I am just a home cook that happens to cook fairly well. I used to do very fancy dinner parties with 4 appetizers and 4 courses and then a fancy dessert. Not any more. Beyond that. I also don't do desserts. Find a good bakery. I use boxed broth and canned goods. I don't make my own stock, but I have learned to make my own pasta i.e. ravioli, tortellini etc. Spaghetti, linguini, you can find very good dried pasta on the shelves of your local grocery store. I call myself "ironchef" because my husband DEMANDS that dinner be on the table at 6:50. 6:50! I suppose the bitchy gourmet would tell the old husband "bitch this"! But, I guess I indulged him too early in our marriage and now he expects it. But, every once in awhile I get past 7 just to irritate him. Bitch that!
Recent dinner party menu: Mixed olives, assorted cheeses, chicken liver crostini Goat's Milk Robiola Cappellacci in a Creamy Tomato and Basil sauce with Speck Belgian Endive Salad Lamb Chops with Balsamic Vinegar Glaze Potato Cauliflower Puree Panna Cotta with Caramel Sauce
I know this looks like a lot of work but the most difficult part is making the pasta. The good part is it can be made ahead of time. Note the "noshes". They are all bought. I'm going to make the panna cotta only because it can be made ahead and is very easy to make. I'll buy the caramel sauce. So, the bitchy gourmet is cookin' with an attitude.
My husband and I bought an older house intending to renovate. The kitchen had no pantry. In between the kitchen and the garage, was a mud room with a door leading outside. I took one look at the mud room, realized there were two other entrances into the house from the front, and voila! the mud room became the pantry. Left the door to the outside but nailed it shut, sheet rocked the wall inside and I have a dream pantry. The shelving on the left side is narrow in depth and is used for canned goods. I hate trying to look behind things to find something else. It has become a catch all for extra pots and pans and gadgets. I love this pantry!
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Tip of the Week, Month, Whatever
COOK'S ILLUSTRATED FEATURED RECIPE: Foolproof Boiled Eggs Boiling an egg seems easy. Just drop the egg into a pot of water and wait, right? Unfortunately that's not the case. More often than not the egg comes out overcooked, with a green ring around the yolk and an unpleasant sulfurous smell. After countless tests, we found it best to cover the eggs with an inch of cold water, bring to a boil, cover, and then remove the pot from the heat. After 10 minutes, drain the eggs and cool in ice water. The gentle heat perfectly cooks the eggs, leaving not a hint of a green tinge or unpleasant odor.
HOW TO COOK TIP OF THE WEEK: Flat-Leaf vs. Curly-Leaf Parsley Even though there are more than 30 varieties of America's most recognizable herb, you'll most likely find only one of two types in your grocery store—curly-leaf and flat-leaf (also called Italian). Curly-leaf parsley is the most popular, but in the test kitchen flat-leaf is by far the favorite because of its sweet, bright flavor that's much preferable to the bitter, grassy tones of curly-leaf. Flat-leaf parsley is also much more fragrant than its curly cousin.
QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK: Peeling Hard-Cooked Eggs If you plan on peeling your eggs immediately after cooking, drain the hot water from the pot used to cook the eggs and shake the pot back and forth to crack the shells. Then plunge them in enough ice water to cover the eggs until they cool down. The water seeps under the broken shells, allowing them to be slipped off without a struggle. If you want to leave the shells intact (perhaps for decorating), and wish to peel them later, the best way is to start to peel from the large end of the egg, which has an air pocket. This lets you get under the membrane without digging into the white.
________________________________________________________________________________ Have you ever thought about adding freshly ground pepper to peak of the season fruit? I've added two new recipes you might find interesting. One is from NapaStyle by Chef Michael Chiarello: It's the Strawberries Pazzo located in the "other recipe" tab and the Cantalope, Black Pepper, Oil and Vinegar recipe by Lynn Rossetto Casper located in the salad tab. Along with my cheese course, I've served fresh strawberries with a freshly ground pepper and a little drizzle of 50 year old balsamic (the more balsamic is aged the sweeter it gets). If you want to splurge, try to find some at a Williams Sonoma outlet. You maybe can knock $25 dollars off the price. Yes, it's that expensive.
How do you keep a hamburger, when you're cooking it, to not get that little dome in the center that makes the patty look like an old fashioned space ship? It's simple, after forming the patty, smush your thumb in the center of each burger to make a deep depression. Why do this? If you squish down on the dome, all of the juices run out and you've got a dry burger. As the meat cooks and expands, the indentation fills in, leaving you with beautifully shaped burgers.
This is part of my cookbook collection. On the left you'll see mainly cookbooks about Italian cooking, FoodTV stars cookbooks and soup cookbooks. On the right, you'll mainly see Southwestern and grilling cookbooks with some classics, like the Silver Palate Cookbook. More cookbooks are in my pantry and in boxes on our terrace level. With the advent of the internet and many cooking sites, could this be the demise of paper cookbooks? I hope not. It's why I buy hardback books instead of using a Kindle or buying a paperback. I like to feel the sturdiness of the book and have it around so that in my spare time, I can peruse the book at my leisure.