Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lent - Gourmet Living - What?

Gourmet Living, Act 8:

OK, so yesterday morning I get extra ambitious, and I tell Rebekah she can look up any recipe - unrestricted - and I'll cook it for her for our Tuesday date-night treat.

Well, she pulls out this three-page, single-spaced article from "COOK'S Illustrated" magazine that detailed "Rescuing Baked Ziti: Transforming this tired Italian-American classic into a dish worth making..."

There were whole sections on "the right degree of al dente", side-bars on cottage cheese, details on "recipe diagnosis", instructions on "the special sauce", etc. etc. I learned more about making a perfect tomato sauce than I'd ever imagined!

Believe me, I'll never-ever see Baked Ziti as a "throw in some noodles and sauce with cheese on top and you're done" easy casserole dish again! By the time I was ready to begin I had measured and set aside a pound of cottage cheese, some lightly beaten eggs, fresh grated Parmesan, crushed and chopped garlic cloves, fresh oregano, leaves I harvested from a basil plant, cornstarch, heavy cream, various tomato products, and diced mozzarella.

The sauce started with my "releasing the aroma from the garlic" via sautéing in olive oil; then I started to stir in some tomato sauce - it just got better from there!

I went shopping at 3:00, started work on the dish at 4:00, and served the MASTERPIECE at around 7:30!

"BUT THIS IS LENT...?" you say. "What happened to all the self-denial and asceticism?" Well, first off I've never believed this time of the year was about imposing hardships on ourselves. I'm much more excited about this "Gourmet Living" concept I've been touting.

The reason Jesus came was/is to set us free from the stuff that separates us from a full and vibrant life. Me spending several hours to make something wonderful for Rebekah that we could enjoy together, fits with my understanding that love is about giving and life is about living. That's Gospel if ever I heard it!

Peace and Joy! - DEREK

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