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Mark and Kerri's Excellent Adventure
We spent a couple days together winging it in the kitchen
Mark: Kerri used to come to visit all the time. Then Covid. Now she’s back. After a great meeting at our publisher’s office, we headed up to Glynwood for a few days of cooking and chilling. It’s always so great to have her here because while we’re cooking we’re talking (and, yes, drinking, at least after 5 p.m.), and the ideas flow freely.
Kerri: Here’s Mark assembling the first of two full-blown dinners — farro pasta with a sauce of crisped pork bits and super soft mixed mostly fall green vegetables. (Note how Mark stores his knives!)
M: Yes: dangerously. That’s going to get fixed. The pork, by the way, was the last of a couple of pounds of meat I got from slow-roasting a pig’s head a month or two ago. I picked off the meat, froze it in batches, and cooked it with pasta and with rice, once or twice each, telling people the truth, such as “fried rice with pork.” That’s how you get them to eat pig’s head. Of course, they all loved it.
K: Funny story about the sauce. We totally cleaned out the fridge and threw a bunch of fresh vegetables into the pressure cooker. All were from Glynwood Farm's CSA box: assorted fall greens, cabbage, carrots, onion, garlic, and some leftover undressed tossed salad. At the last minute, we added a handful of dried mixed Pacific Northwest mushrooms I brought from my pantry. We added a couple inches of water to help everything cook up silky and make a sauce. It cooked for 30 minutes or so, then we let the pot cool and release pressure naturally. Only for some reason, the mushrooms didn't get very tender.
M: That was weird. But Kerri fished them out and chopped them up, and we added them to the pan with the pork to crisp up. Which worked, of course.
K: After considerable back and forth we decided the pork was rich enough to skip the cheese, but I got all fancy and picked some parsley pollen for the garnish.
M: Insane. First, she goes outside and comes back with parsley flowers. Then she starts sifting them! This is something I would never have patience for. Needless to say, they were fragrant as can be.
K: We have been baking everything we can think of based on natural starters for years. (Hence Bittman Bread.) So we had to do some together. Here's the first of two savory pancake spins inspired by our work. This was Mark’s whole wheat starter combined with home-ground rye (Mark has a Mockmill), flax and caraway seeds, salt, and water. Baked in a traditional socca pan in a thin film of peanut oil. A-MAZING.
M: Really it was better than the socca I’d had a few weeks before in Nice.
K: The next day Mark ground short-grain brown rice for a scallion pancake, baked in a beautiful comal made by Made In and Masienda. (It’s not a socca pan but it’s actually better than most so-called socca pans for this job.) It was so different from the rye — crisper and thinner. (We wished we’d used more onions and salt. But still really good.)
M: Kinda wish we’d had some kimchi so we could’ve used that. (There's a kimchi-brown rice flour variation in the book that Kerri makes a lot.)
K: For breakfast the next day, I took the last of Mark's rye-flax loaf and the leftover rye pancake, tore it all into chunks, and simmered it with enough water to make porridge.
M: Incredible. You cannot believe how good you can make stale bread until you try this. We added a little butter and salt, and (as you can see), some chili sauce and scallions.
M: At this point, I was in love with brown rice flour. (Plus I had to use it up!) I’d been playing with this induction burner and was just so impressed with the precision you can get. For frying (these are chicken thighs, in case you can’t tell) it is really superior.
K: On the side, we had this salad with more Glynwood goodies — tender greens, baked beets, and “killed” shallots. (That’s what we call it when you tame the harshness of any raw sliced or chopped allium by soaking the pieces in salted cold water for 30 minutes or so. Only I forgot the salt, so they were still pretty strong). All tossed with Mark's signature vinaigrette.
M: Well, really, the standard Roman dressing: oil, lemon or vinegar, garlic, anchovies. There were also seared sweet potatoes with parsley leaves but for some reason, they missed the photo op.
Here’s us, walking out the door to the train station: a great visit of two goofballs. See you next time.
Until then, here are some links from the recipe archive to inspire some seasonal cooking—and for those of you with a starter, we’re including the recipe for the Bittman Bread Savory Pancakes with the kimchi variation.
Pasta with Potatoes
Also great with sweet potatoes, parsnips, celery root, or carrots.
Penne with Pumpkin or Squash
Use any winter squash here.
You can also fill the stuffed pasta with leftover cooked vegetables, with or without the cheese filling.
Use any raw or simply cooked vegetables you’ve got handy, and consider adding apples or pears.
Winter Citrus Salad with Honey Dressing
Toss with chopped winter greens if you’ve got ‘em.
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