Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Food for thought

So, how sad is it that I had no idea it's been so long since I last wrote?

It's been a wonderful summer though, full of serendipity and stunning realizations.

I've spent most of my days watching the Food Network. Oh the fun of it! My kitchen is now full of fresh herbs and veggies - I even have a bowl of fresh cherries perched on the bar, ready to eat by any passerby. I watch Julie & Julia at least twice a week, my new hero is Paula Deen and, I hate to say it, but those Neely's are so hot in the kitchen I find myself hunting down Dalton for a quickie after watching their show. And oh what I've learned! (From the cooking shows, not the quickies.)

First of all, did you know you're supposed to cook bacon low and slow, starting in a cold pan? Or that you can bake it on a rack in the oven and it turns out very lovely and crisp and the fat rendered from it is absolutely beautiful? I mean, you could drink it from a wine glass it's so clear and pretty! And the flavor it adds - WOW. I mean, really wow.

I've been surprised to find a lot of things cook better on a lower heat. I came from my mother's cooking school of high, hard and fast. My life is so much more relaxed since I learned eggs, pancakes and country fried chicken breasts all do much better on a lower heat. It's a revelation is what it is.

Also, herbs are best kept in a glass of fresh cold water on the counter. They last a really long time that way. I've learned not to buy anything unless I'm going to be using it in the next few days - no muss, no waste! It's wonderful not to be throwing away rotted vegetables and herbs I had high hopes for but never used. It's equally wonderful to have everything on hand for a quick herb-laced egg dish or new recipe. And just about everything tastes better with a sprinkling of rough-cut, Italian flat leaf parsley.

And the flavors - holy guacamole! I made a Paula Deen-inspired grilled cheese sandwich the other day that brought tears to my eyes. I used thick sliced bread, pepper jack cheese, crunchy bacon, avocado and this roasted red onion mayonnaise that... honestly, I don't have words to describe how amazing it was. Just - YUM.

There are a million recipes that stem from just a few basics. That's right. Learn the basics and you can fly! Sans recipe! What freedom!

Why didn't anyone ever tell me this before?


Anonymous Heather Butchart said...

We've started eating much healthier too. Hate the fact that the US and Canada are the fattest nations in the world!!
I must try baking the bacon!

10:24 AM  
Blogger Cas said...

Lay strips of bacon across a wire cooling rack placed on a cookie sheet to catch the grease. If it's thin-cut, bake at 375 for 15 to 20 minutes; for thicker slices, bake at 400 for at least 20 minutes. I like mine really crunchy, so I bake it longer. And those drippings! Just a little dab'll do ya for flavoring stews, soups, just about anything really.

1:12 PM  

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