Sunday, August 29, 2010

When the wall comes down...

Inevitably it will, with some luck anyways. The thing that really boggled my mind was that I could still see food, dishes, tastes, but through a hazy cover like old timey, hand drawn looking window pane. It was there, kinda complete but blurry in all the right spots.

I had painted a picture of an Indian dish in my mind's eye. Nothing in particular but the flavor profiles, a swatch of color for me to work from. After sushi came the ride home and the therapy of music I had been neglecting. I had been seeing a carrot/ginger/curry puree for days. Add green lentils. Add a tuscan technique I had been messing around with for roasting cauliflower. I almost had a dish. Lastly was Naan. It was all I really wanted out of it all. I love Naan. Never made it. Never got close enough to a tandori oven to even think about it. But I had to have it.

So I did what has worked since I got familiar with baking. I read 3 or 4 recipes, checked the variation, and made one up. The honest beauty of trying something for the 1st time is the 2nd time. You initially try with your gut, your base of experience, then work out the rest with repetition and logic. Some times it works, sometimes not. Great thing about Naan, I had about 10 tries to shape and fry it right. The second go is like having the best teacher imaginable giving you some pointers no strings attached. If you cannot learn the most from your own errors... why keep going?

Naan....a flatbread of sorts with clarified butter and yogurt/I used sour cream incorporated into the dough that on this occasion had minced garlic folded into the dough after the 1st proof then is pan fried......amazing. Truly. It got me out of a hole. It built a giant wrecking ball to smash through the mental wall I had inadvertently created. I have since built a second special around it, an app. of grilled lamb meatballs w/ a greek olive tomato ragu and reggie parm, and working on more. Lamb meatballs.......saw some dude on the "best thing I ever ate" blab about them and a light went on made of Naan. It's rustic, I mean a bowl of meatballs and flatbread but damn if it's not tasty...simplicity warms the heart and resonates in the soul of things past but never soon forgot.

My quest, scratch that, my challenge I put before you the reader is to try something new but old in the next week. Something you have tasted, read about, dreamed about that is centuries old but never by your own two hands. Make something to sooth the soul and connect back in time. It's how I got my groove back or what have you.

I am a lucky man. I have been places that forever changed me. I am blessed to shutter at the word "rustic" with fond nostalgia. I relish in the smell of a cheese or cured meat that reconnects with damp earth cellars lined with wine or my personal favorite, the basement of a castle.

I take all of these thoughts and try to bridge the gap of why mental walls still come up. Honestly, after all is said and done, all the stresses of the job,etc......I think I forget what is simple, what got me here, what tastes and flavors helped cement me into my shoes. Take comfort in the old, the tried and true, and create.

Till next time my peoples.....

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