yrmencyn: (qc - drunk)
Tonight, I made venison cutlets and pasta.  The venison cutlets were breaded and pan-fried, then cooked slowly in a sour cream sauce.  I was even all fancy and deglazed with wine, etc etc, haute cuisine française what what?

Well, that was the plan at least.  First off, the cutlets were jacquarded, which I didn't expect and really am not a big fan of.  (Jacquarding is the process that is applied to some cuts of meat, when they're mechanically riddled with many holes; it's a form of tenderization.)  Second, I was sort of making this up as I went along.  The recipe I was taking inspiration from wanted me to add in sour cream and then cook over low heat for an hour.  This would usually be ok, except I accidentally let it get a little high on the heat.  This, combined with me mis-estimating the amount of oil needed, led to the sauce breaking.  Still, I was able to re-emulsify it bu pouring it into a bowl and whisking it hard.  So how'd it turn out, taste-wise?  I don't really know.

You see, I was cooking up gnocchi for my pasta (the hollow, dried version).  I brought up a shell to my lips, thinking that it was empty of the cooking water, and sucked it up.  I was very, very, very wrong, as the shell brought with it a small yet significant portion of water just off the boil.  I scalded the ever-loving fuck  out of my lips and the tip of my tongue.  Thus.. I don't really know what it tastes like. The sauce tasted pretty good midway through, so I assume it was tasty at the end.  Me, I just got to deal almost exclusively with texture, which was less than wonderful (woot jacquarding).

Somebody should come over and makeout with me.  I'm smearing frozen yogurt I stole from the roommate all over my lips like some sort of fetishist, and my lips themselves are full and sensuous.  I'm fuckin' Anna Nicole Smith over here, thank you bodily damage reaction.
yrmencyn: (pasta)
Oh, honestly!  I just finished reading Jeffrey Steingarten's The Man Who Ate Everything.  The last chapter is about his quest for the perfect pie crust.  As it turns out, he sucked at making pie crust, too, and resorted to all the myriad little superstitions and old wives' tales, in addition to reading scientific articles on crust composition (yes, these sorts of thing do exist) -- all to no avail.  So, he called up the formidable Marion Cunningham, which I guess you can do on a whim if you're the food editor for Vogue.  Under her heterodox tutelage, and with minor changes to adapt to his personal style, he got around to a point where he can effortlessly make pie crust in 12 minutes flat, and he graciously provided his recipe.

I was excited.  The chapter had made me food-lustful, and I had this absolutely wonderful idea for empanadas using the venison pan sausage I got from the Kulhavys over Christmas.  So I started on the filling, since I needed to let it have time to cool so I wouldn't melt the crust.  The sausage browned up nicely, with an ambrosial scent (sage, red pepper flakes, and the delectable odor of Bambi).  Eventually I ended up adding crumbled hard-boiled egg and some queso fresco.  The filling, I'm proud to note, is an unmitigated success both hot and cold.

Which brings us to the pastry.  I had these great visions of being able to say to Mom and Dad, who can both turn out a pie crust without difficulty, "See?  It wasn't me, I can make a pie crust no problem!  It's just that your method sucks."  This, of course, required me to conveniently forget that they both use their "Perfect Pie Crust Every Time" recipe with no difficulty all the bloody time, and have passed it on to others who have raved.  Well, it turns out that I'm the problem.  My first batch got thrown in the garbage can (thank god I made a half batch).  My second batch... was questionable.  It wasn't as supple as I would have liked, and it tore when I tried to fold over the empanadas (some of this may be a problem with my filling technique, I'll admit, but that's still a me problem in that case).  I managed to make four empanadas before I got rather annoyed and made a giant roughly circular empanada-pie-thing, like a giant baked ravioli.  Face it, my pastry-fu continues to lack.  I was supposed to have helped Dad make some pies over Christmas to try to learn, but somehow schedules intervened and it didn't happen.  So I labor on in stupidity, and I can now, officially, not make 4 different pie crusts (my parents', Cunningham/Steingarten's, AB's, Emeril's).  What the hell?

Now, that having been said, it wasn't a complete wash.  The empanadas that I did make came out with a pretty nice crust, nice and flaky if a trifle crumblier than ideal.  The cinnamon-brown sugar scraps I made were similarly nice.  So the Cunningham/Steingarten recipe isn't bad, I just haven't a deft touch.  Or even just a neutral, no-modifier touch.  Bah.
yrmencyn: (pasta)
I'm mainly thirsty because I tried to kill myself with salt today.  I am wretchedly over-salted.  But let us not get ahead of ourselves here, shall we?  Let's start in media res and work out from there.  I made this today:
Chicken and Noodles.
Looks good, doesn't it?  Down home, hearty, all that jazz.  Yeah, I know, I thought so, too. 

