The Coin Toss

We as a nation are four weeks into football season. Football is tied with foliage as my favorite part of fall. However, I think this last month I might have gotten a little too into football. These last couple of weeks I have running play by play commentating going on in my head as I live my life.

For intance I'll be cooking dinner and I'll hear Bob Papa and Carl Banks (the radio broadcasters for Giants games) in my head doing the play by play of my cooking.

BOB: Hi and welcome to another evening of Rachael cooking dinner. With me as always is Carl Banks.

CARL: Thanks, Bob.

BOB: Now it is a little warm today, almost like an indian summer in the kitchen. It's not the best conditions for turning the oven on.

CARL: No, it's not, Bob. Not only is it warm out but Rachael lives on the sixth floor of a brick building there is no escaping the heat when you play on the top floor or Brooklyn apartment building.

BOB: Well, we'll see how she handles the heat. And we're about to begin. She's starting off slowly here, picking the basil off her house plants in the window.

CARL: Now, that's a smart move, summer is coming to an end. She'll have less and less daylight for her basil plants, she might as well use the basil before it dies for the winter.

BOB: Wow, she's picking a bunch of basil, that looks like two cups full.

CARL: Bob, I wouldn't be surprised if she made a pesto sauce, especially in these warm conditions, you don't have to put the oven on or the stove. It's a wise move, though she doesn't have a lot of experience making the pesto.

BOB: She's gone to the cupbard taking out the pine nuts. Yes! You're right it looks like she will be making pesto. I agree with you Carl, it is a good play call considering the conditions, but is it risky? She doesn't have a lot of experience making pesto, it's getting late, if she screws it up then what? Does she punt and go by jerk chicken down the street. I don't think she wants to settle for the jerk chicken when she has already purchased ingredients here.

CARL: You're right, but let me tell you having been someone who has cooked dinner in the New York area pesto is not a complicated dish. It's pretty simple and Rachael here isn't a rookie. Yes, she doesn't have experience with pesto but this is her 5th season cooking in Brooklyn. And before that she spent 3 years cooking in Portland. I think she knows her way around the kitchen. If this were gazpacho she was trying for the first time I'd be more concerned.

BOB: Alright now she's into the fridge. She grabs the parmsean, closes the door with her foot as she reaches with her left hand to grab cheese grater.

CARL: Yeah, she's having fun out there. She knows her kitchen pretty well at this point, having moved in 6 months ago. And this kitchen allows you to have fun. Her old place was kind of falling apart.

BOB: She's grating the cheese. Oh no. She stopped. It doesn't look like she's putting in the full amount the recipe calls for. She's putting the parmsean back in the fridge.

CARL: I don't know that this is a good idea on her part, Bob. She's going to have to compensate by adding more salt at the end.

BOB: She gets out her mini-food processor. "Do you need a food processor try Cuisi-nart for all your kitchen needs" She puts in the basil. Grind. She puts in the pine nuts, grind, now the oil, grind grind grind. Now the cheese. Gee, Carl, that does not look like enough cheese at all.

CARL: Yeah, Bob, it's fine to deviate off the recipe once you're really experienced making a dish but when it's only your first or second time you have to follow your recipe. I think she might not make it in the endzone here and have to settle for a field goal attempt of Jerk Chicken. And you know, Bob the jerk chicken is no guarantee. Does she have the money? When she gets there will they serve her? Sometimes they don't serve everyone in a timely fashion. Will she get hit by a car before she even gets to the store. These are things that are at stake.

BOB: You know you're right, Carl. I didn't even think of that. The jerk chicken isnt'a sure thing.

skip ahead to after water boils.

BOB: She drains the pasta which is a capellini.

CARL: Capellini is a good call, again it's warm in here, capellini is a very thin pasta so it won't take that long to cook keeping the time the stove is on to a minimum.

BOB: She stirs up the pesto with the fork now pours it over the pasta, she tastes it. She gets up gets some salt. Adds the salt. Success! Touchdown! Rachael Parenta.

CARL: That's the thing that 7 years of apartment cooking gets you. You can audible on a recipe you really haven't made before. She can get up to the blender see her situation and say, "eh I don't really love cheese" and adjust the recipe on the fly. A rookie cook probably would have screwed that up. There was a moment of panic there but she pulled it out. But that's what winners do they find a way to win dinner.

BOB: Well, that does for me and Carl join us next week when Rachael takes on making chili with completely grass fed meet. Until then I'm Bob Papa saying good night for me and Carl Banks.


Anonymous said…
Your Mom and four old friends are sitting around a kitchen table in Providence, RI reading your blog about pesto. Your Mom nearly burst with pride, and we had to resuscitate her!! Colleen Venturello is here with us and she is backing up all the stories your Mom is revealing about you. Just wanted you to know how much we enjoyed your blog...We thought about using your pesto recipe tonight for our final dinner, but we lost your Mom in the grocery store and even an Amber Alert couldn't find her!!