Friday, December 31, 2010

Not like everyone else

So, right now while everyone else is getting all, "In 2010 I did this stupid thing and in 2011 I will stop doing that stupid thing and instead I will lose 10 pounds and adopt a hundred stray puppies", I'm going to tell you what I've been cooking because that is more interesting to all of us. I'd think.

Though adopting a hundred puppies sounds pretty fun. For, like, half an hour until they all start pooping and being herded into the back room by the ferocious Rocket as a late afternoon snack.

She's a beast. That hasn't changed. And, as far as I can tell, she has no designs on cleaning up her act in 2011. She's not a resolution-maker and neither am I, so let's talk about food.

Y'all - I've been cooking.

Because I've had some time off of work and one of the things I like to do when I'm not grinding over a computer is to grind over my stove. Which sounds sort of lewd and nasty and, let's face it, sometimes it is.

In the case of the recent weeks though, it's been Please Tell Me You'll Make This Again Soon good, so we've been able to look past any intermittent lewdness.

Firstly, I finally tried out these Food Loops that my MiL gave me one million years ago and damnit if they're not awesome for holding a chicken together for a swift roasting.


Good chicken.
So, there's that. I made a roast chicken - big whoop. But, now I know how the Food Loop thingees work and I'm sure that'll come in handy since I bought as many of these "Dinner for Two" chickens from our local organic farm as I could fit in my freezer and so some roasting will be happening for a while. Yay.

Then, with another handy device I never thought I'd use in the kitchen, I made some pretty awesome turkey meatballs and bok choy that is great when you eat it right away, but as with most turkey, turns into inedible barftastic crap on the reheat.

I never thought I'd be an iPad haver, but thanks to winning a work contest, I am. So far, I haven't draped soup over it, so that's something.

First night - SUPER GOOD. Second night - SUPER GROSS. Stupid turkey.

People - I do not do reheated turkey in almost  any form. Really, now - that is nasty.

Then, without any new props whatsoever (though I did use my pasta maker which I LOVE STILL VERY MUCH) I burned through our ever-growing crowd of butternut squash by creating enough fucking ravioli filling to fill a hot air balloon.

This represents approximately 2% of the ravioli filling.

Really, Sunset Recipe Makers of the Giant Butternut Squash Ravioli, if I were to try to create enough pasta to wrap around all this damn filling, my poor pasta maker would give me the finger and march off for more relaxing accommodations.

However, the filling is very good and since I now have two tons of it, I will make this ravioli again and again and a hundred times again until it's gone. Sometime in 2021, I predict.

Once I got through the trauma of stowing a wheelbarrow load of ravioli filling, I decided I needed some quality time with my Le Creuset casserole dish.

My friends, it is hard to explain how much I adore all my Le Creuset cookware, but by far the most challenging to articulate with all of its emotion and drama is this particular casserole. It's good for everything and I use it as much as possible even though it weighs a butt load and is, right now, threatening to render useless my cabinet's lazy susan.

No matter! We soldier on.

First - with Boeuf Bourguignon.

Did you know this dish had bacon in it because it does. See, right there.

I kind of always wanted to make this dish, but knew that it would take all muther effing day and I never had the right dish to make it. So, a while back when Bubba and I were driving home from a trip that sent us past a Le Creuset outlet store, I shrieked and he stopped and I bought this dish and have never looked back.

This smelled RULLY GOOD.

Totally worth it. As were the skillet, honey pot and whatever else I grabbed in my spree through the store while Bubba circled the parking lot.

One of the side steps to keep you occupied while the stew is in the oven: caramelizing pearl onions. Fun.

So, the other day, when I had most of the day to spend staring at and dealing with beef (HA. Yes, I'm laughing, too), I decided I'd tackle this dish and the final product, while perfectly good and fabulous as advertised, lost a bit of its luster because it had the Crockpot Factor working against it.

Imagine this stewing in your oven. FOR THREE HOURS. It's a bit much.

