pot au feu

pot au feu
moppel kotze
irish stew
rags and fleas
once around the kitchen
on the back burner

what ever. the stuff got us through the move. i know, i know, the french have a special thing for pot-au-feu, i do too, but as they say, the devil eats flies when he’s hungry.
day one.
so, i started out with a pork roast, sliced thin and layered in a sandwich for stephanie’s trip. once she was out of the house i cut the thing into cubes, added some broth and, looking in the fridge, took those elderly vegetables loafing about in the crisper. i found gigante beans lounging on a backshelf next to roast onions under tin foil cover. we always have garlic. always. two cloves, grated, raw. some olive oil. a little fiery some-sauce-or-the-other. from a bottle, i forget the name. oh, yes, croutons, from a day old baguette, done up in olive oil. i didn’t mention butter. never forget the butter. never.
day two.
couldn’t eat the whole thing, no way, that is where the back burner comes in. warms the stew for breakfast. off to haul books from the old place. lunch. lots and lots of slivered cipollini, much grated parmesan (buongiorno, parmense), and yes, the by now two day old baguette, like in a french onion soup. back to books. it got dark round about five. books on the various shelves. hungry. canned black beans. well drained, washed off the gook. found the tail end of a fabulous salami. hiding behind a nest of jars, cans and cartons. must organize the icebox. cut the sausage bite size. a half jar of the best tomato jam turned up in the nest. two sheets of fresh pasta, still fresh, cut to resemble fettucine. more broth. may be too much salt (if you're in love you add too much salt), some pepper, some fennel seed, a sprig of rosemary (way too piney, soon removed) heated for dinner.
day three.
wide awake at midnight. stew still warm, went well with a barbara d’alba 08, of which we own what’s left of a case. gerolsteiner to quench thirst (too much salt in my mulligan)
a small snooze, the guinea hens woke me early, somewhat sober with a slight headache. no real hangover though. made tea. smoky tea. lapsang. improved the taste of the rags. if not the fleas. back to the books. never knew we owned such a library. much ulysses. in its variants and quite a bit of alice munro, a favorite. tried to keep things arranged. sequential. nabokov next to gogol. de lillo in a new section. never read him. went to the hardware for light bulbs and screws. on my way i bought crisp, plump baby bokchoi, a head of cauliflower, cremini, lovely bright orange squash, a lemon, the tiniest tangerines i’ve ever seen. oh, and a piece of fresh, not previously frozen, pink coho salmon. my stew would do a pacific. just to let you know how very versatile a back burner can be. all, excepting the citrus, went into the pot. cut up or quartered, chopped and sliced, pre-roasted (cauliflower), more broth added. it was lunch, pointing to dinner. the fish, quite like sashimi, floated the brew. previous flavors (remember the salami) melded smoky, if on the slow. added dried tarragon. no salt though, a little soy to embrace the pacific.

this morning the pot smiled. i found ramps growing wild up the hill, they’re also called yard onions, or out here, aka, young garlic. well, i’ve lived ‘cross from jersey and a ramp ain’t no garlic, young or otherwise. lemmetellya. a ramp’s much milder, more green, gently ruffian, like i said, a jersey thing. chopped and into the pot. not even cooked. just drifting alongside the fish. had to take a rest after breakfast. stephanie’s gone till late on sunday. this is a bright sunny day. number four. don’t know yet what goes into the pot tonight. you’ll have to wait and see. nothing remarkable left in the icebox. time to do some serious foodling. can’t rightly have the fridge empty, or the pot yawning, can i?