Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Of Grief & Hollandaise

Pete. 199? - 2010
On Sunday my beautiful dog, Pete, died.  On Monday I made Hollandaise sauce. I did this with swollen eyes, shaking hands, throbbing head, nauseous stomach, and empty heart.  I clarified butter, I whisked egg yolks,  I squeezed a lemon, I seasoned my sauce with salt and cayenne pepper. It came out well enough; I suppose it was good.

I didn't do it because I'm going to be tested on it tomorrow in my culinary final. I didn't do it because I was hungry. I suppose I did it because of the amount of precision and concentration required. While in the past I have always cooked to be fully in the moment, this time I cooked to be out of it. I cooked to escape into the cooking, and out of the grief. Just for a minute.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Homemade Pretzels with Black Lava Salt: International Incident Salt Party

International Incident Salt Party

Pretty mustards all in a row: Zwiebel (onion), horseradish, & Dijon
 Wars have been fought over it. People have been killed for it. In the wrong hands it can be underused, overused, or  downright abused. It is the single most important seasoning in the culinary world. Of course I'm talking about salt - the theme for this month's International Incident Party, hosted as always by our incomparable founder and host, Penny aka Jeroxie.

This salt theme has happily given me the push I (apparently) needed to fulfill a promise I made to Penny many months ago when I won The Salt Book in a giveaway she had. She asked that the winners make a dish from the book and share it with everyone. "Oh yes!" I said. "Definitely!"

Well, that was back in April ... 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Moroccan Chicken, Preserved Lemon, & Olive Tagine with Dried Cherry & Almond Couscous

If you've followed this blog at all, you may be a bit surprised - or even, if you're vegetarian, disappointed - to see me writing about a chicken recipe. In fact, this is the first meat dish - other than fish - that I've ever featured here.

So, what has gotten into me? Let me explain ...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Beans & Cornbread (had a fight ... but don't you worry, it worked out allright!)

Beans and Cornbread had a fight
Beans knocked Cornbread outta sight
Cornbread said,  "Now that’s alright, meet me on the corner tomorrow night"
I'll be ready, I'll be ready tomorrow night
I'll be ready, I'll be ready tomorrow night
I'll be ready, I'll be ready tomorrow night 
 --Louis Jordan, "Beans 'n Cornbread" 

In the famous Louis Jordan song I quote above, beans and cornbread start out fighting, but by the end of the song, they become best of friends and realize that they go together like "hot cakes and molasses," "strawberries and shortcake," and "sour cream and biscuits." Silly beans and cornbread! I knew it all along.