Saturday, October 17, 2009

first time for everything

When I get an idea in my head, I have to have it. It is hard to shake: even after several unsuccessful market and grocer stops, i remain non-plussed, determined to make whatever i want to make, happen--and unable to choose something else for simplicity, time, and hungers sake. Stubborn is perhaps a more acurate term than determined.
Such ideas often stem from a desire for a favorite dish, and inevitably a craving during the wrong season. Tomatoey fish stew in the middle of winter, for one, when there is not a real tomato in sight let alone any colored vegetable. Or minted artichoke risotto, just days after the last of my herbs succumbed to the frost, and artichokes come from my cupboard not the ground. Apricots, just fresh, in spring and fall, before or after their season of bounty. More likely though, the idea is inspired by something I have yet to try, be it a cookery method, dish, or even ingredient.
Take, for example, the trout of two days ago. I have wanted rainbow trout since the weather turned cold and the halibut supplies dwindled. Time for something new and from a lake. Time for a fish that I could bake whole, just for me. Time to waste alot of time searching, four, yes four, grocery stores before finding the little guys (dont I live by at least three lakes that they swim in for heavens sake...). Finally though, I found them, and by ten oclock that night I was eating the whole swimmer, roasted in the oven just as I envisioned, recalling childhood fishing trips complete with hooking my own hand and the ce, my stepfathers claim to fishing success-- cheese, my stepfathers claim to fishing success--though, mind you, no true recollection of actually catching and eating a trout, and feeling much more successful this time at my own table.
Not having a taste memory, I wanted this fish as pure as possible, so I roasted it with a few slices of lemon and some parsely (safe), and topped with a little sherry butter to crisp the skin under the broiler. Devine. This is the approach I usually take when I search endlessly for a new something: prepare as unadulterated as possible to taste purely what I was so hungry for.
Tonight, or rather today, was all about quince. I have never tried the apple-ish fruit, but have waited to find its deformed and ugly yellowy-green self at markets or my apple place, having read and heard about it plenty. So when it appeared today in a soup prepared for the chefs association annual fundraiser at the market, I had to get me some once and for all.
And now I am waiting, as the anticipated quince roasts with a little honey and some wine in the toaster oven...

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I burnt it! ha! oh, it gets better, or rather, it got worse. Because before the charring, I have boiled slices of peeled quince because of having read of its long roasting time. Mush. I roasted that anyways, in a seperate dish of un-mushy peeled and sliced quince, both drizzled with honey, the latter with the wine (the first certainly did not need more liquid). Then into the oven, 375, for about ten minutes too long. Ah, cest la vie--just another day of finally eating what the day has been spent searching for: not perfect, slightly humorous, and generally successful for at least now I have tried quince, what the day was intended for. And, blackened bits removed, it was quite delightful, surprisingly zingy, and the new possibilities are, it was a great excuse of a dessert to top with a shwonk load of whip cream.

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