Things I'm cooking while I'm not at work cooking.

Friday, July 09, 2010

So I have been trying to figure out how to motivate my self to blog more. I cook fairly often. I have a blog. Therefore I should blog about my cooking more often. Makes sense right? Right.

So here goes...

I have been throwing around a couple ideas (in my head, and to my hubby) as to how I should go about blogging more. One idea I keep returning to is similar to the movie Julie & Julia. I recently purchased the movie and watched it again with my husband. I want to challenge myself, I want to continue educating myself, I want to cook more, I want to blog more, and I want people who read this blog to wish they were having dinner at my house. Which shouldn't be a problem because there are only like 5 of you.

I have decided that I am not going to try and tackle Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Umm, hello, it's been done, and there was a movie made about it. I thought maybe I would try and do something about spices. A sort of A to Z thing. Origin, history, original cooking uses, other uses, new uses, that kind of stuff. Hmm, I like that idea still. But if I did that I would have to rethink this post and start over.

So for now I will go with my second idea. I have over 100 cookbooks. So I thought it would be fun to follow a recipe from beginning to end from each of the cookbooks I have and share with you what I liked about it, what I didn't like about it, if my hubby liked it, and maybe what I would do different. But I still might go back to that spice idea after this post.

My birthday was a couple of weeks ago and even though I was wishing for a La Cornue Stove...(I just went here ...that's the one I wanted)...I digress. I got a beautiful tennis bracelet, a cute purse, and a couple cookbooks. I got Mastering the Art of French Cooking, from my man, and from my chef and his family I got Boulevard. I restaurant cookbook written and edited by women, . Nancy Oaks, Pamela Mazzola, and Lisa Weiss know their shit. I don't know when I will be making my way to San Francisco, but you can be sure that I will definitely be dining at their restaurant (of the same name) when I do!

It's a great book. I love it. And this is what I cooked from it...


Fresh corn...Georgia sweet white and yellow variety. Yum for corn cut right off the cob and thrown into a saute pan with butter. The recipe also called for fresh chanterelle mushrooms. I used dry and rehydrated them . But, I do not recommend this. Find fresh, or use something else like procini, morel, or my personal favorite...shitake.

Funny side note... I just read, in my mushroom encyclopedia (yes I really do have one of those, thanks to my mom) that chanterelle mushrooms are kind of chewy, which is why I didn't love the side dish (don't get me wrong...I liked it alot).

Prep time for this dish is super fast. Cut, chop, heat, done. It can be done last or par cooked and then heated later.

Here are my roma tomatoes, peeled and ready to go in the oven to roast with some fresh herbs and olive oil. I never met a tomato I didn't love, even the ugly ones...ha ha ugly tomato joke. Anyway, I found some canned fire roasted tomatoes in the grocery store a couple nights later to stretch out the sauce that I made for this recipe, and I think they worked just fine. Of course, roasting the tomatoes yourself makes your house smell delish, the canned ones cut your cook time in decide.

Here they are all chopped up and ready to be added to my gastrique of red wine, shallots, and garlic. I have to interject here...I got a little ahead of myself in the recipe and added the tomatoes after I reduced the wine. Oops, I was suppose to saute the garlic and shallots, and then add the tomatoes and caramelize them just a hair, and then add the red wine and reduce...I wish I had done that. Oh well next time. Then I added the half of the beef stock called for and the water I used to reconstitute the mushrooms (learning mistake there...I will explain later).

Oh so brown and rich and beautiful. I love to make sauces. One of the first sauces I ever made, long before culinary school, was an orange tequila lime sauce. I drizzled it over chicken. I should try to make that now, knowing what I know now about sauces...holy crap it would be outstanding...hmmm...maybe for dinner on Friday.

Here are the ridiculously delicious blue cheese fritters, that took like a second to make...step 1: heat oil in pan (note to self, need fry daddy), step 2: make beer batter, step 3: dip chunks of cheese in beer batter and fry for like 3 second (well longer than that...but only by like 10 second). These fritters also taste good with goat cheese. Who am I kidding...I never met a fried cheese I didn't like!

Hey, the stock market was up, and in my house, that means we celebrate, that's why I spent the extra 3 bucks a pound to get the good filets...I still made it out of the meat market under 20 bucks, and just shy of a pound of meat. Look at those puppies gettin all crusty on the outside. Of course the hood above my stove doesn't work for shit, but I don't mind if my house smells like fried meat for a day or so...hello, I am a carnivore!

And this is what it looked like all put together. This is where I tell you about my silly idea to use the reconstituted leftover mushroom jus. The recipe called for 2 cups of good beef stock, which I had, but I decided I didn't want to waste the mushroom jus, so I did half and half. Which resulted in my sauce being a little loose. It was magnificent to slurp of my plate afterwords, but didn't do the gravy like glomb to my filet and corn that I wanted it to. Oh well, lesson learned, next time I will reconstitute what ever needs to be reconstituted in the liquid I am using for the recipe...makes sense right!!!

And here is what my dinner looked like next to the picture in the book. Pretty darn close. The red, yellow, and green square like things in the book picture are...ugly tomatoes (ahh, the gift that keeps on giving). I opted not to add tomatoes to my dish because the heirlooms that were at the store just didn't look ripe. Oh and I forgot about the fresh herbs under the cheese fritter until after I shot this pic...oops.
You can really see how loose my sauce is in this picture, I'm a little embarrassed. But not really, because this dinner was out of this world. My hubby loved it too and even said it was better that the local steak house we went to for dinner on my birthday (no, we didn't go to Outback, not that there is anything wrong with Outback).

Thankyou Fran, Cari, and Gabi, and Saki, and MuMu for the fantastic cookbook.

ps: I am a sucky blogger...anyone know of a good book I can read on how to format and stuff, I really need to learn how to make this more reader friendly. Or..I will gladly make you dinner in trade ;)


Blogger Bev Morris said...

Even tho I know nothing about blogging or read many blogs, I thought yours was very well done! Despite being totally ignorant of what most of the cooking terms meant, the outcome looks delicious! Keep up the good work, Leigh and just so you know, I think the spice idea is fantastic!

Tue Jul 13, 08:03:00 PM 2010

Blogger Kim Harder said...

Great job Leigh! You make me want to cook and blog more too!!

Thu Jul 15, 11:10:00 AM 2010


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