Friday, May 14, 2010

Not about cooking per se....

but it does involve the kitchen.

I have taken to watching "How Clean Is Your House" on BBCA. Oh my goodness gracious sakes alive! It's the best show. Especially if you tend to think your house is "clean enough" as the kitchen sink is piled high with dishes from last night, last week, last month or even last year. If you think you only have a few dust bunnies that can wait for a few days.

This show will steer you straight. Trust me on this one. Kim and Aggie, the clean freaks on the show get into all sorts of "messes" in their attempt to make this world a cleaner place. Some of the houses they walk into, some of the things they touch and smell would have me running for the hills, or using their pocket to vomit in.

I watched one episode in which the homeowner was a health enthusiast. She ate only health food, ran and worked out like a maniac. Yet her house was a denizen of germs and bacteria. I'm not talking the normal bacteria we all have, I'm talking fatal bacteria.

What got me the most was when Kim informed the homeowner that her toilet was cleaner than her refrigerator.  I wondered how my refrigerator would stand up to any test Aggie might possibly give it. I knew my bathroom was probably okay because I make sure it is cleaned every day and scoured once a week. But my refrigerator?

I took it upon myself to clean it. I knew it was a mess. I just had no idea. I think at some point something dripped down from the freezer and produced...mold. BLECK!!!! I cleaned that right up. I am sure though, Kim and Aggie would have my head though because while I used bleach water, I did not wear cleaning gloves.

At first I was only going to take the shelves out and clean them and put them back. I even knew that under the crisper drawers it would be bad so I was going to leave those in. What was I thinking?  I did take out all the shelves including the crispers.

Okay that looks almost 'bout this view?
Yes, and my food was on that. My food that I consumed. True, most of it was cooked first at rather high temperatures but still. *shudder*

Under the crisper drawers was ....oh never mind. Let's just say it's best if I don't repeat it and you don't have to read it. 

Anyway, I used hot water, a little bleach and dish soap with a healthy dose of elbow grease.  After an hour, this is what it looked like:
Notice, you can see what is in my crisper drawers!! Before I cleaned it that wasn't possible.  So now I challenge you, CLEAN THE FRIDGE!!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Silver Dollars, Flapjacks, Hubcaps, Platters, Saturday Morning Specials.

Or as they are also known as Hot Cakes. Or pancakes.

Yes, that is peanut butter and jelly on my pancake. I happen to like it best that way. Otherwise, pancakes are really rather...hmmm...not something I want to eat.

I am and have been for many years a pancake maker-flunky. I can not get them done without burning them. Generally speaking my pancakes are either burned or liquid in the middle. Now my dear man says it is most decidedly because I have the heat too high. I think he's a bit daft. And besides, when I cook them I generally don't have a lot of time to stand around waiting for them to cook.

Because of my great inadequacy in the pancake making department, my dear man is known as Chief Pancake Maker around these here parts. But tonight I thought I'd give it a go. We usually use the famous Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, but tonight I wanted something a little more...shall we say...exotic? Yes. Yes, we shall say that.

I know Julia Child made crepes, but technically crepes aren't pancakes. I decided not to waste any more time going through her cookbook in search of pancakes so instead I reached for Irma Rombauer's cookbook, "The Joy of Cooking". I was not disappointed.

I found pancakes. As I was mixing I realized one thing, There is almost no difference between the two recipes. Almost none.

My thinking is there is really only one recipe for pancakes in the world and no matter where you are that is the recipe you must use.

Quite delightful pancakes though. And almost none of them burned...after I reduced the heat to practically off. 

My family does not realize it is the same recipe in a different cookbook and let's just ...keep this tidbit of knowledge between us, shall we?


I think it only fair and right and good and ...and...and....okay I can't think of anything else it is, to post a "failure" or two or ...twenty.

I confess also I have not been cooking my way through Mastering The Art of French cooking. Lately I've been lucky to Master the Art of Fast Food at Home. It is Spring and that means Mother's Day, anniversaries and graduations galore. So I claim busyness as my only excuse and for now it's workin' for me.

