Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Why I have a gym membership: Cabin Edition

The weather at the cabin last weekend was brutal. The wind had a bad attitude and it was darn right cold. A few hours on the river was all I could offer in terms of outdoor motivation, so my family and I decided to get comfortable in our little log cabin and get to cooking. To be honest, when we're in the kitchen, we don't even notice the weather. The time spent together is something we unfortunately don't get to experience that often during the week and there is nothing better then enjoying an extended meal with good wine, stellar company and heart-warming food. Below represents just a glimmer of what we prepared last weekend. If you need me, I'll be at the YMCA.

A cool-weather lunch:

When the wind is blowing hard off the lake, you've got to come up with something fulfilling to fight off the chill. We like to make up a quick stromboli to help raise the temperature indoors. The filling varies, with this particular version featuring pesto, fontina, cappicola, roast beef and Parmesan. It hit the spot and scared off the chill for quite some time. After downing a few pieces I was well satisfied and ready for a nice long nap.

Happy Hour Wisconsin-Style:
Happy hour is seriously joyful at the Hobbins family cabin. The usual suspects include craft brews (New Glarus this time), fine wines, an assortment of crostini with variable toppings, and there is always, always a healthy (in one sense of the word) array of locally-sourced Wisconsin cheese. I think I ate about 45 minutes on the treadmill worth of horseradish and chive Havarti courtesy of the master cheesmakers at the Burnett Dairy Co-op.

The Main Event:

Of course you have to start with fresh baked bread sculpted from the Zoe Francois method. This boule is incredibly simple to make, and we can shape it and serve it however we want. The crumb is nice and soft and the crust is always perfectly crisp, emitting a flavor you would never expect from such a simple recipe. You simply can't beat the feeling you get from still-warm fresh bread.

Jarred or commercially produced pesto is not an option in this house (or cabin) - period. Every year we make a whole stockpile of the stuff and it's always rich, fresh and nutty with a perfect Parmesan finish. This simple pasta is incredibly addictive and will likely cost me a couple thousand kilos on the rowing machine.

You've got to eat your vegetables, and it's tough to beat a nicely roasted blend of peppers, onions and zucchini. Roast them with a few aromatics and some high quality oil and everything gets nice and caramelized filling the entire cabin in an amazing aroma.

Thank the Lord for Bill Baskin and his kick-ass Umbrian sausage filled with pork, golden raisins and pine nuts among a few other delicious items. These sausages are simply amazing and are the early favorite for my top new discovery this year. Head over to Seward Co-op to pick up these beauties. I'm well on my way to a bypass by now.
Well, blogger is being a wench and I can't get the strawberry-rhubarb pie shot to upload. It was amazing, of course, but as soon as I finished I couldn't help like I was unjustly on the Michael Phelps diet - minus the weed munchies. Over the course of the weekend (this is only a snap shot, my friends) there were many flavors to be savored, but also many memories and conversations to be savored over a carefully prepared meal with some of the best company around.

Happy Eating - I'm going to hibernate.


1 comment:

kat said...

Sounds like a good cozy weekend at the cabin, almost makes you hope for rainy cold weather. You gave us a good laugh with the Wisconsin happy hour

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