Saturday, March 3, 2012

Returning the Flavor & the Perfect Bloody Mary Blige

“Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downwards through the mud and slush of opinion and tradition, and pride and prejudice, appearance and delusion, through the alluvium which covers the globe, through poetry and philosophy and religion, through church and state, through Paris and London, through New York and Boston and Concord, till we come to a hard bottom that rocks in place which we can call reality and say, "This is and no mistake.”
Henry David Thoreau

March 2nd & 3rd, 2012
Song: Family Affair by Mary J Blige 

My trip to Wisconsin comes to a close today and with it a rejuvenated Scotty will return to the Sunshine State.  Rejuvenated?  Hmm, ok so there was some self induced alcohol poisoning, obscene amounts of caffeine fixation coupled with sleep deprivation and that sort of unsettling feeling that maybe, just maybe you ought to resign to merciful silence . . . that opinion of yours riding up your toosh a bit too much.  There’s something deeply enriching about my close circle of hometown friends and family; a realness to it if you will.   Wisconsin is a farmland state that raises more than corn and cows, it is a place that fosters the true bonds of humanity.  Where people offer assistance before your mouth needs furnish any such humble request.  Where strangers ask, “How are you doing today?” and they actually stick around to hear the answer.  Where the bridge between belief and action is built stronger than a titanium alloy. I’m very proud to say I’m a Wisconsinite and even more honored to have a small, handful of friends that fall within the family circle – they are not my brothers & sisters by blood, but they certainly qualify by belief and action.

The world is disturbed, that is a reality that nobody can really deny and somehow, in some magical way . . . Wisconsin seems to be a congregation that refuses to let go of what America once was.   Remember the news with a sea of flannel shirted, not quite pitch fork fit of raging citizens storming their capital and ready to hang their Governor!  My people fill their fireplaces with wood not Dura-Flame logs.  My people own their NFL football team with unwavering loyalty.  My people are not Californians - even though I’ve made some amazing friends in my fourteen years as a West Coast resident.  And what really is more noteworthy is that most of the actual Cali-born natives are fine folks it’s the transplants huddling to San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco that allow their new environment to corrupt their previous understanding of ethics and morals.  There’s a certain shockwave of singular serving friends, a pace to impress, a void of earnest emotion . . . I haven’t changed much, but it cost me a lot of money and two businesses in the process. 
My last stretch of this trip has really been a little culinary quest to taste more of the Midwestern comfort cuisine with two-step twists of modernism.  Madison is growing as is its culinary scene.  I enjoyed the best Bloody Mary complete with pickled brussel sprouts and forty-two other edible garnishes at the Old Fashioned restaurant, some “off the chain” fried cheese curds which are still sticking to my intestinal tract, mushroom-horseradish havarti stuffed burgers, won-ton nachos loaded over with pepperoni & a quarter wheel of Roth Kase, a meat-lovers cassoulet with braised pork shank, duck confit & polish sausage and a childhood favorite from the Johnson’s household – fried smelt!  I’d be remiss to leave out the fact that all of this food was consumed with endless bottles New Glarus Spotted Cow, Brandy Old Fashioned’s, Bombay Sapphire Martini’s and of course  . . that damn Sailor Jerry Rum that Dad and I have closed out each evening with.

I’m back in Los Angeles now and ready to conquer my new job.  The Water Dragon finally emerging and the horizon approaching from which to hang-up Thoreau for another philosopher as I turn the final pages o this chapter and prepare for a new perspective outlook.  I’m less of a Chef these days and feeling quite good about it, naturally inclined to accept my fate just as one pulling the perfect bloody mary up to ones lips; I’m ready for some bite and holding the smile firm! 

With Culinary Blessings,
                   Chef Scotty

 The Bloody Mary
This drink is simply a part o Americana and while not complicated it does command some attention to fresh indredients particularly the garnishes which should include nothing less than gourmet olives, a celery stalk, pickled vittles and perhaps a chunk of pepperjack cheese or cocktail shrimp.  It’s a creative process that is usually accompanied by a wicked hangover.  I think this drink fits just about perfectly in summing up my Wisconsin trip!

  • 1 oz. to 1½ oz. (30-45 ml) vodka in a highball glass filled with ice.
  • Fill glass with Clamato juice
  • 2 dashes of celery salt
  • 1 dash ground black pepper
  • 1 dash Tabasco sauce
  • 2-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 splash of dill pickle juice
  • 1/8 tsp. horseradish (pure, never creamed)
  • Dash of lemon or lime juice
Shake the hell out of it and then adjust as needed.  It should be spicy enough to require a Beer chaser