Let it be released from the mind

Monday, February 26, 2007

Diary of a Possessed Cook

Since being back from vacation, the cooking itch has finally settled in. And you know once you start to itch, you just keep scratching, even though it's painful and you know it will be worse later. (This has been happening as my body adjusts to the cold climate again as well and I find myself occasionally obsessively itching my legs like I have the pox or a bad heroine reaction).

This weekend hubby and I worked together to create some excellent ravioli--a play off of several recipes with the lead from Mario Batali. Taking 2 days worth of prep work (cutting and roasting the shallots, and preparing the pasta dough), it was mostly worth our efforts. Yes, lackluster response. I wish my pasta had been a bit more tender. It seemed strange from the beginning and much too tough. I wonder if the flour was a bit off, although it's not very old. It was an excellent learning experience as I've only cooked with radicchio and chestnuts once, and in separate dishes. I wish that my food processor had a bit more oomph to really process down the filling a bit more and make it a bit more creamy. It had a little too much texture to be completely perfect.

To make the recipe my own, I added a few more ingredients to the filling: white truffle oil for earthiness, prosciutto for salt, and a shallot for sweet sweet goodness. I went with the traditional browned butter and sage sauce, and that was appropriate. We have a nother meal waiting for us in the freezer, and it was fun (at least for me). I have plenty of chestnuts still remaining for another recipe, so I'll probably make a creamy soup. Other ideas?

Last night I was very pleased with my concoction of things in the fridge. It's hard for me to not rely on recipes when I prepare food in new ways. So, I spent an hour consulting my different cookbooks yesterday, but then just made something up on my own. I cut up a whole chicken into 4 parts and rubbed roasted garlic, rosemary, kosher salt and pepper under and over the skin. Then I seared it in a cast-iron with butter and olive oil. Sidebar: I can't believe how lame this is. After it was golden brown, I put the chicken aside and added prosciutto, wedges of vidalia onion, and sliced mushrooms to the skillet and cooked at high heat only for a few seconds and then doused with sherry---sizzle sizzle sizzle. Then I put the chicken back over top of that and baked for about 35 minutes. As someone annoying would say, "Yumm-o".

Uh--and sorry for the delay with the vacation posting. I should've worked on it yesterday, but I spent some quality time getting rid of some of the stuff on our Tivo. Hard work, but someone has to do it.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I'm baaaccck!

Well, we're back. D's fighting with Montezuma's revenge for the last few days, and I'm hoping he'll get better very soon. I am feeling fine, and I assume the bacteria in our bodies just react differently to other bacteria...we ate the same things, so I don't know why my stomach was spared.

I'll work on getting my trip updated this week with pictures, and I'll make sure to send them out to people. The fastest download I can give: I saw all four types of monkeys in CR (howler, squirrel, spider and capuchin), I became an excellent little birder (always with the help of others like my excellent eagle-eyed husband), we saw multiple types of rainforests and beautiful beaches and Pacific coast sunsets.

I can't wait to talk with everyone!