Here's an easy way to be a gourmet cook. I bought this magnet in New Orleans, since a recipe for Shrimp Creole seemed to be the most appropriate way to remember our trip.
Play with your food
WHAT I'M READING
The book is really riveting. I read a lot of it yesterday while waiting for my client. Very hard to put down!
For anyone contemplating reading this book, I strongly recommend that you check out this web page.
That's it for today!
THE PRINCESS IN THE KITCHEN - Part 2
January 18, 2001
The Princess cooked dinner again last night.
I now officially have an inferiority complex.
Lynn is like my son Tom. She doesnt "cook dinner," she creates masterpieces. If she ever decides to give up midwifery, she has a great career ahead of her as a chef. She told me the other night that when she is "creating a recipe," she will lie awake nights and think about what flavors will blend well together.
I just wonder what I can pour over last nights leftovers and nuke.
We had one of her creations the other night at RMs house. This is a recipe shes created and it is pretty incredible.
You start with a pork tenderloin, marinated. Grill until its about 15 minutes from being done (Im not sure how you determine that its "about 15 minutes from being done"). Then remove from the grill, put cut up pieces of brie cheese on the top of it. Then top with a mixture of diced bacon, fresh spinach leaves, sliced mushrooms, onions, garlic, pine nuts and fresh basil, cooked until just slightly wilted. Cover the whole thing with foil and bake.
Man, oh man, youll think youve died and gone to heaven.
But that was a meal she planned. She shopped for it, and spent the afternoon putting it together. I can do that (I cant think up the recipe, but Ive done my share of gourmet cooking in my time. Im a student of Martin Yan, you know--in the flesh, not from a TV program...took two classes from Martin before he hit the big time.)
So last night I was going to cook dinner, using the leftover pork roast that I had made here a few nights ago. (We seem to be eating a lot of pork lately).
But the princess arrived home with bags of stuff (including 4 boxes of Cheez-Its, because we were about to have a Cheez-It crisis; she lives on Cheez-Its). She suggested that we have burritos, using rice and the leftover pork.
My idea had been my famous "rice and leftover meat." This means I chop up meat, heat it a bit in some grease (oil, butter, olive oil, or whatever is on hand), add rice, pour in water or chicken broth, depending on what I have, and 20 minutes later--voilą! Dinner!
But that wasnt good enough for the princess.
First we made Spanish rice. She started by chopping lots and lots of onions. Walt hates onions. He and I have this uneasy truce about onions. I use them, he picks them out (it works for me, anyway!). The princess is much more accommodating. She made two pots of rice--one with and one without onions. (This meant start the without pot twice because she forgot it for a moment and the oil burned)
Then she carmelized the onions a bit, added rice, more butter, some old tomatoes that were kind of shriveled looking and not very appetizing to eat, but would work well for cooking. More butter. Then add chicken broth and spices and keep stirring until the rice got soft. She went through 4 different pot lids because I didnt have the right one to fit on the pan.
The dinner I had in mind would have taken 20 minutes to prepare. Hers took an hour. But what a difference it made. Now THIS was a meal! We put it into warmed tortillas. I would have heated the tortillas one at a time in the microwave. She lightly buttered each one, stacked them, wrapped in foil and baked. They were much more tasty, much more pliable and kept warm much longer. Amazing.
So she laid out the counter with meat (heated in the microwave), cheese, the rice mixture, and shredded lettuce or cabbage, and the end result was a true gormet taste treat--and definitely better than "rice with leftover meat."
I never get inspired like that.
Tom is that kind of a cook. Ive mentioned before how he can come into this house, open up the refrigerator, pull out a bunch of seemingly unrelated foods, and combine them all together into some sort of taste sensation. In July each year, he throws a huge birthday barbecue for himself and brings half a dozen different roasts, chicken and fish, each marinated in a different sauce. He looks in his element standing over the huge barbecue on the beach, cooking lunch for 20 or 30 of his closest friends.
I can be an adventurous cook, but Im not an "artistic" cook. Im not afraid to try anything, but I really need a recipe to follow. But with The Princess here for a month, Im taking notes. Maybe Ill eventually learn how to let my creative juices flow.
Or maybe Ill just stick with my two tried and true favorites: rice with leftover meat, and "something with chicken in it."
Some pictures from this journal
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Created 1/18/01 by Bev Sykes