The Artful Kitchen: Gourmet Morning Pas de Duex
A kitchen dance fantasy for two.
by Judyth Hill
Promise me anything, but let's cook breakfast.
And take it out on the back porch, in the company of chickadee song and pond burble, the everstartling appearance of Steller jays.
Or back to bed. For that later among-the-crumbs thing….
On the white wicker tray, a vase of the canyon's first flush of purple asters, a strewn handful of wild rose and sunflower petals, or flowers of whatever the season, yucca blossoms, the wild blue iris, or from the hothouse and elsewhere: bird of paradise, cymbidium orchids….
Season being also how we know to shape flavors to our mutual desire: otherwise known as cooking, and being good lovers….
Let's waken to the aroma of coffee into a morning we earlier watched streak pink across the sky.
Make it something Cuban: Pico or Madaglio D'Oro, a roast so dark it recalls the deep of our night. Or maybe something shade grown and fair trade, brewed strong: a politically passionate wake-up call.
And we'll have rightnowsqueezed orange juice. Slightly cooled. Avec champagne, s'il vous plaît.
Except, heart of my heart, if you have bought the best: the Widow NV, or-impress me please!-a'96 Pol Roger, brut cuvee. Or Gruet, grown from French vine stock in New Mexico. And isn't that the perfect recipe for love-expertise of practice vinted into untamed tang?
In that case… let those perfectly tiny bubbles flow sans anything else.
But, if you're the man in my morning kitchen, I didn't have to tell you to make it Friexnet, brut, mais non?
And that sultry flirt of tart bright juice, a glass to share.
Start us gently with Bach or Corelli.
Segue into Wynton Marsalis, the Einstein of the trumpet.
That album with "Who Can I Turn To."
I know it's melancholy. But this is my fantasy. And I like my joy tinged with a touch of blue. It's that bittersweet place where we can love so deep, we'd be always crying or laughing.
Then Miles Davis and John Coltrane, "The Best of," '55 – '61, for the way Mile's clean lyrical middle meets and marries Coltrane's torrential top…and that wallop of a sextet, Adderley & Mobley & the boys, on "Someday My Prince will Come" (oh yes) and the 10 ecstatic minutes of "Straight, No Chaser," right?
Or Dexter, or Tyner, or or or
Oh, and let's make something rich and forgivably buttery.
Indulge me: Benedict, as in eggs, not Arnold. Because I want this to be true.
On crisply toasted English muffins – Thomas's regular is my thing, or doitmyself: made by my own hands the day before, and how very very is that, being essentially a plan-ahead sweetheart, ne c'est pas?
Gently poached eggs, a savory meat, perhaps, ham, lightly grilled, and that satiny sauce from the land of tulips.
Hollandaise sauce will prove the mettle of any lover.
How much more like love can a sauce get? It tries the patience, tests the will, demands your attention, needs you to care.
And rewards your efforts.
So don't be daunted. Pretend you've never heard the word "separated." Think smooth, and bound, think golden and divinely creamy, and begin.
It's all about patience, going sloooooooooooow. Timing. Like in wine. Like in love.
So, the night before, take out the butter to soften. Egg yolks could even be waiting in a little bowl, with a bit of wax paper directly on their surface, sealing out all air. Lemon juice squeezed and measured. This is the do-ahead guide to sanity in the midst-amorous kitchen.
Remember, a crazed cook does not a sultry lover make, but a sultry cook can a crazed lover be, and also, feed.
Whateeeeever. Just, please, let's, ahem, do everything possible the evening before.
Then cooking's a delight as well, and we can sip champagne, and our spirits rise with that glorious trumpet, that perfectly heartbreaking sax, while we're toasting and stirring. Let our pleasure be the real seasoning of this meal.
Customize: Sauté thick-sliced, excellent Canadian bacon, organic, if you please, or turkey sausage, or peut-être, a cooled slice or so of delicate smoked salmon.
This is our choice. Imagine that.
A sexy vegetarian version might be velvety avocado, paper thin red onion, and moist slabs of the realest tomato money can buy or we can grow, with a generous grind of black, green or pink pepper, for beauty: for the variety that is the spice of not only spices.
Plus, that toasted English could be a toasted bagel, the Everything kind, with a multiplicity of seeds for the many possibilities loving engenders.
Pure bliss, pour moi, also requires chile. Slender slivers of jalapeño, or roasted, peeled green will do nicely.
One needn't poach eggs if that method boggles (or you lack the de rigueur poacher). But I have acquired an egg poacher, as my erotic gift to the kitchen. We are lovers also, yes? And poaching is so, so, well, festive somehow; it's that little extra effort moment that just says it all.
But if the poaching is too much, the eggs may be quickly fried in brown butter till the edges are like crisp lace, but the yolk is still tender.
Tenderness is key, is the secret. Of course.
We'll take our time, and make enough for later… for surely, that is so.
Shall we just share the first one? It will be enough and more than.
And for after, a dark and silken flavor that lingers on the tongue.
What else? Something chocolate, Venezuelan 70%.
Pot de crème: just one tiny bite, one well-wrought silver spoonful apiece, because, now it is time…
Judyth Hill is a stand-up poet, living at Rockmirth, her 111 acre Eco-Arts Atelier in Northern New Mexico. She is the author of six books and the internationally acclaimed poem, "Wage Peace." We know her personally, and love her.