I was feeling a bit guilty for neglecting my blog so thoroughly this week. Looking at being gone for the next four days and all. I had an idea for a post before I go. I asked April two questions.
1. What is your favorite song that I've played for you this week?
2. What was the favorite dish that I cooked for you?
Favorite song: Raglan Road
This is a tragic Irish love song. That's how it works with the Irish, happy wars, sad love songs. The only criticism I made for this choice is that April is a blonde. A golden, glorious blonde, and the song is about a woman with dark hair. She only smiled coyly and said "How do you know I'm not the singer?" Not much possibility for a comeback to that one. Besides this is her choice, not my critique. There have been many recordings of this made, my favorite is by Van Morrison on "Celtic Heartbeat." Van's a genius and rare treasure. For you music readers, here's the melody line:Click here to listen to it
Although the notation is in the key of "D" I do it in "G" because I'm no tenor.On Raglan Road, on an autumn day
I saw her first, and I knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare
That I might one day rue
I saw the danger, yet I walked on
Along the enchanted way
And I said "Let grief be a falling leaf
At the dawning of the day"
On Grafton Street in November
We moved lightly along the ledge
Of a deep ravine, where can be seen
The price of passion pledged
The queen of hearts, still making her tarts
And I'm not making hay
But to love too much by such and such
Is just happiness thrown away
I gave her the gifts of the mind
I showed her the secret sign
That's known by all of the artists who've met
The true gods of sound and light
With word and intent I readily spent
I gave her reams of poems to say
With her own name there
To her shining dark hair
Like the clouds over fields of May
On a quiet street where the old ghosts meet
I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly
That my reason must allow
That I have wooed, not as I should
A creature made of clay
When an angel woos the clay he will lose
His wings at the dawn of the day
This is a harp tune of the first magnitude. If you add in a pennywhistle or fiddle it's even better. We'll be working this one into the show this weekend. I'm not sure about whether or not it's completely period, but if I'm not sure there isn't much chance of finding a musicologist in the audience to dispute the choice of tune.
Favorite Dish: Creme Brulee
You gotta love a dish that calls for a blowtorch as a cooking tool right?
4 cups Heavy Cream (I use manufacturing cream that is found at Smart & Final)
1 Vanilla bean
Pinch Salt (sea salt or kosher or other non-iodized salt is best)
8 egg yolks
3/4 cup baker's sugar
for caramel crust
2 tablespoons baker's sugar
8 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Put the cream in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the tiny seeds. Put it all into the cream and heat until just at the edge of a scald (about 190°). In a large ceramic bowl stir the egg yolks and sugar together gently to avoid air bubbles. Bring the hot cream over and begin to add it slowly to the yolks and sugar, stirring gently the whole time. You're going to be tempering
the egg yolks just like you did with the Creme Anglais
you do this to avoid scrambling the egg yolks. This is dessert bitchez, not breakfast, no scrambling allowed. Do your stirring gently to avoid making air bubbles.
Strain this into another bowl or glass pitcher. You can rinse and put the bean husks in a jar of sugar for extra vanilla flavor. Use a spoon to skim off any bubbles. Put 8 3/4 cup ramekins into a roasting pan and fill them to the brim with the custard. Place the roasting pan in the middle rack of a 300° oven and fill to at least halfway up the ramekins with water. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 75 minutes. When they are done the edges should be firm, it's alright if the middle is still a little sloppy. It will firm up when you chill them. Remove the ramekins from the bain marie (that's the pan of water, remember?) cool on a rack to room temperature then refridgerate for at least three hours. You can make this up to two day in advance.
To serve, take the custards out of the refridgerator, blot any liquid that may have formed on the top with a paper towel and sieve 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar over the top of each one. Evenly distribute the baker's sugar and go for your torch. You want to melt and bubble the sugar with the torch. Try not to get it all smokey and scorched but a little of that won't hurt anything. About 15 seconds of direct flame is the most you want to go for. Serve immediately. Accept all the applause and compliments gracefully. You don't have to let them know how easy it really is.
Those are April's favorites. When she's around, they're mine too.