My friend makes the most wonderful tacos in the world. I begged and pleaded with her to give me the recipe and then when her back was turned I just ....stole it.

Or not. She's really too nice to me to make me beg and plead and then resort to thievery. She merely handed me the recipe and a blank recipe card and told me to "go nuts." I did.  The recipe is really incredibly easy.

For HER! For me...I don't know, it seems to be more of a challenge. I can't seem to get the flavor right.

Hmmm...I just had a thought...could it be because I don't even bother to look at the recipe?

Nah!! It couldn't be that.  How hard could it be? You have hamburger, cummin, onions, salt and pepper, more cummin, tomatoes and green peppers? Surely it can't be hard.

Hahahahahaahaha. This is only proving my deep inadequacy in the kitchen.  It's not that the tacos taste bad. They just aren't as flavorful as my friends.

Maybe this is why Julia Child tells you in the book, not to "experiment" too early in following a recipe. She says you should make it a number of times before you leave the cookbook in the cupboard and start experimenting with the recipe. 

So my lesson has been learned. I'll actually start following the recipe...again.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I know, I know...

I just blogged a few hours ago but this is sooooooooooooooooo good!!! Tonight I made my own macaroni and cheese. From scratch. All by myself. I had no help from the little blue box. None at all.

It was really rather simple and I've taken to doing this lately anyway. I just think food tastes better when you make it at home and it doesn't come out of a box. Well the pasta does but that's it. I know, I know it would be 100 times better if I made my own pasta and I have in the past but when you're running short on time...a box of pasta will have to do.

Because I simply love cheese, I like to use a lot of cheese in my mac-n-cheese. Tonight it was pepper jack, medium cheddar, mt jack/colby and parmesan.  Oh. My. Goodness. Gracious. Sakes. Alive.

Okay here is how I did it. Since I just made up the recipe in my head tonight on the fly, I can post the recipe and not worry about the copyright police showing up on my porch at 3:33am.   Since I am sure everyone can make a pot of pasta, I'll leave that part out. (Man! I wish I had taken pictures)

First, I melted a few tablespoons unsalted butter in a medium saucepan. Then I added grated cheese. Because I did it on the fly, I failed to measure but I used half a small brick (maybe 8-12ounces) of the cheddar, 1/3 of colby/jack and a full brick of pepper jack. I added that to the melted butter over medium heat. Stir constantly. You'll probably have to turn it down to low. Add a little milk and continue stirring. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter if you need it. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese and stir, stir, stir.

Pour over cooked and drained pasta. Serve and enjoy! Lemme tell ya, this is Good Eats!!!

We have eaten in the last month....

I promise. I've just been so swamped basically. Hopefully life has slowed down enough I can get back to the important blogging about food.

It is not generally best, I've found to blog about food when one is a) very tired. The words just don't come at all and b) very hungry. And conversely if one is stuffed from a marvelous meal it just won't work because the very last thing one wants to talk about is

So here I sit on a Saturday afternoon, the house is quiet, the only sounds I hear is a distant train and howling wind. What a better time to write. Yeah, I thought you'd agree.

Okay the last meal I made from Mastering the Art of French Cooking was Chicken Fricassee. It seems I've made it before but never from Julia Child's cookbook.

I will admit I was rather disappointed to discover it tasted no different. None. Not at all. I thought for a bit about the benefit to making Julia Child's Chicken Fricassee versus Betty Crocker's Chicken Fricassee.

Then I realized, when you tell someone, "I made Julia Child's Chicken Fricassee last night" your reputation as a cook skyrockets to the moon. Whereas if you say, "I made Betty Crocker's Chicken Fricassee last night" people automatically assumed you opened a box and added your own chicken.

And there you have it. One should always make Julia Child's recipes, even if an easier, quicker cheaper version is readily available.  Because not only will your peers think you are a wonder in the kitchen, people around the world will stand and applaud and your family will rise up singing your very praises.  So will it be worth it to spend an entire afternoon slaving in the kitchen cooking supper?


But what is not worth it is the picture I'd normally post about now. It is just uhm...nasty. But take it from me, the food was excellent!