Monday, February 22, 2010

An Austin Weekend

This weekend was just the right amount of everything - down time, social time, sunshine, time in the kitchen, time spent outdoors, lounging time.

We kicked it off slowly with a movie at home Friday night, allowing us to manage a farmer's market appearance at a respectable 10:00am (early enough to get in on some of the goods that tend to disappear first). Armed with $50 worth of greens and proteins (pork belly! eggs!), we headed to Antonelli's, Austin's newest - only? - cheese shop in Hyde Park. I'd say I went a little nuts, because I know Mike will read this, but the truth is, I showed tremendous restraint. We sampled only 4 cheeses and purchased 3 of them. Three very remarkable, very distinct cheeses - a creme fraiche, a Bianco Sardo (parmesan meets gruyere), and a Winnimeire. I walked in and immediately asked for a triple-cream brie; the Winnimeire is a cow's milk cheese, just as gooey and soft as brie but with a tangy bite.

After some tennis and napping, we made dinner before going out to a show. The newly purchased Bianco Sardo offered an opportunity to make pasta -- the pasta I'd been wanting to make since it first appeared here. Our homemade pasta turned out a little too thin to duplicate Smitten's recipe successfully, yet despite some clumping and sticking to the pan, it tasted just fine. Perfectly paired with local spinach, wilted under caramelized onions and generous amounts of garlic. (I was too hungry to remember to take a picture of the plated pasta with spinach. Bad blogger!) While the recipe says the pepper and parmesan are surprisingly sufficient in bringing flavor to the pasta, I believe I improved mine with a squirt of lemon and some red pepper flakes.

A Sunday birthday brunch led to a massive sugar high, tempered by some time in the sun and a couple of glasses of water.

Sunday evening, we ventured into the unknown: The Land of Amberjack Fish.
Taking the fishmonger's advice, we sauteed the fish on medium-low heat in the cast iron skillet with only garlic, butter and oil. The only thing we added was a pinch of salt and fresh lemon once it was on the plate. It was meaty yet tender; substantial yet light. I'm already an Amberjack convert, and I hope to try this fish again soon, perhaps in a marinade and adding a couple of minutes under the broiler. The fish went well with roasted baby brussel sprouts, also procured at the farmer's market. The perfect finish to a perfect weekend.

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