Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Dinner at the Gormans, Again

Well, I wrote my column for Skunk today--you research for three weeks, pull the best stories on the drug war, fact check to make sure you have the whole story and then write the damned column., after doing all that, I tossed the column and wrote a Drug War Follies about the idiocy of the zealots who are waging war on the new healthcare law in the US, about the unimaginable idiocy of the people waging a war on women and then put in one drug war horror story that made my freaking hair curl. That story was this: In February, police in upper Michigan were called regarding a domestic dispute at the home of a guy who has a three year old son. On arriving, the policeman saw that no one was hurt and no one wanted to press charges, so no arrests. The officer left. Newspaper accounts didn't explain it very well but I gathered that the dispute was between the child's father and mother.

But the officer thought he'd smelled marijuana and called Child Protective Services to report that he thought the father, whose house he'd visited, had been smoking. In an extravagant effort to protect the child from, god forbid, pot smoking, CPS got a court order to immediately remove the child from the premises based on the father having smoked pot in front of the child, thereby endangering him, despite that not having been reported by the officer.
A couple of hours later the police arrived with two CPS officers and the CPS officers tell the dad they're taking his child away because of marijuana. The father said--and I'm only guessing here--fat freaking chance.
The police reported that in the next few minutes the father took out a small pocket knife and lunged at them, forcing one of the officers to shoot him in the chest and kill him. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. But damned sure that that father, when alive, even if he smoked pot in front of his kid was less likely to cause the three-year-old trauma than watching the police kill his dad right in front of him.
And then, of course, the autopsy showed no marijuana in the dead dad's system. None. And the police could find none in the house. Damn, well, the officer didn't say he'd seen anything, just that he'd thought he'd smelled marijuana.
So dad's dead and now the child will live in foster care for 15 years. Yeah, great solution.
Well, that was a very depressing story. But by luck, a friend called and said he was covering a story for the NY Times not far from here and wondered if he could stop by on his way back to Austin to take a driving break at dinner time.
I said sure.
So this is what I'm making:
Roasted Chicken Thighs with a touch of garlic;
Sauteed swordfish, fresh, in garlic, olive oil and capers on a bed of asparagus;
Basmati Rice;
Spaghetti squash with red pepper, garlic butter and basil;
A salad of red onion, fresh corn cut from the cob with red bell peppers in white vinegar;
Small portabella's stuffed with walnuts, celery and bluecheese.
That is one dandy feast. I think Chepa and the kids will come over, and maybe Italo and Sara and Taylor Rain, and maybe even Marco. If they do I'll have to add some steamed broccoli and cauliflower in place of their share of the asparagus since they don't like asparagus.
Here's how I make the stuff for anyone who wants a recipe:
Roast Chicken Thighs:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Wash thighs, slice open the meat on either side of the thigh bone.
Place in a hot saute' pan, meat down.
Put a bit of sea salt and cracked black pepper on the skin.
Turn after five minutes. Put a bit of olive oil that's infused with fresh garlic on the meat side.
Turn the chicken, remove from saute' pan and put in oven baking dish. Pour the pan juice over it and cook, uncovered, in the oven for an hour or until done. If you like, put a bit of parmesan cheese on the skin when nearly finished and baste with pan juices.

Place swordfish steak(s) in very hot saute' pan that has a bit of oil in it. Sea salt and cracked black pepper on top side.
Turn after about 7 minutes, when underside is a nice brown.
Salt and Pepper the brown side, now up, and in three minutes put a tablespoon of diced garlic in olive oil on each steak. When that starts to fall off the steak into the pan, add 1/4 diced red onion (per steak) to pan. Make sure to stir onion and garlic so they don't burn.
Add diced red pepper to cooking garlic and onion.
Remove cooked swordfish from pan to plate, place on freshly steamed asparagus.
Add 1/2 small jar of capers, with juice, to pan veggies, cook 30 seconds, add a teaspoon of butter for each swordfish steak, pour sauce over swordfish, serve.

Spaghetti Squash:
Cut spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. Remove seeds with spoon.
Score the spaghetti squash with a knife lengthwise five or six times.
Put dabs of butter, unsalted, around upper edge of squash. Put a touch of salt and pepper on the squash. Bake for 45 minutes or so at 350 F, or until squash is beginning to brown.
Carefully scrape squash (cause it's very freaking hot) into a saute' hot saute pan in which there is minced fresh garlic and a little olive oil. Add finely diced red pepper to pan juices with squash. Add freshly minced parsley, stir for two minutes and season to taste.

Stuffed Shrooms, Tonight's Way:
Take 8 small/medium portabellas. Pull stems and save. Wash shrooms, then dry with paper towel. Set in small baking dish.
Mince the shroom stems after washing. Mince one celery stalk. Mince 4 tablespoons of walnuts.
Put the minced shrrom stems, celery and walnuts in a hot saute' pan that has a bit of minced garlic and olive oil. Sautee till the celery is nearly see-through. Remove and put cooked things in a small bowl.
When cooked things have cooled a bit, add 4 generous table spoons of good crumbled blue cheese (pepper and lime if you like as well) and mix well. Stuff mushrooms with the mix, tossing any extra mix into the small baking dish around the shrooms.
Dab stuffed mushrooms with butter and bake for 17 minutes at 350 F.
Remove from heat, put stuffed shrooms on serving dish, perhaps on a bed of fresh basil or sauteed spinach or fresh radish slices, and put extra stuffing mix generously around the shrooms on the serving dish.

Red Onion, Red Pepper, Corn Salad:
Cook two or three ears of fresh corn. When done, pull from water and cut the kernels off the cob. Break up the kernel sections.
Slice one medium red onion in half. Slice lengthwise several times. Slice sideways once, so that your onion is now cut in thin slices, half a length each.
Place onions in a bowl with the corn kernels.
Slice a raw red bell pepper lengthwise, finely. Cut lengths in half. Add to onion/corn mix.
Add good white vinegar to cover, sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste.
This one will last a few days whether refrigerated or not. Just make sure it's covered.
I will leave the basmati rice and the asparagus to you.
PS: Madeleina notes: And if it all sucks, go out and buy a pizza.
ME: Yeah, girl, like in Texas the pizza sucks. That's why I was cooking the feast...
Her: I know it sucks, Dad, but blue cheese? That sucks as bad as Texas pizza!
ME: Madeleina! You don't have permission to talk like that! You're a young lady, not a young hooligan...
Her: Right, old man. Whatever you say...


Anonymous said...

New Kambò forum
we all will be glad to hear of you there !

Charlie and Betty said...

what time is dinner?