skills Instructor from his wonderful book, Making of a Chef, came to visit recently, and naturally Ruhlman blogs the meal, beginning with a photograph of the prep sheet. They made lots of intensely great and difficult things. I'm hoping to take it relatively easy for this week’s dinner, and getting some of the work done in advance might help too.

I'm trying to work out what to make, based mostly on what the Farm School sent us this week. And even they don’t always know where the ball is going to go: apparently, they really liked the Italian radicchio they meant to send us this week, but so did the local deer. And so, no radicchio for us. What we do have is summer squash, and since I've already been ratatouilled out for the week, a vegetable terrine seems in order.

So the plan is

Of course, no plan survives contact with the enemy.

What actually happened

The tomatoes, brought by a guest, were great. The day was hot, the tomatoes were cool, the porch had a breeze.,

The duck, a play on using the entire bird, was a hit.

The grilled vegetable terrine looked nice, stood up to slicing (phew!), and tasted fine. Ruhlman’s Basic Cream #2 was tasty; next time, I might thicken the cream a bit more.

I did the swordfish in skewers, with lentils (substituting some smoked leftover scraps of smoky lamb for the ham), sauced with Pasquale’s cilantro cumin crema and Sally Schneider’s balsamic red peppers.

I stuffed the fresh figs with little dollops of St. Augur, a creamy bleu, and grilled them ever-so-slightly, really just enough to heat them. Very tasy.

Dessert was going to be ice cream and Inside of a Blueberry Pie, but the ice cream didn’t happen. But we had some ripe peaches, which I roasted (with a little sugar, a but of lime juice, a bit of butter) in a very slow over for about 2 ½ hours. Many scraping spoons were heard.