Just call me
This post goes out to two friends living up in Ohio and to their readers on Cocina Savant where you will always find fabulous food, innovated cookery and outstanding reads of their life journey.
Now folks, by now you know I’m a southern boy, with decent aptitude when I put my mind to it. Still I am far from an intellect of worldly knowledge in prose, of possessing poetic skills as in writing for the high-brow and certainly not clever enough to ever try and pull off anything other than who or what I am. Philosophical pundit I am not. Some of you also know I write pretty much the same as I talk, which is, bastardizing the English language grammatically as best I can all with a drawn-out, dripping southern drawl often with an added remark that probably has no rats-ass bearing. There was a time I knew better, but with age comes a slipping sloppiness in grammar and, well, there’s no turning back now. And I hope most of you are able to follow what I am saying even though many times what I do convey isn’t always what I mean. I mean, I know what I’m talking about, sometimes it just doesn’t come out so.
So when I do run across someone with great writing style, someone who has the ability to put words in a rhythmical order that plays out like a lyrical sonata, I am in awe and read word for word mesmerized as though I am on Prozac, or a darn tootin’ good horse tranquilizer. The marriage of two great minds is the works of Cocina Savant. Daniel and Dawn are not only eloquent writers but visionaries in creating food fare beyond anything my meager mind could imagine. Separately, each concocts recipes and dishes in such a revelation that I am always shocked with their vision. Together, this couple infuses words and ingredients that is mind boggling.
I know of no other way in describing these two than in their own words.
Daniel on his madden method of cooking:
“You know that my cooking if far from straight-lined with a veering toward outlandish fusion and rarely sticking to the flavor profiles and ingredients of a central area. It is the child in a candy shop affect, what can I say. My mind starts running wild through ingredients that would tasty heavenly in a dish and then the Aristotelian logic side says that ingredient has nothing to do with said dish. Back and forth they go sometimes like bad step children until one- usually the tougher more agile creative side says why not use shiitake mushrooms in a summer dish of sauteed rapini and orechiette and while you are at it place some fried zucchini strings on top for the added crunch.”
Dawn on meat in the southern diet:
“Meat in the South is something like what Marx was seeing when he noticed workers consuming their work with reckless abandon. But, where Marx went wrong, Southern food does it right by showing that when one is caught up in a whirlwind of tradition or work, enjoyment is often the crux of that tradition. You could say the two correlate in the fact that Southern food has been so greatly influenced by African, Cajun, Creole, Cuban, and Irish customs as well as by necessity that necessity itself is often attributed to the most similar cultural influence that can be found just as day to day work is oftentimes descended from an enjoyment in one’s occupation. The notion of meat not being the center of every meal, in my book, is quite a healthy and conscious decision these days and one not too decentralized from the dishes I hold so dear like cornbread utilizing a light coating of vegetable oil for lubrication, creamy cheese grits, and even the glories of buttermilk biscuits.”
So here is a recipe I concocted, as intellectual as I get folks with just enough southern flavor for Dawn and one I made especially for my two friends. Enjoy!
Noisettes de Porc aux Pluots
-Pork Médaillons with Pluots
Serves 4 to 6
2 pounds pluots or plums
1 cup white wine, like a White Zinfandel or White Merlot
1.5 to 2 pound pork loin center-cut filet, cut into 6 buttons
Salt and freshly ground peppercorns
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons red currant jelly
Wash each pluot, cut in half and remove seed. Slice each half into thirds. Place in a saucepan and add wine. Bring to a low simmer; turn off heat and let set for 2 to 4 hours. Drain fruit reserving the liquid.
Sprinkle pork buttons with salt, pepper and flour. Sauté pork in the butter until brown on both sides and remove to a plate. Remove most of the fat from the pan and add the pluot flavored wine. Bring to a brisk boil and cook until almost all is cooked away. Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil and then add the pork buttons. Cover and reduce heat, gently simmering for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender.
Remove the buttons to a plate, add the cream and bring to a boil scraping up any brown bits. Cook stirring often until slightly thickened. Stir in the jelly until dissolved, add the pluots and bring back to a simmer. Taste for seasoning and cook 5 minutes. Arrange buttons on serving dish with the pluots and spoon the sauce over the top.