Sunday, April 09, 2006

A Stay-Home Food Weekend

This last weekend has proven to be all about food. Yesterday morning, after a gargantuan bacon and egg breakfast, we took a gustatory pursuits. We bought some gorgeous cheeses--including a lovely danish blue packed in oil and extra creamy, mmm. We got meat for a variety of dishes we wanted to try. And then we had a great deal of fun with produce--beautiful organic carrots with the tops still on, bright red liked their name. primary colored peppers, deep green zucchini, a tightly furled couple of heads of butter lettuce, some tiny yellow yukon gold potatoes, a handful of dark, heavy criminis. They had some other interesting mushrooms too: hen of the forests, which were strange looking but I love the name.

Mr. Bump also found some local non-homogonized "cream top" milk for making cheese. He is, as I speak, making that cheese, something called Derby cheese. (Incidentally, Derby cheese comes from the region of England called Derbyshire, which is the home county of one of my favorite Jane Austen heros, Mr. Darcy.) We'll let you know how it is three months from now when it has aged enough for us to taste it.

Saturday he also experimented with making yogurt, using a greek yogurt as a starter. I'm not sure that was as much of a success, but maybe it will be better in a couple of days. It's sort of runny. Oh well. Sometimes the experiments work. Sometimes they don't.

Saturday night we took the chicken, cremini mushrooms, and the last cup of our bottle of marsala and made a quite delicious chicken marsala, even if the recipe was my own recipe/codged from several different cookbooks. It was very sweet and marsala-y and buttery. We served it on a bed of linguine. Mmm.

Sunday morning, after a quick trip to Wild Oats for blood oranges and some more milk, we went to our favorite local nursery and bought rosemary, thyme, sweet basil, italian parsely, spearmint, and greek dwarf oregano plants. We also bought pots, potting soil, and fertilizer. It is such an exercise in hope for us to invest so heavily in herbs, as we are generally known as having Black Thumbs of Death. I'm hoping that between the investment in the tidy sum of $111.00 and the dream of fresh pasta with herbs and extra virgin olive oil, with just a touch of parmesean.

Sunday afternoon I got outside (with my hat on, of course) and repotted the herbs we had bought for our windowsill garden while David turned tended his warm milk, added cultures, cut curds, etc. to make cheese. He finally got to use his cheese press, which I previously referenced in another post looks like a torture device. But it worked and we have a nice hunk of what will be cheese in 3 months air-drying on our counter currently.

We also whisked our arms of Sunday afternoon making lemon curd from this recipe, from Meyer lemons off the tree in our dear friend Elana's backyard. While I am not a big lemon curd fan, the meyer lemons have a flavor that is much more complex and floral than merely tart, and the ENTIRE STICK OF BUTTER that the recipe called for made the resulting curd creamy and rich, although I might re-think that in the future. I'm not sure it needed it and my arm about cracked off even though Mr. Bump and I took turns whisking for all we were worth.

And by Sunday evening I was pooped. I curled up on the bed with the dog stretched out beside me and a John Hughes movie playing on the tv. Does life get any better than this? If it does, I can't wait.

Here are some pictures from our weekend's food 'ventures.

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