LJ-Picturing Food, 6.16.06: recap, with a thousand photos
To celebrate surviving my first day of culinary school ...
This is where the magic happens now that I've moved.
The kitchen sink.
Rosco the dependable toaster oven--it's a more dependable machine than the oven that came with the apartment, which burns too hot over 350 and too low under.
Both sides of the pantry, both doors open through the magic of MSPaint.
As I was saying, this is where the tragic happens.
The beginning of truly masterful culinary technique: Predicting your outcome.
And guessing right. Notice Scotch the Dog on the bottom right crawling along the floor to the nearest exit, just like I taught her. Actually, she's eating. Just like I taught her. This was taken right before I helped her into the oxygen mask that dropped from the ceiling. Narf! I'm in the corner next to the door, wondering what happened to the step in the process where I avoid doing irreparable damage to the apartment. Yeah, that wasn't in the recipe unless it was somewhere between "1. Brown meat on all sides" and "3. Run for your life."
The worthwhile outcome. I almost hate to admit it, but I liked the potatoes more than the lamb, and they cost about $500 less to prepare.
The subpar dessert, Mango and Raspberry Eruption, meaning I erupted, "I can't believe I paid five bucks for this sh*t!"
A little soda fountain and ice cream place called MacAlpine's in Phoenix
Al's lime phospahte from MacAlpine's.* You may think it's the glass that's green, but that's the lime flavoring. The glass is clear.
My strawberry shake, finished with sprinkles/jimmies/whatever you call them.*
My meatloaf plate.* This was the fluffiest meatloaf I've ever had, which I loved. Dense meatloaf kinda turns me off.
Another Thursday dinner
Salad soup? No--vegetable stock.
I made vegetarian risotto.*
Violet made fried plantains with sauce.*
Chris C and Wendy brought dessert from AJ's--black and whites. I plated them up with some of the banana chocolate chip cookies I made last night and some Dreyer's caramel ice cream.
It wasn't quite the menu I'd had in mind, but it turned out pretty well, anyway. I didn't have time to make caramel sauce for the cookies. I'm glad I grabbed the caramel ice cream. I'd wanted to ribbon cut some yellow squash, but the market didn't have any. I thought about slicing the pepper into long strips to twirl into the spinach, but there was a time crunch, and they turned out well sauted in the skillet following the squash. The squashes were rad in just olive oil and salt. I'd whine more, but I'm too tired. Darnit. I bought sunchokes to process into sauce a la Harold. I bought carrots, too, to make the experimental carrot cake that default and I discussed, but Wild Oats didn't have any basil. Sometime this weekend: practice a concasse for class and run through the steps for emulsions in my head, at least until I can afford a food processor and can actually make some or the aiolis and vinaigrettes Chef taught us. I'm nervous that I have to know them by Monday and can't practice them, and I'm glad we'll be cooking in our teams. Final note: The majority of my non-crucial expenditures go toward very good groceries, and I don't mind. I'm eating well. Also sometime this weekend--try to bake a batch of brownies to make a variation on the cake crumb truffles.
A silent movie dedicated to
**I was going to tell a joke about how peeling these things could be as easy as telling them to turn their heads and cough, then I decided it was better off a silent section.
From Safeway--cheesecake in chocolate and brownie pagoda. The cheesecake was really good, the brownie not so much.
The first time we cooked in class, we learned to make aioli (mayonnaise) and vinaigrette. I told Chef I hadn't practiced because I didn't own a food processor, but then I remembered my hand mixer and made dill vinaigrette for my spinach. I only trashed half my kitchen in the process!
Purple! Sausage and onions cooked in wine (like beer brats) with artichoke mash (mashed in the little chef prep processor that attaches to my hand mixer) and red bell pepper.
This week's first flourless cake. The second recipe is in the fridge.
Another dinner, this one also dedicated to
Default and I were talking about making savory carrot cake, and this is the batter, featuring basil.
Baked carrot muffins.
Compound butter/cream cheese fixins.
Savory carrot muffins, using olive oil/salad oil, basil, and honey.
Potato gnocchi with sage browned butter and tomato bits (I was practicing my concasse.).
Brunch at the fabulous Elaine's house
Elaine's fruit salad
Blueberry bake. This is one of the best things I've ever eaten. I wanted to give it an Eskimo kiss. I mean, look at it. Look at those blueberries. You know you want to nudge it with the tip of your nose! (Don't--it's hot compote.)
The plate, featuring summer rolls, blueberry bake, chicken and potatoes, rice, cucumber salad, and papaya salad. Yum. Lots of yum.
I'll add this: I could say that all my friends are foodies to some degree and for different reasons. I have some who love to cook experimentally without recipes, and others whose technique is textbook perfect. What I appreciate of all of them is their willingness to share what they have and accept what you're willing to offer, just because they like you and they like food. I love that Elaine created enough food to constitute a feast, that Violet goes out of her way to plate the food she feeds you to make it beautiful, and that Bill once took me into his kitchen to show me, step-by-step, how to build his amazing meatballs. It's just all amazing, and I'd be an ass not to be grateful.
Followed by a humble dinner
Arroz con pollo.
"Soak"--a culinary term for "too lazy to scrub."
And more Mexican food.
I swear there's a ton of sauted spinach buried under all the cheese on this tostada.
Mango and ice cream, one of my favorite desserts.
Midnight snack. Because sometimes, it comes down to flaxseed cereal and grilled cheese. And because you have that last hot dog bun in the breadbox (aka unplugged microwave that sits unused in the pantry) and a load of cheese leftover, even after three nights of Mexican food. And you just want to squash that bun flat, spread a little butter on it, and fill it with that cheese. Ya know?