Sunday, March 28, 2010

What have I been doing...

The work of a father and husband is never finished but as if that wasn't enough, I do the cooking for home and to bring some food for our work. Unlike other chefs or others in the natural/organic food or holistic business, I do not own a money tree. My family and I cannot afford to do our normal daily shopping at Whole Foods or Trader Joes and because of this, I feel that some people do not take my plus holistic, seriously. As for cooking, I try to do it old school style. My idea of cooking is what your grandmother did, you know, make fresh bread on Sunday and then on Friday right before it turned, make bread pudding or stuffing out of it. That is what I do. I also make desserts and other tasty things from scratch, like brownies. If you need a box of pre-made mix, to make brownies, then you need to just quit right there.

While I would love to do a 'Julie and Julia' type of thing with one of my cookbooks, doing more than one recipe for a month, like all Batali, some of the recipes use ingredients that I just don't have at my ready. On top of that, I come home from work at 6:30 so I don't have the most amount of time to do much of anything. I get away with cooking some dishes, the night before, then using the extra time, to cook some more. I don't cook on the weekends, as this is when my wife wants to get out of the house and enjoy the weather. So, while it may only take me an hour to make something, some weeks I don't even have that on the weekend.

If I had the time and the money, I'd love to work on my cooking mastery. While still having no real formal training in cooking, I know that there are 5 ways of cooking everything: boiling, bake, steam, saute' and grilling. Everything that is out there comes from one of these. Broiling, is just revers grilling and sous vide is just boiling in a bag.

If I had what I wanted, I would do true iron chef style, where I would first buy a protein, like 5 pounds of chicken breasts and then take one pound each and do a different cooking method. Chicken, chicken, let's see.... well, you could rub the chicken with panko bread crumbs and some salt and pepper and bake it in the oven, place it with some vegetables like asparagus and put it in one of those steamer bags with some rice and let it steam, chop it up and stir fry it with some broccoli and carrots, boil it with some potatoes and noodles in a large pot of water and make chicken soup or you could just slap a chicken breast on the grill and baste it with BBQ sauce.

5 methods, right there, but can I do it? Saying that I have mastered something would be truly awesome and cheap, in the sense of doing it with fruits and vegetables. But where should I start? Apples. I will start with apples and this week, I will work on apples and see what can be done with apples. I know that julie did a new recipe each day, but I am already almost 4 months in, so I need to get going.

If I do a mastery a night, and I am 90 days out, then I need to do 18 different veggies. Now what makes this unfair for this challenge, is that I do canning. Last night, I even experimented with a fruit that I only first tasted over Christmas in Beirut: cherimoya. This fruit has a soft and juicy white flesh and large dark seeds. The juice from this fruit is like that from a watermelon, as it is clear and extremely sticky. I played around with this fruit when we got some last night and it doesn't take heat too well as it browns and caramelizes the sugar inside. It does taste very sweet and tasty.

Anyways, lets see what I have to put up here tomorrow.

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