LONGLEAF STORIES

full circle in the hundred acre wood

I don’t go to cooking classes. Not even the ones held downtown in a chi-chi environment, where the ladies who lunch go, their sugar daddies and their boy toys joining them sometimes for wine tastings and a little cha-cha with the chef du jour.

Nope. I’m sort of a perfectionist hick from the sticks who insists on solitude with great ingredients and the love of my life (the best ingredient of all). Just like the words of the song, “That’s Why The Lady Is A Tramp” — I love the cool feel of wind in my hair and won’t dine with “people I hate” — which I translate to mean boring, mean or pretentious.

Tonight was grilled sea scallops again, but with garlic mashed potatoes this time rather than pasta. Two and a half were saved for Maggie, the M-Dog, the original L’il Brown Sugar, formerly known as LuLu. For dessert, she enjoyed several mini Vanilla Wafers and a snifter of Amaretto D’Sarono waved under her ample nose.

I’ve learned the secret of obtaining great scallops at Joe Patti’s downtown. At first you won’t see them. Oh, you’ll find the one pound packages of tiny bay scallops and the quarter-sized sea scallops, both swimming in an amniotic fluid that nature never intended. Way back at the other end of the counter, almost hidden behind the stone crab claws, is a tray of dry looking, huge scallops, $9.99 a pound to be sure, but magnificent lean protein and no injected saline. The elfin waif whom I have befriended in the most minor way simply by acting like a fellow human traveller and sharing stories over time led the way and hand picked twelve sweet bivalves from her hand to mine.

I didn’t take pictures tonight, but as a consolation prize, here’s dinner from several night’s ago, seared salmon with a balsamic glaze, parmesan couscous, barely born asparagus and some slices of impossible to obtain but for a friend’s generosity thickly sliced late tomatoes.

IMG_0005 The food is important only as symbol for a quality of living, a mindfulness about each day, something that says a boiled egg is ever so much better than some drive-through anything. And if a slightly soft, but still sweet apple is in the house to go along with the egg, then it is truly an honorable feast.

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