Sunday, January 17, 2010

In the Kitchen with Me

One of my favorite rooms in the house is my kitchen. In fact, I think I've come to realize that I love to cook more than I love to eat. All of the kitchen gadgets, different ingredients, recipes, serveware, stores ... I really do love everything about it. Admittedly, I'm a foodie through and through.

So I think I'm going to start sharing some of my kitchen observations, tips and recipes on a regular basis. And since it's a rainy Sunday with football on the tube, it seems natural that I'd be piddling around the in the kitchen.

Here are some of my random food thoughts and observations:

Boneless skinless chicken breasts are perhaps the most boring and tasteless food in existence, even worse than iceberg lettuce. Doesn't matter what you do with them, they really are a waste of stomach space. I'm much more a fan of a boneless, skinless thigh if I have to eat chicken. There are so many interesting things you can do with them (will have to share in my next installment of "In the Kitchen with Me").

And speaking of chicken, food on bones kinda turns me off. Doesn't mean I won't eat it, but cavemanning my food from a carcas isn't necessarily an enjoyable experience -- even if it tastes good.

I'm on a truffle kick. Everywhere I turn in my kitchen there's something with a truffle in it. Truffle salt & pepper, black truffle oil, sottocenere (delicious truffle cheese from DiBruno's), and Cremere di Tartufo (a truffle-infused spread for bread).

A framed copy of this picture is hanging in my kitchen:

My friend Kelly took this picture for the family cookbook I assembled last year. It's my Butternut Squash Soup. The spoon is from my grandmother's silverware set that she left to me. I really love this picture! Thanks Kelly!!!

So moving along ....

What's exciting about baking soda, baking powder, flour and sugar? Nothing. All baking recipes pretty much call for the same 6 ingredients added in different quantities or sequencing. Baking is too much like chemistry -- not for me.

Rice cookers seem like a waste of money and space. Some magazine I was reading reported rice cookers to be the #1 rated favorite kitchen appliance, and I thought "Wow, really???" You can cook rice in a regular pan. Why get a space hog the size of a crock pot just to make rice? Maybe if I liked rice I'd feel differently.

On the other hand, here are some items I cannot do without in the kitchen: crock pot, silicon spatula (which is used for everything), aluminum foil, salt & pepper mills, 1 hard anodized nonstick pan for cooking pretty much everything, the immersion blender, and last but not least ... my santoku knife.

A confession: it all started with some innocent channel surfing, and before I knew it QVC had me on hold. Yes, I admit it -- I bought something from QVC. There's a show on Sundays called "In the Kitchen with ___ " (Dave or Bob or somebody), and it features all kinds of kitchen products. I like to flip past it to see what's new, but I never buy anything -- until I discovered this: a line of ovenware called "Temptations." I didn't have any nice casserole dishes, and the more I watched the more I got sucked in. The thing is, I love this stuff! I'm throwing away every glass baking dish I own. It's functional, pretty, easy to clean and comes with trivets, serving racks, covers and I even got a carrying case for my set. (Not to mention, it was very affordable.) I will stop short of calling the QVC testimonial line to sing the praises of my new ovenware, but really if you need anything like this -- it's awesome.

For some reason, I've not been able to get and keep a can opener for more than about a month for the last 10 years -- not something you'd normally consider a high "wear and tear" item. It wasn't until I found "The Toucan" at Target, that my can opener curse ended.

When it comes to cooking, I'm a complete Type A, Control Freak, Virgo, Anal Retentive, whatever-you-wanna-call me. (Who me?? nahhhhhh!!) Anyway, I like to use good ingredients, make sure everything is properly chopped and cooked, it's gotta be appetizing to the eye, and of course ... delicious. I have no idea how my friend Schue cooks with me in the kitchen for my Christmas party, because I know I'm a huge pain in the ass. But she does, and I appreciate it.

Pork is, hands-down, my favorite protein.

Clean as you go ... a must. There is absolutely no need to soak dishes -- only on the rarest of rare occasions (like 3 times a year if you're wondering what I mean by "rare"). Finding soaking dishes in my sink actually makes me spin into a rage. I can't stand to see a dish filled with cold, greasy water and food particles floating around in it. YUCK!! I've been telling DD to stop soaking things, and he's refuses to listen. The next time he does it, I'm tempted to pour the "soak" into his bedroom slipper. "Soaking" is another way of saying "I'm too lazy to do the dishes." I don't care if you don't do the dishes (I actually like doing dishes), but DO NOT fill them up with water and leave them for me.

And to end with a positive thought ...

Coffee made with fresh ground beans is the only way to go. The smell and taste are the perfect way to start any day.


Los said...

After that whole microwave fiasco, I refuse to shop at QVC ... and it's killing me!

Lisa said...

OMG, I totally forgot about that. It would've been the coolest microwave ever, but they really screwed something up. Wonder what happened?

RuthWells said...

Your approach to cooking sounds like my approach to baking -- everything in its place, the surfaces kept clean, and no kids or hubby underfoot!

Sandi said...

I love my immersion blender, too.

I disagree about the chicken breasts. I make breaded chicken breasts that are moist and to die for. I'm making them for you next to you come (I'll have a back-up just in case).

You like to do dishes? Want to move in with us?

Lisa said...

Sandi, it'll be a miracle if you can get me to love a breaded chicken breast .... but I'll try it.

And yeah, I know I'm bizarre with dishes. In fact, my dishwasher has been broken for a year and it hasn't bothered me a bit until I realized it's making my water bill go up.

I never claimed to make any sense.

Lora said...

I'm not a rice person, and can't cook it to save my life.

My son loves it.

Enter, the rice cooker.

Now I'm loving rice, and I found a smaller one at Target, so it doesn't take up too much space.

There are ones that double as crockpots, but their pricey. I never use the crockpot because I have a mental illness about leaving something plugged in while I'm not home.
But I love crocked meals.

And fresh ground pepper and salt and coffee are a must.

Ever wonder what the pre-ground companies add to their product to make it smell fresh ground? Probably the same stuff that Burger King uses to make their burgers taste grilled.

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