One of Mamma’s and Daddy’s favorite places to go on a dinner date is Canyon Road Steakhouse in Clarksville, Tennessee. A tiny, Asian lady always greets them with a giant smile, hug and a joke. Everyone lovingly calls her Big Mamma. She co-owns this little place that sits on The Red River bluff, with her husband Larry. Her personality is almost as big as her hair! Each autumn she brings all of her beautiful, patio plants into the downstairs bar for the winter. She graciously offered Mamma and Daddy one of her plants that late autumn day. For the longest time, we did not know the name of the plant she had given them. So, we called it “Big Mamma.” Its common name is Angel’s Trumpet. Its genus name is Brugmansia . If ingested, Angel’s Trumpet can be fatal. However, as a paste, this plant is a potent analgesic. What can we learn from this little botany lesson? Big Mamma shared more than a plant cutting with Mamma and Daddy. She shared a connection. Every time this plant blooms, we will think of Big Mamma’s place. As a restaurateur, or any type of business owner for that matter, one must be engaging. People do business with folks they like. Hospitality and good food are great companions. You can create the most beautiful menu full of locally-sourced, fresh ingredients. If it is served with apathy, you might as well not bother. Now, I am uncertain if Big Mamma sources her food locally. What I am sure of, is that Big Mamma is genuine, inviting and charismatic with her customers. That goes a long way!
Pank loves Caesar Salads with his steak. After trying my Caesar Dressing recipe, I bet you’ll think twice about picking up a big plastic bottle of it from the store!
|Pank’s Caesar Dressing1 egg yolk1 teaspoon anchovy paste1 minced garlic clove
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
the juice of ½ a lemon
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ cup of freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt and pepper to taste
|Whisk the first five ingredients together. Slowly stream in the olive oil. Finally, grate the cheese into the dressing. It should be fairly thick in consistency. This is not a dressing to be drizzled. It will be tossed with the romaine lettuce. The longer the flavors have to marry the better. I usually make the dressing an hour or two before serving. Do not toss with lettuce until ready to serve. The acids and fats will wilt the greens if tossed too far in advance|