To be perfectly honest, I haven’t cooked a real meal in two weeks. We were out of town for Brooke’s amazing wedding, and Ben has been on the road for work or out at meetings, so I’ve been eating by myself a lot. I very occasionally go all out for myself, but generally I confine solitary dinners to leftovers, Indian takeout, or a fried-egg concoction. (Incidentally, anyone intrigued by what other people eat when they are alone should check out the compilation “Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant,” titled for the essay by the same name by the late, great, Laurie Colwin.)
Anyway, a couple things I never posted over the course of the summer:
“What’s This” Cabbage and Steak, with Hazelnuts:
It was a tiny and charming head of cabbage, ruffly and slightly Napa-esque, but round and little. The leaves acted like boats when I washed them:
I planned on slaw, but when I tasted a bit of a leaf I found that it was tough, and wouldn’t be pleasant to eat raw. So I sauteed it. The flavor made me think the slightly sweet nuttiness of toasted filberts (hazelnuts) would be a good match; I tossed some on at the end and served it over rice with marinated steak.
(Mmm, cabbage. I have a variety of greens sulking in the fridge right now; I think I will make tonight the exception and really cook something for myself. I always wish I got to eat all the garlicky greens, and tonight I won’t have to share a bite!)
Another night I made aioli. I didn’t consult any recipes, so it was a little nerve-wracking. I lucked out though (and moved slowly with the oil and fast with my whisk-arm!), and it came together just fine. We ate it with blanched beans. To my surprise and heartbreak, purple beans turn green when they’re cooked!
Before cooking the beans:
And now some non-cooking food items, for your amusement. Sooooo, you know how Ben and I got married three years ago? Well, the top tier of our wedding cake never got eaten. It was a modern cake, with a large top tier, and somehow we never seemed to have enough people around to eat it near our anniversary. Three years of taking up half the freezer was enough. Tom was visiting in early August and I just….did it. Out came the cake, off came the many layers of tinfoil and saran wrap, and from the depths emerged a terrifying, sticky mess of melty fondant. AGH.
I figured I’d see what was underneath (the cake was almond poundcake, which I figured would hold up pretty well, and there was chocolate ganache under the fondant–all very sturdy). With Tom laughing hysterically in the background, I wiped off the fondant, and the ganache underneath seemed ok. It did have an unappealing glazed look (leftover fondant), but what do you expect?
After a further wipedown, I covered it and let it thaw overnight. We cut a slice.
And it was fine! Tom, despite his mocking, definitely agreed.
We fed it to many people over the next couple days, and nearly all of them approved, as well. I wonder what the uber-talented April Reed, who made the cake, would think of my long-delayed consumption? (I’m still bummed that a faulty muffler melted much of the fondant on the cake before the wedding, and then the venue people threw away the exquisite sugar flowers April made, which I had planned to keep. Oh well. Working with April was the most relaxing part of wedding planning, and great fun.)
Incidentally, Tom came down from NH for that visit bearing hilariously NH-themed gifts:
-1 jug, 1 bottle of hard cider
-Half-gallon normal cider
-Moose tenderloin (currently frozen)
-2 pounds blueberries, labeled like so:
Hey, it kept the sharers of the common fridge from eating them!