Sunday, October 18, 2009

Two Turntables and a Microphone

Two turntables and a microphone has been my favorite composition for a weeknight dinner for seven years now. The turntables are vegetables and the microphone is the meat. There’s no real connection besides the fact that there is one item paired with two items, but it caught on, and it stuck. I end up having it for dinner at least once a week, and while I don’t always call it two turn tables and a microphone, especially when guests are around, the label almost always crosses my mind. It’s simple, it’s healthy, and it’s tasty.

This week, my friend had me over for an amazing caribou dinner. He caught and killed that caribou on his own. The treat of wild game made me nostalgic for the days when two turntables and a microphone was conceived.

Fresh out of college, I lived with a guy from Montana. His family introduced me to the expression “happiness is a full freezer.” They generously kept our freezer stocked year-round with wild game. It was mostly elk: elk steaks, elk chorizo, ground elk, elk stew meat, elk sausages. A freezer full of elk is amazing because it’s healthy, lean meat, with no antibiotics, from the freest range, and is responsibly harvested. But it’s even more amazing when you’re young, and trying to make ends meet in the Bay Area by temping in a construction trailer in south Oakland.

The original microphone was elk sausage, and turntables were usually winter squash and chard, maybe beets. Unfortunately, I don’t have a wild game hook-up anymore—this week’s caribou dinner was my first wild game feast in years. Let this serve as a standing acceptance—think of it as the opposite of a standing invitation. If you say, “Abby, want to join me on a hunting weekend? I have all the supplies and I’ll show you how to do it.”  I will respond, “Yes, I’d love to.”

But until I become a hunter, the best substitute I can come up with is responsibly farmed local meat from the farmers’ market. Today I bought some goat chops from Toboton Creek Ranch for this week’s meal. I’ll serve it with kale from Alm Hill Gardens and Chioggia beets from Willie Greens.

Two turntables and a microphone—some ideas:

Goat chops
Fresh kale salad with ricotta salada and shallot dressing
Roasted Chioggia beets

Spicy Italian pork sausage
Sautéed spinach with parmesan
Roasted acorn squash with butter, brown sugar and cayenne

Roasted chicken breast with fennel seeds, salt and red chili flakes
Radicchio salad
Green beans

Flank steak
Broccoli rabe with oil and salt
Roasted cauliflower


James B. said...

Sounds interesting. My dad keeps on giving me venison. Now I have an entire freezer full that I am trying to figure out how to cook.

monja said...

Abby, we have two turntables and a microphone all the time! Thanks for introducing the concept to us a few years ago. Just found your blog, love it!

Kathryn said...

Abby, Once again I am inspired by your photos and creativity. Two turntables and a microphone, who would think of that?

Anyway,what's for dessert?

nk said...

It's decided. I love your blog. I am introducing the carrot martini to all my parties.

pleasantcompany said...

Thanks, nk! Hope they turn out well.

kristins said...

If I would have known what you might make with it, I would have suggested shooting that caribou in Denali. Next time!