Friday, October 10, 2008

Culinary Accomplishments

Lots of cooking and eating went on this week while Melissa was here, and it has continued now with my mom here (I traded them out, with my Mom landing 3 hours before Melissa's flight took off). We overlapped for lunch at the airport. Very convenient.

1. I made breakfast for Mel for the first time. She decided it was "the best breakfast ever," but we're not allowed to tell her dad. That's his claim to fame. So no spilling secrets. I did one of my breakfast wraps, with some diced red onions, eggs, old bay, sea salt, black pepper, milk, and thin sliced turkey sizzled in butter. We added a little sriracha for flavor (Chinese hot sauce).

2. I made another breakfast, this time one of my better kept secrets. I have always enjoyed my own French Toast, which I believe is derived from my dad's recipe. I won't give away all my secrets, but I can tell you it involves egg, milk, cinnamon, sugar (organic), and nutmeg, with quality bread. This time, however, we got a little adventurous. After throwing the French Toast in to the pan (melted organic butter in the pan first), I sprinkled sliced almonds on top. They stuck to the batter soaked in to the bread, so when I flipped it, the almond slices didn't scatter. Add some 100% pure maple syrup and you have a perfect French Toast. Coupled with the scrambled eggs that Melissa made (diced tomatoes, onions, peppers, salt, pepper, and I think some garlic, with milk) and our breakfast was unparalleled.

3. I feel like I'm forgetting a dinner that we made, but maybe I didn't cook any dinner this week.

4. I was treated to the best dinner imaginable on Thursday night. Mel marinated some filet mignon from Fresh 'n' Easy (greatest...grocery store...ever) in a little barbeque sauce, some Montreal steak seasoning, and olive oil, while the rest of the meal started up. She sauteed baby bell mushrooms in butter and (somehow) figured out how to microwave-steam broccoli. We also got some pre-prepared twice-baked potatoes from the F 'n' E that tasted like freshly prepared twice-baked potatoes. I don't have a grill, so she broiled the steak, which actually worked out very well. It was much juicier than I expected, and although we overcooked it a little, it still had plenty of flavor. I picked out two bottles of wine (F 'n' E has great prices on wine), a cab shiraz blend and an organically grown California cab. They were both pretty good, but I think we preferred the regular cab.

5. Tonight, I owned up to a promise to cook dinner for my mom, which she asked for after reading about all my culinary conquests of late. I took her to the trusty Fresh 'n' Easy and told her to pick out a meal, and I'd prepare it. A bold move for a novice like me, yes, but if you can't be confident in yourself, how can you expect others to be. So, we got some chicken breasts, pre-sliced stoplight bell peppers and onions (cheaper than getting them whole, and we don't have good knives here), a bag of fresh broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, some teriyaki marinade, brown jasmine rice, and lightly salted roasted peanuts (refer back to my original stir fry exploits, where I mentioned the lack of peanuts). We fried the vegetables and peanuts in EV olive oil while the rice was being made. I meant to fry some eggs in with the rice and stir fry, but the rice took too long and we didn't feel like it. We burned the veggies a little, but you couldn't tell from tasting them. The chicken I put on last, with the teriyaki marinade. We were a little tentative about the quality of the dish after burning ("singing on one side" would be more accurate) the veggies. However, it all came together perfectly. I think it was one of the best dinners I've made yet. Not a whole lot to compare it to, but I can say it with confidence.

Next up, I have to broaden my range a little. So far, I know I can do pasta and stir fry. It's time to step up my game a little and see what else I can throw together. Ideas are welcomed.

More to come about this week's adventures. Stay tuned for details about "First Friday in Phoenix," the Bills at Cardinals game, and random nights in Tempe.

1 comment:

Jon said...

There are a ton of cooking blogs and websites out there. I've found that confidence is one of the most important aspects of cooking, so once you get that, you just need a recipe and a little practice.

Check out 101 Cookbooks, je le vous dirais, my items tagged with "recipe" on delicious, and Serious Eats.