Sunday, March 16, 2008

Brandade (Page 18)

  • Date: Sunday, March 9, 2008 -- 8pm
  • Location: Somerville, MA
  • Kitchen: Matty's Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Dining Companions: Ricky, Matt, Ana, Craig, Alex, Peter, and Grace
  • Recipe Rating: B+

This recipe was part of my Eat-Seafood-While-in-Boston plan, but in retrospect, that choice was rather illogical. The seafood in question here is salt cod, which is sufficiently preserved that I could easily transport it back to Bloomington from Boston (or, potentially, even buy it in Bloomington). This was my first ever experience cooking with salt cod though, so I just didn't realize quite how preserved it is. I have to admit, I was skeptical. Any recipe involving fish and an electric mixer scares me a bit. I had a bad fish mousse experience in culinary school (long story) and ever since I have veered away from whipped fish. In this case though, it really wasn't bad at all. The idea: salt cod that had been soaked for a couple days was beaten together with boiled potatoes, and a pureed garlic and cream mixture that was infused with some other spices. I am a huge mashed potato fan, so if this recipe had advertised itself a bit more as fishy mashed potatoes, I might have been more excited from the get-go. We spread this on some toasted baguette, and it was pretty good. There was a lot of flavor to it -- the garlic and salt cod balanced each other nicely, and the potatoes made a good base, both in terms of texture and flavor. I wavered on the grading of this one: do I give it an A-? Do I give it a B+? People at the party last Sunday generally liked it. The distinction between A- and B+ is my grading scale is whether I would make it for company. I'm not sure I ever would (aside from the 8 guinea pigs I made it for last weekend!), but perhaps that just reflects a personal bias against whipped fish -- I'm not sure. Overall, it was good. If whipped fish doesn't scare you, go for it!

Here is the recipe, except the one in The Book doesn't include the poppyseed crackers.

My special gentleman friend planned a surprise mini-break to New Hampshire this weekend. It was great fun! We stayed at a wonderful little bed and breakfast housed in a beautifully restored Victorian home. It was in a small little New Hampshire town, surrounded by mountains and it was just beautiful. They have gotten a ton of snow up there so everything was wonderfully white (which is not true right now in either Boston or Bloomington).

Today we went snow-shoeing for the first time. We both love to hike and love the snow, so it was no surprise really that snow-shoeing went over well with us. We wandered around a state forest in our snow shoes. At some point we went through a beautiful clearing, where the snow must have been at least three feet deep, and the only tracks besides ours were those of a rabbit. It was really nice. To add a little adventure we also went both up and down some inclines so steep there was no way we could have done it without the snow to dig into. At some points it wasn't clear to me that we could do it even with the snow, but I am happy to say that I didn't land on my butt or my face even once!

We're back in Boston now, and tomorrow it is off to Bloomington for me so I can teach on Tuesday. Spring break has officially come to an end!

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