Liquid Gold

This year for Christmas I  roasted a goose.

Actually, I came down with a brutal case of stomach flu on Christmas and actually made the goose three days later. But it was worth the wait. I boiled it first and let it air dry in the fridge for three days to really crisp up that skin.  It was so much easier than a turkey and the taste was divine.  More like roast beef than like chicken and so tender.

But the real reward is the three cups of goose fat that will do my cooking bidding for the next few months. I’ve heard the wonderous tales of what goose fat can do to potatoes and a myriad of other food staples that are taken to the next level with this wonderous liquid.

Oh and of course there is leftover goose too. Chicken. Not a problem. But goose… Hmm…. I’m thinking of serving it with hoison sauce and scallions in some thin crepes for a little peking duck action. Or possibly doing a goose hash with onions and potatoes.

Any suggestions out there for goose or using goose fat in cooking?

You Do the Hokey Pokey

A lovely friend of mine invited me to her holiday dinner party.  I have known Mixie since college and many many days where spent on her sofa knitting and drinking and eating and laughing.   For a Mixie dinner party, the standard bottle of wine just didn’t seem special enough for the occasion.

This dilemma sent me bounding towards my groaning cookbook shelves to pull out a recipe I’ve been wanting to make for ages. Nigella’s hokey pokey or honeycomb.

Just three ingredients and five minutes of hands-on cooking were transformed into a sweet treat that I think any hostess would enjoy.  Perfect to make during the Peach’s scant afternoon nap this past Saturday.

I think the honeycomb would be particularly nice over vanilla ice cream or on top of the next batch of brownies. Hint hint, Mixie!

Gilding the Lily–Thanksgiving Style

Well, we are days away from Thanksgiving and even though I’m not making a tons of dishes, I always like to push the envelope cooking-wise.

So this year, I decided to make the cornbread from scratch for the cornbread stuffing. Soo good! I liked this recipe because I had to soak the polenta in buttermilk overnight to break down the cornmeal–an easy version of nixation and it was utterly divine in taste. Of course I had to try some–you know, just to make sure it wasn’t poison…

And I had to make my own broth! Bien sur!

But I’m most proud of making mayonaise. THIRD times a charm. I must thank Karen Solomon for her brilliant breakdown of the basic recipe. This cookbook of hers is pure genius. The exact cookbook I’ve been looking for for the past twenty years.  The secret was taking thirty second breaks in between teaspoons of oil. Brilliant. The perfect ending for turkey sandwiches for Friday.

Pickled Pink!

Well, I love a good pickle. A good lacto fermented pickle.

What can I say–I’m on this probiotic kick right now, thanks to some inspiration from this guy. Thanks to my OSV days, I was pretty hip to making pickles ages ago, but since leaving the farm for  the high-tech world of Silicon Valley, I opted for buying some fancy pickles instead of brining them myself.

But after spending upwards of $6.00 for a jar of pickles, I thought I could make my own.

However,  I’m a total slacker and had a vague memory of seeing Martha “pickle” her own carrots and celery and cucumbers using the left over brine from purchased pickles.

One buck worth of small cukes picked up at the Farmer’s Market , et voila!

I’ll let you  know how they taste in a week…

Pears for the Peach

I made a bit of a reference in my last post, but,  the Peach has been eying my dinner for awhile and I think she’s ready to broaden her palette past cereal.

So Mama went to the Berkeley Farmer’s Market and picked up some nice ripe organic goodies for the Peach. No peaches tho’–would that be cannibalism? (Haha! I’m such the comedian…)  But I did find some great zucchinis and pears that I steamed and pureed into future meals.

I don’t know why, but I’m amazed at how easy it is to make baby food from scratch. And delighted as I wasn’t too jazzed on feeding the Peach jarred baby food.  Have you ever tasted jarred baby food? I did when I was drunk off of too many mimosas at a baby shower ten years ago and nearly threw up. The memory of that taste still turns my tongue!  I’m sure they’ve improved through the years.* but I tasted all of the Peach’s soon to be food and was very delighted with the taste. Particularly the pear.

