The sweet bitterness of Valentine’s DayBobby R. Presents Saturday, February 12th, 2011
As arbitrary as the observance of Valentine’s Day is associated with Chaucer’s Parlement of Foules, so too is an amount of bitterness I have in participating for the sake of another’s liking. I should not allow something so silly to consume me, but with that said, in any relationship whether amorous or platonic, there must be concessions. I will be sweet to my lover by cooking us a Valentine’s Day dinner, but get my own satisfaction by using bitter ingredients in the cache.
Of the five perceivable taste sensations, the taste of bitter is interesting to me because, as well as producing a certain satisfaction to some people’s taste buds, it can be transformed into the sweet by the application of certain cooking methods.
Onions are caramelized by slowly sautéing over low heat, eggplant’s bitterness is softened by soaking it in milk and radicchio is transformed to a marvelous bittersweet side after it has been slowly roasted.
Radicchio is one of my favorite bitter vegetables for its brilliant color. I like it too because it’s another vegetable that is underused simply because people don’t know what to do with it, which seems to be a recurring theme in these columns. In the recipe included, the radicchio lends a beautiful red-purple color to the dish that looks nice for the Valentine’s Day theme. Radicchio can also be halved and grilled followed up with a sprinkle of Gorgonzola or braised in chicken stock as a simple addition to a weeknight dinner.
Whatever vegetable you may be confronting in the market, whether bitter and foreign or sweet and familiar, be open to experimentation. It is a good way to increase your diet and overall kitchen know-how. So now I take the route of the eggplant, fixing myself a hot bath with a half gallon of milk and some rose petals. Hopefully it will soften the skin and my otherwise alkaline disposition before it is time to cook dinner for my sweetie.
Bobby R. Presents appears in each issue of the San Diego LGBT Weekly. Questions and comments can be sent to bobbyrpresents.blogspot.com.
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