Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Some Assembly Required

It’s been a busy week—month, actually. And as a reward, we spent the weekend at these amazing little cabins in Mazama, WA. They’re situated in a way that make you feel like you have your own set of mountains to look at, specially lighted and framed with aspens for your viewing pleasure. The cabins are little with just enough space. And that space does not include a kitchen. All this means that not a lot of cooking happened for me this week.
But it doesn’t mean that we didn’t eat well. 
I love the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks. Ina Garten’s recipes are not exotic, or overly creative, but they are tasty and consistent. Every recipe I have tried from her books has come out well. One of my favorite Barefoot Contessa gems is a section in the back of her first book called “Assembling for Parties.” She raises the art of food assembly—or pairings—to a new level, and highlights the fact that picking and matching foods is an important step down the path of being a good “cook.”

I ate a lot of well assembled food last week.

Below is a list of some of my favorite pairings, with an autumn slant. If coffee and cream were considered a pairing, it would be on the top of my list, but I think that’s cheating. And I’ll admit that for a few minutes this weekend I swore that yogurt pretzels and champagne was a great combination, but I think I was a little too into the cabin getaway idea, or maybe the champagne. It’s actually kind of gross.

Fall Assemblies
  • Radishes with sea salt and pepper, sliced landjaeger, castelvetrano olives
  • Dubliner cheese and apples
  • Smoked almonds and pumpkin beer
  • Potato chips, oil cured olives, cornichons
  • Pickled carrots, smoked black cod, seedy crackers
  • Endive, gorgonzola, toasted walnuts (this one’s from Ina)

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