of faithlessness and ragù

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I haven’t cooked — really cooked — in a long, long while.

A few weeks ago, we decided we had to move very quickly to avoid a steep (five figures) leaseback.  This was an unexpected kink in our home sale, and needless to say a story in and of itself, but what it comes down to is this: three days after getting back from a long weekend trip to Austin (which was fantastic), we packed up all our stuff, crammed it into a pair of 16′ SAMs (like PODs, only they’re SAMs), and moved into a rental.  Fun!

So now our new old home is being renovated, our old new home is no longer ours, and we are in limbo in someone’s vacation home…but at least the kitchen is sweet!

I got to cook today.  Really cook.  I got to play with a sauce technique I’d been wanting to try: take a tough cut of meat, chop it fine, brown it with aromatics (in this case, minced — yes, minced — onions and carrots and spices), and cook in a generous amount of gelatinous homemade stock.  Let it boil down, down, down until it bubbles like syrup and coats a spoon.  Then keep repeating until the meat is tender and melting.

What you get is…ragù.  The real deal.  Not the commercial sugar paste in a jar, but a thick, food-cloaking, hearty affair you only need a little of to make all right with the world.

Of course, I ruined it with too many strained tomatoes…but next time, I shall have faith in the ragù and see where it leads me.  I suspect to greatness.  Lynne adds cream to hers, right at the end.  I expect this would have been heavenly.

I’m also being a bit harsh when I say “ruined it”.  I did wind up with a very pleasant meat sauce.  My dinner guests enjoyed what they ate, and I did, too.  It is a sauce I am very familiar with; I could likely cook it in my sleep with one arm tied behind my back.  It is an old friend, a pleasant dinner companion…but the time has come.  I would like to make another sauce, now.

Next time, my darlings.  Possibly even next weekend.