Down to the Last Bite: Comfort From the Belly

I write this to you with a full understanding that not everyone enjoys the same things in life. Not everyone likes the same food and while we go around the sun, once more, and as we take another spin on this boulder we know as Project Earth; we live and we grow with an entire life ahead of us. We evolve and we change. As we grow, we have new things happening and to us, life is unfolding on a daily basis.

I offer this because as we grow and as we change, we find ourselves moving into different levels of awareness – and, if we allow ourselves, we can grow with new experiences. In which case, we can try new things. Or, more to the point, we can taste new things and enjoy them. We can use these flavors to detail our memory and color them with wonderful thoughts of times when we sat together as a family, friends or as lovers. Yes, at risk of repeating myself too often, I share this sentiment because this is an extension of me and hence; this is why I say that food is love.

As I write this to you, I write this with the full understanding that not everyone enjoys seafood. To be clear, I was not a person who ate seafood at all, at least not in my youth. As crazy as it sounds, I was once a terrible eater. I was picky and limited and quickly judgmental about foods. At one point, I used to forfeit great opportunities to share foods because I was unwilling to try new things. But, this is not the case anymore.

I’m not sure what happened or how my taste buds evolved. However, I can say that a time came when I allowed myself the open-mindedness to try new things. But again, the intention of this journal is to share the menus of my life; but more, I want to share the sentiments behind them.
I want to offer the love and endearment which comes with every spoon or forkful and with every tasty morsel. I want to add the need to sop the juices and oils or bits of sauce from the plate. I want to flavor our lives with something more than a good steak and nice buttered mash potatoes.

I am a pasta fan and I have always been a fan of ravioli. I have always been a fan of a good vodka sauce and yes, I like the idea of different pastas.
However, this dish which I am about to share is a dish that came to me in one of my more gluttonous times. This is a dish well served and with this, I offer this menu item as a dish in need of special detail.

To start with our preparation, I would like to offer this with a need to choose the perfect selection of music. I say this because the music you choose is equally as important as the physical ingredients of the dish.
My choice is something smooth. Something that is relaxing yet there’s something invigorating about the songs. There’s something about them that maybe dates back to your history or something that allows for the inspiration of a smile and a good memory.

Now, if asked, my choice would be something from Van Morrison. However, I fully understand that the same as flavor is relative to the eater; music is relative to the listener.
In my case, I would choose the music for the preparation of this dish the same as a connoisseur would choose the match of a fine wine. (But hey, that’s just me.)

Years back, there were a few places where one could go and buy seafood from a place known as Jordan’s Lobster Farms. There are two that I know about. One in Brooklyn and the other in island Park. The deals here were excellent. But then again, these were different times. This was long before the pandemic and the Covid bugs. Not to mention, this was long before the price of everything shot up to be rocket high.
Equally so, there was a small place on Route 110 where you could buy a bag of lobster tails for the inexpensive price of $15. To be clear, the bag was filled with lobster tails which were not big in size but the flavor was sweet and the meat was good.

I was never much for scallops but as I mentioned in the paragraphs before, somehow, my taste has evolved and my appreciation for seafood evolved as well.
If and whenever possible, my choice is the dry sea scallops which are great. And me, I’m a fan of them.
For example, I’m a fan when the scallops are cooked in a pan and sautéed in some oil which is heated and then added with some garlic, butter and white wine, a little lemon juice, maybe some cream and some capers are quite nice too. To me, the flavors are enough to make you close your eyes and say “Yum.” You can add whatever you choose and yes, the scallops go nicely over a bed of pasta – come to think of it, even an orzo might be a good idea.

I am a shrimp fan as well and I’m a lobster fan too. Since the idea is on the table and since this entry is about a certain dish, I think it is only fair that I offer my advice here: Clear your schedule after this eating experience because afterwards, the couch is the best place to be.

I found that after a purchase of dry sea scallops, shrimp and lobster tails and, in the interest of justice, it only made sense to buy a box of lobster ravioli. Since this was true, it was true to me that I should find a way to make a dish of all dishes, which I did. If I could, I would share this with you.
Right here and yes, right now.

