Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rain Rain Come to Stay

The forecast for this past weekend called for rainy skies, frigid air and blustery winds. I couldn't have been more thrilled. After a draining week I wanted to do nothing more than sleep, read and potter about the kitchen, and the inclement weather would be the perfect backdrop.

It all started off beautifully. After an early night on Friday, I melted into bed and awoke the next morning delighted to lie on the sofa with the newspaper. I eventually pried myself away for a brief jaunt to the Greenmarket where I picked up some winter squash and indulged in a cup (or possibly two) of hot apple cider.

The afternoon was a deliciously solitary one, as Paul was out riding his bicycle like a mad man in the cold. In the early evening, just as he returned, the kitchen pottering began. I grabbed an idea that I had seen the lovely Ms. Lawson execute a week or so before....pork chops with hard cider and mustard sauce. I replaced her gnocchi (I cannot abide the store bought version...I haven't come across one that doesn't taste like a lump of glue) with orrechiette and added in some sauteed cabbage as well. It was delightful fortification for what ended up being a long night.

There was a band, a concert, a party and eventually a temporarily homeless tour manager who ended up sleeping in our living room that night, and hanging out on our couch much of the following day. So the solitary loafing idea was out. No matter, needs musts, and his company was wonderful besides.

Despite entertaining the unexpected guest, I did, as I had hoped I would, get a chance to try out Yvette's Irish Tea Brack, which as it turned out, was delicious! Though one slice with a bit of fromage blanc will tide you over for an extraordinarily long time. And possibly initiate severe tooth decay simultaneously.

So my dream of watching Sunday morning political talk shows and cooking shows was not to be ...it's a bit rude to watch TV wordlessly when guests are about, no? I didn't catch up on my newspaper backlog or make any sort of significant dent in the fascinating but long book I'm reading at the moment. Plus my dreams of a clean, orderly apartment by the end of the weekend (Paul was making noises about organizing that pesky bookshelf by the bar) were dashed as well. And my veggie stash from the CSA box? No progress at all. But I did get to see the talented Mr. Kravitz at Irving Plaza that night so I suppose it was not a complete loss.

Usually when Monday rolls around I'm just in the mood to do very little. A brief collapse after work followed by an extraordinarily simple dinner and some trashy TV. But this week I had residual weekend cooking energy, I suppose because there was no Sunday dinner with friends to prepare nor a long Sunday afternoon baking project? And thus, last night my deconstructed (read: easy) swiss chard and goat cheese tart came to be.

I started with Suzanne Goin's recipe for swiss chard tart, eliminated items I didn't have and added a few I did. A layer of fromage blanc mixed with yogurt and an egg, topped by goat cheese and chard sauteed with shallots and thyme, then another layer of goat cheese, baked until bubbling, and what I ended up with was a tasty Monday night dinner.

Extreme lounging will wait I suppose. I've got all winter.


Kay said...

sounds like the perfect ending to a lovely weekend!

mise said...

It's tea brack time of year here for Halloween, though we never think to have it with fromage blanc. I'm glad yours turned out well!

The Townhouselady said...

How come you only tell us after you've eaten it all?!?!?

Next time I demand an invite!

Looked great- particularly the swiss chard tart.

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

It all looks so good. I saw Nigella making those pork chops...looked so Fall....beautiful!

And I LOVE Suzanne Goin. I would love to go to her restuarant in Los Angeles..drove by it...that's about as far as I've gotten in that department .... I'm still hopeful !

I'm feeling some gnocchi making coming on!

More later,

Laura [What I Like] said...

Kay - Yes, it was a good ending...although I would have preferred the uninterrupted Sunday I had planned!

Mise - I have to admit I'd never even heard of a tea brack before...I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome!

Townhouselady - next time, I promise

My Farmhouse Kitchen - I would die to go to her restaurant...everything I've ever made out of that book has been utterly phenomenal.

Jane said...

What is a tea brack I have never heard of it?

Laura [What I Like] said...

Jane - I hadn't either which is partially why I was excited to make it! It just was a very dense fruited bread...I suppose meant to be eaten topped with butter alongside a cup of tea? Or perhaps the tea part comes from the fact that the raisins are soaked in black tea overnight...

Terry B, Blue Kitchen said...

I don't mind when chilly, damp autumn weather rolls in. I much prefer the hearty cooking it inspires--stews, soups, roasts...

Sounds like you had a lovely if unexpected weekend, Laura.

Melly/Melody/or Mel said...

I love blustery days...they are different here in Sac than in NY..but I love em just the same. I've been making all kinds of comfort foods...and your photos look quite delish. I am not a fan of fruited bread..fruited plains yes. Thos chops look fabulous!!!!

Angie Muresan said...

I'm salivating, and dinner is hours away!!

Millie said...

What a busy weekend Laura! I think you were most gracious to give up the plans you had for yourself & the couch to a guest. I'm not sure I would have been so generous! I think that tea brack cake would be lovely served with a big smear of French butter - yum.
Millie ^_^

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