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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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Sarah’s gone off to Seattle, leaving me up to no good for a week. While it’s cool that she gets to see the west coast, I’m not real excited for losing her to a different time zone after having her in France for a week. C’est.

Last night I went over to visit with Sky, his wife, and my mother in law, and our gourmand sides came out in full color.

It all started when I showed up, and started peeling some Yucca. I know next to nothing about Yucca, except that it’s tasty when fried. So, I set about peeling yucca with our new sharp OXO vegetable peeler, which worked well. This dumped about four cups of thick stringy waxy skin into the sink, which I then began to work through the garbage disposal. This then clogged said disposal, despite my care and painstaking effort. My mother in law and I began to fuss a bit with the thing, and the next time I turned it on it sprayed sink gunk and yucca chunks all over her face and shirt. Flustered but undeterred, we then set about plunging the sink, and the plunger managed to break seal and squirt yucca and sink gunk all over her yet again. As this was getting a little unfair, she then started plunging by herself, managing to repay the favor. After several more minutes of this and some clever trickery, the thing cleared, we changed our clothes, and all was well.

So that was fun. Got us into the mood. We next had some garlic bread (done right; some sort of ciabatta that was impregnated with gobs of roasted garlic, grilled up, doused in a fragrant olive oil and dusted with salt), which is probably still giving me bad breath. Next the homemade blinis started getting cooked, which were quite good (yeast tastes better than chemical leaveners, end of story); we dressed them with a mixture of clotted cream and sour cream and that worked quite nice. By now the canola oil was up to temperature, and about 30 minutes was spent frying yucca. While we tried dusting with various things, I found just plain salt to be the best. The yucca stalks ended up with a golden crunchy exterior and a creamy interior; like thick steak fries but better. A nice treat, all in all, though I’m interested in finding a way to bake them that does not involve boiling oil, as that’s a little impractical in our apartment (it lacking ventilation in the kitchen).

After that we moved onto a cheese course, with several blues of various design from Vermont. One was a very unique gorgonzola made with a hard cheese (similar consistency to a Manchego), which was quite nice. Mixed the best of the two genres, I thought. Also of note was an Ewe’s raw milk blue, which was very rich, buttery, and fragrant.

Not content to stop with the plain cream blinis however, we next returned to these with store-bought caviar. These were pretty nice to start out, but then Sky shared some Russian sevruga he was gifted, which elevated the whole experience quite a bit. I am starting to see why people get excited about this stuff, though still am not prepared to shell out the money to play the game myself.
After this it was raclette (Swiss was far superior to French), melted over fingerlings, with cornichons, bresaola, and pearl onions, and after that there was no room for dessert.

Oh, I forgot the roasted chestnuts. Can’t forget the chestnuts. We had those too. We forgot them in the oven so they went a little long. Forgetful chesnuts, who knew? I think the open fire would make them taste better (it’s not as romantic and poetic when they’re made in a clay garlic roaster in the oven), but I’m glad I’ve now tried them.