Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Flummoxed: The worrisome effect of baffling adjectives

Not too far from where I grew up, there is a country road that baffled me when we drove by. It was all about the name: Old Tom Road. It bothered me because I couldn't tell what the adjective -- "Old" -- referred to. Tom, or the Road? Did Old Tom have a road named after him? Or was it an old road, called Tom?

As you can imagine, a lot of things baffled me when I was a kid. I realize this explains a lot about my general character.

Anyway, this all comes down to a recipe, which shouldn’t surprise you. I want to tell you about a terrific cold weather desert called:
Chilled Prunes Simmered in Wine. Not only is it a perfect conclusion to a heavy winter's meal, it's also baffling--baffling that I didn't stick with the original, logical name of the recipe, which was written by David Tanis.

Now, I am sure you're wondering: "Are the prunes first chilled, then simmered? Or simmered and chilled? Or perhaps the wine is chilled when the prunes are simmered? WHAT THE HELL AM I SIMMERING HERE?"

If you haven't stopped reading by now, please, please try this dessert. Anyway, David Tanis calls it Chilled Prunes in Beaujolais, which is much more sensible name.

This dessert is so easy, and dare I say, wholesome. The prunes should be served in crystal, if you ask me, and you should eat them slowly and savour the wine and cinnamon syrup.

By the way, they're simmered, then chilled. In case you're still wondering.

Chilled Prunes, Simmered in Wine
Adapted from a recipe by David Tanis, in A Platter of Figs

Serves ten or so, and can be kept in the fridge for several weeks.

1 ½ pounds dried pitted prunes (organic if possible)
2 ½ cups light-bodied wine, like a Beaujolais Nouveau
½ cup white sugar
A cinammon stick

This is so wonderfully easy. In a heavy-based sauce pan, combine all ingredient. Bring to a gentle boil, and simmer for ten minutes. Let it cool, then store it in a jar in the fridge. Make sure it’s fully chilled when you serve it.

David Tanis, who I am quite certain is a wise, wise man, advises the following: "Serve each diner a small bowl with a few prunes floating in the winey sauce."

Yes, please, Mr. Tanis.