I’ve been continuing my culinary exploration this month. A couple weeks ago, I made a skillet chicken parmesan from America’s Test Kitchen. It was bland and tough and not really worth it. What a shame. Last weekend I made a homemade turkey bolognese — which was fantastic! The recipe is at the bottom here. It made a good amount, which allowed me to freeze some of it — I don’t know if it will recover from the freeze as well as I hope it does — I’ll be sure to let you all know.
Why is it that on weekends I want wake up at 0730 and am fully rested and during the week when my alarm goes off at the same time I am in no mood to get up. Today I woke up at 0730 and was up and active at 0800 and feel great. Damn you weekdays.
Last Saturday night, I decided to cook a meal for MS and a friend JM. Since one of my BYY goals is to try new recipes, I figured now was a great time to try it. Usually when I entertain with a home cooked meal, I usually skip the dessert option — or I’ll serve sorbet or gelato at the end of the meal. I do this because I hate to bake. I love to cook, but hate to bake. Cooking is more like art, while baking is more science and chemistry. I’m also not a big sweet guy…well, that’s not completely accurate — I have an eating disorder. If there is something sweet n my house, I’ll eat it in one sitting. To keep myself from turning into a super fat ass or a diabetic, I try to keep the desserts out of the house. When you entertain, often times people want dessert, it is just part of the logical progression of the meal.
It seems like everyone this time of year is creating a master list of great things — Martha, Oprah, Bry, everyone!
- Tommy Bahama Pineapple Cilantro Candle. This is always on my list of favorite things. I keep this candle (small travel size) in my suitcase. It makes every dumpy hotel smell a little better and reminds one of home. If you haven’t been exposed to this candle (or my guest room), do yourself a favor and buy one. It’s a refreshing little treat that adds a lot of benefit during the winter months — reminds me of the tropics.
- Chocolove Almonds and Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate. I was first exposed to this on a coach flight from LAX to ORD this year. I love this candy bar. It’s rich dark chocolate (55% cocoa) will quench your chocolate cravings. The addition of sea salt works to cleanse the palette and intensify the chocolate flavor. These candies are a bit difficult to find — you can order online, which is what I recommend. If you want to give an acceptable equivalent a try, go to Ghirardelli and get the Dark Chocolate Sea Salt bar. The almonds are much smaller and are basically just dust — which is disappointing, especially compared to Chocolove. Go try it.
- Food Magazines. I’ve been more diligent in reading my food/recipe magazines. I love to cook, but never end up using the great recipes in my magazines. I find a recipe that I love, so I save the magazine, but never know what recipe was in that magazine or if I’m looking for a specific recipe I never know what issue the recipe was in. I’ve started pulling the recipe from the magazine and keeping it in a separate folder — it’s not the most efficient way to store these new recipes, but it’s better than the alternative. Once I actually use the new recipe I make the decision to either throw it away (if it wasn’t good or was too much work for what you get out of it) or I write the recipe down on a card and put it in my recipe box — and then toss the magazine article. This keeps the clutter down.
- Port Wine. I never really liked port until I spent a few days in Porto, Portugal this past September. I really like this beverage partnered with dessert or just as an after dinner/conversation drink. Quite nice. The US stuff is less than ideal. If you can find Kopke Reserve just pick it up. They have a great selection of very old ports and newer bottles as well. All that I’ve tried have been really amazing. It is tough to find in the US, but not impossible. Buy it.