the gourmet life: instant, in season, out of season…

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In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. – 2 Timothy 4:1-3

It’s always good to get together with friends. Rebekah and I love people, and the “dinner party” format is one of our favorites. It helps that (when I have time) I seriously enjoy the process of cooking, and Sunday afternoon I had a couple of hours to concentrate on the preparations while Rebekah was training elders and deacons at WFPC.

I won’t detail the entire meal, but I will explain how I prepared two of the items. The flavor profile was absolutely wonderful, and it’s certainly something I’ll do again.

IMG_3840VEAL: The star of the show was involtini di vitello con pancetta e formaggio e asparago. Translation: veal rolls with pancetta, cheese, and asparagus. The result was an absolute home run, served with an amazing reduction sauce, cauliflower mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, and buttermilk biscuits that I made as our guests arrived.

First, a note on the veal. I will not purchase veal without a thorough understanding of the farming practices associated with production. It’s worth driving to Whole Foods and paying their premium to have that peace of mind.

I pounded the meat to produce a thin rectangle. I then trimmed the thin sliced pancetta, and the cheese (I chose a tart Italian Taleggio), to be slightly smaller that the veal. The three layers were then rolled, tightly, around three blanched asparagus spears, before being tied with cooking string and rolled in seasoned all-purpose flour.

The rolls are then sautéd, at low heat, in four tablespoons of a 50-50 butter/olive-oil mixture, turning frequently, for ten minutes. Set aside on a warm plate, covered, while making the reduction sauce. Turn up the heat, add a half-cup of Marsala cooking wine, six tablespoons of the reserved fluid from blanching the asparagus, and a two tablespoons of butter. Reduce until the sauce thickens and darkens. Serve immediately over the veal rolls.

DEVOTIONAL: My devotional tie-in (there’s nothing that God doesn’t use to teach me something!) is this idea of timing. Cooking is nothing more than following directions, and making the timing work. When I’m preparing something extra special, I’m just as pleased with the fact that the biscuits, the entrée, the vegetables, and the potatoes are all ready at the exact same moment, as I am pleased with the deliciousness of the food!

DSC_0572Much of the opportunity that we have to serve God in out-of-the-ordinary ways has to do with our readiness. Are we prepared, and ready to serve, at the right time?

We have all the ingredients, the raw material, but are we – as the KJV translation puts it so tellingly – “instant – in season and out of season”?

– DEREK

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