Wifey and I took breakfast at Caffé Trieste this morning; a leisurely repast of hot coffee and egg and ham-stuffed croissants. While Angela surfed the net, I sat down with my latest cookbook, A Platter of Figs And Other Recipes by David Tanis, and as ever…oddly…tears would come to my eyes unbidden over reading his recipes. I’m not sure if its because I think of all the years that cooking in my life was not a pursued passion and my passions were ‘wasted’ or that the time left to me to improve my skills and experience would be limited to my descending years of retirement.

Certainly I don’t regret spending the time I did drawing and sketching and doing comics like I did, but then…cooking and fine dining was just a parenthetical footnote to who I was. Still, I think of how much better a cook…or even a chef I could have been had I been more interested at an earlier time, I get ever so slightly maudlin. Regardless, my nature isn’t to brood excessively and i (usually) grab at what I’m interested in at the time, so here’s to the next twenty…or thirty hopefully, years of developing my culinary skills and the life that will revolve around that passion.

That being said, reading Tanis’ book has gotten me inspired and I plan to send out invites to some people I would love to have over for dinner with whom I have lost touch with and need to at least insinuate into my life again, even if it has to be scheduled. Alas, we all have lives and social demands, I suppose, and yes, we are all scattered here and there. Time was…well…that time when people simply dropped in for dinner on the spur of the moment simply by walking over a block or two to visit probably never existed save for in 50s or 60s television shows.

Some items our friends may be seeing…

Double Duck Breast with Baked Figs and Duck Liver Toasts
Baked Greek Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta
Wild Salmon with Vietnamese Cucumbers
Jellied Chicken Terrine

I also recently picked up a book about French cakes and small desserts and will be diving into the world of joconde-style cakes in the weeks to come, and if you’re fortunate enough to be at our home for one of these dinners, I can at least guarantee that you will have a lovely French dessert waiting after dinner…though I won’t be able to guarantee that it will ‘look’ as pretty as some of those fancy-ass desserts you will see at French patisseries. I will try, but I and my skill sets at pastry are a work in progress and prime time is some time away.

People with names like Ella, Michael, Nena, and others come to mind.

Tonight was actually going to be one of those dinners mentioned above for my wife and I, but then, I realized that I had a Cornish game hen laying there in the fridge. Never cooked one of those before, and figure it can’t be much different from chicken…just a bit smaller. The one should be more than enough for the two of us. A little rosemary, a little lemon, and a little garlic along with a piperade side dish of cooked onion, pepper, and tomatoes. A few slices of bread to sop things up.

Bear in mind your name, folks– and expect to hear from me for some September dates. I know if I said ‘Come tomorrow night for a duck roast!’ none of you would be able to make it.

Well, Bruno would. He’s a whore for duck!