Sunday, November 06, 2011

A Fortnight Roundup

Hello, everybody! After dual bouts with autumn maladies, we have decided to implement a roundup of notable eats and occurrences from the last fortnight (and we've also decided to re-implement "fortnights" in general.) Here's what we've eaten, bedrunken, and experienced of late:

This is a pan-roasted pork loin with apple-onion glaze and roasted autumn goodness. There are parsnips, brussels sprouts, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, and a roasted pear for good measure. We've been hankering for fall food, and this fit the bill. The pork was brined for a day, which added some delectability, which I have just decided will be a word. Let it be so.

This was an interesting one, because I was going for "easy". Citarella sells whole sheets of fresh lasagna noodles, so this is simply a two sheets, stuffed with their prepared sweet potato puree and folded into four triangular ravioli. Pressing the sides with a fork finished it off. Because the puree was a little sweet, I added a salty, meaty element by frying thin slices of guanciale in a peppery butter sauce, and topped it off with pecorino romano. 

A pre-meal board full of snacks. The ham is a prosciutto cotto from Salumeria Rosi, and the cheese is Bra Duro, which Mrs. Quail has decided to call Brad Dourif. So does that make it Wormtongue cheese? (Fellow dorks would love that joke.)

Okay, these were delicious. Mrs. Quail made a variation on popovers, one with a little more interior crumb, and topped it with her own Plumpduck plum preserves. I ate this, I died, I resurrected myself as a zombie diner, I ate another. The interior is all rich eggy sponge, while the outside was crisp. Really, really spectacular.

This might even have topped the popovers. What we have here is a cinnamon-apple-walnut pie, made on a whim, and it came out just about perfect. I saw recently that Serious Eats did a feature on apple pie, and a lot of their focus was on retaining the shape of the apples within the filling, so that they looked like a slightly softer version of a raw apple. Is this a new thing? I don't want apple texture, I want that caramelized, gooey, sweet and sour filling that partially melts into the crust. And this nailed it.

And now a trio of beers. This one is a t'Smisje Dubbel, a Belgian ale brewed, as you can see in the fine print, with honey and dates. I found it a little underwhelming, and there's a subtle annoyance for me that the carbonation has those big bubbles you see. It just didn't have the magic that Belgian dubbels need.

Dame Maggie approves of this one, however. We've tasted a lot of pumpkin ales, trying to find a winner.  This won handily. Great stuff.

And here's the one that beer geeks would drool over - I found it in a hidden spot at the Whole Foods Beer Room on the Bowery. This is a Belgian strong dark ale, which means seriously strong. This one is at 10% ABV. To be honest, I liked it, but thought the alcohol was a little too present. Maybe it would've benefited from some cellaring time, but come on, I'm in New York. I don't have a cellar. The rats have a cellar, and they're not sharing. So the surprise winner of these three was not the rare Belgian, but the good ol' American pumpkin ale. Who'd a thunk it?

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