August 12, 2012
Yes, it is an indication of the pinging-off-the-pinball-bumpers that is my life that apologies and pickles go together on the closing day of the Olympics.
Let’s get the apologia out of the way first. I’ve been busy grandmothering, busy at work, and out of town, and have continued to shamefully neglect you, my faithful readers. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.
Unfortunately, however, I can’t be absolved from my sins, because I’m fixin’ to do it again. After a whole week-and-a-day here at home, I will be hitting the road again Friday afternoon for a six-day road trip across Tennessee and into the hills of North Georgia (“Whut choo wanna go f*** with that river fer?”). Back from that on Wednesday night late, leave Sunday for the hills of Northwest Arkansas. Back from that Tuesday, Blues Festival starts Thursday, and I leave that Sunday morning for Japan.
April 29, 2012
It’s been a WEEK. In just the three days I’ve been in the office. And yesterday, when I left my house at 7 a.m. and came home twice, for about 20 minutes each time, until I got back in the last time at 7 last night, when, needless to say, there was no cooking and dinner was liquid fruit.
Liquid fruit is good.
Anyway, I’m attempting to make up for it today. So far, I’ve cooked breakfast (fried potatos, bacon, a couple of duck eggs), made a tomato-and-cucumber salad with cucumbers from the co-op and tiny cherry tomatos from the Farmers’ Market. Used the other cucumber to pickle with some rice vinegar to go with okonomiyaki later on this week, because I have a surfeit of eggs that need to be used. Tonight is going to pastitsio, because I haven’t made it in a long time and I’m going to try it with quinoa pasta. In between, I hope to make some mozzarella and some ricotta cheese. Just because. Oh, and there are strawberries to cap and sprinkle with sugar and have with creme fraiche for dessert.
February 5, 2012
I shouldn’t be hibernating this weekend; it’s gorgeous out, sunny and mild, and cries for me to be out enjoying it. But in the wake of the Week From Hell, with stuff falling out of the sky and landing on my desk, shrieking, “Do this! Fix This! Go to that meeting!,” I have decided to be a recluse.
A cooking recluse, yes, but a recluse, nevertheless. Not that I cooked all that much yesterday, in the wake of a workday that extended well into the evening Friday, a business dinner, and way too much wine. Eeek. I’m too old for that.
So I decided to start today off with some serious cookery, i.e., a Big Damn Breakfast of bacon, an over-easy egg fried in butter and truffle oil atop a gluten-free masa harina waffle, with some sliced Mennonite tomatos.
NS had requested a waffle, and I thought about making myself a GF one from the Bobs Red Mill mix, but I didn’t feel sweet. I felt savory. So I thought to myself, “Self? If you did cornbread batter in the waffle maker, it’d be almost like grits to put that egg on top of.” And in fact, it was. Would’ve been better if I’d used a combo of coarse-ground meal and masa, I think, but it was pretty good.
And since I’d been watching Lucy watching me hungrily, thusly:
while I’d been making the kid’s waffles and then frying bacon, I decided to give her a treat as well. I fried an extra strip of bacon and an egg, poured a dab of bacon grease over her Science Diet, crumbled her bacon and sliced her up an egg. How many of your dogs got eggs fried in truffle oil and bacon this morning?
She is a happy puppy. Also sound asleep with her head on my leg as I type.
February 2, 2009
…I’m cookin’ Cuban tonight!
Of course, it’s a recipe out of Gloria’s book, adapted in the interests of time and that I don’t need to feed eight people. Vaca frita de pollo, literally translated “fried cow of chicken,” which is so called because you make the same way you make vaca frita but with chicken instead of beef; black beans and rice, platanos maduros, or fried sweet plantains, except it’s slightly green bananas because I would’ve had to have gone further to get plantains and bananas will work, anyway, I think. The pollo is presently marinating, on the countertop because I do not have time to wait three hours for it to marinate in the fridge. The beans and rice are cooking, and I’m about to go saute’ plantains and have them done before I start searing the chicken, which takes about 90 seconds.
Well, I’ve done better, and I’ve done worse.
The beans and rice were good; I used a can of black beans, added a bay leaf, a pinch of cumin and some oregano. The bananas don’t fry up as well as plantains — even green ones get mushy. Rather than cutting them crosswise, I’d have been better served to cut them lengthwise and fry larger chunks. Tasted good, though. Some even greener ones would probably have done better.
The chicken. Well, the chicken has promise. Some alterations I made in the interest of time cost me, I think; part of it was just not being familiar with the technique. You boil the boneless, skinless chicken breasts with a chopped onion and minced garlic (I used garlic powder and onion powder, since you don’t incorporate the stock anyway). You boil the breasts until they’re done, let them cool, pound them flat, and marinate them in lime juice, more garlic, oregano and a bay leaf. Then you sear that in a hot pan just until it browns and gets crispy.
Here’s where I departed from the technique, and I think the bird probably suffered for it. I yanked the breasts out of the pot, immediately pounded them flat. Except when I pounded them, instead of looking like nice little chicken cutlets that had been tenderized, they shredded. Now, Gloria says they’re supposed to “take on a shredded appearance.” My chicken didn’t APPEAR shredded…that stuff WAS shredded! But that still oughta be OK; turn it a spatula at a time like you’re turning hash browns, right? Dunno if it would have held together more had it been cool when I took the meat mallet to it, or if I just don’t know my own strength.
It was still warm when I put it in the marinade, and I marinated it on top of the counter as opposed to in the fridge, because I didn’t want to take as long. I gave it 20 minutes; it called for two to three hours in the fridge. And it sucked up every bit of the marinade, and was VERY citrusy when finished. Overpoweringly citrusy. I am not sure what to do about this, other than possibly cut the marinade with water and use less lime juice.
And last but not least, I overheated my olive oil, didn’t realize it, and so got the scorched-olive-oil aftertaste that makes Rachel Ray lose her perkiness and wrinkle her nose in distaste.
But the technique is an interesting one, and I could see doing it with all sorts of different seasonings (and, hopefully, not scorching the olive oil). I’ll try it again, and I’ll post the recipe when I get it tuned.
Hitting the road again tomorrow, back Thursday. Don’t anticipate any exceptional meals while I’m gone, unless I can time the drive so I hit the Whataburger at Russellville about lunchtime, in which case I will most assuredly stop. Those folks make a helluva burger.
Later. Tell y’Mama ‘n ‘em I said hey.