1. Unrelated, off-topic and out-of-context, but when Alex and I came home (I was going to say stumbled up the stairs but it seems that joke isn’t funny — yet.) from our liver-pickling party on Saturday night, we found the most wonderful news in the mail, which is that we will be able to stay in our apartment another year. In fact, they’re barely raising our rent at all. Excuse me while I kiss the skylight. I’m sure most of you don’t know why it should be a Chrismukkah miracle that the hyper-trendification of west Chelsea over the last two years hasn’t priced us out to Ronkonkoma — yet — but considering the low-down, scummy process we were forced to wade through to get this place at all, I think I’ve lived in a fairly rightly-placed fear our time in this sunny apartment with the sunset view would be cut short. Just think: a whole ‘nother year for me to master those stairs. Eh. Also, my comedic timing.
2. More good things: Havalina on my iPod as I walked through Madison Square Park this afternoon. An attempt to return to the gym for the longest and most torturous 10 minutes on the recumbent bike, ever, only to realize that I had completely misread it and been on for 33, ohthankyoulawd. Picking up the delightful Donna Hay magazine for the very first time. A range of motion so rapidly improving I actually got my hair into a half-assed ponytail for the first time today. Consoling the sore shoulder that ensued, as well as falling prey to the Cyber Monday demons with some on-sale cashmere accessories. Finding a bundle of dried lanterns for less than $20 on the way home.
3. An average thing: If I weren’t your loyal one-winged NaBloYeahYeah butler right now, there would have totally been some chicken dumplings for dinner tonight. We picked them up from the Russian store in Fair Lawn this weekend along with a gorgeous assortment of in-house cured “flat meats” and “round meats,” (what I named them when I was new there and didn’t know their names; I still don’t), assorted Russian candies and even a rare packet of instant yeast. (Yup, I actually had to leave the city to find it. I’m sure you’re mighty impressed with my perseverance.) Alas, boiled dumplings would have made for a dull evening for anyone but me, so I yanked this recipe off Epicurious before leaving work today. I am here to serve.
But, I probably wouldn’t serve you this, though Alex had little choice. Oh, it’s good, I mean lardons, Russian (sense a theme here? Oh well.) fingerlings, green onions, shallots, hard-boiled eggs and a Dijon-soused vinaigrette are hard not to find tasteful, I would just find a different recipe next time. First, roasting potatoes on a pile of salt seemed pointless, and covering them with foil just made them soft. I mean, either boil them for intentionally soft skins or roast them open for intentionally crispy ones, but this? Makes no sense. Second, their instructions to peel the potatoes after roasting them for an hour on the aforementioned pile of salt. I just ignored that ridiculous step. Third, I’m not sure why we needed both shallots and green onions; I love both but not sure why just one or the other wouldn’t do. Fourth, I admit a little resentment in picking up a bundle of fresh tarragon only to need half a teaspoon of it.
I’m going to start looking for some tarragon-demanding recipes now. I’ll post the potato salad recipe, too; it’s not bad, but I’m sure we can do much better.
Fingerling Potato Salad with Sherry-Mustard Vinaigrette
Adapted from Bon Appetit, September 2006
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Sherry wine vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups coarse sea salt
2 pounds fingerling potatoes (such as Ruby Crescent or Russian Banana)
2 1/4-inch-thick slices smoked bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick strips
2 small shallots, thinly sliced
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
For vinaigrette: Combine mustard and vinegar in small bowl. Whisk in oil, then herbs. Season with sea salt and pepper.
For potatoes: Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread sea salt in even layer on rimmed baking sheet; arrange potatoes over salt, spacing slightly apart. Cover sheet with foil and bake until potatoes are tender, about 1 hour. Remove from oven, uncover, and cool to lukewarm.
Meanwhile, cook bacon in medium skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Peel potatoes; cut in half lengthwise. Place warm potatoes in medium bowl. Add bacon, shallots, eggs, onions, and vinaigrette. Toss well and serve.