Sunday, March 02, 2008

dickens-fest 2008

was a rousing success (and didn't require all that much kitchen-time, all things considered). the goose was ENORMOUS and compared to the last time i wrestled with a goose (summer 2007), which i now realized i egregiously overcooked, this one was juicy with just a touch of pink near the bone, encased in a mile of crackling, crisp, salty skin, sheathed in a little suit of molten, golden, sweet, goose fat. it's almost enough to make me want to reverse the hands of time so that i can go back to last night and experience it all over again. goose is > turkey. there is no longer any question in my mind. we were hungrily tearing strips of dripping meat off the carcass in a primordial, medieval frenzy, our faces coated in a sheen of fat (which insulated us nicely when we staggered out of the house in an attempt to rustle ourselves from a goose-fat induced torpor for a fruitless mission to rent highlander from blockbuster). the thing with goose is, it's ALL DARK MEAT. luscious, sinewy, chewy, flavour-packed dark meat. the satiation levels were extremely high in the house of plenty last night, and we went back for repeated portions. we also scored strips of the skin and fried it. the results were different. the less winning samples were basically goose jerky or crisp goose bacon, but the ones that exhibited the effect that we were after (properly seasoned, salty strips of crisp skin with a molten layer of lubricating fat bursting forth with every bite) were absolutely transcendent.

it was well matched by the sides. a silky puree of cauliflower (that i'm willing to concede was a touch too watery) and an ad-hoc rescue of a previous refrigerator blitz that yielded half of a well-worn cabbage. we cooked up some lardons, sweated a julienned red onion in the fat, then added the shredded cabbage and some chicken stock i had made yesterday and let it braise away. then near the end we added some cubes of tart green apple (peeled) and let it finish cooking until the apples were just tender. finally, we finished off with puffy-chewy profiteroles, sandwiching a scoop of vanilla-bean ice cream (not made by me, unfortunately) and crowned with rivulets of my whiskey toffee sauce.

THIS is what michael pollan is talking about. it's not about everyone becoming a vegan. it's about reducing your meat intake (the roomie has a sensible should be a reflection of the amount of meat that you could have hunted yourself, way back when) reducing your meat intake (i know the previous orgiastic description of last night's feast would seem counterintuitive to what i'm espousing in this paragraph, but wait until you hear what i'm making for dinner tonight), and sitting down to a MEAL that YOU cooked with people you love. eating is about pleasure and history and culture coming together through a shared, elemental practice. there are few things i love more than the convivial company of the dinner table, and of feeding the people that i love and letting the lugubrious qualities of good food and shared sentiments work their magic and create memorable evenings.

i'm very, very lucky in the sense that these evenings and outings happen so often for me, that by virtue of their constancy, it's hard to highlight or pluck one particular evening from the list of good nights. they all coalesce and become one long, contented, hazy memory of good times gone by and permeate the ether around my coterie with the expectation of fun, laughing and sensory deliciousness. it's a good place to be in.

today is the day of industrious application to my studies that i should have had yesterday. i'm going to try to finish two assignments today, before dodgeball. tonight we're having a broccoli, red pepper, asian eggplant, tofu, and mushroom spicy black bean stirfry, on top of a crispy noodle pancake. and maybe for a post-day-of-academic-fortitude treat, we'll eat some more profiteroles and watch season 2 of the wire.


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