Sunday, February 28, 2010

Back to the Kitchen...

A week with the creeping crud head cold, our house saw a lot of soup. Monday and Tuesday were soup, and Wednesday was pasta (sausage and "weeds" from Mario Batali) which is a big favorite. Thursday I was just way too beat, so it was pizza.

Friday I made it through the afternoon without cold medicine and without using a box of tissue, so we celebrated with something new from Pepin's More Fast Food My Way, crispy chicken thighs and mushroom sauce.

The thighs are cooked skin down with a tight lid in no fat until the skin is nice and crispy, these could have gone a few more minutes. Then some onion, garlic & mushrooms are sauteed in the chicken fat (drain all but about 2 tablespoons), with a bit of wine (vermouth in this case) until reduced to a nice sauce. With a nice salad, made a perfect Friday night dinner. The evening was rounded out with some popcorn and The Great Muppet Caper - love Charles Grodin's socks!

Saturday was errand day, with grocery store visits in between torrential downpours (its an El Nino, confirmed officially today). I had promised the Rabbit for a while that we would see the Percy Jackson movie, capped off by Bob's Big Boy (ok patty melt actually, though the meat was kind of dry).

Today, the sun came out, and I felt like spending some time in the kitchen. I made breakfast (eggs and chicken sausage), then put together some no-knead bread, and baked it.

During the USA/Canada overtime, I tried this quick "ricotta" cheese from Serious Eats.
Note my sophisticated cheese making equipment - Pyrex, colander, paper towels.

It actually turned out pretty good, with a drizzle of nice olive oil, a bit of salt, pepper & thyme. We had a little post-game snack.

Now, I have a pot roast going in the oven. Life is good.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pressure.. part 2

So that chicken curry?
Eh... it was ok. Not very flavorful. The good part is, it was fast. It just didn't come together quite like I hoped. It didn't even look that good, hence no photo.

Please, pressure cooker... prove me wrong! Show me that I didn't waste $45 (hooray for an excellent coupon). I know I can do my mom's famous lima beans with a smoked ham hock, but the question is... will Andrew's white bean allergy translate to lima beans?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Under Pressure

I finally replaced the scary jiggly-top Presto cooker that I inherited from my mother in law. While it cooked serviceable lamb shanks on more than one occasion, it spit and bubbled, always making me a bit nervous that I'd be cleaning lamb bits out of the can lights in the kitchen. I joined the 21st century and picked up the Fagor, it has lots of pressure release safety valves, which makes me feel better.

First up was a pork stew with tomatillos. It's been a while, so I can't remember where it came from. While not as yummy as the stew from Suzanne Goin's Lucques book that I have made before, it was really good. And, best part ... really really fast!

Speaking of fast, I still love the Jacques Pepin "Fast Food My Way" series, and he has a really nice, easy chicken bouillabaise that comes together with simple pantry ingredients, and even a rouille to swirl in. Perfect for a cool evening after a baseball game. The kielbasa I used wasn't the greatest (sorry Farmer John, stick to hot dogs, ham & bacon...), but this dish always gets raves around here.

I have grand plans for a chicken curry later this week from Lorna Sass' book Cooking Under Pressure. Can't wait!! Of course, it's been about 80 degrees this weekend. Wait, isn't it still winter??

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind, so lots of repeats, soups, and cheap eats. There were 4 briskets smoked in the cookshack for various events... tired of brisket!
I did Eggs in Purgatory again(but did not photograph) and came up with the best method - 8oz can of plain tomato sauce, 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes w/basil & garlic, plus seasonings to taste (oregano, crushed red pepper, s&p)... simmer a bit, poach eggs in sauce, serve over toasted sourdough with some arugula & olive oil on the bread before putting on the sauce & egss. GREAT and CHEAP! Hooray!

Coming attractions: more with the pressure cooker; some Ethiopian derived recipes from a friend; CORNED BEEF from scratch .. turned into Pastrami by the CookShack....