Not to toot my own horn, but I made one hell of a dinner the other night. And I have yoga to thank for it.
I was having friends over and I wanted to make something reminiscently American, though revisited. Now that I’m supposed to be some “authority” on American cuisine, folks expect to have a cross-cultural and authentic dining experience at my house. So I can’t serve pasta anymore. At least for a while.
I wanted to serve various courses… not a very American tradition, so I was shaking things up right off the bat. So I thought soup. And I thought chipotle. Chipotle is a flavor they just don’t have over here in Italy, so when used in the right dosage, it’s always a big hit and somewhat exotic. I needed a southwestern vehicle for my chipotle though, and the obvious answer was roasted peppers and tomatoes.
The firey flavor of the soup turned out to be delicious but needed to be balanced out. I found myself wishing for sour cream (another hard-to-find-in-Italy ingredient), but remembered I had a tub of Crème Fraîche in the fridge. Perfect. It sounds better than “sour cream” but it’s basically the same thing, just fattier and a bit less tangy. So I whipped it up with some mint (what’s more cooling than mint?) and had my perfect dollop.
I wanted to make a light second course, simple but not boring. “Fish Wrapped in Romaine Leaves” a Mark Bittman recipe, totally enthralled me (check out the video here, or the recipe here). The side dish needed to be downplayed, since the fish was getting a little fancy, so some pan fried potato slices brought it all back home.
So my meal was complete, but something was missing. It wasn’t quite American enough, there was nothing THAT particular about it all. So I took a break and did some yoga, something I do when I realize I’m sweating over silly things like side dishes. I was in downward dog, taking mental note of the dust under my bed, when a clear voice from deep inside me declared… “CORNBREAD.”
That was it, corn- the most American of vegetables. Cornbread, the most comforting of comfort foods. It married the soup in a lavish yet humble ceremony and tied the whole meal together with southern grace. Hallelujah.
For dessert, personal chocolate lava cakes with raspberries and little American flag toothpicks.
Betsy Ross would have been so proud, not to mention Barbara Bush. My God, what has become of me?