Sadly, to many people, compromise has become a dirty word. Concession is considered obscene. And accommodation is beyond the pale.
After more than three decades of marriage, I have learned the vital importance of finding a middle ground. Bargaining and accommodation is the reason why I’ve seen most movies on TV multiple times, in ten to fifteen minutes bursts. Petey will turn on a show, and then wander off to another channel, returning later for another short burst. Just as I get interested and begin to suss out the plot, I’m whisked away to golf, a religious service or a couple of guys trying to sell me a blender.
It normally takes around eight showings before I’ve pretty much seen the whole thing. But there are always gaps; sometimes they’re minor scenes, sometimes major plot points.
Compromise is also the reason Petey knows the difference between pumps and platforms, eats albacore tuna and uses name-brand toilet paper.
The air was thick with compromise the other night when I made cauliflower.
The Matthews family love cauliflower. Normally I use frozen because it’s quick, easy, and I can always have a bag at hand in the chill chest.
The default preparation is heated in the microwave and topped with browned butter. It’s the one half of a favorite meal; road kill and brown butter cauliflower.
Now let me disabuse you of the image of me on the highway with a shovel and a bag. Road kill is Matthews-speak for porcupine meatballs. They are morsels of hamburger mixed with rice and cooked in a tomato sauce. Because keeping the orb shape of a meatball is my kulinary kryptonite, I make them into patties. The Kid declared the sight of them resembled roadkill, and the name stuck.
Brown butter tossed cauliflower is a terrific counterpart to the beefy patties.
But I also really like cauliflower the way my Aunt Pollie cooked it. She cloaked it in a rich buttery cream sauce, speckled with a dusting of nutmeg. It’s delicious and addictive, but because it’s prepared with butter and whole milk or half and half, a dish I only enjoy infrequently
The evening in question I was making a pork tenderloin and black rice, cooked with a Caribbean citrus marinade called mojo. Because of this, both protein and starch would be relatively light so I toyed with the idea of my Aunt Pollie’s creamed cauliflower.
But…I really like it with brown butter, and that cream sauce can feel heavy. Then my brain turned to compromise.
I decided to try making the cream sauce with brown butter. The recipe for classic cream sauce is butter and flour cooked together with dairy whisked in. But roux is just butter and flour. And I normally use peanut better-colored roux, which coincidently is the color of the solids when I make brown butter.
Brown butter cream sauce
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
1 ¼ cup skim milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in a saucepan and stir in flour. Cook until over medium-low heat until it’s the color of caramel.
Whisk in milk and cook just until it starts to bubble. Season to taste. Pour over 16 ounces of nuked cauliflower. Serves 4.
It turned out tasty, and made with skim milk, felt relatively virtuous.
Normally when there’s a compromise, all sides get something, but nobody gets everything they want. But in this case, I got my brown butter and ate my cream sauce too.
Thanks for your time.