I always cherish the time I have with my Fine Arts History teacher and close friend, Reginald Porter. A visit to Belle River brings me an opportunity to reconnect with whom I have been and what I love most about the creative world. As I have written in previous blog entires, Porter taught me to see the world in a way wherein the things and rituals I surround myself with can bring joy even in the darkest days. Fortunately, last night was not a dark day, but rather a wonderful chance to share a few glasses of zinfandel and rose champagne over a simple, yet outrageously complex meal.
Coming home to Prince Edward Island means that I must have Atlantic lobster at least once, and who better to share a fresh crustacean with than Porter. Since I wanted a simple and clean meal to transport, I decided to riff on a Thomas Keller recipe from Bouchon in California: Lobster Rillettes. Keller produces a version using salmon, but I thought that potted lobster in a butter herb clarification would be superb. A single 2 pound lobster yielded two full ramekins of buttery goodness and enough for four lobster toasts for my mother to enjoy at home. To create the dish I undercooked the lobster in a pot of boiling salted water, removed the meat from the shell delicately, and then gently reduced a 1/4 Cup of butter, dill and green onion until the lobster was gently done. What Porter and I loved about this preparation was that it forced us to savour the lobster meat with the toasts in lieu of merely inhaling the shellfish.
Our second dish was a simple salad featuring freshly grilled zucchini and baby aubergine, tomato and bocconcini, a bed of greens, fresh green onion and a corn/lentil salad. The flavours were matched well against an olive oil, white wine vineyard, grain mustard and herb vinaigrette. The dinner allowed us to talk about the past, the present and our futures in a winding way that would probably only make sense to us. The title for this entry came from Porter’s Latin Bible which was undoubtedly rescued from a long since defunct church, and brilliantly ties together the image of the wine [Calix Sanguinis] as the blood of Christ and the True Cross of Christ featured in the background of the first photo. The photograph itself resonates deeply with me, and is a mutual collaboration catalyzed by Porter. Indeed his suggestion to lower my angle of the shot creates a deep tension between the other pieces [the flower, the cross, and the marble top]. We may never be kings, cardinals or court magicians, but our values and appreciation for what really matters to the human spirit let us live like those men above us. We must mean, if not matter, while we can.