Making all kinds of messes

Archive for the category “FoodieTuesdy”

Cook’s Illustrated- Puritans and Science vs Joy

Have you read this article about the editor of Cook’s Illustrated?  It’s a really interesting piece about the rigor of their process, who the editor is, and how his outlook has shaped the magazine.

The funniest quote from the piece is Kimball (the editor) saying:

Chris Kimball Quote

True feelings revealed.

Considering he looks like the dour farmer in the American Gothic painting, it tickles me that he would say something so somehow expected.

The quote that is getting the biggest reaction is:

What cooking is not

Cooking is nothing fun. Stop trying.


I agree that in itself, there’s not much glamorous about cooking.  You make a mess, you hope that the recipe turns out correctly and that it tastes good.  To mitigate risk, you use recipes from trusted sources for “higher stakes” meals, such as steak dinners.  Or free-range organic chicken.

Basically, anything I buy in my twice a month trip to here:

Rancher owned store o meat

Free range everything and local food mecca.

Excuse the extreme reflection, I was trying to record their hours, not be artistic.

Something I have been shocked to find out is that I do, in fact enjoy cooking (for now.  Get back to me when I’ve been doing it 30+ years night after night).  I enjoy the creative process, I enjoy the challenge of figuring out what to make and how it can be used the next night. I’m not someone who plans ahead, yet.  I just buy protein ahead of time and then figure out how to use it.

For instance, yesterday, I had a free range organic whole chicken in the crockpot all day. We ate the thighs and drumsticks, I pulled the rest of the meat off and threw the bones and skin back in the crockpot.  I checked for preferences on Chicken Tortilla Soup vs Chicken and Peaches Salad, got an answer, and BAM, today’s dinner is almost done in my mind.

Crockpot was turned back on this morning, and fresh chicken stock will be waiting for me at home tonight.  It makes me feel extremely competent and happy to have a) made food that tasted good b) planned for the next day  c) know what I’m doing tonight and d) made healthy food from scratch.

I think Kimball is underestimating the satisfaction and accomplishment that comes from that.  Cooking every night is work, no doubt, but I have done harder things with my time.  I’ve also done much less rewarding things with my time.

How do you feel about cooking?  Is Kimball a kill-joy or the only one who has the guts to speak Truth with a capital T?




Sugar Free – Week 2+

I have made it through 2 weeks of being sugar free, with a caveat.  The caveat being this:

Delicious boozy shake

Granny’s Shake – vanilla, caramel sauce and whiskey

I had one milkshake while we were in Vegas.  It was vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and whiskey topped by some barely sweetened whipped cream.  It was amazing.
I did notice though, that the next few days I craved candy bars and other things that I hadn’t been drawn towards in more than a week.  Tricksy devil.

I will say that I haven’t been the strictest person on rooting the sugar out of my life.  I’m still eating ketchup and BBQ sauce, for instance, even though they have sugar in them.

The benefits I’ve noticed have been great – my skin is much clearer, I no longer “crash” and am much more alert in the afternoons, and just a general feeling of well-being.
Give it a try.

Trying to Love – Salads

Part of my becoming a grown-up criteria includes eating salads.
I didn’t grow up eating fresh vegetables, mostly because my dad didn’t like them and my mom grew up thinking they were dirty and that canned veggies were more sanitary.  FYI, that is not a good way to raise children who eat veggies.

So I’ve been working on it.  And salads aren’t that bad.  They just don’t taste as awesome as, say, chips and salsa.

Enter Lettuce in Your Kitchen : Flavorful and Unexpected Main-Dish Salads and Dressings.  I picked it up by chance at Half Price Books, and have loved it ever since.

They have salads with meat, salads without meat, and I haven’t had one yet that I didn’t like.  Some I liked better than others, but that’s true of everything.  One of my favorites involved chicken and peaches with a mustardy-vinaigrette dressing.  I never ever would have put any of those things together on my own.

What’s your favorite random salad pairing?

English Luxury Clotted Cream

One of my favorite grocery stores is on the right hand side on my drive home every day.  The result of this happy accident is that almost every day (not exaggerating) I pop in and buy some ingredients for dinner.

I have yet to become one of those meal-planning people.  Right now I use my Friday afternoons to drive to the Local Yocal to buy some of the grassfed/pastured meat that they raise and sell and then spend the next week figuring out the best way to use it.  The challenge makes it fun, dinner as performance art.

The other side effect of the stopping every night, however, is that I end up with things like this:

English Luxury Clotted Cream

I’m not quite sure what to do with this, the back suggests using with scones.  Scones are not a favorite of mine, but I do have a lovely buckwheat cake that might play well with it.

I am trying to curb my impulse buys, but who can turn down packaging like that?  It’s English AND Luxury, wrapped in something out of a Wodehouse novel.

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