Archive for category Dining at Home
As we write, we are one week into the coronovirus crisis that has shut down restaurants throughout Massachusetts and beyond. Many of our restaurant industry friends are out of work, and business owners face the heart-wrenching struggle to retool their operations literally overnight to accommodate new realities.
Generally, we did our part by stocking up, in what might say was a somewhat irresponsible fashion, on favorite restaurant experiences throughout the weekend leading up to the shutdown. Leftovers and a surprising home-cook sprint have sustained us since then.
Today, desperate for a change of pace, we picked up the phone. And placed a delivery order for Domino’s online.
So, not one of our locally owned go-tos. Not the restaurant owners who support every local cause. Not the places where we know the majority of the employees by name, the restaurant professionals we worry about the most right now.
The new Domino’s franchise in Wareham is owned by people who aren’t from around here. But they live here now, and in these difficult times, they need our support just as much as our mainstays do. They depend on our need to have someone else cook for us.
So, let us tell you about the food!
First, the atmosphere: Classic nearly-completed kitchen renovation, with a two-year-old PGA tournament replaying on the TV in lieu of live golf, and a cat hollering for attention.
The Big Dog began with the last glass of the 2013 Pietro Sartirano Barolo left over from the previous evening. We belong to the Wall Street Journal Wine Club and periodically get special bottles like this one, which Gina described as having a floral nose, and the Big Dog found unattractive. Gina opened a 2017 Domaine Martin Rasteau, a fresh blend heavy on the grenache.
Gina’s Domino’s selection was the Ultimate Pepperoni, done Brooklyn style, which features the thin crust she prefers, and we ordered it well done. The regular price for a 14-inch Ultimate is $15.99, but we had an online coupon for 50 percent off each pizza. The pizza was crunchy and spicy, and had a generous coating of cheeses as well as tomato sauce.
The Big Dog chose a make-your-own pizza, with sausage and green peppers. His “hand tossed” preparation, also well done, was a classic cheesy presentation ($14.50 regular price).
Both pizzas were delicious and hot upon arrival within a half hour of our order, excellent cold later for those of us who sometimes prefer it that way, and possibly best upon reheating. They paired well with our fancy wines and with a Bee Hoppy IPA.
We are grateful to our new neighbors for bringing us a Domino’s franchise. And we’re wishing all of us good health and financial security and an end to the pandemic that has upended our world.
The Big Dog is a big fan of kale. In our part of the world, where we’ve got a certain Portuguese influence, it’s always played a starring role in soups and stews. As people have come to recognize its health benefits, it’s gotten broader, more varied use.
But to really appreciate kale’s charms, you have to eat it raw. Toss some into a fruit smoothie for breakfast (more on those some other time). Tear the tiniest leaves into a big green salad. Steal some out of the neighboring community garden plot for a snack on the drive home. (Not that we’re endorsing community garden theft, but we know it happens.)
Or do what we do in the Dog House: pretend it’s lettuce, lettuce with nutrients and heartiness. We add it to lots of sandwiches. But with this dish, the Big Dog outdid himself.
We recently visited a restaurant — we don’t remember where — that offered burgers topped by bacon patties. Although we often order dishes just because we’re curious, we passed in this case.
But the image haunted us. Bacon! Burgers! Was it brilliant? Or did it just need one little addition… kale?
We sat in the back yard by an early spring campfire, discussing the possibilities. We sketched schematics. We analyzed cooking times and curvatures. And finally, it was time to get to work. Gina scooted to one side and made a salad while the Big Dog manned the stove.
We ground four slices of bacon in the Cuisinart and created kind of a paste. We spread it thinly over a non-stick pan to create kind of a web of bacon. Before flipping it, we added a chiffonade of basil trimmed from the kitchen window plant.
We cooked ground beef patties in a pan and sprinkled them with a seasoned salt blend before the first flip. After the seasoned side was thoroughly browned, aided by pouring the fat off the pan, we flipped again, then topped the patty with trimmed raw curly kale, then the bacon patty, then a slice of American cheese. The stack steamed in the pan for a moment, then we slid it onto a potato roll with a slice of raw tomato. We concurred that in a future iteration, the tomato would be topped by another leaf of kale.
(When we say “we,” we mean that Gina was cowering in a corner while the pans flew.)
The result was delicious. Surprisingly, the wan springtime basil dominated these strong flavors. The juicy burger and tomato slice offset the crisp kale and bacon. The lightly toasted potato roll held it together with elegance, not aggression. Accompanied by a spinach salad with a light vinaigrette, the burger made a perfect Sunday night dinner.