Today I’m suspending my self-imposed rules. What rules? Well, I promised myself that this blog would always be limited to writing related things. Next I’ve made it a general practice to use the “ingredients” in the order they are received.
This time I’m moving up the ingredients from Judith in California, aka Firecook, which were due for Episode -12. Why? Because I had a Thursday that was straight out of… Hades. I had one career-related disappointment after another. I got knocked down first thing Thursday morning. Before I could stand upright, something else knocked me down again. And again. And again! All in one stinkin’ day.
What has that to do with my fellow blogger? I’m getting ahold of my metaphorical bootstraps by highlighting Judith’s own career challenge. The culinary arts are in her heart and she needs tips, insights, and information that will help her land an intermediate-level chef position — in a small town. No matter one’s skills, finding a good job that lets you do the work of your heart in a small town is a huge challenge. So please, if you have any tips, go to Judith’s blog, Culinaryspirit and leave a comment there if you have any ideas or encouragement for the Firecook.
As episode-related treats, I’m giving you a video on making garlic paste, and a simple recipe for shrimp scampi! Judith supplied the ingredients this time. Without further ado, here is Episode-11. Bon appétit!
11. Garlic, Crepes, Soufflé
We finished peeling shrimp to make scampi for supper. My grandmother left the table where we sat and had me move to the counter with her. I watched in fascination as Granny quickly chopped a clove of garlic. She told me you could make garlic paste using just a knife and a bit of salt. If anyone else had told me that I would have thought they were off their nuts. But she proceeded to use the knife to rub the garlic bits into a perfect paste.
She sent me to the parlor to find the notes she had made about her latest culinary experiment, which was in the oven. Granny fretted over the new “foreign” dish as if worry was an essential ingredient. I looked everywhere without finding the notepaper. So I started looking through the stack of cooking and travel books, thinking she might have left her notes in a book. The minute I picked up a volume about France, with a beautiful illustration of crepes, I became distracted. I wasn’t paying attention to anything else because I was so involved in the pictures in the travel books. But I was still looking for her notes. Honest.
The first indication I had that something was wrong was the sounds of dogs howling. In the distance to the east, two of them started howling. It was so far away that I barely noticed. Then somewhere south of Granny’s cottage another one added his canine croon. I still wasn’t really paying attention until Cracker the parrot chirped “Hush puppy. Hush puppy!” and paced on her perch looking very agitated.
I looked out the parlor window when the neighbor’s blood hound added a loud bellow to that unpleasant wailing. A moment later I saw the source of the dogs’ discomfort as first one, then three police cars rushed past, sirens blaring. It gave me goose bumps.
My little town outside Santa Rosa Sound, Florida was a world away from the larger city of Savannah, Georgia. I wasn’t used to sirens and police cars running pell-mell down the streets. One car backfired right in front of the cottage. An unexpectedly vivid oath wafted from the kitchen along with a glorious aroma. “Granny is everything okay?” I called.
“All that racket’s going to ruin my soufflé!” my grandmother said in a strangled exclamation.
I grinned at her remark despite the unease I felt because of the unaccustomed sound of sirens. Granny was experimenting with a number of dishes she described as “fancy cooking.” That was mostly because of a big reception she was going to cater. And it had turned out she was doing that as a favor to Marshal Moses Myrick, a revenuer of some renown. He planned to use Granny’s catering as a way to sneak his men into the party. The whole thing was a sting to catch a mobster. Cracker’s late owner, Cracker Jack Daddy, had also been involved with the mobster. We still didn’t know all the details of his demise, but there were obviously dangerous characters on the loose in Savannah.
Then an unmarked but familiar car screeched to a stop right outside. The car door slammed as Detective Dabney Daniels got out and ran to the house. His long legs covered the distance in a few strides. The door crashed open — he didn’t even knock!
Granny Fanny started cursing fit to make a sailor blush. I put my hand to my mouth, but it did no good. I started laughing because I’d never expected such language from any older woman, and especially not my grandmother. The soufflé fell.
My grandmother strode angrily to the front of the house. I thought about hiding behind the settee, but decided Dabney might need protection from Granny. She and I saw the detective at the same moment. She stopped her rant, and I sobered from my chuckles. I had never seen such an expression on anyone’s face. I thought my heart had stopped.
“Both of you stay here,” he demanded, pointing downward with emphasis. “Close the curtains and stay away from the windows. Do not open the doors for anybody! I’ll be back as soon as I can,” he said and turned back toward the front door before the last syllable had left his lips.
