Audience participation

Now that I am committed to the land of the organic, it is not uncommon to find me in front of the meat and poultry section calling out to anyone standing nearby, (just trying to get their meat and get home), “ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Have you seen this? Who is going to pay $13.26 for a chicken breast? How’m I supposed to pay $13.26 for that? Where was that chicken living, in Manhattan?
So I have been trying out cheaper cousins–still organic, but instead of the breast, skinless thighs or instead of beef filet ($21.99 a pound), a shoulder steak ($6.29 a pound).
Jonathan, who decided he wanted to start cooking, was leafing through my Italian bible, The Silver Spoon. “You know”, he said, I would really like to make “Marchand de Vin”. “OK”, I said, trying to sound all relaxed. “What’s the matter,” he said?
“Nothing,” I said, “That’s great.”
“I’ll buy some steak” he said.
“I have a steak” I said. When are you going to make it?”
“Tonight?” I could feel my skin go tight. “OK.”
“OK,” he said, “I really like the idea of cooking.” I pulled out the shoulder steak and gave myself a lecture: “The kitchen does not belong to you. It’s nice to have a husband help. If he wants to cook, he should be able to cook.” None of it sank in or made sense. I told him he could make the sauce, but I would make the steak. He heat up the frying pan, and poured in a cup of wine. He brought it to a simmer. He added 2 finely chopped shallots, a sprig of thyme, a bay leaf and some salt and pepper. He let it simmer. I watched. He read the directions. “It says you are supposed to strain all this and then whisk in a half a stick of butter–I’ll have nothing left.” “It’s OK”, I said. He strained and whisked in the butter and a squeeze of lemon and tasted. “It doesn’t taste like anything.” A person who knows how to cook has a responsibility to encourage others. “It’s the pan”, I said. “You need to use a sauce pan when you want to reduce–otherwise, all the liquid goes flying out, without giving what you have a chance to absorb the flavors of all the stuff you put in there.”
“I get it.”
I could feel him moving in.
“Add a little more wine, and reduce it super slowly. Try salt.” I threw in a pinch.
“What about the juice from the meat?”
“What about it?”
“Can I use it?”
“You can use it.” I seared the steak (a little more than 1 inch thick) in a hot pan glazed with olive oil for 4 and a half minutes a side and then let it rest out of the pan for another five. I dripped in the juice from the steak, as I whisked, so the sauce wouldn’t break. We sliced it super thinly and dipped it into the Marchand de vin. It was delicious.

3 thoughts on “Audience participation

  1. LOL…I was just having a whole conversation over dinner with my beloved, about how I’d like him to take a more active role in the kitchen…hahaha. Of course, it’d play out exactly like this…hee-hee.

  2. It’s like helping your child make pancakes – which I just did this morning – batter everywhere! Such patience.. we weren’t made for trials such as this.. 🙂

  3. I have to tell you something that will make you laugh: I’ve been on a scallop kick lately, making anything with scallops. Well, yesterday I found myself in front of the posh fishmongers “James Knight,” and decided to ask, knowing it would be pretty astronomical, what scallops were going for. Get this (are you lying, not sitting down?): 48 pounds a kilo. This translates to $50 a pound!!! I almost fainted. Be glad your chicken free-ranged on the Upper East Side and not Mayfair!

Leave a Reply