Angels in the Kitchen, Part 1

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Hearts like accordions, opening and closing in a zigzag pattern of jagged notes.

It happens, and sometimes it’s OK: disagreements and arguments can clean out a lot of crap. But it can also feel disastrous, a circuit of anger, shame, disappointment coursing through you. Too difficult. Too tiring.

“Here’s what I think,” said The Guitar Player, in desperation. “I think we should plan a meal every week, shop for it, and cook it together on Friday night. I don’t think we should try do anything else. That’s what we’re good at. That’s what we’ll do.”

I wanted a summit, a G8 meeting. I wanted resolutions and rules of engagement. A grid. A Plan. A Cure.

“We’ll do that too,” said The Guitar Player, gravely, sensibly. (It’s best to agree with me at times like these). “But for now, let’s just cook.”

[“We cook together like angels,” I had said to The Food Columnist, just that week.]

It’s true. And not everyone can.

Crepe Day was that week. I didn’t know how to solve these impasses we kept getting into, but for some reason, I knew about Crepe Day.

So we were thinking about crepes as we went to Dufferin Grove Farmers Market. And mushrooms. Where I come from, mushrooms cure all ills, so there had to be mushrooms. The concept of mushroom crepes led to the purchase of organic shitakes. But then we got seduced: by Jessie Sosnicki’s organic perogies (Jessie is Ukrainian and Ben is Polish, and between them they have enough relatives and friends to make 2000 perogies at a time, at a church kitchen near her farm). We got distracted by brick-oven-baked bread. And, finally, by a First Nations man selling fish he’d caught just that morning in Georgian Bay. He was a large, unassuming man with a gruffly polite manner. His prices were so cheap. We had to change our plans.

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We walked back to my place through the snowy park, hand in hand, full of delicious ideas. We ate the perogies as soon as we got home. Those perogies are in dangerous competition with my ma’s. Don’t tell her I said that.

Dinner that Friday was fried fish with almond cream mushroom sauce, over rice. We slow-danced to jazz as the rice cooked. We tasted each others’ seasonings, made suggestions, moved around each other gently, smoothly, like we were still dancing.

Breakfast the next morning was rediculous excess: buttermilk crepes with raspberry filling, whipped cream and chcocolate shavings.

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Sometimes, you just pretend. Sometimes, you find the one thing that works, and just do that. Sometimes, that’s the cure.

Whitefish with Almond Cream Sauce
Serves 2

2 6-8 oz. Whitefish fillet
4 oz. vegetable or chicken stock
4 oz. Whipping cream
2 oz. Unsalted butter
salt & pepper
1 oz. Sliced almond
flour
2 oz. Dry white wine
2 oz. Oyster or Shiitake mushrooms, sliced (domestic button mushrooms may be substituted)

In heavy bottom skillet melt 1 oz. Butter over medium high heat. Add sliced mushrooms, sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tspn. flour, and stir until mushrooms are coated. Add sliced almonds, sauté 1 minute. Deglaze with white wine, scraping up any bits from the pan; simmer until liquid reduces to a glaze. Add warmed stock, and cream; simmer until sauce thickens, stirring constantly, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Melt remaining 1 oz. Butter in heavy skillet over medium high heat. Season fillets with salt & pepper, coat lightly with flour. Place fillets in skillet; sauté until just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Spoon sauce over fillets and serve.

Buttermilk Crepes
Yield: 12

2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
sugar, for sprinkling

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Add sugar. In a separate bowl, sift together cinnamon, flour and baking powder. Whisk into buttermilk mixture and stir in melted butter. If too thick, add more buttermilk until a pourable consistency. Allow batter to sit 10-15 minutes before making. Heat a flat, non-stick pan over medium heat for 5 minutes. Grease lightly with oil or spray and pour about 2 oz of batter into the center of the pan. These crêpes will be thicker than usual crêpes. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, until edges brown. Lift crêpe gently with a spatula and flip over. Cook for 1 minute and remove from heat.

One Comment

  1. Oh I’m long overdue for a crepe day! Maybe March is the month for it.
    I like to make a seafood with white wine sauce crepe chased by peach and marscapone drenched in vanilla sauce crepe. I’m going to have to avoid reading this blog around noon, I start obsessing about the possibilities then have to face the salad I brought for lunch!

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