Viands

'Viands' is for those who know that preparing food can be an end in itself, not just a means of getting something to eat. It's an irregular chronicle of play in the kitchen, emphasizing two areas: Processing techniques like charcuterie, salting, smoking, and so forth, and also the creative use of leftovers. Anyone can go out and buy everything needed to make something good, but to work only with what’s found at hand is a far greater challenge and, in the end, perhaps more satisfying.

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Lunch in the Napa Valley

Business took me to the wine country on Tuesday, and with no traffic problems, I got up there about half an hour early and took the opportunity to visit the Oakville Grocery in (surprise!) Oakville. Having just made my first bresaola, I wanted to buy some there (made, as it turned out, by a company in Florida) for comparison purposes. At well over $20 a pound, I decided a few ounces would be sufficient. It was very good... different and perhaps a little better than mine. Or, maybe not. Maybe it’s just different, not better. Oddly, it was more or less rectangular in cross-section. I think that theirs lacked red wine in the marinade, which reinforces my earlier decision to use a bit less of it in my next batch.

Lunch was at Brix, just north of Yountville. With bresaola still on my mind, of course I had to have the salad which featured a slice of it as a base for greens, baby beets, and cheese. This bresaola was wide (about 4” across) and had very little flavor; I wouldn’t bother to eat it again. After that I had the duck confit salad. No, I’m actually not a big salad fan at all, despite having two for lunch; I ordered these things just to get the charcuterie that came with them! The duck confit was delicious, if a little dry, and it was another push toward making my own, something I’ve always intended to do but have never actually gotten around to it. Back in the city a couple of hours later, I stopped at a market and picked up a whole duck (head and all) as a source of parts. It’s waiting in the refrigerator now; hopefully I can work on that tonight.

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