Monday, April 09, 2007

The Top Secret Tartar, and a Weekend of Blessed Buns

I won't deny it.

My boyfriend has a secret recipe. He makes tartar sauce. From scratch.

He makes it, as noted above, in top secret. Apparantly it is a family secret. I don't know the recipe. Even if I did, I am under the strictest of orders not to blog the recipe. In fact, I wasn't even allowed into the kitchen when it was being concocted. For the dramatic flair, I do like to believe that those strict orders not to enter the kitchen whilst he made it were to prevent me from taking real world suspicions, however, he was probably accurate that it was the best way from preventing me from taking photos. In any event, I don't remember any restrictions against blogging about my boyfriend making homemade tartar sauce from scratch.

While I'm generally of that type that can't resist sleuthing into culinary secrets, I was so swept off my feet by the seriousness of this boy's insistence that tartar sauce be homemade that I was more than happy to sit back and simply doing my little cartwheels of glee over the discovery of what may just be a new Good Friday tradition.......

Fish Stick Hoagies !!! with Henry Weinhard's Rootbeer !!!

Yes, folks. Fish stick hoagies. It takes me right back to childhood comforts, dolloped with the more mature memory-building moments of my boyfriend contributing the homemade tartar sauce and me contributing the idea of fresh (read a little, just a splash, of irony into that) spinach leaves and a few poignant bites of cherry tomatoes.

Apologies. No recipes to share. The tartar sauce is secret. And I wouldn't even dare to insult your intelligence with a recipe that we all must know, in some form or other, from childhood memories. So, for sharing, I have only this glimpse into a good, no great, Good Friday.

The next morning we had muffins and watched a movie I won't disclose lest the FBI feel compelled to initate a dossier. (For the record, we did rent it from the local video world -albeit with cash - and there were enough scratches to indicate that we weren't the first.) They were banana muffins. Banana Coconut buns, actually. Yes, they came from a borrowed recipe for banana coconut muffins. But I'm not the biggest muffin fan. Some bias, from some unknown reason, that I should probably look into and introspect over. But now that the sun is back, and the fish will be running soon, and my dogs carry into my hovel at least 10 pounds of mud/dust a day....well, I suspect I won't have much time for introspection for approximately 7 months or so. But here's my promise, dear reader. When it's dark again, I'll sit down long and hard and try to figure out what it is about my past that I need so adamantly to categorize muffins as buns.

In the meantime.....

For Easter Sunday, in what had become the blooming Bun theme for Easter Weekend 2007 (minus the hot crossed part, which - ironically enough - was the actual intention when I left work Friday evening), we celebrated with pulled pork sandwiches (see link to recipe below), lime zested potato salad (see gushing rave below), and a lemon dressed ragout of cannellini beans, spinach and cherry tomatoes (why, yes, it is my favorite sidedish and I am quite the fan, separately, of each of spinach, beans and cherry tomatoes).

(First person to guess who's who with the two styles of plating up pulled-pork sandwiches will be the lucky recipient of a special prize!)

I borrowed the recipe for pulled pork from Williams and Sonoma. Truth be told, they called it Pulled Pork with Mint Julep Barbecue Sauce. It sure was delicious. Simple. Humble. Comfortable. Aromatic. Slow-Cooked (I did stretch out the cooking time to, well, yes, 9 hours). And all those other good things that made it a perfect fit for a low-key holiday weekend.

It was the perfect way to cap the kind of weekend I was in need of. After what feels like months of emotional whirlwinds - ups & downs of excitements, festivals, great losses, inspirations, last-minute travel, cancelled travel, celebrations, and heart-breaking scares, I had just what I needed: a quiet, low-key, comfort-fed weekend at home. The continuous compliments from my culinarily ecstactic tartar sauce making, pulled-pork-loving boyfriend were rather nice as well. Of course, I am fairly certain that it could be even better if one had all the ingredients called for! But not bad, at all, with what he had. Quite good. And it makes a ton. A ton, I tell you! I halved the recipe, we've been eating pulled pork fairly steadily since Sunday and yet, nonetheless, I'm on my way out the door to drop off a small ton of it at Tom's.

Happy Spring Holidays and Buns to all - belated, but all the more earnest for the delay!

p.s. Genevieve - you have to try that lime zested potato salad. I think it might be my new favorite! I'm going to take some over to Tom's for a second opinion!

1 comment:

Team Wilco said...

Confessions of a zest hater....

Alas, I've tried to hide my distaste for zest from you for too long. A little joke about some extra lemon zest, but never confessed the whole story. My whole life, I have hated the zest (lemon, lime, orange, you name it, this includes all zest). My mom (chef extraordinare) would make the most delicious pastries (like lemon bread or cheesecakes) and if there was even the slightest bit of zest, I would refuse to even try it. Her lemon bread was famous all over our town, but, oh, how could one ruin a tasty lemon bread with zest? I would never order cheesecake at a restaurant just on the off chance that they might try to stick a bit of zest in there.

Of course, there were a few other things in culinary life that I didn't enjoy as a child (the spice dill, olives and all seafood for a few examples) and strangely enough a summer in Morocco living on olives and a few trips to tasty seafood locations and I was cured. I will go far out of my way for a gourmet olive and the other day, I was just wondering, "do I like dill now?" So I called up my mom and got her recipe for Dilly Bread which was also quite popular but I would never taste...and guess what...I liked it! Sam I am, I like green eggs and ham.

Do you remember the point when you started liking dark chocolate? Remember on Halloween when you would sort through your candy and trade away all your bad ones for good ones....a Hersheys Special Dark was pretty low on the totem pole. Well, along comes a certain age and special dark chocolate (with boxed wine, of course) is about the biggest treat around. So, I was there any chance I like the zest? Well, you guessed it. I'm getting old. I like the zest.

Thanks for a tasty recipe. And as soon as I remember to buy dried garbanzos at the store, I'm ready for a trans-Bush fry-off.