By John Barrera
Have you ever cooked for someone and noticed the other person’s face? I can almost guarantee that person was smiling. How about a conversation with your mother telling her you’ll be coming to visit soon? Most times that conversation would include something about making your favorite meal or maybe visiting your favorite restaurant. These are examples of caring, of love. Before you start thinking I’m writing this as a prelude to an after-school special. I want to reverse this thought and think about what you would make for your loved one.
I believe everyone has their “go-to dishes.” Whether it’s a breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert, we all have or should have one.
I asked my daughter what hers were, and without skipping a beat, she replied “Breakfast is scrambled eggs and sautéed kale and dinner is rice and beans.” I know my wife’s without asking her. Breakfast is soft boiled eggs with cubed French bread, olive oil and lots of fresh cracked black pepper, dinner is risotto and shrimp and dessert is individual Tiramisu in espresso cups with Lady Finger garnish.
I personally change my go-to dishes every year. Because I’ve cooked professionally, I don’t have a lunch or dinner go-to because I like to cook whatever I have to work with at that time. But, I find breakfast and dessert another story. Last year I memorized a pancake recipe that is sure to please. Seven ingredients—just make sure the baking powder is fresh and the maple syrup real, throw in some berries(I always keep frozen organic berries in my freezer) and I’m enjoying my coffee, reading the paper and never going near cleanup—while being told what a master I am in the kitchen. I’m not as interested in making a dessert. Unless my bride is in the mood to make her Tiramisu, if my guests ask “should we bring anything,” I suggest bringing dessert.
But, I do feel as though I should have a go-to dessert. Most cooks will tell you keep it simple and fresh, so I chose Julia Child’s clafoutis recipe. Any dessert with fresh fruit is always a crowd pleaser and Julia also keeps the preparation very simple.
My wife orders six pairs of shoes at a time from Zappo’s and sends back the ones she doesn’t like, so put her at a farm stand in the Hampton’s you end up with more fruit then a Dole canning plant. To say I’ve made ten assorted claifotis so far this summer would not be an exaggeration—blueberry-peach, peach, raspberry, plum, plum-peach and even chocolate-almond. At one point I was knocking out two at a time and giving one away. So it’s a winner.
You don’t need four different go-to dishes. You just need one. One dish that you can call on to tell one person or a group of people that you mean something to me and this is my humble way of showing it.
If you would like to use any of the recipes mentioned in the article please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org