Underthecurrent


cooking & booking
May 10, 2010, 4:29 am
Filed under: gastronomy, nomadisms, voyageur

I can actually feel how good that last layover may be, already. Imagine it. Taste it.

I’ll leave New York at 11 pm and try to sleep for most of the 13 hours. There will be a couple hours layover time before the next 11 1/2 hour leg. Finally, familiar territory. Morning coffee at a familiar chain, browsing my favorite newsstand, waiting a few hours for a short commuter flight that will take me to L.G. and the only airport that always feels like I’m coming home.

NYC is mostly a visit of convenience. It began as a one night layover waiting for shoulder season and turned into a family holiday. I’m more than content to shuttle between Broadway shows and Central Park with my parents, especially when I’ll be otherwise homeless and can crash in their conveniently located hotel room that will be much nicer than whatever budget dorm I was going to suss out. My mom is excited and planning.

For my last trip home, Canada Day Weekend, I’m going by train. My days of North American bus trips over three hours may be done. It’s been a minute since a good train trip and the idea of rolling along these fields as a sort of goodbye, for awhile, is pleasing.

All of this goes a long way towards breaking up the monotony. Being a student for so long, I’m best at four months and done by eight.

*

The lentils with bacon were outstanding. I ended up dumping the lentils into some miso onion soup I’d made yesterday for a hard, fast boil. Meanwhile, I started to fry the bacon. When it began to turn clear, I added roughly sliced carrots and more onions, cooking until the onions were clear. In retrospect, there could have been more carrots and – sacrément! – less bacon (the French inflection being in honor of the French lentils themselves and the great service done to elevate the lentil). I was working with about 100 grams to two cups of lentils and a cup of carrots and onions, maybe a third of a cup of white miso.

Anyways, when the bacon and vegetables were ready, I added them to the watered down onion soup lentil mixture and simmered the whole thing for just over an hour. All the liquid was just gone when I checked and the bacon (well, the fat mostly) made the lentils soft and delicious. It’s actually better cooled, the whole thing is the stuff of memories and was incredibly easy.

Miso and onions (fry in a little oil and then deglaze the pot bottom with water or wine) by far make the best “stock”. I’m less satisfied with the white miso than the thick dark brown stuff I’d had my hands on last summer, but the same effect is possible. The key seems to be taste testing and not adding too much or too little – mostly because it’s salty stuff. I like to get the miso mixing into the onions before deglazing but I’m not really sure it makes a difference. I’ve had a lot of carnivorous guys declare this “the best soup I’ve ever had.”

Yesterday, portabellas were ridiculously on sale, I think they must have overstocked. I had a grilled portabella panini last night (with sundried tomatos, two year Quebec cheddar, a running favorite right now for value/flavor, and olive tapenade I’m trying to use up now that I’m cream cheese free). I clearly need to work on my mushrooms, as it was edible but not satisfying. I suspect the remaining portabellas are destined for a little pasta this week as I take another run at mushrooms.

Discovered one of the groceries is stocking really good strawberry gelato tubes. It’s been surprisingly easy to let ice cream go, but the craving for something rich and frozen remains. The little bit of lemon juice make these a current favorite, followed by the cupcakes down the street with their slightly salty buttercream icing…

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