There is a blizzard outside my window and the snow has been falling with a fierce intensity. I can hear a heavy copper art piece on my deck nailed to the wall but shaking like a piece of tissue paper in the 50-mph winds. What to do, what to do. Was supposed to be an evening of pizza and beer at the local bistro but the old Iowan that I am says, stay put.
Jason is cooking, I tell him. Come down that snowy hill and we'll play Scrabble. Every vegetable I have in my fridge is being chopped, sauteed or run through my food processor. Son Jason, executive chef at the restaurant, Leaf, in Boulder, Colorado, acclaimed by Bon Appetit, has graced us with his presence and his artistry in my little kitchen.
He is making a Wellington with puff pastry and a bourdelaise sauce that would make you swear you taste beef. Herbs and sea salt are flying and I am watching an artist at work. This boy has the same talent my mother possessed, the ability to make food sing. How do you do this, I ask, I am so self-conscious in the kitchen, fearing the inevitable mistake and then everyone will be disappointed. "Don't think so much," he answers. Probably good advice for a number of situations.
The majority of a bottle of Merlot goes into one of the pots and I am in love with the smells wafting above my stove. This man is a magician of herbs.
Look at this, yes, look at this. Emeril could not have done better. Mashed russets with the skins on, chunky vegetables with zucchini-flavored sauce topped with puff pastry and broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions - oh, and there's rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley. Sounds like a Simon and Garfunkel tune.
And here is the reward - Sonny smiling as he piles high his plate with spinach and chickpea salad. There is warm fruit compote dusted with nutmeg and more red wine. All plates are wiped clean and bellies are taut. Sonny attempts four words at the Scrabble game that are not words as proven by my dictionary. I should call him on this, sneaky boy, but he looks so forlorn when I do.