Friday, November 14, 2008

Wednesday Farm Supper

My father, the Frenchman with exceptional culinary prowess, recently came to pay me a visit on his way to Los Angeles. It is always nice to have his company and we usually end up sharing the majority of our time surrounded by delicious food and wine. As I have mentioned in previous posts, my father has been a major influence and inspiration on both my cooking and my sense of taste. Ever since I was old enough to safely handle a knife and work with hot pans, I have been helping him in the kitchen. I have mostly served as his sous-chef by prepping ingredients and letting him take the reigns when it comes to crafting and presenting dishes. We got a chance to cook together recently one rainy fall night for a couple of friends, Valerie and Mike. My father is a big fan of farm fresh seasonal produce, for good reason and has thankfully passed down his love of farmer’s markets. I like to think that I have also inherited his improvisational style in the kitchen that I credit to jazz notably Thelonious Monk, Coltrane, and Davis. We have spent many summers with friends at our country house in central France cooking with the bounty of the garden while listening to his massive collection of jazz albums.

His preference for seasonal organics and improvisational style were both showcased at our recent dinner. My father had bought a sack of Chinese eggplant from the Union Square farmer’s market that morning and I bought two beautifully marbled grass-fed rib eye steaks from Oppenheimer meats. My father made an Asian eggplant dish by roasting the halved eggplants with a Mirin, soy, and sesame oil glaze. He finished them with chopped cilantro and scallions. They were crispy, tender, and infused with Asian flavors, a big hit with everyone.

I simply grilled the steaks on a hot cast-iron skillet for about 5 minutes a side, searing a flavorful crust on the meat, which remained nice and pink on the inside. We had several delicious bottles of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and a side salad of arugula, olive oil, and pecorino. We ended the meal with a French cheese course featuring Mary Cantin cheeses from her boutique in Paris though I will save that story for another post. It was great to see my father and critique the many meals we had around the city most notably Soto and Market Table. We also had the chance to cook together, catch-up, and reminisce while talking about food and wine, two things we certainly have in common. As always, I encourage you to enjoy and share delicious food and home cooked meals with yourself and others!

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