(Trust me, there are two excellent recipes at the end of the post.)
I sent a quick e-mail to hubby at work asking him to stop by the market on the way home and see if they had quails and if they did to please buy them. So I could make him quails, like Tita made for Pedro in “Like Water for Chocolate.”
The intoxicating imagery of personifying Tita in the kitchen cooking quails in rose petal sauce for her lover must have befuddled my intellectual capabilities. Or it could have been the wine, sipped between the flipping of the pages, actually, that caused the inebriation.
Whatever it was, I saw that I had misspelled “quails” when hubby’s reply came. His standard one-word “ok” was this time replaced with “You mean the birds? How many?” In my haste, I had spelled the word as “quayles”. I was quite beside myself when I saw that. I studied journalism. Misspelling words was a big no-no, a cardinal sin, so said Professor Frederickson.
He used to put big Xs on my paper. “I HAVE FAITH THAT ONE DAY YOU WILL LEARN TO USE YOUR DICTIONARY.” Yup, he wrote that on one of my papers. Geez, how wrong was he? There is now what’s called auto-correct. There is no need for a dictionary.
But, so what if you misspell, anyway? My injured amour-propre predictably turns into indignation. What’s the harm? Does it even matter as long as your readers understand what you mean?
Case in point, I used to work with this guy who constantly spelled “speek” when he meant “speak’. He was only the General Manager of the company. And who can forget Dan Quayle spelling “potato” with an added “e” at the end. He was the Vice President of the greatest nation on earth. I’m speaking as a proud American, of course.
So you see, these people at the top? They can’t spell. Didn’t seem to put them at a disadvantage one bit. Me? I agonize constantly about the possibility of making errors, and I’m writing a blog. There is nothing wrong with being a blogger, I assure you, fellow bloggers. I was just trying to make a comparison. Forgive me.
Maybe I should be less inhibited about spelling. Maybe it doesn’t matter all that much. If I had given you a recipe, and it reads like this:
Would you be able to make it out? I have reasons to believe that you would. Your brain can do much more than you think. Unless of course you are sipping too much of that wine like I was. In which case you might have read “gralic” as “gaelic”. And you certainly wouldn’t want to peel the gaelic. Or maybe you would.
He is gralic (source)
‘Nuf said. I’m making you Quayles and Potatoe.
Sweet and Sour Quails
1 onion, sliced thinly
3 garlic bulbs, minced
1 tsp. grated ginger
8 oz. sliced white mushrooms
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1. tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup red wine
1/2 tsp. dry herbs (thyme or rosemary)
Salt & pepper
1-2 tbsp. of butter
1. Butterfly quails (optional) by cutting through the breast or the back bones. You can leave them whole.
2. Season quails with salt and pepper and rub with olive oil.
3. Heat a large skillet set over medium-high, and brown quails, 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove quails and set aside.
4. Reduce heat to medium and add 1 tbsp. oil into skillet. Sauté onion until completely cooked and golden brown (about 5-8 minutes), add garlic and ginger. Stir briefly, then increase heat back to medium-high and add mushrooms. If the pan is dry, add more oil. Cook until mushrooms start to brown.
5. Add soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, sugar, wine, and herbs. Let liquid reduce by half, then put quails back into skillet. Cover and cook for about 5 more minutes, or until quails are completely cooked. If you have bigger birds or if you decide not to butterfly them, you may need to cook them longer.
6. Uncover skillet, and let sauce thicken. Add butter to finish sauce. Serve with roasted potatoes.
Roasted Potatoes, Japanese style
1 lb. small potatoes, sliced into quarters
2 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. soy sauce
1. Boil potatoes for just 5 minutes, drain.
2. Melt butter in a oven-proof dish. Stir soy sauce.
3. Add potatoes and black pepper, toss to mix.
4. Place in a 350° F oven, and roast for 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked.
I have to give credit to John@fromthebartolinikitchens. He’s instrumental in getting this dish to turn out so well. Quails are very small birds with very little fat, so overcooking them can easily result in the meat being dry. So, be smart and follow John’s advice to never over-brown them if you want succulent and flavorful birds. His Stewed Quail recipe sounds like a winner, and one that I should definitely try next time I get more quails.