Friday, April 29, 2011

A Few Good Dishes

Marissa here again, this time to talk about some proud kitchen moments. Easter weekend was marked by heavy use of the oven and stove and, in Toby's opinion, the best meal he's ever cooked for/with me.

It all started Saturday morning when I poached seven eggs. Yes, seven, because the first four were ugly. Toby ate them without complaint, but I continued to experiment with different methods because I could only be happy with two beautiful poached eggs sitting on top of my fresh-from-the-oven biscuits. I'm sorry to say that the effort made me very cranky, but I did get what I wanted. Later, we made a gallon of vegetable stock with a recipe from the French Laundry cookbook and stored it in mason jars with the pressure canner. We thought that we might be able to eat the vegetables after draining the stock, but it turns out that cooking them for that long deprives them of all flavor. Even if there were nutrients left (which I doubt, I think it all went to the stock) they would be unpleasant to eat. So we tossed 'em. While that was on the stove, I made granola. 

Contents: oats, walnuts, pecans, dried cranberries, dried cherries,
maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg
I go through granola pretty fast because I eat it every morning with yogurt, so I figured it would be more cost effective to make some myself. This turned out to be true, and now I have enough to last me several weeks. It's very easy to make, so I'll probably never buy a granola mix again. I'll just switch up the ingredients every time to keep my tastebuds interested. After that was out of the oven we made bread. We intended to make baguettes, but that's not what happened. The baking sheets we have are only half the size of a standard cookie sheet, limiting the length of our bread. We also underestimated how much they would rise in the oven (hint: a lot, easily doubled in size if not more). Luckily this did not affect the flavor and at the end of the day we still had two delicious italian loaves.

Easter Sunday's meal was a carnivore's dream. Roast lamb, asparagus topped with pancetta, mashed sweet potatoes with Canadian bacon (or kassler as the Germans call it). We enjoyed it with some rioja, drunk begrudgingly by Toby, who was mildly upset with me for breaking our streak of purchasing only wine from Washington state. The lamb was later converted into gyros for a mediterranean salad.

Today we made quiche with some savory pie dough which had been frozen as leftovers from our chicken pot pie project. Note: the dough is savory because I made it with half butter, half lard, and apple cider vinegar. It's FANTASTIC for foods that need a dough but are not desserts. My recipe calls for only a little bit of vinegar added to the water needed to bring the flour and fat together, but even that amount leaves quite a bit of delicious vinegar flavor. Anyway, we encountered a crisis when the dough completely collapsed into the dish during the first five minutes of pre-baking (letting the dough cook a little before adding the filling prevents the dough from getting too soggy). The walls, despite hanging over the edge, had slumped to the bottom and it was a great buttery mess. The emergency sent us into superhero mode and we quickly discussed several options. I tried to pull the walls back up, but it just wasn't happening. I was against rolling it out again because it was too hot and wet, so I thought we should trim the excess and leave the dough just on the bottom. Toby, however, made the winning suggestion that we take it out, put the quiche filling in the pan, and then put the dough on top. I still wanted to trim the dough because I thought it was too heavy and would sink into the eggs but Toby convinced me to leave it as it was (it did sink a little, but not significantly). The result: Inside Out Quiche! 

Mmmm, quiche! The filling = asparagus, kassler, cheese

Toby marks his food territory by dousing it with hot sauce

No comments:

Post a Comment