My New Life Philosophy & Crème Brûlée

Growing up we had a very small, but valuable movie collection. Valuable in that I took life lessons from these movies I watched a little too often. Oklahoma by far led the list in offering quotes of wisdom. Rodgers and Hammerstein were not interested in the happy go lucky musical. They preferred a little heartache, a little fear and a lot of lessons of tolerance.

For example: we hear Ado Annie singing “I’m just a girl who can’t say no” and find support for sexual freedom. Later on her and Will Turner are laying down ground rules for their little white, clean, shiny and bright house. Ado Annie stands firm for gender equality telling him “…and go right off to bed if you’re sleepy, no use waitin’ up for me.” We learn the simplicity of peace relations and the foolishness of fighting. We know that “the farmer and cowman should be friends.” So what if “one man likes to push a plow, the other likes to chase a cow. That’s no reason why they can’t be friends.” When it looks like life’s dark skies are never-ending Aunt Eller tells us, “you’ve got to put all the good into one hand and all the bad into the other and say ‘well, alright then. To the both of them.”

And finally Aunt Eller sings the motto…”Now I’m not sayin’ I’m no better than anybody else, but I’ll be darned if I ain’t just as good.” I’ve tried hard to live by this last lesson, but I’m starting to suspect that it’s hindering the rays of sunshine from breaking through which prevents a glorious rainbow. You know what that means — no pot of gold available for the taking. This lesson of humility makes for an accommodating person — which isn’t at all bad — but not for a person whose going to win.

I want to win.

I’m looking for a new quote to live my life by. “I am the greatest good you will ever have!” from The Incredibles is possible and “no power in the verse can stop me” from Firefly is awfully tempting. I think though that while I’m working towards these they’re both a bit out of my current range. They’re also a bit new. Pragmatically, I’m not sure a life philosophy should come from anything quite so new. I need something a little more tried.

I’ve found one that I believe will suit me like a tailored one-piece jumpsuit.

Scotty: Starfleet captains are like children they want everything right now and they want it their way, but the secret is to give them only what they need not what they want.
Geordi: Yeah, but I told the captain I’d have this analysis done in an hour.
Scotty: How long will it really take?
Geordi: An hour!
Scotty: Ahh, you didn’t tell ’em how long it would really take, did ya’?
Geordi: Well, of course I did.
Scotty: Oh, laddie you’ve got a lot to learn if you want people to think of you as a miracle worker.

It may not be very concise — and there is possibly a catchier line, only this is what I could piece together from youtube — the point is still understood. In this statement we find acknowledgment that stopping the ship from falling apart maybe isn’t that difficult, but you are going to believe that it is. You are also going to believe that it’s going to take awhile, that the ship just might not make it. When I’m successful you will believe that I am the only one who could succeed and even if someone else could I can do it better. It’s also one that’s intended as advice. Maybe I can find a select part that I can repeat like “…you want people to think of you as a miracle worker.” Yeah, that works.

You will now think that I am a miracle worker. Try this recipe if you dare – it’s hard, very hard. And I can make it better than anyone else.

Mushroom and Goat Cheese Crème Brûlée
(from Crème Brûlée by Lou Seibert Pappas)

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound Portobello (or cremini) mushrooms, very thinly sliced
(good splash Marsala)
5 egg yolks
1 cup whipping cream
½ cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
4 ounces goat cheese, (crumbled)
½ Gruyere (Swiss) cheese, grated
salt and pepper
¾ cup Parmesan (Asiago), grated

Melt butter with olive oil in a skillet. Add mushrooms and saute 1-2 minutes. (Add splash of Marsala to mushrooms.) In a bowl, whisk egg yolks until pale in color (until it maybe looks paler than before). Whisk in the cream, half-and-half, herbs, salt and pepper.

Pre-heat oven to 275°F.

Place 6 ramekins into a baking pan. Divide mushrooms between each ramekin, then goat cheese, then custard mixture. Sprinkle with the Gruyere (Swiss). Pour enough water into the pan so that it comes half way up the ramekins. Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes or until the custard is firmed but still loose and jiggly in the middle. Remove the dishes from the water and place onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle each with about 4 teaspoons of the grated Parmesan (Asiago). Brown the cheese. Eat hot.

I gave the original recipe, but the parenthesis are what I did. I’d suggest following those because, you know, I’m a miracle worker.

This had to be cut in half because I only have four ramekins. Rather than trying to cut an egg in half, though tempting, I used three egg yolks and it came out superb. I suspect that if you had a larger dish you could just make it in that and dish out servings. The servings would be just as tasty, though less satisfying – after all it is the torched crust that makes crème brûlée so miraculous.

To make this it helps if you’ve recently been gifted with a torch. Thought I can’t believe my parents would give me fire considering I burnt my arm doing laundry and my sleeve while warming my hands over the stove. Not that I have burnt myself with this new toy, yet. It’s just a matter of time before that continuous flame switch is accidentally set to on and… I think a broiler would also work for browning the cheese, but it won’t be less likely to cause burns. If you’re inclined towards those.

4 thoughts on “My New Life Philosophy & Crème Brûlée

  1. That’s the little girl we remember, who used to run around in circles in the living room announcing,

    “I’m Brynne. I know. I know everything!”


  2. You could always borrow the slogan that a guy who I work with at Seton loves to live by. He’s Grandpa’s age, and he love to look at me and say “My Daddy would sit me down and say ‘Son, just remember one thing, it’s ALWAYS something!”


  3. Pingback: If you’re gonna blog it, blog it with crunchy sea shells. « by: The Common Cook

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