A few years ago my favorite chef, Thomas Keller, was in Nashville. He was there for a book signing, selling his new cookbook "ad hoc at home" (A great cookbook). I had about 15 people email me to tell me he would be there and I started trying to plan fieldtrip to Nashville. The book signing was on Thursday. But by Wednesday I knew I had no chance of getting there, just too many things going on. My good friend Mike had to go to Nashville on business and decided he would surprise me. So he and his wife and her mother drove to Nashville. When they got to the Williams-Sonoma store the line for the book signing was out the door and around the corner. Dee, Mike's wife told Mike to drop her and her mother off, they would wait in line while he went on to his business meeting. So there they were 30 yards from the front door and no telling how far from Thomas Keller. For all they knew the line went around the store 3 times, no end in sight. They waited. It was going to be a long day but they were determined. Then 2 people with Williams-Sonoma aprons walked up and said "Come with us!" … "Have you bought your book yet?" ..."No" … "Ok, we'll do that first." So Dee and her mom followed. The Williams-Sonoma people broke in line to buy the books, with Dee still not knowing why they had been singled out. Then, just as Chef Keller was sitting down, they took Dee and her mom straight to the front of the line where he was waiting. They introduced themselves, told him the whole story, told him they were getting one of the books for me, talked about that for a while, had their picture taken with him, and got both books signed, the whole deal, as if they were the only ones there… When it was all over they still didn't know why they were chosen to go to the front. Had they won something? Were they the 200th person in line? Were they the store's 10,000th customer? Who knew?… So Dee asked. The man said "It's your mom… We can't let an 80 year old woman stand in line that long. So we just moved you to the front." As they sat there waiting for Mike to come back Dee looked at her mom and said "From now on I'm taking you with me every place I go…"
God's like that: You're going along just doing what's expected and God calls you to the front.. "Come with me!" Sometimes it's a great thing, sometimes it's scary. Your life changes, people around you change and there you are in a new uncomfortable situation. God put you there for a reason, pay attention! And don't worry, he's going with you…
If you're going to Disneyland this summer you can either stand in line all day or hire Dee's mom to go with you. She's not cheap, but she's lots of fun…
Cooking 220 - 2 pans, 2 burners, 20 minutes:
New Orleans Continued ….
Here's another John Besh recipe from his cookbook "My New Orleans"… If you ever go to New Orleans, his restaurant is "Restaurant August". It's one of the best places I've ever been. It's at the corner of Gravier and Tchoupitoulas, 2 blocks off of Canal St.
Green Onion Sausage and shrimp gravy with Oeufs au Plat
This is breakfast made for kings. Oeufs au Plat is slow fried eggs..
Biscuits or toast or french bread
1 tbsp rendered bacon fat
1 lb pork sausage
1 small onion diced
1 tbsp flour
1 lb jumbo peeled shrimp
Salt & pepper
1/2 bell pepper seeded and diced
1 clove garlic minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 pinch of allspice
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup diced canned tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
Leaves from 1 sprig of thyme
1 green onion chopped
For Oeufs au Plat:
2 tsp softened butter
2 pinches of salt
For the sausage gravy:
Melt the bacon fat in a large heavy skillet over high heat, then add the pork sausage and cook, breaking up the meat as you go until it is browned, 12 -15 min.
Add the onions stirring often and cook till onions are dark brown, 15 min. (If there's more than 2 tbsp of fat in the pan, drain some of it off.)
Reduce the heat to medium and sprinkle the flour in to the pan (you are making a roux to thicken the gravy.. Remember 1 part fat, 1 part flour = Roux). Stir the flour in and cook for 2 min.
Add the bell pepper, garlic, pepper flakes, allspice, Worcestershire, tomatoes and chicken stock. Stir, Stir, Stir …Bring it to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let it cook for 15 min.
Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Add the thyme, green onions and shrimp and cook for another 5 min or until the shrimp turn pink ..
Taste it! Season with salt and pepper ..
For Oeufs Au Plat:
This is "Slow" fried eggs. This works with butter or oil. If you use oil, put 2 tbsp of oil in the cold pan, don't swirl it around. Break the 1st egg on top of the oil. The egg will push the oil out so that you have enough oil to put the 2nd egg on top of the oil also.
Using butter: Rub a room temp 9 inch skillet with butter. Place the skillet on the burner without turning the burner on!!! Break the eggs in to the skillet.
Turn the heat on low and cook the eggs until the whites turn opaque. Season with salt and pepper..
To serve: Split a biscuit/toast/french-bread on a plate. Spoon gravy over the biscuit and put the eggs on top. 2 drops of Tabasco on the yolk, a big cup of coffee, and The Times Picayune and you're all set. You may even start talking funny…