For the first time in this entire year-long project, in the middle of Week 39, I had the quiet thought, “I am going to make it.” I have led with confidence this whole time that I would make it, but inside, I’m sincerely not sure. I believe in myself, but there are a lot of things I cannot control. This week, when Treslyn flipped the countdown clipboards, the number of recipes left read 286, and I knew I could do it.
I know that 286 recipes is still a lot of recipes, but it feels doable. Or rather, it feels comprehensible. I can comprehend 286 recipes. Multiple hundreds? Not so much. But less than three hundred? It fits in my brain.
This week was also our last Ina Lunch for the next stretch of time. I will probably open them back up in August, but no promises. I love the Ina Lunches so much I want to keep them going after the project. However, in the context of executing everything else, these lunches are time-sensitive and filled with expectations. They need to be well-executed, well-planned, well-designed, and like any endeavor of hospitality, these things take time.
WHAT I COOKED
Lobster Pot Pie, Barefoot Contessa
Lemon Angel Food Cake, Family Style
WHAT I LEARNED
SMOKED SALMON FRITATTA.
We are nearing the end of the project, so I will just cut to the case and be very real and raw. In my opinion smoked salmon ruins everything it touches. I have not had a single thing with smoked salmon in it where I thought, “Oh, this is great!” Instead, I think, “I wish this didn’t have smoked salmon in it.” Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up eating it, or maybe it’s because it tastes like fishy fish, but I do not like it.
SAGAPONACK CORN PUDDING.
This really is great. I will let you in on a little secret. You do not need the water bath. It will be fine without it. This corn pudding is creamy, with the taste of sweet corn and a hit of basil. It is cheesy, but not in a over-the-top way. It feeds a crowd and will stay warm for a long time after it comes out of the oven if you cover it. A perfect barbecue side dish.
MUSSELS IN WHITE WINE.
I have made and served a lot of mussels in the context of this project, and I adore mussels. This, however, is the one. The best of the best. I happened to serve this to members of our family, who had also eaten other versions of mussels, and they agreed. Something about this one shines brighter than the others. If you make only one mussel recipe, make this one!