Lentils from Peckerwood’s

Homage to California

I pulled the very big clay pot out of the still smoldering fire from three days ago and scooped out some lentils and a piece of caramelized Iberian “patanegra” tocino, google translates this as bacon, which it aint. Tocino Iberico is from the black footed Spanish pig and aged. Think of it as aged bacon from a serano ham. Pork salted, then aged at least two months. On the way up picking a California poppy just because, I fried some red onions and poached two eggs. Those chilies sitting on the counter found their spot and poured a beer. Caramelization is as wonderfully misunderstood as a half-breed from Bakersfield barking at a Louisiana river dog; you just got to know it when you see it; but your only know it if you do it. like they’d say down at the other end of the valley: “go ahead on”. Ya just got to do it; it’s never gunna be like this if you aint got practice. What happens in that pot in that wood-fired oven for those three days? Caramelization. It get’s black, but it aint burned, but does go well with a cold beer as you can detect from the friendly little bubbles drifting up playfully to the rim.

Lotta folks talking about that Umami; but this is how you get it — with constant heat, good stuff in the pot, and time. A wood oven gots more flexibility in the time department; you can do a Neapolitan pizza in 90 seconds or a soup in a week. Yet that slow slowness is worth fucking around with. You get places you never even thought of, but they’re there. …and those California poppies your daughters brought to you that spread all around will brighten up anything, especially your spirit in far, far away.

The better egg poaching method, according to Julia child, is to dip the whole egg into the water just as it begins to show bubbles on the bottom for 10 seconds; then set them aside and swirl the water and drop the cracked eggs into the center of the whirlpool. This keeps them together well, but I also add vinegar in the belief it whitens the whites and also aids in maintaining the integrity of the egg’s shape.
Red hot Moroccan chilies with California Poppy; hive bloom;and ground pepper, salt, and olive oil. These are a great start on a “Harisa”.
The makings for lentils baked for two days; chorizo, blood sausage from Asturias, churasco (beef that was marinated in black pepper and home made ginger molasses; an onion stuck with cloves; a cured ham bone; fresh herbs from the garden: thyme; oregano; savory; sage; chives. celery. I roast all this first for carmelization.