Furious Cuisine, or Get Out of My Life, But First Can I Use Your Champagne to Make Some Gastrique?*

Tuesday last, Owen came home with two of his nerdy little friends and demanded, in a most rude and entitled way, that I drive them over to Marsden’s house. I had other demands on my time, including needing to figure out dinner, so I declined. Forcefully, and I didn’t like his tone, Mister. Then, in a fit of ire, I went even further and forbade him from going with the little rats, once it had been determined that they had no interest in staying here, preferring the paradise of Marsden’s palatial and amply-supplied-with-screens abode. In the kerfluffle, both of us forgot that Owen actually couldn’t go, as he had a trumpet lesson, to which I then dragged him with great difficulty.

After the lesson, Owen wouldn’t speak to me. I went about my business, knowing he would come around eventually, and after a while he stomped into the basement and came back up with a package of Korean ramen from Tex’s secret stash (forbidden to the rest of us mortals). He banged about at the stove and cooked himself up a doctored bowl of noodles (he added tofu and veggies). When he came up from the basement, he blatantly displayed the package, just so I would know just exactly what he was doing and how angry he was. But that wasn’t all. After he’d eaten his noodles, he stomped over to the computer, printed something out, and then was rustling about in the basement again. He came crashing back up with the bottle of champagne a friend gave me for my 50th birthday. Turns out, he had a plan to make gastrique, and it needs wine. I explained the difference between champagne and wine and sent him next door to borrow the 2 tablespoons of red from our beloved neighbor. Some time and much excitement with the immersion blender later (I’m still finding splatters), Owen had a lovely gastrique, with which he wowed dinner guests on Friday and which has been enhancing bread and cheese, ice cream, and meat ever since. And of course, cooking cheered him up, and soon he was once again the cheerful young person we know him to be.

From furious cuisine to completely serene. For a mom who spends a good deal of time reading self-help books, especially Buddhist self-help books, that grumpy afternoon was quite a lesson. Who needs Pema Chodron when you’ve got Owen in the house?

*With a tip o’ the cursor to Dr. Anthony E. Wolf’s beloved parenting book, Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me & Cheryl to the Mall: A Parent’s Guide to the New Teenager

Gastrique a la Owen Chodron

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 shallot, peeled and minced

2 cups fruit (he chiseled out some ancient frozen berries)

2-3 tablespoons sugar, depending on how sweet your fruit is

3 tablespoons wine or cognac

3 tablespoons vinegar

generous pinch of salt

Melt butter in small sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add shallots and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients

Bring juice to boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer until fruit is very tender.

If using berries, strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove seeds. Otherwise, puree mixture.

Taste and adjust seasoning and tartness.

Published in: on May 7, 2012 at 11:05 AM  Leave a Comment  
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