First off, check this out (pardon the blurriness–my hands were shaking from excitement):
My brother, S, is staying with us this week (happy happy happy!) and our brother G shipped us this delicious surprise, replete with the appropriate cheese knife and everything. G is in Spain and these are some delicious local delicacies. Needless to say, I only snapped one picture before we dug in.
Thanks, G! Wish you were here to enjoy it with us.
My mom mentioned on Monday that we are moving over to a new internet home, ditching our current site and name in favor of one that we think fits us a bit better: Table1095. Part of what makes a house a home, though, is having your friends and family there with you.
No recipe today. Just a moment instead.
We spent Saturday afternoon in the kitchen. John whipped up a gorgeous roast chicken, stuffed to the brim and lying in a bed of sweet potatoes, carrots and onion. It was simple and fresh and, after Maxine was in bed, it made the perfect date night dinner (we have dates on Saturdays, come hell or high water).
I made a mistake as a parent I would suggest anyone reading this with young kids avoid: for a while — and waaaaayyy longer than I should have — I made separate meals for certain kids who did not like (maybe even refused to put one bite in his mouth) of the general dinner. On a given night that could mean I made four dinners. I know, I know, I know! This is CRAZY and goes against every parenting book out there. I took the path of least resistance, what can I tell you? (And I know I’m not the only one out there.)
Ok, so yesterday my mom wrote this post about how she like, doesn’t need to follow cooking rules or some madness like that. She claims her cooking is not only fine, but good, rules be damned.
I grew up eating her food. I turned out fine. She rarely repulsed me (except by refusing to believe that I hate broccoli and cauliflower until I was well into my 20s) and some of her dishes remain my all-time favorite meals to eat (her Greek Pizza and granola are unrivaled in my opinion). However, the woman isn’t a professional. She just isn’t. And, as her concession that letting dairy products warm to room temperature before baking does, in fact, improve the end product suggests, maybe the pros are onto something.
Apparently I am a bit of a cooking disaster waiting to happen. At least I am according to the experts interviewed by Real Simple.
The January issue has a story called How to Fix Dinner: 17 all-too-common cooking mistakes (plus easy tips to avoid them). I do (or have done) about half of these tips regularly — mostly without any ill effect.
Take number two: using the wrong knife. Been there, done that, do that all the time. I don’t even know which knife in my fairly nice Cutco knife set (Rachel spent a brief foray one summer in this selling cult so we of course now have many Cutco knives purchased before she quit) is supposed to do what. It’s a complete mystery so I just grab the one closest at hand and hack away. Mostly that method works just fine. The Real Simple story, however, suggests that this approach will “damage your food.” If I used the correct knife, I would be more efficient and my dicing would be neater.
Clearly at least two of the writers of this blog have pig on the brain. First we get the Edna post (that almost made me become a moral vegetarian) and now we have a much lovelier post about roast pork, a favorite of mine back when red meat was on my personal menu. (I know pork is the “other” white meat but you get what I mean.) Anyway, without further ado, this month’s post from Mike the Gay Beer Guy — Janet
I really miss my mother. And I’m surprised. She’s been dead, after all, for 11 years, and our relationship was a complicated one for sure. So I’ve been touching this rediscovered scab, thinking about how it feel when I scratch certain parts, and I think I’ve figured out where it’s coming from: This is the first Christmas where Peter and I will not see two of our three children. At all. And for the first time, I understand and feel in my very core my mother. I get why she was so (often annoyingly to me) needy at different points — “What do you mean you’re not going to spend Mother’s Day with me, Janet?” — and why she seemed so desperate at others. She saw the clock ticking and like that Salvador Dali clock knew her time was melting, ever so quickly.
For years (or at least the two we’ve been writing this blog) I’ve lorded my lack of bona fide cooking equipment over Rachel. Yes, she of the gigantic, semi-professional KitchenAid stand mixer can make good pie crust, etc. but is she really sure it’s not at least somewhat related to the equipment? I mean, could she really make tasty pie crust using a fork the way I do (badly I admit)? HA!
But since writing this blog and reading a ton of other cooking blogs and interviewing cookbook authors and reading more cookbooks than is probably normal (not to mention foodie magazines), I’ve got to admit I’ve been wondering if maybe, just maybe, having some equipment might be okay. I mean, do I really have to recreate the 19th century when I cook?
So last Christmas I asked Santa for — and received! — my little Cuisinart and I have been an electrical chopping wizard ever since. It is simply one of the best devices ever.
Janet here: No this isn’t a homonym lesson. I’m just noting an interesting concurrence: the week in which I make a fantastic leek dish was also the week the light fixture in the bathroom at Casa de Roomie (I live in two places if you’re not a regular reader) decided to become an unofficial shower as water streamed out of it one day just as I was about to head out the door to work. It was, obviously, an awesome moment.
Ok, so first off, is it noon yet? Because if it isn’t, and if you haven’t already entered yourself in our giveaway, then click here and go get that done before reading any further. If it’s after noon, then just keep reading while relishing the fact that you entered with time to spare, or while kicking yourself for missing the deadline.
I don’t have a recipe to offer today. I’ve had a sick kid and we’ve been eating pizza and crackers and other conveniences instead of cooking. M’s dinner tonight is, no joke, a sweet potato. Maybe we’ll throw some beans on that plate for our own self-esteems.
This doesn’t mean that I’m not thinking about cooking, though, because I am. There are two things on my mind specifically right now: Christmas dinner and Christmas baking. And yes, in that order. Which is definitely problematic. The baking should be first–it will be wrapped up and delivered to neighbors and friends in the brisk evenings between now and Christmas. The dinner dominates, though, because this year we just might make a whole pig for the very first time (and yes, I bring this up on the day that our vegan cookbook giveaway wraps up…).