“Dabney, what’s wrong?” Granny insisted, but the look in her wide eyes suggested that she already knew. A woman’s intuition for unfortunate happenings was reflected in her eyes.
Daniels turned back toward her. “Moses Myrick and two of his men were ambushed,” he said flatly, and then he looked guilty when he saw the pain in Granny’s eyes.
She was suddenly pale. I grabbed her arm, wondering if she was about to faint. Granny locked her knees and stood stiffly as if the floor was moving under her feet, but she didn’t falter.
“Is he…” she began, but swallowed hard and didn’t finish the question.
Dabney belatedly removed his hat and crushed it in his large hand, not realizing what he did as he held the fedora. “Miss Fanny… We don’t know. He radioed for assistance, but his transmission cut off. They were severely outnumbered. The dispatcher lost count of the number of gunshots he heard in the background, there were so many,” the young detective said and looked down at the floor.
I knew he didn’t mean to be cruel with the words, because he and Granny were close before I ever came to stay with her. Dabney often helped her with things around the house. But she clearly had an old, long lasting relationship or friendship with the marshal that she had never discussed with me.
“We have to do something,” Granny stated with determination.
“Now see here!” Dabney exclaimed. “That’s exactly what I was worried about. You both need to stay here. Miss Fanny, you at least must realize that you need to keep Pip out of harm’s way.”
“Excuse me!” I cried. “Now you just wait a minute!” I meant to continue but their chaotic conversation ran right over me.
When Granny paused for breath, Dabney took her hand, making her look up at him. “You told me once about a cut-through that you took out to the Vale place. Myrick was headed that way, but not quite as far out. Can you tell me about it? I don’t think the others have any hope of getting there fast enough.”
“Dabney you don’t mean to try to… to cut ‘em off at the pass, so to speak — surely?” Granny said fearfully. “Not alone!”
“No ma’am. I don’t have any hope of that,” he told her in a regretful voice. Then he gulped like he was about to say something he’d rather not tell her. “Moses is probably injured. I just hope to get there, and get him to a hospital before he bleeds to death.”
Granny gasped. Holy Hannah, what a way with words! I could have socked Dabney for his complete lack of tact. However, Granny recovered herself right away. She was one tough old bird — you’d think she and the parrot would get along better.
“Well if that’s the case, don’t try to get him to a hospital. Take the cut-through and then go straight to Doc Vale’s,” Granny said firmly.
“But he’s an animal doctor!” the detective objected.
“Vincent isn’t the only doctor there. Veronica Vale is a finer surgeon than any hospital doctor anywhere in this part of the country,” Granny reminded him, and then she made sure he knew the quickest combination of back roads and deer trails to use.
I started to run out the door on Dabney’s heels, figuring he wouldn’t have time to stop me. I wasn’t about to let him run off alone, without anyone to help him, to face what he was up against. But Granny Fanny was quicker and a lot stronger than I knew! Her hand shot out like lightning and she grabbed my arm in a fierce grip. Then for good measure she used her foot to trip me before I could get out the door. By the time I got to my feet, Dabney’s car was out of sight.
After Detective Dabney Daniels left I couldn’t stop thinking of horrible possibilities… for Marshal Moses Myrick and his men. And what if Dabney actually did run right into the men who ambushed the marshal? He would be completely alone.
Granny and I sat in the parlor, listening to the clock tick. Cinnamon Bun, the huge rabbit thumped quietly into the room and sat at Granny’s feet. She stroked his soft fur absently. Cracker paced, remarkably silent on her perch. We all waited.
We waited for all of five minutes. Then Granny couldn’t take it anymore. She calmly got up and motioned for me to come with her. Then we got into her cherished Model-T, with the brightly painted yellow spokes at the wheels. And she calmly drove us to her shortcut to the home and animal hospital operated by the doctors Vale.
Video: Knife Skills – How to Make Garlic Paste
Classic Shrimp Scampi
Recipe credit: EveryDay with Rachael Ray
6 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, mashed
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 tablespoons minced parsley
Heat 2 tbsp. butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook for 2 minutes. Add shrimp and 1/2 tsp. salt; cook over medium-high heat for 4 minutes. Off heat, stir in remaining butter and parsley.
The Three Ingredients Serial: Copyright © 2013
by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
No part of this writing, blog, or book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.