One advantage of being 15 hours ahead of my previous time zone is that i get to complete all my preparation and consumption in time to post a blog entry before the majority of readers are even out of bed. makes me feel like i am ahead of the game.
Overall, despite my initial misgivings concerning the simplicity of this week’s plan, i will have to say that it was an overwhelming success. things went relatively smoothly and turned out absolutely delicious. this was definitely the best meal i have had since my farewell meal a few weeks back.
I made a few on the spot modifications in the grocery store based on availability. you may ask yourself, what sort of grocery store would not have fresh basil. the answer to that is the one at Osan Air Base, South Korea. disappointing but improvisation is the order of the day. In place of the planned herbs, i used a scant amount of cilantro and it turned out to be a good call overall. also, there was no sourdough to be found. granted, my normal nerdiness, i would have baked my own for this project but that will have to wait for permanent accommodations. Instead, i substituted a mini baguette that served well but honestly i consider a mistake because of the bread to filling ratio. baguettes are too bulky in my opinion for this type of sandwich and overpower the ingredients. a positive change is that i got a wild hair and picked up and avocado to slice onto the sandwich, a very good call if i do say so myself. i also ended up using kalamati olives (probably misspelled but you know what i’m talking about). i saw those as favorable over canned black olives and with the exception of having to pit them myself, they worked out great. i skipped the mozzerella in favor of an aged sharp provelone, outstanding counterpoint to the other toppings.
this leads me to the lessons learned today. i see these 48 feasts (47 now!) to be not only a way of passing time and entertaining myself but a method of developing my culinary acumen. i was fairly put off by the lack of any real cooking method in all honesty but today has taught me that there are lessons to be learned in simplicity. here is what i am getting at. my wife and i are absolutely crazy for garlic. we put it in almost everything. but it is invariably cooked in dishes. delightful, delicious but i was missing part of the picture. the fresh chopped garlic, uncooked, in todays dish was a revelation. the heat of its sharp bite woke up my sense of taste in a way that is absolutely indescribable. i would urge everyone reading this to take the time to sliver some fresh garlic and put in uncooked on your favorite savory dishes. thin slices over pasta would be heavenly, a few freshly diced pieces over a salad, and as i will be doing in the future, wafer thin slices as a layer on sandwiches…
the tapanade itself turned out to be almost like an italian salsa given the fact that everything was cut to small dice instead of pureed as you would prefer. it turned out great, excellent flavors and color combinations but a little messy as it wasn’t really a paste. i have taken pictures but don’t have the ability to upload them yet given my transient state. i will as soon as i can.
finally, i have sketched out the next 2 weeks of meals but you’ll have to wait for details. i have to give you something to read about in the coming week. suffice it to say, the theme will be “embracing al fresco”.