Chef's Blog

Solage Calistoga's Executive Chef Brandon Sharp shares his passion for cooking, life and all things Napa Valley.

July 4, 2010

I’ll skip right over the brilliant lamb entree (leg of pozzi farms lamb, wrapped in our house-made lavash bread with babaghanoush and summer squash, and served over tomato chutney with red wine-lamb sausage, tabbouleh, and pickled eggplant) that Ryder added to the dinner menu tonight–so I can speak to the PORK CHOP that I composed with cornbread, rapini, white corn, our cajun andouille, and roasted fig-sherry jus.

We brine the whole rack of pork with salt, brown sugar, rosemary snipped from the bushes outside the kitchen, and apple cider.  Good start.  Because it’s summer, and because it’s a massive double-cut chop, we keep the accompaniments minimal, as described above.  It’s Southern food at heart, and for once on the right day (wordpress works on central time, so this will appear as July 4, but it’s only 11:56pm in California) I remembered . . .

RIP James Douglas Morrison, died July 3 in I think 1971.  One day short of statesmanship, no?  (A statesman is “a dead politician, and Lord knows, we need more statesmen,” as Berkeley Breathed has observed.)  A few minutes of that anniversary are left.  As a poet, Jim Morrison had occasional moments of lucidity.  Here’s one that comes to mind often when I’m tapping my foot at the expediter’s station, waiting for the first dinner tickets to come in, waiting for service to unfold:

The night is young
& full of rest
I can’t describe the
way she’s dress’d
She’ll pander to some strange
Anything that you suggest
Anything to please her guest

Best not think too deeply on that one.  Hopefully, our guests in solbar experience moments of poetic bliss, but kitchen work is most definitely done in prose.  Choppy, bilingual, hortatory prose, often with terrible grammar . . . tonight a cook claimed that I once told him, “______, your pizzas may not be pretty, but they sure do take a long time.”  Which claim remains an allegation only, but perhaps we should add “sarcastic” to my description of the kitchen lingua franca.

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