Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Listening and Cooking

It's an edited version of the previous. Short and sweet, it paints a picture.

Here are some from the past year.......
Big Poppa/Chili
Sharon Jones/Zinfandel Beef Stew
The Pretenders/Gingerbread Cake
The Plimsouls/Pie Crust
The Rolling Stones/Braised Chicken and Dal
The Reigning Sound/Quiche
Jawbreaker/Split Stuffed Chicken, sweet potato & chile salad with slow-cooked beans
David Bowie/Tiramisu
The Reigning Sound/Tuscan Soup and Cocktails

What shall I listen to tonight whilst making green beans for Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Watching, Reading, Listening, Looking

Soon, I will have pictures from recent dishes I've made over the last month. Having technical difficulties that have taken precedent. Also, having physical difficulties that have been a challenge- fractured sesamoid bones in my left foot. Kinda sucks. Can't go for long walks, and probably shouldn't be standing on a hard floor in the kitchen for hours. But I've gotten away with some cooking..
That's why today I'm starting this feature- Watching, Reading, Listening, Looking- a concept I was inspired to do after reading the Distressed blog.
So- to stay connected, this is what's going on:
watching- mad men
reading- medium raw by anthony bourdain
listening- weezer and billy joel
looking- art by friends- three gallery shows in LA just one week ago!
OK and making- tiramisu... and Tuscan Soup

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Review on last night's dinner

Last night I made Split, Stuffed, Baked Chicken with a Mexican influenced salad of Sweet Potatoes, Caramelized Onions and Guajillo Chile Dressing, and Slow Cooked Cranberry Beans. The main dish was Fall poultry comfort food, the rest was Southern Mexican. Not exactly the same 'flavor profile' but it was fine.
Everything turned out OK, but there were definitely challenges. Namely: timing. Knowing when the chicken is done and being able to estimate when everything will reach the table.
One factor that needs to be addressed is the temperature in my oven. Maybe it's time for a new oven thermometer. Recognizing that in the past I would often cook too hot, I now am so careful that it seems to take forever. I keep opening the oven, checking, putting it back in, wondering if the temperature will catch up during rest, setting my timer for another 10 minutes, watching the golden light brown color darken and darken, wondering when we'll eat, and when to reheat the other dishes that have been ready, wishing I hadn't dressed the salad yet... It still seems like so much guess work! I'm thinking that with properly calibrated tools, I will have a better timeframe and smoother transition from oven to plate.
My next point: I need to make and remake the same thing to master it. Otherwise each dish will always be a crapshoot and I'll have gained little knowledge and continue to over/undercook. I don't think I'll make the exact same chicken as last night, but I'll still do a whole chicken, perhaps an easier version from class where you just rough chop lemon, garlic and herb sprigs and throw them into the cavity. How easy is that? Then make a sauce from the drippings. OR maybe brining will become my signature, go-to move where I attain perfect, effortless results. 
Side note on the two Mexican dishes I made from Rick Bayless' book, they were fantastic. I love the way he gives you Riffs to change it up or add to the dish. These may become signature dishes too.