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Sunday, February 07, 2016

A discourse on dinner and dentures

Today I had to abandon part of my planned dinner menu. I was  using another of Annabel Langbein's menu suggestions. But I forgot one crucial  fact:  She is younger than Mr. G and me and probably has all, or at least most, of her own teeth. I began cooking the poor man's version of  Osso Buco-  with beef shanks rather than the more expensive veal shanks.  To accompany it, Annabel suggested saffron spinach risotto,  beet, fennel and goat cheese salad with balsamic glaze, and for dessert,  pear and prune custard  cream.

The osso  buco  was coming along nicely when I began to prepare the salad.  Annabel wrote that the secret to   beets and fennel in a salad  is to slice them  very, very thinly with a mandoline. So I peeled a beet, as instructed, and  sliced it almost paper thin.  Then I tried to chew a piece.  It was like  trying to eat paper! I have seen those commercials for denture adhesive  where some smiling person declares, "I can eat anything!"  HA!! It simply ain't so, at least not for Mr. G and me.  I cannot tell you how many times I have  had to make a hasty exit from the dinner table because my bottom denture has decided to  assert its right to freedom and tried to escape from my mouth. It makes dinner conversation nigh on impossible and causes those across from me to wish they'd never  accepted the dinner invitation to begin with! And it doesn't matter what kind of adhesive I've used, or how recently I had the dentures relined-  at some point, while eating some foods, they are going to become totally unbalanced,  begin to rock, and   attempt an escape. The  thinly sliced raw beet had this effect, so I decided to abandon the raw beet and fennel salad and use them in a cooked dish  in the next few days instead..

The osso buco was  coming along nicely, but I decided to check on  the beef shank  after an hour.  Good grief!  It was mostly bone, sinew and gristle, with very little edible  meat.  I trimmed off the inedible  parts and decided we needed more meat. I had a few meatballs left over from last night's meatballs in Moroccan tomato sauce, so  tossed them in.  The  spinach saffron risotto was delicious,  the  osso buco caught Mr. G's fancy and he got seconds of both.

 I experimented with an Asian pear in the pear and prune custard, which was a mistake. It wasn't  all that bad, but next time I'll use Bartlett pears or something similar, I think. At least I've satisfied my curiosity about what Asian pears taste like, how they hold up in baking, etc.

It  occurred to me as we were finishing supper that I hadn't taken any pics tonight.  It's a good thing I'm not a serious food blogger! I did take some pics the other night as I prepared a meal of cod in olive tomato crust and skillet broccoli, but didn't  post about that meal because my muse had gone on a walk-about. But if you're curious, as several people on facebook seemed to be, about  what a cod loin is, or even if a cod can have loins, here are some pics of the ingredients prepped, processed into a paste, then used to coat the cod loins  before they're placed under the broiler for a few minutes. That  meal was  quite tasty and I should have posted about it instead of complaining  about an AWOL muse!

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