“I want champagne and eggs, how about you?”
“I want champagne and eggs, how about you?”
It was a simple text message but from Sydney’s reaction you would have thought that I wrote “I have the winning Powerball numbers for next week, you want them?”
“I’d blow Quasimoto for Champagne and eggs right now, Mick Jagger too, if I don’t have to leave my house to get them.”
Sydney and I have always had that kind of relationship – irreverent, a little profane, but mostly platonic. As I was feeling generous, and knew that Syd was hung-over, I grabbed a bag and made the relatively short trip to her place by way of the market.
All Sunday morning shopping list should be simple:
- WaPo, New York Times
- Pork in some form
- Champagne (juice optional)
One hour and seven minutes after the first text Sydney opens her door. She has managed to splash water on her face, tie a robe around her nearly six foot frame, and start coffee. Sydney never has food in her kitchen, but coffee, is a given.
“You’re my hero” she says as she leans forward to kiss me on each cheek – a gesture I usually consider an annoying affectation, but she somehow makes natural.
“Good to see you too” I reply before heading to the kitchen. “How much time do I have to feed you before ‘Cranky Syd’ emerges from that desperately hungry and dark part of your soul?”
“I’ll be fine for a bit once I get some coffee” she says and I believe.
I’m unpacking groceries as Sydney grabs to mugs and the sugar. Depressing the plunger on the Frieling French Press Sydney suddenly asks with hint of animation “Do you remember this birthday?”
I have very clear memories of it. Sydney and a gaggle of her girlfriends took over the bar at the restaurant I was running. Three courses (served family style,) and copious amounts of wine served as prelude to Girl’s Night unleashed on an unsuspecting city. It was the evening I knew that there would never be anything romantic between us, but I will never forget the look on her face when she unwrapped the French press I gave her.
“Was that the one you had at Anonymous Restaurant” I asked feigning uncertainty about the answer.
“You wanna open the champagne” I ask to change the subject, “I’m read for a mimosa.”
“So what are we having for breakfast?”
“Fried Pork Tenderloin, Egg, and Gruyere Biscuits, and cantaloupe.”
“Oh my God, what do I have to do to get you to come over every Sunday morning?”
“You could start by changing the music; this techno stuff is giving me a headache.”
Sydney swaps the electronic whatever for an opera I don’t recognize and brunch is served on her patio. We sit – mostly without words passing – reading newspapers and eating. I’ve always known that our mutual recognition that every silence is not a void is among the reasons we work as friends.
I have just popped the top on the second bottle of champagne when Sydney asks in a more contemplative tone “Seriously, Refugee, why can’t we do this every Sunday?”
I read the subtext of her question. This is normally one of the moments when I would have deliberately and deeply inhaled before answering, but I didn’t need extra time to think. “You’d tire of me Sydney. I know it, and what’s worse is that you know it too but you asked the question anyway. We have a friendship that has a lovely balance, do you really want to mess with that?”
We both went back to our newspapers and back to our silence.
Fried Pork Tenderloin, Egg, and Cheese Biscuits
1 pork tenderloin, cleaned and dressed
1 cup Buttermilk (half and half can be substituted)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 teaspoon of ground mustard*
1 teaspoon garlic powder*
1 teaspoon of dried rosemary*
4oz of Cheese – just about any decent (non blue) cheese will do, but I prefer Gruyere
1 package of biscuits (One of the very fewe things I refuse to make from scratch are biscuits – the ready to cook Pilsbury Grands are my favorite)
* nice to haves but do not buy them just for this recipe.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees (according to manufacturer’s instructions) to bake the biscuits.
Cut the tenderloin into two four inch pieces. The smaller half should be wrapped in saran wrap and stored for later use. Slice the larger half into ½ inch thick discs.
To make your dredging station, use three cereal sized bowls. In the first bowl, pour the buttermilk. In the second bowl, crack one egg and beat until smooth. In the final bowl, add all dry ingredients and stir until well mixed.
In a pan suitable for frying or preferably in a deep fryer, heat oil over medium flame just prior to the point of smoking.
While the oil is heating and the biscuits are baking, prep the other two eggs. If you have a two or three inch metal round that is best. If not, then use a large sauté pan coated with cooking spray and over medium heat. In a bowl, beat the eggs until smooth adding salt and pepper to taste. Spread ¼ of the eggs onto the sauté pan. When cooked enough to fold, fold the egg in twice and remove. Repeat until you have four neatly folded egg segments.
The biscuits should be just about ready to remove from the oven. Dredge the pork discs through the milk, then eggs, then coat evenly with the flour mixture. Drop each disc in the oil. They will cook in 2.5 minutes.
Remove the biscuits and make your sandwiches.