Saturday, November 28, 2009

Calphalon Still Rocks

I love my new omelet pan. There is no other way to say it. Crack 3 eggs, shimmy it around the burner. Throw some stuff on, fold it sideways onto a plate...voila you have a 3 egg omelet.

My very fave so far...3 eggs, some chunked up dry smoked pepper salmon, about an ounce worth of chunked cream cheese and a couple of chopped green onions.

All I can now say is...I have died and gone to heaven.

My Favorite Thanksgiving Memory

(cross posted to my other blog InkPaperWords and OpenSalon)

This was several years ago, when I was a single mom with 2 kids living outside Albuquerque. I wasn't making much but AOL, my employer at the time, was handing out turkeys to employees. So I picked up mine and straightaway began dreaming of all the leftovers I would make out of this huge sucker -- turkey sandwiches, turkey pot pie, turkey mole enchiladas...

My younger brat was just a toddler then (he's 16 now), and had a bad habit of leaving doors (front entry, back yard, refrigerator, whatever, it didn't matter to him). The big day came and went and the three of us feasted. The carcass was summarily parked in the frig to be attended to later.

Later that afternoon, I came into the kitchen and discovered the refrigerator door open. I knew who the culprit was. As I went to close the door, I noticed the turkey was not in the frig. We had 2 dogs at the time and I can just envision the scene:

Brat leaves door open, dogs discover turkey. Dogs drag carcass to the backyard, where they proceeded to have their own Thanksgiving feast.

All that remained of my hopes and dreams for leftovers was naught but a grease spot on the tile floor in front of the refrigerator.

Turkey Day ... and Beyond

I hadn't planned on doing a turkey since my mom invited us over to her place for ham. I ended up getting one anyway because I love turkey and besides -- they're on sale! I love the leftovers and salivate whilst dreaming about them.

Today I roasted the bird. Wasn't terribly sure what I'd do with it. The last few years I've been intrigued by both the brining and deep frying concepts, but both seem like I'd have to go get specialized equipment and I don't want to bother. As for the deep frying, I don't even deep fry chicken because it A) makes a mess and B) uses too much oil.

Anyhoo, here's what I did. I started with a mash up of Ina Garten's recipe for alleged "Perfect Roast Turkey" and Giada de Laurentiis' citrus-stuffed bird. Except I had grapefruit, not oranges and did not feel like making a special trip to the store. So I quartered half the grapefruit, a lemon and onion and halved a head of garlic to stuff the cavity.

Then I rubbed olive oil over the outside and made a rub of salt, pepper, chilè con limón, oregano and cayenne. It smelled like grocery store barbecue rotisserie chicken while it was roasting. End result: moist, juicy meat, flavorful crispy skin. I can hardly wait for the enchiladas!

Oh, and about Mom's -- Honey whipped up some bread dough out of which I made Parmesan-topped bow knots. Also took a bag o' salad and a batch of my very own Cranberry Crisp Bars (recipe follows).

Cranberry Crisp Bars

1 c flour
1\2 c cold butter
1\2 c finely chopped walnuts (I didn't have any walnuts so I used oatmeal instead and it was fine)

Cut butter into flour and nuts until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Press evenly into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

1 15 ounce can of whole berry cranberry sauce

Spread the cranberry sauce over the warm baked crust.

1 c old fashioned rolled oats
3\4 c flour
3\4 c brown sugar
1\2 softened butter

Combine topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle over cranberry layer and continue baking 30 more minutes. Cool.

Makes 16 servings.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Just May Need to Try This

Mac and Cheese with Roasted Chicken, Goat Cheese and Rosemary

from Michael Symon's Live To Cook: Recipes and Techniques to Rock Your Kitchen as posted on Michael Ruhlman's blog.

Kosher salt as needed

1 pound dried rigatoni

1 quart cream

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

8 ounces goat cheese

2 cups shredded roasted chicken

Bring a pot of water to a boil (add enough salt so that it tastes seasoned). While it's heating, pour the cream into a large sauce pan, add the rosemary and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and bring it to a simmer, careful not to let it boil over. Reduce the cream by about half. Add the goat cheese and chicken and keep cooking it till the cream coats the back of a spoon.

Cook the rigatoni till it's al dente, about ten minutes. Drain the pasta, add it to the sauce. Toss the pasta in the sauce till the sauce resumes a simmer, then serve.

Serves 6 to 8

As it happens, I have a fairly cheap source for goat cheese. I'm happy to do something with it besides spread it on crackers (not that there's anything wrong with that)

Late Night Snack

Of course, I'm not entirely sure that this was a snack. My sleep pattern is so screwed up who knows anymore? But about 4AM last night (pretty sure it was night because it was all dark outside) I got the munchies. So I went into the kitchen, sliced a little off the roast beef I made for everyone else last night for dinner, and nuked them for a minute so they wouldn't be cold from the fridge. Then I took the next to last piece of the bread my honey made earlier, slathered it with a brie spread I got recently, then put the beef on the bread.

It was one of the best roast beef sandwiches I've ever had. The only thing I can think of to make it better is to add a smidge of horseradish to the brie. OOOOOOOOooooooooooooooh.

Monday, November 16, 2009

In Defense of Guy Fieri

Oh gag me.

From Food Network Fans (natch).

You've got it all wrong, John. I can't speak for others, only myself, but I will say this:

I dislike Guy Fieri (nee: Ferry) primarily because on too many occasions I saw him cram some huge greasy thing in his mouth and then witnessed the excess condiments drip all over his beard where it usually remained. Sorry, but this is not my idea of compelling television.

His network-developed, over the top Peter Pan frat boy persona is just, as they say, gravy. He is in no way real or sincere; rather he exists because some network tool thought him up and then cast him for the job. Ever see The Simpsons episode where network executives decide that Itchy and Scratchy's ratings are dropping and need to add a new character -- Poochie? Guy Fieri is Poochie.

I know he graduated from UNLV with a BS in Hospitality Management (doesn't quite sound like culinary chops to me unless in addition to Hotel and Restaurant Management they offer a chef option -- but frankly I don't know and yes, I could look it up, but I don't care enough to bother). I've seen his cooking show a couple of times and I can't imagine making any of his recipes. He has yet to learn that less is more. Goddam, does he ever back off with the spices? I think you'd have to be a hard core smoker to enjoy anything he made.

Is Bob Tuschman so very disappointed by criticism of his pet ("no one doesn't like Guy Fieri!") that he had to pay you to counter it with this touching paean? Tuschie would be better off realizing and acknowledging that he has screwed up Food Network big time with his poor programming decisions.

No one I know who is serious about food in general (at least cooking it, those whole like to watch jiggling tits and listen to inane stories while watching it be prepared and the aforementioned Peter Pan frat boy stuffing crap in his gaping maw are another story altogether) can't be bothered with Food Network anymore.

Now that you mention fois gras, perhaps Tuschie's next brainstorm will be a show in which tubes are shoved down the hosts' throats and they are force fed, Now that would be riveting!