Slice the small citrus and simmer them in a simple syrup (ratio of 1 sugar: 2 water) for ten minutes or so (the kumquats will flavor the syrup, making a nice cocktail ingredient) and you will have softened the fruits into sweet, flexible discs.
Like the kumquats, the air was sparkling as I walked back from yoga last night, and I woke to inches of snow outside my window.
I have the enviable task this morning of deciding which leftovers to heat gently from a dinner on Monday night with my friends Jean Marc and Danny, who were visiting from Miami, and my friend Solana, who has returned from a trip to Germany.
I met Jean Marc and Danny at a Slow Food Miami event last year, and I knew immediately we would be friends beyond the love we share of thoughtful food.
Knowing their culinary tour of New York included many stylish Manhattan restaurants, I decided to make what an Italian grandmother living in Brooklyn might, simmering sauce for hours until it cooked into a pork sugo that I baked with orecchiette.
I’ll reduce the wine less next for more liquid in the sauce as I make the sugo my own, although the dish still won’t photograph well—it’s about the beautiful moment where you close your eyes and really taste the pork shoulder and oregano and carrots.
For the next course, inspired by a raw salad at the recent Underground Food Collective dinner, I cut fractal cauliflower and peeled purple haze carrots, tossing the colors with oil, then a gremolata to wake the cauliflower.
We finished the Barbera d’Alba and opened a Vin Santo to toast to Danny’s birthday on Tuesday, and the candied kumquats adorned a torta della nonna (grandmother’s tart) with a ricotta filling and pine nuts and Fior de Latte gelato from Brooklyn Larder.
I rarely have dinner guests on Monday, so having Jean Marc and Danny over was an especially nice way to begin the week. Letting the dishes soak, I felt like an Italian grandmother as I cut another slice of tart late that night and peered at the kumquat rinds with beautifully large pores from the candying.
Crispy and with a scallion sauce, the pieces of roe started a mysterious night of revelations over drinks with Liza and then an underground party, where I wore a vintage Jonathan Logan and antique earrings that belonged to my grandmother.
See more of my dresses on The Serendipity of Boise blog.
The crab salad appeared again during the weekend, with pea shoots,
and on Sunday night, Solana came over before I candied the kumquats, in the middle of the sugo, and we made what I am craving again this morning: cooked ramen noodles with sliced pork, shiitakes, a poached egg, a Momofuku mother sauce of ginger and scallions
(2.5 c sliced scallions, 1/2 c minced ginger, 1/4 c neutral oil, 1 1/2 tsp usukuchi or other soy sauce, 3/4 tsp sherry vinegar, 3/4 tsp salt—let it sit for 20 minutes),
and quick homemade pickles (very thinly slice 2 Kirby cucumbers and coat with 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp salt—let sit for ten minutes).
Without noodles, I have instead a delightful dilemma of how to allay the chill of the morning: savory slow-cooked pork? Cake and kumquats? Or, as I glance up at the window,
gather snow from the steps of the fire escape,
pour a little milk, cream, vanilla, and kumquat syrup over (try maple syrup, honey, or agave nectar instead of sugar),
and stir: snow ice cream, the resolution in an embrace of this icy day…
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Posted by Kristen Taylor on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, 8:20 am * Filed in brooklyn, Entertaining, Food, Market. * Tags: Italian, kristen, kthread, taylor. Follow responses through the RSS 2.0 feed. Leave a response, or trackback from your own site.