Family Dinner & a Bucket of Destiny
Last weekend I woke up too early. I had not slept well the night before, and I had to go to an event for work in the morning. I was thoroughly sleep deprived by the time I got home, but wanted to go to a farmer’s market and get produce to make something tasty later.
In my slap happy, clouded state I spotted bread at the market in Columbia Heights. I stood in a stupor before my choices, and picked out a lemon rosemary loaf. Next I bought cherry tomatoes and talked about the prospect of a long-ish tomato season with the farmer selling them. Around I went to the other side of the square, and that is when I saw it: a 5 gallon bucket full of “seconds” (tomatoes deemed too imperfect to sell at full price). This bucket cost only 10 dollars, and I immediately snapped it up. There was a man standing near me commented on my bravery to commit to such a purchase, admitting he was considering it. He was enamored of Mark Bittman’s recipe for roasted tomato soup, and thought he could stand to whip up a mass quantity of the stuff to freeze. We both took the plunge. I grabbed the Kabocha squash I had been planning to buy, and commiserated with the seller about how it is the best variety of squash. I had to get out of there before I got too many more heavy vegetables.
After an arduous trip to the Giant across the way (anyone who knows this store should avoid it at all cost during weekends/evening hours), I trekked home and began roasting everything. Tossed the squash, cauliflower, and some of the tomatoes in olive oil, some salt and pepper. Put them in the oven at 450 and babysat them for however long it took for them to look done.
After a while, I met up with David and his mom at his place. It was my first time meeting her! I love to get to know peoples’ families, so I was pretty excited. We had a great time–talked about dancing, books, life, cooking, and baking; you know, the important stuff. David decided we were going to make miso-mirin-sake glazed fish with a reduction made from the marinating liquid. It was delicious.
The thing is about family dinners is that sometimes you get so wrapped up in the whole experience, the details fall through the cracks. Instead of carefully photographing a composed plating, I took a blurry shot of what I would call my adopted family. I care a whole lot about all the people in this photo, and it was a blessing to share a meal with them all together. I could not ask to be surrounded by more encouraging, kind, intelligent people.
Sunday was tomato day. David had already decided to make eggs in purgatory even before the bucket came into the picture; it was fate. Also, when I arrived to my house to retrieve the tomatoes, a box was waiting for me. Our friend Mischa in Chicago sent me an apron for my birthday! It was exactly what I needed for making sauce.
I roasted some of the tomatoes, and stewed the rest on the stove. First, we chopped up onion and carrot to saute before adding in the tomatoes. At the end, I added some basil and a few splashes of balsamic to one batch, and left the other as more of a blank slate.
After adding some sauce to a smaller pan, David added the eggs, and placed it under the broiler. When they were done, brunch was ready!