A Recipe for Democracy and Other Important Stuff...
I’m proud of my wife.
Actually, I know a lot of people who adore their spouse. We show it in any number of a million different ways… from taking care of each other when we’re sick to gently rubbing someone’s neck after an exhausting day, from putting up with our not-so-pleasant eccentricities for decades on end to being a petite but fiery Latino getting into the face of a 280 lb. bully trying to pick a fight with her husband…
Me? I like to brag about my wife. The good Lord knows she deserves it (after putting up with me all these years) and, did I mention… she’s a fiery Latino. Anyway, she works for a national company offering protean direct to the consumer and was recently the recipient of their ‘Friendly Butcher Award’ (basically, an employee-of-the-year-award-for-the-state-of-Texas). She was also just certified as a Wild Fork Personal Chef and has really upped the ante on our friendly cooking competition. I like to think I know my way around a kitchen (and I did own a restaurant once upon a time) but she can blow me away with some traditional Colombian dishes. She is one of these gifted people who can give you her recipes but your results will never taste like hers. She’s also the person who made me understand the quality of your ingredients makes all the difference in the world.
Food buyers for high-quality restaurants (usually the Master Chef), have to be rigid in their standards. Many get reputations (unfairly) for being arrogant, selfish, or stubborn because they will not even consider altering those standards. They understand that once they have a recipe that works; once they have achieved that oh-so-delicate balance of flavors, aromas, and textures, they can never settle for less no matter how compelling a food seller’s pitch might be.
The temptations are many. Once you have a successful restaurant, vendors will start coming out of the woodwork pitching you on why their truffles are better than the ones you’re using. Others will promise their already-peeled shellfish will save you time and money without compromising the integrity of the final product. Some will play on your sympathies with one sob story after another – some might even be family looking for their big break. And, if your restaurant is really important, bribes and threats might even come into play.
To a Chef, their unique recipes are the most important treasure they possess. To an American, I would suggest liberty is the most important treasure we possess.
For our purposes here, I’m not going to get into the differences between freedom and liberty (that can be the subject of another post), but it is absolutely correct to say mankind never really experienced it until the founding of the United States of America. For most of that first century, after we won our independence, the United States was looked at as ‘The Great Experiment.’ Globally, most believed it would be impossible for a people to govern themselves. Without a king or queen or some form of all-powerful government, our society would surely collapse – after all, the masses weren’t smart enough to collectively make better decisions than the best and brightest (or, the most tyrannical, ruthless, arrogant, or inbred – but, I digress). Surely, the ‘upstart Americans’ would get their comeuppance – and the sooner the better. Instead, of course, putting the power in the hands of the people created the richest, most progressive, advanced, and compassionate society in the history of the world.
If mankind’s liberty is the award-winning entrée, then the recipe would be the rules that define our form of government (the Constitution). And, according to that recipe, the finest ingredients going into it are the freely elected representatives of We the People.
We cannot compromise on the election process.
A master chef cares about the soil composition his vegetables were grown in, and the type of feed her beef was raised on. No compromise can be made – not just any representatives will work… only the representatives the American people have truly, transparently, and freely voted for will deliver this delicate blend of ingredients that have maintained the greatest nation on earth.
Our Founding Fathers made us all Master Chefs. It is up to us to be wary of factions claiming to have a better way; it is our duty to ignore demands that voting machines are cheaper and easier; it is our responsibility to stand firm that making it easier to vote does not outweigh the security of the vote; it is our heritage that gives us the strength to stand up to bribes and extortion and our mandate to prosecute those who do not.
They may think us arrogant. They may accuse us of being selfish, bigoted, and uncompassionate towards the hardships of others, and they may slander us with claims of ignorant stubbornness… but we need to be the adults in the room. Like a child who always wants to eat candy, we must have the strength to say ‘no’ – even if nasty onlookers would loudly exclaim we are making that poor baby cry.
Our Founding Fathers made us Master Chefs. They put their legacy in our hands. What will we do with it? What will you do with it?
STUPID JOKE of the WEEK
Q: How do you keep an idiot in suspense?
This dish originally comes from Spain and I’ve always avoided it because getting all the ingredients together seemed like a hassle - but, my wife has shown me why it is soooo worth it. Again, don’t skimp, and use quality ingredients. You will absolutely want to thank me (don’t bother - just send money)…
RECIPE: SEAFOOD PAELLA
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
From grouper to mussels to clams, this paella has every jewel of the sea to satisfy all of your seafood cravings.
Skinless Grouper, thawed and cut into 1” pieces
QTY 12. oz.
Blue Mussels, thawed
QTY 1 lb.
QTY 1 lb.
Easy Peel Jumbo Shrimp, thawed
QTY 1 lb.
Seafood Mix with Shells, thawed
QTY 1 Package
Bay Scallops, thawed
QTY 1 lb.
Fish Broth, Clam Juice, or Chicken Stock
QTY 6–7 Cups
Short Grain Rice
QTY 5 Cups
QTY 5 Cloves
QTY ½ Cup
QTY 2 tsp.
QTY 2 tsp.
Large Onion, finely chopped
Red Bell Pepper, finely chopped
Large Tomato, chopped
QTY 1 Package
Fresh Steamed Asparagus Spears, for garnish
Pimento Peppers, for garnish
QTY 1 Can
Paella Pan (20-22” in diameter for 10-12 servings)
Heat fish broth in a large pot and keep warm.
In a large paella pan or skillet, heat 6 Tbsp. olive oil. Add onion, peppers, and garlic and sauté until wilted. Add tomatoes. Continue to cook for a few minutes until the liquid has evaporated. Add paprika and saffron and continue to sauté while stirring.
Add rice and stir the rice with the sofrito (sautéed vegetables). Add 5 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low, and add the diced fish and seafood mix. Stir to evenly distribute seafood. Simmer for 8-10 minutes uncovered. Add bay scallops, stir and place the shell-on shrimp, the mussels, and clams on top. Cover with aluminum foil and let the rice cook gently on low for 10-12 minutes.*
Garnish the Paella with peas, asparagus spears, and red pimentos; cover with foil to keep warm until ready to serve. *USDA recommends cooking fish and shellfish to a minimum internal temperature of 145°F
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