Cooking goes far beyond melding relationships with friends, family and Earth. I often use it to reinforce a relationship with myself. The level of mental peace that I attain from the simplest things such as cutting a piece of Tuna with a sharp knife or making biscuits can not be matched by laying on any Psychoanalyst’s coach. Maybe if said analyst had a better collection of vintage Madeira and cave aged unpasteurized cheese, then this ramble would be headed in a complete other direction. But such is life. You can never expect the ones around you to hold forth such high standards of living as you do yourself. In that reason alone you can take comfort and even find another bit of peace in knowing that you are indeed BETTER.
My idea of thinking you are better than the individual standing next to you may come with some of your own personal resistance. As kind and upstanding individuals, we are brought up with the theory that we are all equal. That is it wrong to assume you are above anyone or anything else. If in fact you do wander from the confines of these sociably acceptable parimeters you will be sentenced with a heavy penalty of guilt and ridiculed by the shaking fingers of society. Well maybe instead of judging us, they should take those nasty unmanicured fingers and use them to trim some of those nose hairs they all have.
Ask yourself a few questions. Do you not deserve better than the person next to you? Do you not know more about the joys of the table and the pleasures it presents than the person next to you? Would you really wear those shoes with that coat just like the guy standing next to you? Point Proven
All that being said, I know for a fact that I am no better than a post 40 year old Marco Pierre White. But maybe one day………..
Strife bangs at my door often and my wife, a midnight stroll with Rooter and Tooter and slathering a savory beignet with bone marrow and snails is how I rise above society to realize I really do have it good.
Disclaimer: If you stare at the picture, I’ve imbedded a subliminal message into it that states “You Are Better Than Everyone around You except DAVE”
Escargot with Green Peppercorn Bordelaise, Bone Marrow and Rosemary Beignet
Serves 4 people sitting down to enjoy a few bottles of Burgundy on a Tuesday
For the Beignets:
¾ cup water
1 Tablespoon yeast
1 5oz can evaporated milk
3 ½ cups flour
1 Tablespoon shortening
1 Tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
For the Bordelaise Sauce:
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
2 shallots minced
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 cup of mushrooms minced
1 cup burgundy wine
2 Tablespoons of green peppercorns
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
1 bay leaf
1 cup veal demi glace
2 dozen snails
4 marrow bones
To make those wonderful pillows of fried dough, mix the luke warm water with the yeast and let the yeast wake up for 5 minutes in the warm throws of the waters hugs. In a separate bowl introduce the egg and evaporated milk to each other with a firm whisking. In yet a third bowl, mix together the rest of the dry ingredients. Add the milk to the yeast by mixing. Then add the whole liquid mixture into a nice well formed in the flour. Stir the liquid around the well collapsing the walls of flour until a dough starts to form. Add a touch more flour if needed to keep the dough cohesive onto itself and not the sides of everything it touches. Knead the dough with the palms of your hands never opening your fist. The dough at this point is a young and impetuous thief and will snatch any ring right off your finger the moment you let it seduce you into opening your hand. Show your steadfast rules of discipline until you poke it and the dough springs immediately back at you. Cover the dough letting it rest, mature and double in size while you turn your attention to the sauce pot.
For the sauce, place the olive oil into a small pot over a medium flame. Sweat the shallots for a few minutes while seasoning them with a pinch of salt the way any decent cook would. Add the garlic to the pot and cook for another minute. Place the mushrooms in the pot and cook while stirring every few moments for as long as it takes you to open the bottle of burgundy and taste a little. Be confident in your choice and confirm it with another taste. After satisfying your thirst for better things, add the wine to the pot along with the green peppercorns, rosemary and bay leaf. Let the sauce reduce moderately by 2/3rds. Stir the veal demi-glace into the pot and season with salt to taste. I have omitted the Tablespoon of Balsamic syrup from the above ingredient list. But I do indeed add it for many reasons. Just curious to see who is paying attention?
To validate your friend’s adoration of your skills as a cook, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and turn the fryer on to 350 degrees at the same time. Season the marrow with some salt and pepper. Place the bones into a baking dish and roast for 10-12 minutes. The marrow should be brown and starting to slightly bubble. While the marrow is roasting, roll some of the beignet dough out to a ¼ inch thickness and cut into whatever shape fits your mood. If you have had enough Burgundy, that mood should yield whimsical and slightly abstract shapes. Fry the dough until golden and puffy delicious and set aside to stay warm with a sprinkling of salt. Place a pan over high heat and add a nice pat of butter. Swirl the bubbling butter around and add the snails. Saute for a minute and add the bordelaise sauce. Bring your pan to a simmer while you take the Bones out of the oven. Place the bones onto 4 plates and smother with the sauce. Creatively toss around some beignets with their wonderful aroma of rosemary. Present to your loved ones and toast the survival of yet another Tuesday. I pray that we all have enough couth to one day own marrow spoons.