Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Got that kitchen groove back

It's a tragedy when you take eating for granted.  Not on a Shakespearean level, mind you, but something to be mourned nonetheless and avoided if possible.  The one thing you have to do to survive is eat, so you might as well make the most of it.  Yeah you have to breathe, too, but there's only so much latitude in that and try as you might you'll never reach the delights found in eating.

I used to cook with fervor.  I looked forward to nights when I could spend several hours at the stove caramelizing, sautéing, searing, seasoning and tasting.  When the house is empty cooking can be a pleasure again.  There's no one to say "Ewww!" or whine "I don't waaaant it", no reason to rush the process to get a little whiner to bed on time.  It's also a good time to purge the freezer of less popular contents.  Yesterday I got a late start and vowed that I'd make do with whatever was in the house, opting to sip bourbon instead of trudging to the store.  Potluck marinade handles the underdog role well.  Dove breast fired in a cast iron pan takes a back seat to nothing.

These found their way on top of mashed potatoes that I'll sheepishly admit my wife found the recipe for in a Martha Stewart magazine.  But hey, fair's fair and good's good regardless of the origin and this dish, absent the customary milk or cream and infused with a heavy dose of olive oil and garlic yields the best mashed potatoes I've ever piled on a fork.  Of course I found I was out of garlic after the potatoes were boiling so I substituted a lonely shallot and some garlic powder and drifted in some cumin out of curiosity.  Jackpot.

You've had those meals.  Everyone's had those meals, the ones where the palate and the mind dance like the Peanuts gang, jubilant and uninhibited.  They occupy thoughts to the point that there's no room left for troubles and all seems right with the world.  Or maybe that's the whiskey at work.

And it was so good I forgot to take pictures.


  1. I know exactly what you mean, Mark. We had a similar meal last night... corned venison from my son's doe he shot, with similar mashed taters. Great stuff. I, too, was enjoying myself so much that I forgot to snap photos.

  2. Never had corned venison but it sounds yummy. Reminds me of when I was young and mom used to buy packages of Buddig corned beef, real thin sliced stuff that we'd pile on white bread and eat as we ran out the back door. I bet I ate a metric ton of it before I had a job and could drive myself to Burger King.