Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pyrex and why I wish I had taken Physics in school.

On Sunday I learned a very important lesson in my kitchen through one of the worst cooking disasters in my kitchen's history.  It made me wish I had opted to take Physics in school.  Maybe I'll go back and take a class one of these days, not only to learn the mechanics of tassel twirling, but to learn how and why a Pyrex casserole dish explodes in your oven.

In my travels this past year, I spent a month in London.  While I was there, some of my favorite moments were spent over Sunday Roast.  Their tradition for Sunday Roast made me so happy.  It's pretty much the same thing as our Weekend Brunch, but I've never really been a big fan of breakfast food (there's really only so many times you can have eggs benedict)  But the Roast is a completely different story! And a leg of lamb is way more delicious to me than stupid eggs. Since I've been home from London, I've cooked Sunday Roast many times for The Husband.  This weekends roast will go down in history.

I set out on Sunday afternoon, a little late, and hoped to catch the last hour of the farmers market.  My plan was to buy whatever cut of meat was left and a bunch of root veggies, head home and turn on the oven.  I left too late however, and missed the market all together.  Feeling adventurous The Husband and I decided we would see what Fairway in Red Hook was like.  I had heard that they carried a lot of local food, and they might, but it is HUGE.  Way too big for me, and the exact opposite of any store I would willingly go into.  We were so overwhelmed that we ran, screaming, "How the fuck do we get out of here!!???"  Big box stores are SO not my thing.  Maybe if it was open 24 hours, I could go at 3am and enjoy it when there's no one in there.  Probably not...over-abundant supermarkets make me a little nauseous.

After that defeat we decided to go to a new butcher shop.  Closed.  Fuck it, we are going to our butcher. We went to our butcher shop, got a beautiful leg of lamb, and I jumped for joy! I even bought a few beef bones for future stock!

We headed home, and I started the roast, rubbed the leg with honey, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Put it in a Pyrex pan, and popped it in the oven for what was to be an hour and half.  At an hour and 20 minutes into the roast I added a little stock (which was cold) to the pan to add a little moisture to the bottom of the pan, and as I was adding it, the pyrex pan EXPLODED! And I mean EXPLODED! Smoke started billowing out of the oven, The Husband grabbed the fire extinguisher, I screamed, turned off the oven as fast as possible, opened the windows, closed all the doors to the kitchen and placed towels at the bottom of the doors.  There was glass EVERYWHERE.  I'm lucky that I didn't get hit with it. We did not end up needing the fire extinguisher because The Husband and I jumped into action!  The next half hour was spent fanning the smoke out the window, the kitchen was FILLED with smoke.  The smoke faded, as we rescued the lamb from the rubble.  Cut off the pieces that might have touched glass, and crunched the oven closed to worry about in the morning.

It was a disaster, but somehow the roast came out delicious, and perfectly cooked but it still felt like a defeat. I learned an important lesson...do not add cold liquid to pyrex that is already hot in the oven.  In fact, I am going one step farther.  I will never roast in pyrex, only cast iron, or metal.  I recommend that you do the same.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Easy Lunches with Easy Women: Gal Friday!

Last week I had Gal Friday over for lunch.  I asked her ahead of time, "if you could have anything in the world to eat, what would it be?" Her answer, "I'm craving veggies like crazy!!...And and all veggies. mmmmm :)" And that's exactly what I cooked her.  Lots and lots of veggies!  So many veggies...more than any other meal I've ever made.  This lunch turned out so well that I have literally made it 4 times in the last 6 days!  Hot damn, the best salad ever.

Roasted Veggie Salad a la Gal Friday

1 beet chopped into bite size cubes
1 celery root chopped into bite size cubes
2 leeks- green part removed, sliced down the middle and rinsed.
2 carrots peeled and sliced
12 brussel sprouts halved
cabbage- sliced into large pieces
1 acorn squash or delicata squash
5 fingerling potatoes
1 clove garlic minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Romano Cheese

**yes, that IS a lot of veggies!**

Preheat oven to 350

Combine all veggies (except for arugula and radiccio and garlic)in a bowl, coat with olive oil, add salt and coarse ground pepper, stir.  Spread veggies onto a cookie sheet so that the veggies are all on a single layer.  If needed use two cookie sheets. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the veggies start to brown.

While veggies are cooking prepare the dressing.  Mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper whisk together.

Place radiccio and arugula on plates, when roasted veggies are done put them on top of the raw greens. Pour dressing on top of all veggies.  Finish with grated Romano Cheese and a little fresh ground pepper.


Gal and I always have a great time together, she's a free spirited, down-to-earth kinda girl and I love her! At the end of the lunch the sun had gone down, and it was time for me to pack up for a gig.  Gal left this note for The Husband.  It has made both of us laugh many many times.  This is a perfect example of what makes Gal awesome.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Easy Lunches with Easy Women: Lil Miss Lixx and Leah Alice!

Last week I had a fabulous lunch with two lovely ladies.  I think I'm going to make a point to have at least one sexy woman over to my house for lunch every week.  I'd love to have beautiful women in my kitchen everyday, but I take what I can get.  So, I'm starting something new, Easy Lunches with Easy Women!

Last week I had Lil Miss Lixx and Leah Alice over. We got the gossip out early, then talked about books, movies, and of course a lot about sex, drugs, and rock and roll!  For the first of these lunches I decided to go with something simple.  So here's what I made:

Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger Shrimp

1 large Butternut Squash- peeled, seeded and chopped into smaller pieces
2 shallots chopped (about 1 cup)
3 star anise
2 cloves garlic minced
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
cilantro for garnish

1 lb. large shrimp deveined and peeled
3 tablespoons ginger minced
1 tablespoon olive oil

For the Soup: sauté shallots, garlic, and star anise in 2 tablespoons butter until shallots are tender. Add butternut squash and sauté for a couple minutes. Add stocks and cook until squash is tender and falling apart.  Remove star anise.  With an emersion blender (you can use a regular blender as well, just so it in batches) blend soup until thin. Add salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, marinate shrimp in ginger and salt.  When soup is ready to be served.  Heat a pan with olive oil and add shrimp to hot pan.  Cook until slightly browned and pink. (only a couple minutes)

Serve soup in a bowl, add shrimp to soup and garnish with cilantro.