See, I get this way with crockpot dinners when I have to be in the presence of the crockpotting dinner all the live long day. So, you know, every time I come and go from the house and kitchen and pass by the front of the house or an open window, the smell of the crockpotting food is seeping into my nostrils going, "Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeef Steeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew" or, in this case, "Beouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuf Bourguignoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooon" and by the end of the day I want to be really far away from the smell.

And I really don't want to eat the smell because it feels like I've been eating it all day. With my nose.

At this point, I felt full even though I hadn't eaten anything since oatmeal at 9am. It was 5pm.

I know. It sounds really crazy but it's a fact and I refer to it as the Crockpot Factor and it was totally in effect with this dish. Because the fucker has to simmer in the oven for 3 hours so, you know, everything down to your hair smells like it. Ugh. It's like bathing in beef gravy. Not something I'm wild to do now that I know how grody I'd smell.

You may notice how clean the pot suddenly looks. That is because there is a SURPRISE, "Wash the pot" step stuck in there somewhere. Not my favorite kind of surprise.

However! It is a very tasty good dish and, opposite of the Only Good On Day One turkey meatballs, makes excellent leftovers. Especially if you get the leftovers with the egg noodles. Which I did. Bubba got the leftovers without noodles, so he filthied it up with some cream cheese for a ghetto-strogganoff which he loved.

Looks much better to me NOW than it did at the time. Bubba loved it, though, and that's what matters. Most of the time.

I just really loved on this broccoli and Romesco cauliflower and thought you should see that, too.

Frankly, it looked barfy, but what do I know? I think about bathing in beef gravy.

After all the beefiness, I needed a break. I had planned that break in the form of a Surprise Pizza Night, but then Bubba looked all sad when I told him that the other dish I'd planned (Pioneer Woman's Chicken and Dumplings) was going to be put on hold until I could re-enter the kitchen without getting the meat sweats.

Good cure for meat sweats? Mirepoix. I love to make mirepoix. So *choppy*.

I reflected on this disappointment while I stewed in a hot tub with two of my gal pals and decided that I should probably make good on Dumplins (which is what you call them when you're in our house - drop the G, damn you) before Bubba took the opportunity to leave my ass the next time I had the nerve to ditch him to go make Lady Soup rather than cook up his beloved Dumplins.

Thanks, Kelly. You saved our home.

Plus, as we wandered our noodley relaxed selves around Santa Cruz after our hot tubification, we visited a nice French bakery that had a nice baguette that I knew would go real nice with Chicken and Dumplins and so I bought it and prepared to make amends. Nice.

I amend with chicken. It seemed only right.

I was getting all set to spend another million years in the kitchen making something I'd probably have to enjoy only as leftovers since I thought FOR SURE it was going to have the Crockpot Factor, but it actually was super fast.

And because I'm a fucking rebel, I included a parsnip because it makes chicken soup, Right. Trust me on this.

I think it took under an hour for the whole thing, including the part where I bought the bread, and it all goes in one pot which I love. I love the pot and I love the one-potness. It's a win-win.

That looks win-ish, doesn't it? It was.

Did you get any of that?

Peeky peeky...

And this dish, well, I'll save you any suspense, it was good. It was so good that Bubba stood up, pointed to his empty bowl and declared that I must make it again. SOON. DUMPLINS. I LIKE DUMPLINS.

I, too, liked the dumplins.

He's wordy like that. And I'm glad. Because I was sort of afraid that there was going to be some sort of controversy over the being-ness of the dumplins akin to the retarded bitchfest in the comments on Pioneer Woman's recipe, but thankfully my husband is not a clucking southern hen with the time and inclination to argue the unique characteristics that make up a True Dumpling.


And, really, I don't know how authentic their dumplings could be since all of them call them "Dumplings" which is obviously wrong. WRONG I TELL YOU.

And now, I too, am a clucking hen. Sad. Though I guess we knew it'd come to this if I talked about food too long.

So, that's where I'll leave you. I made a lot of food over the last week and a half and now I'm about to take a blackberry crisp out of the oven to haul over to a neighbor's for a little New Year's Eve Get Drunk and Then Let the Dog Lead the Way Home fest.

