Italian Dinner – October 28, 2011 – Clams in white wine sauce on Linguine with fresh sautéed Zucchini, Chanterelles, garlic greens, cipollini onions and garden greens.
Dessert – Apple Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream
Lunch - Café Istanbul.
I was out running around today, so it was easy to do some wine and food shopping. So, this is an example of a meal created on the fly from available ingredients and how I combine shopping into a busy day with a lot of running errands.
It started with a doctor’s appointment and an early lunch at Café Istanbul of Kibbeh, Greek Salad, tabbouleh, Kalamata olives and a pickle and turmeric rice ($7.95). I love
’s Kibbeh, the combination of bulgar wheat wrapped around a core of ground lamb and then baked and served thinly sliced onions and a dash of fenugreek and other spices with a small cup of Theziki to coat the dry Kibbeh with a cool yogurt sauce. After the lovely lunch I shopped a bit and bought Cardamom flavored tea (Canary 14 oz for 7.99), along with dried dates from a large box from a recent delivery and Lebanese halevah with pistachios. I believe Café Istanbul carries the widest selection of Middle Eastern products in Istanbul , including many fresh items, such as the dates. I almost bought some fresh sweet lemons, but passed because the owner was too busy to ask for a recipe for the lemons. New Mexico
Then I ran by Trader Joe’s for several bottles of its pleasant (not bitter or harsh) Cognac Claude Chatelier VS ($20.00) and Chianti and several bottles of La Granja 2010, a Spanish red blend of 50% garnacha and 50% tempranillo.
Then home for work and two appointments at home and two appointments on the run to the Courthouse to file papers and by the bank, I. stopped at Jubilation to buy their last 21 bottles of Cutler Creek Vineyards California Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio (3 for $10.00) and two more bottles of the light but pleasant Monterval Calvados ($30.99 each).
My last stop was Costco for gas, so I ran in to see if it had a fresh fish shipment. Luckily it did and I got the last bag of fresh Washington State Manila clams ($3.49 per pound - $17.10).
I took my clams home and put them in cold water and ice to revive them and put up all the wine and spirits.
Then I cut into ½ inch cubes a large fresh zucchini we had picked from the garden the day before because I already had an idea that we would cook clams with pasta and make an Italian meal, so sautéed Zucchini fit into that menu.
When Suzette arrived we discussed the meal and decided to do Clams in a white wine sauce, which is one of her best dishes, with the sautéed zucchini and decided to throw in some fresh greens from the garden. When we went out to pick the greens (Spinach and Kale), I saw that a new crop of garlic plants was already about one foot high, so I picked a handful of garlic greens and then grabbed three stalks of Italian broad leaf parsley.
I got the bottle of wine and the dessert from the basement and then watched TV and shucked clams as Suzette brought them from the kitchen. Unfortunately, Costco sells the clams in five pound bags so it took four batches in a large, covered enamel pot of the wine sauce to steam them all open (See picture).
When the clams all had opened and vegetables sautéed and linguine boiled, Suzette plated up the meal, I garnished it with fresh, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese and poured us each a glass of the Cutler Creek Pinot Grigio. We had never tried the Cutler Creek Pinot Grigio, so we were more than pleasantly surprised that it was okay (not oxidized or mildewed) with a floral bouquet and the herbaceous and slightly citrus taste and good character one associates with Pinot Grigio. We were both satisfied with the wine and felt lucky to have ten more in the basement.
The leftover clams filled a quart container. We also saved the about 1 1/2 cups of the clam cooking medium and bagged the pasta. Suzette said that with the leftover clams and stock, there was a fish soup in our near future.
About one hour after dinner Suzette had some of our new cognac and I had a cup of the new Cardamom tea with some of the Menorval Calvados Prestige and a slice of the Apple Tart baked at the Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery with some Edam’s Organic Vanilla Ice Cream ($5.99 at La Montanita Coop) for dessert. The Apple Tart had a strong but pleasant lemon flavor that complemented the fresh baked apples nicely. One of the secrets to the lemony flavor of the Apple Tart is the addition of grated lemon to the pastry dough, according to Carol Wood, Pastry Chef at the Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery.
As I savored this lovely meal, I could not help comparing my busy day spent working, shopping, picking vegetables, and cooking the fresh ingredients from out garden to those busy days of gathering the Earth’s bounty that our ancestors must have spent in preparation for Winter’s harsh arrival.