I'm not a Foodie, not really. Oh, I love to cook and eat (and talk about it!), of course, but I'm way too lazy to be a real Foodie, the kind that strives for the very highest quality and most unique of food experiences. I'm much more likely to let someone else crawl the city for the perfect taco and then go check out the goods, ole! If I'm generous I could call myself a foodie (lower case). But in all honesty, I think I'm really just a Foodie Parasite, you know? Sigh. I guess I'm OK with that, if only because it's such a comfortably delicious spot to be in. As in major YUM. In fact...
...I played the happy Foodie Parasite at dinner last night, at the home of John's secretary Kris and her husband Harry. Now they are Foodies - and Harry's a wine genius to boot, so not only was the food incredible but the wine pairings were lovely. Sigh. But let me back up a bit.
First of all, they have a beautifully laid out garden of flowers and vegetables. Many delicious varieties of tomatoes as well as peppers, herbs, beets, asparagus, peas, beans. All the good stuff, much of which went into the spectacular meal they prepared for us. And I'm not exaggerating - it was spectacular. At it's core, a tomato feast, really, tomatoes three different ways. To open, a sliced-tomato salad, simple and clean with basil for garnish. Green, yellow, and red beauties, perfectly vine-ripened and bursting with flavor. Ah, but that was only the beginning. Thin strips of lightly roasted tomatoes followed, seasoned with garlic and herbs, jam-like in consistency and smeared on slabs of toast topped with...homemadericotta cheese. Oh, that cheese, I'm going to get the recipe, it was divine (Kris said it's simple; just whole milk and buttermilk). But wait! Before taking a bite, a light drizzle of honey-balsamic glaze, just a few drops...now you can eat. Sweet, creamy-crunchy, tomato heaven, yeah.
And then. After a delicious bowl of chilled asparagus vichyssoise, more glorious tomatoes, this time little red-and-gold cherry jewels, tossed with garlic, herbs, olive oil, and bread, then baked into a sublime gratin. It's a Jacques Pepin recipe so I was able to find it online, check it out here. If you're lucky enough to possess garden-ripe cherry tomatoes, then you are set for dinner tonight. It's basically a summer-perfect dish (I was even fantasizing a bit this morning about how good it would be for breakfast, alongside over-easy eggs...mmm...).
We didn't just have tomatoes, of course, although I would have been perfectly happy to, if you can't tell. Yes, Harry also grilled a gorgeous piece of salmon and skewers of chicken, mushrooms, and zucchini, glazed until crusty-crunchy-browned. Rarrr...
For dessert, cheeses and biscotti, as well as...home-roastedcoffee. Yes, they roast their own coffee beans, in their garage, using a popcorn stir-pan - they said it's super-easy, and since the results are of course incredible, I may be giving it a try. They served it with nut milk - yes, they make their own of that too, almond milk or whatever stirs their fancy. It was all so delicious and fresh I was inspired to kick my butt into all sorts of gears - grow more tomatoes, try my hand at cheese-making, as well as coffee roasting. (Check back for recipes... OK, recipes for garlicky tomato & bread gratin and homemade ricotta cheese are now posted in comments, below.)
A true foodie-feast my friends, fresh and healthy, beautifully prepared, I enjoyed it so thoroughly. What a nice start to the weekend, huh? And I'm not done, oh no. More Foodie Parasite fun tonight at Debbie & Stu the Wine Genuis', with Rudy and Ana as well - Team Napa! Let's hear it for Foodie friends! Woo hoo!
Moderate it: Kris and Harry eat a mostly vegan diet, although very kindly cooked meat and fish and served dairy for us. Given the quantity and quality of produce they grow, they could be my vegan chefs anytime!