I won't be doing any resolution-making any time soon, but I WILL be sharing with you a thing that I've been wanting to do for a lot of years and it now looks like 2011 will be the year.

Get excited, already.

And - almost forgot - Happy New Year and shit.


  1. Well this reminded me of the time my mom made us cornish game hens for dinner. I was like 12 so my brother was 10. And we both CRIED at the table because we were worried we were eating chicken butts. Neither of us can even look at a whole chicken without laughing hysterically. Mostly from fear. My mom NEVER tried that again.

  2. I'm totally coveting your Le Creuset pot. Where's the outlet?

    As for the ravioli filling, try Butternut Squash Gnudi with Sage Butter (Yes, it's pronounced nu-dee!)

  3. I understand your love of your Le Creuset pot. I have the same one and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!

  4. To help avoid potential iPad soup and other kitchen disasters, put a 1 gallon ziplock baggie over the iPad. You can still use the touch screen through it (even with a chocolate covered finger) and it's reusable.

    That tip is my New Year's gift to you!

  5. Fun fact #1: A fresh home-slaughtered chicken does not taste like shit when re-heated. I KNOW. So you should get some meat chickens in 2011 for acceptable poultry leftovers.

    Fun fact #2: I do not like dumplins. I SHOULD like them, since they're basically biscuits cooked with meat, but I always find them too slimy. Maybe I haven't had the right dumplins?

    Happy New Year to you, too, Finn. And Bubba, Jada, and Rocket, too.

  6. We got the Sur La Table catalog in the mail this week and I've been alternately talking myself into and out of a piece of Le Creuset, which are all on sale. We have a cheap(er), bastardized version (suggested by Cooks Illustrated) that works well enough. But oh, that turquoise they have is so very pretty. I lose my common sense whenever I see turquoise home furnishings. If I don't buy them, my right eye starts twitching.

    Also, I think the "smell all day and feel like you've eaten" could be a new diet craze.

    We've mostly been baking at our house (did you see the ridiculously tasty bread pudding?), but everything in this post looks fantastic! I'd eat that beef for breakfast if it were in my fridge right now. Really.

  7. I love this blog.

    I love your opening paragraph. I love 'barftastic crap.' I love how productive and hilarious you are. I love that you won a fucking ipad?!

    Happy New Year. xo

  8. what dig this chick said.
    That was what I was going to say, but she did, so I'm just a ditto

  9. I love reheated turkey. So there.

  10. Also, I just left a comment for some bitch Shasta (one of the cluckers)on PW's site. What a bunch of turds.

  11. Happy New Year to you! And I love Boeuf Bourguignon, so save some for me.

  12. in case you didn't see my post about Jamie Oliver's turkey, man oh man it is divine.

  13. Sara - I haven't made game hens in a while. I think the chicken butt factor would actually make it more appealing in our house.

    Christy - There's a Le Creuset outlet at the Gilroy Premium Outlets on 101 in Gilroy. Go get yerself a pot.

    Sarah - YES. I want to live in it.

    Kristine - You're a fucking genius. I'm doing this.

    Kris - No dumplins? I find that hard to understand. And, for the record, reheated chicken is OK. Not great, but OK. Reheated turkey though - is a crime. TASTES LIKE BUTTS.

    Wendy - There is no substitute for a true Le Creuset piece. I've successfully convinced myself of this and have been happier for it.
    You'll never regret it. Seriously.

    Dig - And I love you, too. Particularly now that you've outed yourself as a barftastic crap lover.

    Lynne - Ditto.

    Jen - That's terrible. And I'm glad you're on my side. Fucking idiot hens over there, yes? Seriously.

    Junie! I've missed you! Welcome back and hope you're enjoying Florida :) The leftovers are gone, but you know I'll make that again. DELICIOUS.

    Woof - Dude. Seriously. Are we talking about turkey in January? I don't want to see another turkey again for, say 11 months. Still love you though, girl.


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.