To cook for the party I started our Italian wood-burning oven the day before so I could slow cook overnight. Using Paula Wolfert’s Slow Mediterranean Cooking as inspiration I set up the menu and divided up the cooking tasks. In addition to the food for tomorrow night we would also roast 2 chickens and 8 sausages to eat for two lunches and one dinner.
The oven line-up was the following:
Deviled Sephardic Eggs with Smoked Paprika
Overnight Pork Butt from Prather Ranch
Roasted CK Leg of Lamb with Pomegrante Glaze
Short Ribs a la Camarque
Braised Red Cabbage with red wine, & orange
Corona Beans with lardo & orange
Rio Zape Beans with salt pork & Guinness
Herb Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes
Baby Carrots with Picholine Olives
Roasted Mixed Wild Mushrooms with roasted garlic & gray salt
Everything would be fully cooked in the oven except the Braised Cabbage which I would start on the stove. In addition to the menu which we served I also attempted herb jam from Paula Wolfert’s book (which I burned and threw out) and Slow-braised lamb shanks, which were two charcoal pucks the next morning.
The added excitement in the schedule was that I would be away from the oven on Thursday for 4-5 hours while we attended the Tre Bicchieri tasting in San Francisco. So everything needed to be ready to put in the oven when we got back.
I remember reading somewhere that you don’t need to soak the beans if you are roasted them overnight… so this time I didn’t… Hence the requirement for the second bean dish of Rio Zape beans as the Corona ones were about 80% salvageable the next morning. I tossed out the hard or blackened ones and quick soaked the Rio Zape beans in boiling water the next morning. The other boo-boo I made with the Corona beans was adding a bottle of beer. I realized my mistake just as soon as those last drips were coming out of the bottle. Ack. Never add acid to beans before you cook them as it inhibits the water intake. That means no beer, wine, tomatoes or lemon. Oh well. The Rio Zape beans were virgin when they went into the oven.