Read more... )
yrmencyn: (Default)
Ow.  Ow ow ow.  So... For the longest time, I've been wanting a mandoline slicer, right?  Perfect even slices of all kinds of veggies, so wonderfully wonderful.  So then over Thanksgiving I was sitting in the waiting room at my ophthalmologist's, flipping through a Gourmet magazine (I was surprised to find it there as you are to hear that a practice catering to old people in backwoods East Texas had it), and the editors of the magazine had done a comparison of a number of mandolines on the market, and had ranked OXO's the highest: under "Cons" they put "we can't think of anything to put here."  High praise, especially from a notoriously frou-frou nit-picky mag.

Before I informed my parents of what they could get me for Christmas if they decided I'd been a good little chef, I decided to go on Amazon and read the reviews on the product.  In doing so, I got a little confused.  Half the reviewers seemed about ready to canonize the entirety of the OXO company for their amazing product, and the other half said that the blade was crap and wouldn't cut worth two shits.  Hmm.  I finally decided to go with the OXO product on the basis of the good half of the reviews plus the Gourmet write-up.

Fast-forward to this evening, when I finally had a good reason to break out the maniacal little thing.  Now... I can understand the negative reviewers.  If you try and go slow and gentle, the blade doesn't cut so well.  This... should be logical if you consider some of the physics involved in slicing versus chopping (lateral motion of the blade, basically), but apparently it wasn't to those people.  Whatever.  I can now certify to you that if you slide the object to be sliced briskly down the runway and over the blade, it will glide through a potato like butter.  And if you are doing those first few slices without the handguard because it's a little tall and unwieldly, I can further certify to you that the slicing goes so smoothly that you'll slip down into the danger zone without realizing it and the mandoline will remove the bottom (*checks*) 1/16th of an inch of your index finger without you really feeling anything painful, just a sort of sudden pressure.  And then you'll start to bleed.

You had better be glad that it's hard to take in-focus close-range pictures with your non-dominant hand, because if it weren't so you'd be getting an icky picture right below.

I never did find that bit of my finger... I bet it ended up in the skillet.  *shrug*

On a related note, it's damn hard to type with impaired usage of your dominant index finger.  Also hard to use standard flatware.  Or to clean dishes.  At least I masturbate off-dominantly.  Oops, TMI.
yrmencyn: (food)
My God, I think I just fell in love with a TV chef.  I was flipping through the TV guide, and I noticed, on the local PBS affiliate, a show called New Scandinavian Cooking.  Now, not to knock on my ancestors (yes, I have Swedish ancestors, I'm not German through and through after all), but Scandinavia's not known for being the center of food innovation.  You want polite, good-looking people in modern cities, Scandinavia's for you, but food, well... I was skeptical.  Enter Tina Nordström.  Now, the show's website informs me that her show that she used to have on primetime Swedish TV got 1.2 million viewers in a country of 9 million... holy crap.  I can believe it, though, because she's just wonderful!  She's beautiful, funny, knows her food, and isn't pretentious about her ingredients.  I've got a bit of a crush, which is weird, but what can you do.  I mean, the woman set up an outdoor kitchen (!) on her lushly foliaged balcony (!!) overlooking the sea (!!!), and I swear to you that kitchen came from Ikea -- how can I resist?

Also, the setting was fabulous!  She was on Gotland, Sweden's large island in the middle of the Baltic.  The city is gorgeous, all 14th century arches and alleyways, and I suddenly have a mad desire to live there.  And I'll be honest, that desire is only enhanced by the event during which this episode was filmed: the Medltisdsveckan på Gotland, that is the say the Medieval Week on Gotland.  For a whole week in early August, the city of Visby is transported back to its heyday, again a thriving Hanseatic city in 1361.  I wanna go!  Who's coming with me?

In other food news, I have created a cleaning agent.  Seriously.  That kaffir lime salsa?  I don't know if maybe I used too much lime leaf, or maybe I just don't like the flavor, but just from smell I would swear to you I've cleaned a bathroom with that salsa before.  I tasted it and it seems like what a bottle of mop liquid would taste like if you found it in Willy Wonka's edible room: edible, not bitter, but not really something you'd care to taste more than once.  I am saddened.  I'm also a little leery of trying the other kaffir lime recipes I've got churning in my head, but I guess it can't hurt to try them.

I did, however, make a fabulous salad tonight:
picture )
Mixed baby greens with chopped tomato, green onion, garlic chips, and shredded chicken, dressed in a garlic-infused tri-vinaigrette.  Mmmm.

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yrmencyn

December 2009

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