Easter dinner from La Cucina Italiana: Squab, fried, breaded brie, kale – 16 April 2017

This was an interesting but only partially successful meal, mostly from La Cucina Italiana‘s Pasqua edition for this year (which I picked up on Wednesday, just before our dinner to discuss what to cook for Easter). We started out trying to do a beef recipe, but found ourselves unable to find the barba di frate for it. R has discovered a farm in Marin that grows it and will have it at the SF Farmers’ Market in June, so we’ll put off that recipe till then. We went to choice 2, squab with chocolate in its sauce and cooking oil (found raw organic Balinese cacao butter – SO Berkeley Bowl to have this in stock…). R, E, & D all thought the squab parts with bones (legs, wing part) were undercooked using the recipe’s method, so I didn’t even try mine. We will cook them additionally for an upcoming lunch or dinner.

The basmati rice was flavored with a bunch of stuff, boiled 5 minutes and let to stand for 10. Cooked pretty well. E molded it in our smallest red&black coffee cup – which I find is called a “simple tea bowl” by its maker, Sally Jaffee. The green things on top are un-dried green peppercorns – from a jar, as we couldn’t find fresh ones (unsurprisingly).

I made the plantain chips – with peanut oil on medium (ready when a toothpick inserted into the oil releases bubbles) and cooking the very thin slices 5 minutes, in 3 batches in our smallest-diameter (but not shortest) Revere saucepan (should have been 4 batches – large plantain, which E said was sweeter than usual – I wouldn’t know).

First course: flax-seed-breaded and fried brie with marinated red onions

E&D added more oil and cooked the “breaded” chunks of brie in it. Breading was from a defrosted slice of Acme Pain de Mie, and some dried bread crumbs from old bread ends, and flax seeds, chopped/mixed in our small Cuisnart chopper. This was really good, and we decided that the quality of the brie would matter. I bought a lower priced one b/c we were, after all, going to fry it, but the taste of the cheese was unexpectedly prominent, so use a better one next time. If there is a next time – but this was good enough that we think there might be. The red onions were marinated in red raspberry vinegar and cooked in olive oil with thyme for just a couple of minutes. They were excellent! I can also imagine putting the fried cheese over perfectly-dressed mache or spring salad mix.

I washed up two small bunches of dino kale, cut off only the very ends of the stems b/c R said no prob, sauteed some chopped onion, then added the kale in 4 or 5 batches and cooked down, added a scant cup of water and covered to simmer for half an hour. I salted, before steaming part, and then R re-salted which ended up being too much, but still edible.

R & E generously provided a bottle of mead from a mead-making demonstration they attended, which we had for apertif/cooking-wine (wine to drink while cooking). Per the above pictures, we had a CalStar rose with the cheese course and an Urbano Cellars 2009 Grenache with the squab. We had been waiting the grenache for a time when R*I could drink it, b/c when we tasted it D didn’t like it, but he enjoyed it just fine with this meal, and it really went very well. The CalStar is always great.

R tried using his GMA’s lamb cake mold, but it didn’t work out, so he ended up bringing some nice little cupcakes, of which we each had two for dessert.

And the china was MY GMA’s. 🙂


I got hat one, too 🙂

Yes, that was a tiny Christmas tree that managed to remain up till Easter… I was too busy commuting across the country to think about dealing with it, but we did take it down on Easter. D & I had the tiny candy cane (rinsed…) for a late evening treat.


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