Saturday, March 27, 2010

Them Bones

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Tonight's dinner started out with this: a gelatinous cube of leftover osso bucco. Looking at this in the pan I wondered if the plans I'd concocted earlier in the day would pan out as well as I'd expected. Normally my day-after plan for osso bucco is to turn it into a delicious pasta with truffle oil. This, while delicious, has gotten old over the last decade. Tonight I decided to do something a little different.

I was taking an awful risk. This had better work.

I started off with a Spring Fling Ale from Blue Point Brewing Company on Long Island. Earlier in the day I'd asked Jen to make a batch of sour cream pastry dough which she did superbly. You can see the flour from the dough I'd just rolled out clumsily tracked all over my beer glass.

I'd cooked the osso bucco down with the bones in the pan to get every bit of flavor out of them. When I went to remove them from the pan to add them to the bottom of the pastry crust I'd just baked I thought it a shame. Instead I decided to use these fantastic bones as a weird inter-pastry garnish. While Jen found this to be a little off-putting I was quite pleased with the end result.

As someone who was once responsible for baking and pastry production in a Five Star Diamond Awarded restaurant you would think that I would use a little more care in my arrangement of this pastry crust. I'm not sure at what point it was but sometime (roughly 8-to-10 years ago) I decided I was done with taking any sort of care in my pastry crust. I also decided, after years of having knife skills beaten into me, that I was not going to spend any amount of time making careful measured knife cuts that are referred to with French terminology.

No, I'm no longer a slave to "precision" and "nice appearence." The pastry crust was perfectly made, tender and flaky, and held together beautifully even as the vessel for a hearty veal stew. Who cares if it looks like it was inexpertly pieced together by a three-year-old? Not me!

I'm comfortable enough in my ability to perform these tasks properly that I can celebrate this vacation from tedium and not have to take any care in my technique so long as the taste is delicious.

It's so good to be free of the brunoise.

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