I took the small lobster tails out of the shell and gave them a good cold water bath to rinse them of all the unwantedness. I cut the tails in half and placed them to the side because I had to do the same bath with the shrimp. They were not jumbo per se, but the size of them were nice enough. Next, I did the same with the scallops.
(The musical choice at times like this works well with a nice jazz or bluesy sort of note.) 

By the way, I have to add that there is a pot of water boiling. Just so you know, the lobster ravioli are part of this mess as well. 

I got the pan nice and hot. I tossed in some crushed garlic, which I put through a garlic press. Then I put in some butter, which was something I saw done and I repeat, I’m no chef or cook. I’m just me. So, with me being me, I decided to go at this dish with all that I had.

I had some cut up tomatoes and some tomato paste and added some red pepper flakes to give it a little bite. I added some red wine and took my wooden spoon and stirred this around. 

This is when I tossed in all of my shrimp, scallops and lobster tails. I let this sit in my big saucepan with some helpful stirring. Then I teased the pan with some heavy cream which gave the sauce a pink distinction.
All of the chunks of scallops, shrimp and lobster tails were swimming in the sauce with clumps of tomatoes. If you’re trying to wonder, my answer is yes. The smell from this was absolutely perfect. 

I could smell the garlic. I could smell the sauce and the aroma was tasty. There was nothing fishy about this; but more, this was like foreplay for foodies like us.
By now, the lobster ravioli was waiting for their bath. Where would the ravioli’s bathe? You guessed it.
I strained the raviolis, I poured them in my saucepan with all of the pink goodness of what was to come. I let the raviolis take in the sauce. I let the ingredients swirl around together for a while – just to get them all better acquainted and when the time was right, I introduced them all to a plate.
It is best to introduce them with some bread (got to have a good bread for this to sop up the sauces) and if you choose, you can offer a little black pepper. Or, you can let the sauce be as it is because, remember, I already included some red pepper flakes. But not too much.
There’s only enough to allow for a low-level warmth to build up a sweat inside but not so much to burn the tongue. There’s garlic in here too and there’s no reason to add salt but hey, you salt it to taste if you choose to. 

Now, what’s the point of this?
Like I said, I am not a cook nor am I trying to be. I’m sure there are countless things that I could have done better. I’m sure there are things that I might have done wrong here. But who has the right to judge or say anything about the meals we put on our own table?
In the interest of this journal, I would like to remove the ideas of right and wrong. Instead, I prefer to scale this on the levels of good, better and best. 

Was the dish good? Absolutely!
Could there be some details that would make this better. Probably so, but in the interest of personal satisfaction and for all the intents and purposes of this entry; this is not about perfection or the perfectionism as a cook. Not at all.
The point is this – this is about us.

Was the meal enough to fill my belly and leave me happily tired and in need of a nap? You bet!
I loved it.
So, what would make this better? Or better yet, what could make this reach the optimum level and be the best?
Well, I suppose this meal would be better if shared with you and what would be best is that after the meal – the best part of everything would be to hear the words, “That was so GOOD” said by the people who matter the most.
Namely, you . . .

I think that one of the best connecting abilities we have as creatures in this world is our ability to share food. This is as intimate as a hug and as healing as the touch from a loving mother’s hand.
I believe in the offering of different plates and different flavors which is why I have encouraged myself to be open to new dining experiences. Hence, this has opened me up to a new world.

I see this as more than a dish of food but instead, I see this as an offering from one person to another. I see this as a package of culture and a presentation which says, this is me; this is where I come from, and if you’ll have me, I’d like to share where I come from with you.  

For some reason . . .
I have the urge to make a beef stroganoff over a bed of egg noodles. I know the flavor is quite different from the dish above; however, I think the end result would be the same. I think so because the main ingredient would come from the heart – and in my opinion, that and the music is what makes a perfect dish.

2 thoughts on “Down to the Last Bite: Comfort From the Belly

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