Odd word that.
On its own, it smacks of pinch-nosed Puritans clunking their way through Plymouth Colony in their not-so-comfortable shoes constantly worried about the state of their salvation while condemning anyone who was having the semblance of a good time.
It is no coincidence that dour and sour are one consonant away from being Castor and Pollux.
But marry up that word with a tasty noun, and the little tug boat adjective pushes its noun into the heart of hedonism.
Sour cream, for instance. (For a recent take on that union take a look at Felipe's Avocados and sour cream.) The very essence of ambrosia.
But some marriages are far more complex than others -- the Windsors spring to mind. As does sour orange.
I have one. A sour orange tree, that is. It is rather stunted due to the shade thrown by the paternalistic Flamboyant tree. But it survives to throw its fruit.
When unripe, the oranges could be substituted for limes. They are that acidic. When ripe, they have a bit of sweetness. Not much. About the same measure you would expect to find in Joan Crawford's maternal well.
For the past two seasons, the oranges have gone to waste. And that is too bad. When I was in Oregon, I used them in my Cuban dishes. There was no reason to let the harvest rot.
Making a Cuban marinade is easy. Sour oranges. Garlic (lots of garlic). A bit of vinegar. And a nice mixture of fresh ground black pepper, oregano, and cumin. Swooshed together in an overnight bath for the chosen meat.
The marinade is not very particular. Beef. Pork. Chicken. They all work well with a marinade that is not the least bit subtle.
Baking is the preferred method for most recipes. But I was in a fusion mood the other night. Stir fried chicken Cubano sounded just about right.
One reason I like stir fry is that I get to grab fresh vegetables at the market. Tomatoes. Carrots. Little zucchini. Onion. Serrano peppers.
Somewhere along the line I heard the voice of my friend Carrol. She once told me that men have a tendency to misread the effect of ingredients on each other. To that I plead guilty. I once made a salad dressing with mint and basil. The combination was a disaster. I would have been better using essence of lawn grass.
In this instance, the combination was not bad -- even though the acid in the marinade and the acid in the tomatoes did create an interesting taste choreography.
Poured over the top of multicolored farfalle, there was nothing understated for either the tongue or the eye. One of those experiments that could have easily ended up in the trash can as on the dinner platter. In this case, it was a success -- rather than a learning experience.