Tuesday, June 21, 2005

in the kitchen


Cooking Observations:
  • The sauce ALWAYS tastes better when you steal a few tastes directly from the stovetop before serving everyone.
  • Everything tastes better when you yourself aren't making it - same recipe, same ingredients, but when someone else prepares it, it just tastes BETTER!
  • Before I start cooking I may be starving...but the smells of cooking satiates me...by the time we sit down to eat I'm often not that hungry.
  • The way to make guests mouths salivate upon entering the front door: cook anything with garlic and ginger in a little olive oil. [see recipe below] Those three things together make the most delicious aroma.
  • Cilantro appears to be the new basil. I HATE cilantro. So many recipes call for it these days and there's just no way I can use it! And I hate saying that because I know so many people absolutely love it. But even when I pass the cilantro in the produce section, I smell it and imagine the taste of it on my mouth and almost start to gag. Even when there is the tiniest speck of it from salsa on my chip, I'll re-dunk the chip to wash it away. I know, I'm weird.
  • I love reading recipes. Love it. I imagine what the combination of ingredients will taste like. I imagine the smell of the kitchen. I can practically hear the pan sizzle when I read a recipe.
  • What's the deal with artichoke? Was that thing really meant to be eaten?
  • Don't even try to keep splatters from the pages of that new fancy shmancy cook book you spent way too much money on. It's just not gonna work. Enjoy those splatters. Now when I flip through the pages I know exactly what I've tried and what recipes I still need to try. AND, the pages you use pretty regularly will open up all on their own without having to look it up in the index!
  • Toasted almonds rock. Add to a cookie recipe, a salad, a sundae, a veggie dish. Serve a bowl with cocktails. Toast them just to make the house smell great. Grind them up to coat chicken instead of using bread crumbs. Always keep almonds on hand.
  • The following is a SURE FIRE winner to serve as an appetizer (everyone is certain I must be putting crack in these things because no one can stop eating them when I make 'em). Everytime I make them, I make more and more and they still all go at warp speed. You seriously cannot make enough:

fried wontons

Add minced garlic (~6 cloves) and ginger (~2 T.) to a pan drizzled with olive oil. When you start to smell that heavenly smell, add one small chopped onion and cook till the onion is translucent. Add one package of pork sausage. Now you want to keep working this. As the meat cooks, keep breaking it up with a spatula so that you get a pan full of small pea-size pieces. And really cook it. Get it nice and brown. The kitchen will be smelling fantastic. Once the meat is cooked, add some chopped green onion (~1 cup) and some sesame oil (don't skip this...yes it's kind of pricy...but I think this is what makes these so irresistable...drizzle a couple teaspoons...that's all you need). Stir it around and turn heat to low. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce (~1/8 cup) , corn starch (~1 rounded T.) and sugar (~1 rounded T.). Once mixed through add this to the meat mixture. Stir until the liquid mixture thickens up (when it boils) and the meat begins to stick together. Turn off heat - remove meat mixture from hot pan and put into a bowl to cool. (be sure to taste the meat at this stage...you know...just to make sure it passes the taste test...wink wink) NOW...for the assembly: Set up your assembly line. You'll need a package of small pre-made wonton skin squares, a small cup of water, a small basting brush (or paint brush that is CLEAN), your meat mixture, a spoon and a cookie sheet. Spoon about a teaspoon of meat onto the center of the wonton square. Dip your brush into the water and run the brush around the edge of the wonton square. Fold the square over and pinch the edges making a sealed triangle. Place this on your cookie sheet and continue making the rest. Once you're done assembling, drop them into a pot of hot oil and cook each side until they're golden. Serve them with sweet and sour sauce. YUM!

[there...now everyone who's asked...that's the recipe...it's really not that complicated!]

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