Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My new (purple) baby...

Like I said in my last post, my trip to NYC was a little different this time around. Normally, we spend our time walking the city, neighborhood by neighborhood, when we're not at a show that is. And we usually try to see several shows, so a goodly amount of our time is also spent in the TKTS line, as is our money! Because of the gawd-awful weather over spring break, we saw much of the Big Apple by car, and we actually only took in one show...if you don't count our fabulous evening of campy piano bar with friends, Tony and Larry, at Marie's Crisis in the Village, which is my new favorite place in the world! But we only hit Broadway once this trip, as I had other plans for a big chunk of my travel budget.

As I shared before, my darling friends, Phil and Rob, gave me my first piece of Le Creuset for a very special housewarming gift--the handy and versatile 3 1/2-quart braiser. But I had made a promise to myself years ago, that if I ever was so blessed to own my own home, I would purchase for myself a genuine Le Creuset dutch oven. And when Sur La Table introduced a ravishing and exclusive new color called cassis--a deep, greyish purple, my very FAVORITE color!--I knew what I had to do. As it happens, there are but two Sur la Table stores in the entire state of New York (and the other is way out on Long Island). So to save myself shipping on heavy cast iron*, and while I had my car in the city, I decided a trip to Soho to fulfill my cookware destiny was in order.

BEHOLD my gorgeous new baby--a 7 1/4 quart (#28) Le Creuset round French oven in the heart-fluttering cassis color! I know, I know. It's among the most expensive things I've ever purchased after my home, education, various automobiles, and a couple of no-account purebred hounds. But I just ADORE it! And it is just marvelous to cook with! We got home from NYC just before St. Patrick's Day, and I was determined to inaugurate the sacred cooking vessel with some tasty corned beef and cabbage. The beauty of the Dutch oven is, with just a cup or two or liquid, you can braise the meat and vegetables until they are melt-in-your-mouth tender, rather than boiling them and diluting their flavors. In fact, I daresay that my stunning new pot did its job a little TOO well.

Toward the end of a very low and slow session in the oven for the corned beef, I threw in some typical vegetables: potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and onions. When I checked them less than a half hour later, the potatoes had already become so tender that they just fell apart! What to do, what to do? I decided the only thing that made sense was to mash them, but the potatoes were too hard to distinguish from the parsnips at that point. So I just mashed all the veggies together along with a big knob of butter, a splash of apple cider vinegar, some evaporated milk to make it creamy, and a little salt and lots of black pepper. Not only was the root vegetable mash a gorgeous orange color from the carrots, it was simply delicious! That is one delectable mistake I plan to make again in the future!

*If any of you are swooning over the cassis-colored Le Creuset and are helpless to resist the temptation as I was, I have a great tip to save you shipping costs. Apparently, if your purchases at a Sur la Table location total $200 or more, the shipping is FREE! This is NOT the case for items that you buy through their website, so what you should do is call one of their retail stores, have them look up the item to see if they have it in stock, and then make the purchase through that store and have them send it to you. You're welcome.


mia said...

oh it's beautiful! my recent kitchen purchase was a tagine in the 'fig' color~an eggplant purple! yay for purple cooking pots!

Joy Bugaloo said...

Yes, perhaps it doesn't represent in my crappy camera phone pic, but the color of the Dutch oven is like an eggplant. LOVE it! It's ALL about PURPLE!

Where's a pic of your tagine?? I would love to see it! --Gina

Julie said...

Ah, you lucky duck! It's beautiful. I've been trying to drop hints but so far they're just hitting the ground :P