Monday, October 31, 2011

Hit and Miss

Do you have a lot of cookbooks? Does your bookshelf runneth over? What makes you buy a particular cookbook over another? Is it one recipe that catches your eye? Is it the subject matter or focus? Or is it the photography? I recently borrowed a new cookbook from a friend and I'm kinda picking and choosing some recipes to try. The first two didn't go so well. It being October, I thought I'd try making a pumpkin muffin from this cookbook.

little pumpkin

I'm pretty good at following recipes as written. I try and give the author a chance to make the recipe as she or he intended the first time around. This recipe is a basic muffin recipe with a crumb topping. Now I had a choice to use paper liners or just grease the muffin tin. Not having liners, I went with the grease.

pumpkin muffins2

That may have been one of my issues since the crumb topping adhered more to the pan instead of settling into the muffin. However the delicacy of the topping made it nearly impossible to eat all at the same time.

pumpkin muffins

The topping basically came off in one piece. That's no damn fun. Not to mention the muffin itself is pretty dense. Do I try making this recipe again with the liners? Or do I move onto the next recipe in the cookbook and give it one more chance?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Romanesco Broccoli

I give you...the Romanesco broccoli. Captain Obvious was right, this was tiny but it was the largest one they had at Whole Foods. It's an absolutely fascinating vegetable. Math geeks love it for it's logarithmic spirals. I love it because it's just so pretty.

weird brocoli and apple

Here's hoping that one day they grow a head of this broccoli as large as the giant pumpkins.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Basics to Brilliant Y'all.

I don't cheer on too many teams. My days of watching and supporting professional sports have faded into the misty fanaticism of my youth (a certain cross country Winnebago trip to feed the Washington Redskins ribs as they prepared for the Super Bowl fixed that). These days my cheerleading is reserved for the health and well being for our country as a whole. GO USA. However there is one team that I am wholeheartedly on the Winnebago for. That's Team Willis. It's pretty easy to figure out why. Whether getting quoted in the NY Times about wistfully hoping for gay marriage rights in Georgia, coming to terms with being "a big gal", pulling the curtain back on making of a cookbook or sharing her love of all things seafood, Virginia is a kindred spirit that I love seeing success rain down on her self described offensive lineman's shoulders.

Photo by Angie Mosier

If you've followed this blog at all you know I've been casually cooking my way through Virginia's most excellent first cookbook, Bon Appetit Y'all. It's not just beautiful and graphically amazing, I have not yet found a bad recipe. But you just knew that Virginia had more than one delicious cookbook's worth of recipes tucked away in the nooks and crannies of her chef's jacket. Now comes Basic to Brilliant Y'all, her second stunning offering.

Right off the bat I have one minor issue. Really, just a little one. It's this recipe right here....

Photo by Helene Dujardin

...and the fall release date of this book. You see, to prepare a dish the best way you sometimes have to cook seasonally. This recipe of grilled soft shell crabs with lemon gremolata really only should be prepared with fresh soft shell crabs. Which for yours truly, will not be available until the next spring. Let's just say it's going to be a long, cold winter before I can satisfy my hunger for that particular tidbit. But that's OK because when digging into a new cookbook, I like to make the very first recipe the author lists and since the theme of this cookbook is basics, it's only appropriate that we start with chicken stock (and participate in Virginia's Virtual Potluck). Now again, if you readers have been following along you also know I jibe pretty closely with the Cook's Illustrated and America's Test Kitchen crowd. I've been using their basic chicken stock recipe and have not been disappointed in the flavor. But then again, they don't use chicken feet.


That's right, Virginia suggests that two pounds of well washed chicken feet would make an excellent chicken stock. I just happen to frequent a grocery store that has a well stocked meat counter with big piles of chicken feet. Which brings us to the weirdness factor of your basic American cook. Why am I a little skeeved out handling chicken feet? I know why.....the fact that we (mostly) are generations removed from killing and butchering our own meat. My grandmother made a mean fried chicken but that meant starting the process of the meal by chopping the head off a chicken. Attending yearly hog butcherings at an early age keeps you from being squeamish about meat but still, chicken feet are skeevy. Of course that didn't stop me from making the stock.

VW chicken stock2

Liquid gold, baby. I'll probably make Virginia's Meme's Chicken and Rice.

VW chicken stock

You will be sad because you won't be able to just drop in to see what I'm cooking.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Kitchen Space

So I was in the mood for some Rosemary Pork ribs. Cut up a mess of ribs.

raw ribs

However I'm having a bit of an issue with the newest member of the Karmic Kitchen.

too close

Seems that somebody doesn't understand exactly where he belongs in the kitchen. Prior canine members understood that loud, scary, clangy things would fall from sky if one got too close to She Who Must Be Obeyed when she was in the kitchen. Unfortunately Action Jackson is not at all flustered by banging pots and pans.


He does pout like no other dog I've known when I relocate him to a safe zone, little bastid. Actually that's his indoor face, he's so laid back. However when we're outside....


...he's all about getting one of these into his jaws. We are the squirrel stalking fools. I think he's part cat because any moment he's going to try climbing a tree.


Coming soon....squirrel jerky!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011