17 October 2009

Grill, Grill, Grill, and Grill

Grill, Grill, Grill, and Grill (spoken as if in the Python Spam sketch).
We've grilled for nights and nights lately. I guess the charcoal grill is making a difference - it's really nice and not much more trouble than the gas grill. It's a Weber gold - very nice. Still need to come up with new things to try - don't want to get bored and will really need some new ideas.
I like the idea of MotH making dinner and it seems to be enough fun (ie. beer drinking opportunity) that he doesn't realize he's doing all the work - and there's no clean up.
Recap of Recent Grilling Evenings:
Burgers - cheated and didn't make James Beard's famous burgers - which are easy, but slightly messy. Used pre-shaped (more $) chuck patties from Winn Dixie - they aren't called the beef people for nothing -  very good.
Pizza - what a cool experiment and it gave the crust a good flavor. Bought dough from Publix and after rolling out, grilled for a few minutes (4 or so) on one side and then flipped and added toppings and covered - the crust was crunchy, the cheese melted well. Pretty easy, but I'm glad we had a pizza peal or it would have been very difficult. Toppings = fresh mozarella, prosciutto, simple tomato sauce, mushrooms and scallions - very good.
Steak - my favorite is ribeye, but I'll eat anykind as long as it's on the rare side -- with Bernaise it's out of this world, also good with bleu cheese sauce or just bleu cheese
Sausages - not my favorite thing on the grill, but easy to make lots for leftovers. Makes MotH happy.

Garden of Note...

There is a garden at Alcatraz . Who knew?
I had no idea there was a garden on the site of one of the most infamous prisons in the United States.MotH has been there, but be he never noticed a garden - not surprising. They catch the rain to water the plants and inmates started some of the gardens. Figures Paul James would be the one to talk about it - certainly not Gardener's Diary.
Wonder how much work they did to get it to look so nice before the TV crew showed up - weeds don't seem to exist there - interesting.

Food Snob?

I have been called a food snob. I'm not totally sure why; I make my own pickles, so what's the big deal? People used to do that as a matter of course. No one turns down my bread-n-butter pickles, by the way. In fact I have been presented with bags of pickling cukes and dutifully with in a couple of days return with a couple of pints of pickles. I do the same with summer squash (yellow crookneck, zucchini, etc.) that overflow in our area at this time of year.
Maybe because I try new things in the kitchen or don't really follow recipes or because I buy from the farmers' market and decide dinner as I stand between the local softball-sized tomatoes and the fresh green onions. After all, I still make things like lasagna and sloppy joes, I just mostly make them from scratch. The sloppy joes started from a recipe that now it is so far removed from, I don't feel like it's based on it anymore.
But do any of these quirks make me a food snob? I don't know, but I do know I'd rather be a food snob than a foodie. I won't go into what I consider a foodie*  - suffice to say, it's not positive.
Better yet, I'd prefer to be called what I consider myself - curious.


random thoughts
Why is background music on tv food shows so annoying?
Please shoot me... "What would Brian Boitano make?" - who the frick cares!

Pickled Cherries - Reviewed

Well, they are certainly beautiful in the jar ... there is no doubt about that. Out of the jar, well, let's just say, the cloves were too strong - disappointing too, because otherwise, I like the flavor, especially the black peppercorn.

Had read Mollie Wizenberg's recipe for pickled grapes , which I thought sounded interesting -- again with black pepper which seems to be showing up a lot in my flavor combinations lately - but more importantly for process. Letting the pickling liquid cool before adding to the jar - it makes sense with something that could go mushy and had not been salted to remove any extra liquid. The texture and bite of these cherries is very good - the flavor -- needs work. More black pepper, more bay (which is very good bay from Turkey) and ... something warm maybe next time. We'll see. 

14 October 2009

No Compromises

I have no intention of compromising while the kitchen/family room is being destroyed.  The only way this is possible is that I have a wonderful mother-in-law. She's let me take over her kitchen to cook on weekends and run the dishwasher - which is a true blessing. I only wish she would take some of what I make for herself and even more wish my father-in-law were there to share it. 
I spent several hours in her kitchen making things we could reheat here for dinner. On the menu this week:
Spaghetti - homemade sauce of course, Chili Jj, Tortilla Soup - from a food network recipe via one of my former students who was a wonderful cook, Cornbread - recipe from a great friend who is never far from my mind, Sausage - for breakfast with Two Pigs Farm maple syrup, Mayo - must have when making lots of sandwiches in tiny kitchen-type space.
That said, demo seems to be going well, some surprises, but that not unexpected. Things are moving along and it can't happen fast enough for me because I realized I'm sort of lost in my own house. The kitchen was mine and now I'm homeless - if you know what I mean. 

Homemade Mayo

I used the new food pross monster* tonight to make may. Super recipe from Cook's Illustrated for quick mayo and it's great. All ingredients I have on hand, takes all of five minutes to do, and tastes - well, it's just too good to be so very simple.  Have decided two things.
1. Will purchase no more mayo. This is too easy and too good to buy stuff from the store.

2. 12 cup KitchenAide Food Processor is ideal (TY MotH)
3. oops, yes there is a three - sixteen year-old loves homemade mayo, esp. for BLT's. Shall have to teach him how to make it - perhaps donate to his independence stash the old 4 cup food processor to impress college girls in the not-to-distant future. 

*What 16 year-old called the food processor when he was a 3 year-old.  


What do you do when you can't cook? When you want to cook, but your kitchen looks like, well ... this.
I keep reading my food blogs and my magazines and watching my cooking shows, but I can't do anything with the inspiration that come up. I'm going to have to figure out how to store recipes and ideas away until I can do something with them.
Now I do have the weekly (thank the good Lord) cooking sessions at my mother-in-law's home and that will be a saving grace, but that slam cooking. 4 hours to make meals for an entire week - that's work (Good tasting work though). How am I going to manage the times when I really want to be experimenting and goofing around and just trying different ideas? Not to mention wanting my own space back -- the kitchen is my place. So far, I've taken to the back patio with it's humidity and mosquitoes - less than ideal.

Apparently, I have lots of questions about how I'm going to manage and am very short on answers.

Thought: Must let guys at Nature's Produce know that I've not abandoned them, it's just that I don't have a kitchen.