My two favorite cuisines are derived from regions of Japan and Italy. Chiefly, this is due to their reliance upon fresh vegetables within short seasons and the extensive use of sea creatures. Also: Small plates. Also: Oodles of noodles.
I have little interest in cheese, butter, milk, or eggs, nor in bacon, beef, or lamb. Fine: A good Waygu style burger pan seared in duck fat and covered in Emmental once a month? Sign me up.
And occasions merit the crossing of boundaries.
So last night, marking a birthday, I served up a dozen rather spectacular oysters from Nova Scotia: Glove on left hand, knife in right, the shucking was easy.
Even easier was osso buco from a Batali recipe in his Babbo cookbook. Tons of salt and pepper on the meat, olive oil heated up in a pressure cooker, sear the meat on both sides. Add a bunch of thyme and one diced onion, carrot, and celery stalk. Add two cups of white wine, two cups of tomato sauce, and a cup of chicken stock. Pressure cook at high for twenty-five minutes. Serve on polenta with braised fennel. Prep time: Five minutes.