For some reason, I was sure that it was going to be hard and I’ve have to follow very specific recipes. Boy, was I wrong.  This book was sort of like my training wheels for making baby food.    There is also this great site called Babyfood 101 that my darling friend Suzy hipped me too. And my darling daycare provider introduced me to this great site, Wholesomebabyfood.com.

The other great thing is that you can make larger batches and freeze the rest, so a Sunday morning spent cooking can take care of a couple of weeks of food. Nice!

*Oh, and for anyone that is into jarred baby food, there is this great review of them on CHOW. Check it out!

Mayo Mayhem

People, I tried.

Like a culinary Icarus flapping his wings out of foodie jail, I went for the sun.

I tried to make mayonnaise.

I had my reasons. Blissed out deviled eggs.  The chicest chicken salad. All for naught.

I ended up with whipped olive oil and a sore elbow.

I blame it solely on Julie and Julia. The sun was too bright. The wax melted and I went splat into wasting a whole bottle of very expensive olive oil.

Hmmm… I am if nothing, a resourceful gal and I tried to passed it off as a very glamorous salad dressing.

Perhaps I’ll try again with a blender… like Minty

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

There is something so wonderful about roasted chicken for dinner. And something equally nice about having leftovers for sandwiches or salads the next day.

Our house roast chicken recipe for awhile has been Ina Garten’s standby. Just pop a lemon and some garlic cloves in the chicken and slap it on top of some root vegetables. Bake and voila. Yummy insanity.

But we like to mix it up every now and then and try this  recipe my mother ripped out of the NYT every now and then.  This version involves putting the chicken on top of thick slices of ciabatta and letting the pan drippings soak into the bread. Holy crap, is that version spectacular!  This recipe also involves enough butter to clog several arteries in one sitting. Here it is alongside a nice tomato caprese salad and roasted asparagus.

And the last version which we’ve become huge fans of is Jamie Oliver’s version called, “Chicken in Milk“.  This incredibly easy recipe involves baking the chicken in (what a surprise) milk, that has lemon rind, sage leaves and unpeeled cloves of garlic floating in it.  And I think this is my absolute favorite version. So easy, so unexpected, but it flavors the meat beautifully that one craves it days after.

What is your favorite roasted chicken recipe? Any tips? Any ideas?

Thanksgiving Past

I meant to post this awhile ago…

As much fun as cooking Thanksgiving is, the frugal side of me enjoys finding the best ways to use up the leftovers. Here are the three standards which are now expected with as much anticipation as T-Day extravaganza.

First there is the turkey–which means turkey stock!

It’s also a great way to use up the left over vegetables. Like these pearl onions that I couldn’t deal with peeling them all. And the extra celery.

And left over turkey was changed into this lovely turkey salad from a chicken salad recipe from the Barefoot Contessa. That tarragon makes it!

For some reason, we always have a lot of mash potatoes left over. I could do a shepard’s pie, but instead I opt for potato bread. Oh, it’s so good with that turkey salad!

And lastly the leftover half and half is transformed with the help of Trader Joe’s holiday Jo-Jo’s into ice cream. A tradition started last year which will be continued for hopefully many years to come.

Umami Salt!

So kids, check this out:

What is this you ask? Why, its what will be known as my secret ingredient. My nunyo (as in Q: “What did you put in that delicious dish?” A: “Why Nunyo–as in None of yo’ business!”)

But really, it’s everyone’s business and it’s amazing. It’s umami salt. And what is that, you ask? Check out the Breakaway Cook’s thoughts on it. All I can say is that it came from three completely random ingredients:

Who knew dried porchini mushrooms, parmsean cheese, some random kelp and some pink salt I bought from Cost Plus could work such miracles? I just whizzed together for a few minutes in my mini Cuisinart into a crazy mix of goodness.

I tried it on some roasted chicken I had left over from a different meal and to be honest, it was kinda fishy and well… weird. But added to the Breakaway Chef’s Super Green Wonder Soup that was a mix of leeks, mint and cilantro–well, it took it to another level.

I then added it to my chicken soup and all of the sudden the broth was richer and had more depth. I put it in some spinach and kapow–it was great!  I fear an addiction coming on…  I wish I made more! Trust me, you’ll thank me for hipping you to this foodie goodness!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin