Monday, February 12, 2007

breaking rules, breaking eggs

I've always had a healthy disrespect for rules. My parents were of the hippie-variety, so as you can guess, there were a few things growing up that I learned to disregard as truths. You're probably thinking about breaking the rules regarding musical preference, drug usage, sex and stuff like that right about now, but I'm thinking about food primarily. For the folks who split the world into the pathetically narrow realm of "us vs. them," (don't worry George Dubya, I won't mention any names here) my sis and I would have been called terrorists as children, considering how much bulgar wheat and goat milk we consumed at dinner time. While most good 'merican kids were stuffing their faces with fluffy white sandwhich bread smeared with Goober, and being told that it was nutritious, I was eating seedy jam with gravelly textured peanut butter on slices of bread with the weathering capabilites found in a composite roof-tile. In other words, at lunchtime in school, I attempted alot of food trading. Mmmmm, unsweetened carob-date-oat groat cookies anyone? Going once, going twice.......

It has been dawning on me lately that my foundational sense of "food," is being re-awakened with my current emphasis on buying more local, organic, and home-made items. It all reminds me of growing up in rural Sonoma County (not on a commune, but some friends of the family were worm ranchers) where we had some great gardens that I spent mucho tiempo in as a kid, chowing on raw corn or carrots between picking up wheel barrows full of apples off the lawn, or the side yard rocks and bark, or out of the ivy.....

Between the sunburned days in the yard, my folks' cooking, and witnessing my grandmother use ALL the parts of every animal product that set hoof, beak, skin or guts in her kitchen, I'd say that early on I had a firm idea of what constitutes real food. But I forgot some of that. It took years of being subjected to bad advertising and misleading food claims, coupled with leaving the house, in order to dismiss portions in my sense of acceptable foodstuffs. It's too bad that we have to rebel against our parents on so many levels, because they more or less knew what they were talking about when it came to food.

As the older folks in the buying organic and local scene might recall (or not recall, giving rise to the saying "if you remember the 60's, you weren't there") the so-called revolution in the food world that we are currently experiencing was going full force at least 40 years ago. It was just alot smaller and wasn't all corporate and faceless. It was most certainly not USDA approved. It was typically hairy, smelly, grubby and populated by folks who were often trying to live off the land, AND in accordance with it. Wow, what a concept huh?

Okay, back to this post though: lately I've been purchasing eggs that came out of a chicken's butt only one or two days before I eat 'em. (I'm sure there are folks out there with their own chickens who gather them still warm, but did I mention I now live in Oakland?) Just like grandma had on the counter; they are unrefrigerated, have nice tight yolks, strong shells, and are muy, muy sabroso. I was wondering about making a different dish and didn't want any ol' fluffy egg thing. I wanted THE fluffy egg thing. Considering the freshness and flavor, I thought what better way to showcase an egg than by making a souffle. I was thinking about having something seriously good, so I consulted "the man," knowing I'd be pointed toward a fantastic recipe. I figured the eggs were of a high enough quality to fly me more than halfway across the abyss of failure. Could I glide the rest without feathers or wings?

The recipe I went with was a basic cheese souffle one, as I was hoping to keep it simple. I used only one cheese (Old World Portuguese), ground my spices by hand, and incorporated non-fat and half-n-half for creating a cup of milk. I made my "sauce," let it cool, whipped up the egg whites, and set about folding them in with the greatest of ease. I gently poured it into a buttered, bound and parched dish and placed it in the oven. With the timer set for "first peak at it" time, I cleaned up some of the mess in anticipation of enjoying it scorching hot.



Forty minutes later, the oven gave birth to a fluffy yellow cloud, trying it's best to escape confinement.




I carefully set it on the kitchen table and took off the parchment paper. The escaping steam was hissing "eat me," and the monkey was frantically blowing on it while clutching her fork in anticipation, so we commenced sitting and dished up. This level of fluffiness had never been reached in my house before, and the spice was perfect. We ate the entire thing in about four and a half minutes. The dish was still burning hot as we attempted to clear the table.

Damn dude, it was really good. Like, seriously.

Oh wow man........I'm thinking that with the rain we've been starting to get.........the next one I attempt should have a few 'shrooms in it. And no man, not the kind you were thinking of when you caught a glimpse of the Dead shirt. Although I can't guarantee it won't contain a shake or two of sugaree....

12 comments:

shuna fish lydon said...

it appears we have a lot in common. funny how us hippie kids have a desire to learn how to make the fancy food.

when I opened my lunch bag people moved clear away from me.

this souffle looks like a cumulous cloud of exquisiteness.

Kevin said...

Dylan,
That's absolutely gorgeous! I can smell and taste it all the way over here in Tennessee. Well done!

Vanessa said...

Ummm, steamy, eggy, goodness. I want some. There is obviously a souffle in my future.

Callipygia said...

I think your upbringing sounded perfect, but it its sad and true that kasha and chips just shouldn't mix. I too have wanted to make a souffle, but this seemed kind of intimidating. But you've made it less so especially with eggy's casual parchment collar.

D-man said...

Shuna, hippie kids are starting to run the world......ain't that cool?

There were also some yummy things occasionally in the lunch bag that a few of the smart kids liked, namely rice torte or raviolis. Come to think of it, I scored a ton of cookies with these two items.

Kevin, thanks again for the recipe and stamp of approval. I will have another question for you in the near future no doubt. Congrats on the column!

vanessa, yes......have a souffle ASAP, and then come on by again and say hi.

callipygia, was it the brown paper that dressed it down? And really, it wasn't intimidating, and the results are pure delight.

Anonymous said...

For the love of Goddess, all these posts are fine and good, but just PLEASE please make me some more pretzels!!!!!! I will trade you booze, drugs, bacon, whatever you like. I neeeeeeed more pretzels (and stretchy pants).
Love, your Sistah

D-man said...

Sis, (trade you......whatever you like) The starter is fed and Friday is knead/boil/bake day. What about chillin' with the monkey while H and I go out on a date sometime and we start the bartering at 5 bagels an hour? (Holy shit! I just realized what I am saying here, because those were some pretty good offers for pretzels.........I am soooooooo "grown up" these days, damn!)

love, D
And I will use that fancy salt you bought.

D-man said...

uh, I mean 5 pretzels an hour.......hey, looks like I'll be making bagels too!

Vivian said...

I came here by way of Callypygia...would you teach my husband to cook?

D-man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D-man said...

hello vivian! I'd love to help, but cautiously: maybe you could nudge him over here and and drop suggestions......if you tell him too directly, I may be making an enemy (him) while making a friend (you). thanks for dropping by, I'll pay another visit to your site soon.

kitchenMage said...

seriously poofy! (the souffle not you!)