Friday, March 04, 2005

Lunch for an old friend

I've known Bob since I was a freshman in college, and I think this might be the first time I've ever cooked just for him. Had him over for lunch. I was going to make a lentil salad, but I cooked the lentils too long the night before so they were just a touch mushy. So I made a curried lentil soup instead for the first course. Used garam masala as well as Madras curry powder with sauteed onions and brunoise carrots. Yummy. Entree was halibut roasted on a bed of sliced asparagus stems. I marinated the halibut filets overnight in a lemon-flavored avocado oil with kosher salt, and they were just great. It only takes 15 minutes in a 450 degree oven, so you can cook the fish while you eat the first course. I just put the asparagus under the halibut so it doesn't stick. Works with fennel, too, and salmon. Also had some Persian cucumbers chopped and marinated in rice wine vinegar and sugar, with fresh tomato concasse. On yellow plates, it looked very nice. If it wasn't lunch, I would have served a nice Columbia gewurtztraminer with the soup and the fish, but Bob had to go back to work. It was a nice interlude with an old friend.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Can you always follow your passion?

What happens when your passion and your career are on different paths? Why did I find out so late in life that what I could have been brilliant at might have passed me by? Has it? Can I grab the gold ring without falling on my face? All I really want to do is cook. But I can't spend 12, 10, or even eight hours on my feet anymore, and I feel like I'm over the hill to start such a demanding new career. Now that I'm old enough to know what I want, I feel like I'm too old to go for it. Guess we're having a pity party tonite. But, listen, I made this great soup this week. Took the carcass of a smoked chicken and made a stock. Soaked 2 cups of cranberry beans overnight. Sauteed a mirepoix, very simple, with some thyme and pepper. No garlic (not sure why I made this decision but it felt right). Added the stock, the beans, and cooked for an hour. Salted to taste, added 14 oz can of chopped tomatoes and juice. Simmered another half hour or so. Garnished with chopped roasted red and orange peppers. Very stick to your ribs, comforting. The cranberry beans get so creamy. Made me happy to serve it to my special someone.