Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Best Confession ever!

I have mentioned this classic SF tale before, saying there:
One way to discover whether a person has understood what they’ve read is via a diagnostic question. I was delighted to discover that Walker Percy held this same view, and that he had a diagnostic question for the readers of Walter Miller’s A Canticle for Liebowitz, a book for which I, too, have a question. If you’ve read CfL, then perhaps you’ll recognize the value of these two questions.

Percy’s: Who or what is Rachel? (the second head on the woman at the end of the book)

Mine: Is this book fundamentally optimistic or fundamentally pessimistic?

Here, I just want to put down one of my favorite scenes. This is from the fifth chapter in the first section,
Fiat Homo.

. . . on Palm Sunday, with only six days of starvation remaining until the end of Lent, Prior Cheroki heard from Francis (or from the shriveled and sun-scorched residuum of Francis, wherein the soul remained somehow encysted) a few brief croaks which constituted what was probably the most succinct confession that Francis ever made or Cheroki ever heard:

“Bless me, Father; I ate a lizard.”

Prior Cheroki, having for many years been confessor to fasting penitents, found that. . . he replied with perfect equanimity and not even a blink:

“Was it an abstinence day, and was it artificially prepared?”

Thursday, September 10, 2009

6 oz Filet at the House of Chez Casa

We have not one, but two actual butcher shops in our new hood. This makes it a real shame that I can only eat red meat once or twice a week. But the good news there is that when the budget won’t be eaten up (har!) by quantity, you can go for quality. And in this neighborhood, quality comes cheap.

I am, even as I type, eating the most tender, juicy, melty, mouth watering 6 oz filet I have had anywhere in years. It’s even better than the filet I had some months back at Ruth’s Criss. And unlike the extremely good piece of cow flesh I had at Ruth’s, this one only cost me $6.

For the record, our two shops are:
  1. Steak Mart (~4/10ths of a mile from home)
  2. Ole Timey Meat Market (~6/10ths of a mile from home)
and tonight’s filet is from the second shop.

So that I don’t forget my cooking times in all the insanity of unpacking and trying to start living in the new house, I want to record here what I did.

I tend to do a combination of broiling and roasting, and my tool of choice is a Cuisinart convection toaster oven. Consumer Reports rated the temperature accuracy very high on this unit, so when our old one was ruined by a little bit of an overcooking incident (a-hem), this is the one we got to replace it. We use it a lot, especially at times when heating up the whole kitchen seems like a bad idea.

So anyway, here’s the procedure:
  1. Go to the front yard and cut a little bit of rosemary, then strip the leaves.
  2. Select a small baking dish (I use a ceramic tart pan; it’s just the righ size for a small filet).
  3. Slice a few veggies, spritz with EVOO and coat with a dry rub. Put the veggies in the bottom of the small dish. (This is SO much better than using a broiler pan. The veggies soak up some of the tasty juices that would otherwise be lost. I had thought that I still had some baby carrots or string beans on hand, but alas! So tonight it was just some onion; not even any potato for absorbancy, and I realize now that what I really wanted tonight was some ’shrooms.)
  4. Do a dry-rub spicing of the filet. I normally favor something Italian, but tonight went with salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary.
  5. Put the filet on top of the veggies and broil for six minutes.
  6. Flip the filet and broil for six more minutes.
  7. Top with some blue cheese crumbles and convection bake at 350 for six more minutes.
  8. Cut the heat and let stand for a couple of minutes.
  9. Enjoy a perfectly medium filet.

I realize that with the cooking times, I run the risk of this being the cooking method of the antichrist, but I’m having a hard time bringing myself to care right now.

Heavens, this is good!