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Kara Walker + Obsidian @ SFMOMA exhibit

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Everything tastes better around a campfire.

Obsidian would not be Obsidian without the support of our adventurous wine club members. We sincerely thank you for joining us and trusting us all these years.

We love few things more than cooking up large cauldrons of delicious things to enjoy out in nature. We made these Obsidian Campfire Mugs to share great pots of delicious stews for our guests up on Obsidian Ridge Vineyard or at our annual Gulyas celebration. For those of you unable to join us in person, we thought you might like to raise a mugful of one of Michael Terrien's famous recipes wherever you happen to be enjoying the outdoors. 

Curried Fish Soup

Three decades and countless bowls of this curried fish soup tempt me to believe it might be our own thing, but credit goes to Craig Claiborne for our “family recipe”. Like a game of telephone, this version may stray a bit from the original in the 1990 edition of The New York Times Cookbook. For one, I rarely make the fish stock. Two bottles of Bar Harbor clam juice from the grocery store speeds to effort. And speedy it is - on the table in 30 minutes or so.

- Melt 2T butter in your soup pot and toss in ½ cup white basmati along with 1T+ fresh curry powder, stirring at high temp for a couple minutes until you smell the rice toasting and hear it popping.

- Quench the heat with 2 bottles of clam juice and a large can of San Marzano tomatoes. I prefer the whole to the crushed, but strain the juice, cut the stem-ends off and chop to ½ inch pieces before tossing in and simmering until the rice is done. Hit it with salt and pepper as you wish.

- Turn off and add a pound of cubed fish - any fish you please. The heat will instantly cook the morsels to light perfection. Cod is our go-to but use whatever you like. When we made this recently at the top of Obsidian we added saffron threads from our friends Melinda and Simon at nearby Peace & Plenty Farm and it was all the better for it.

Final thoughts - a splash of cream for increased richness although we generally skip it.

And if you go to the effort of looking up the recipe, you’ll see Craig calls for a turn through the Cuisinart before adding the fish. I don’t remember ever doing this. But why not? I think it would be a refinement on the rustic simplicity, if that’s your style. Crusty baguette and simple green salad are (not!) optional.

Royal Corona Beans

The backstory here is the pot, a beautiful and simple hand-made clay bean pot from the Mixteca region of Oaxaca, Mexico. This is a stone age meal that stands the test of time, even at our family’s table where opinions seem to matter. The prep time is all of 60 seconds while the cooking time can be more than 4 hours. And if for some reason you don’t want this beautiful pot to grace your kitchen, then use a 4 quart (or larger) enameled cast iron dutch oven. But at least click over to Rancho Gordo and appreciate it. 

- Our favorite bean is the enormous Royal Corona. Put a pound of beans in the pot, flood with water and turn on the heat. Add 1 T salt, ½ t baking soda and then your flavors.

- I don’t bother to sauté vegetables but I do toss in 4-8 garlic cloves (they disappear), a handful of mexican oregano, 1T ground cumin, 1 t chili flakes.

- Many hours later the beans will have softened and absorbed the spices and the liquor will have concentrated into a delicious broth.

This is the stripped-to-the-chassis approach which produces a ‘meaty’ morsel, lush in texture and full of good flavors. With warm corn tortillas, green onion, cilantro and a squeeze of lime you’re at the starting line.

From here the adventure really begins. Fresh cumin seed, toasted on a cast iron pan then crushed in a molcajete is true communion.

As for the oregano, the european herb will work but I love the way the mexican oregano keeps this from being mistaken as a mediterranean meal. Europe is nice, we’re just on a different journey with this one.


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