Friday, March 31, 2006

New appliances!

Seems my life is all about food right now. We just ordered new appliances for a partial kitchen remodel. I am so excited, I will finally have a nice built-in fridge (KitchenAid, in case you are wondering -- had the best repair record). And one of those Advantium ovens that cook with microwaves and light. That should be very fun to play with. The dishwasher is the brand-new top end model from Miele, with a rack in the top for silver instead of that dumb basket. All in stainless; even though I know it shows fingerprints yadda yadda yadda it will look cool and in fact I think brighten the kitchen nicely. The new range is GE and has two ovens, one that can warm at 150 degrees but also goes up to 450 degrees. The main oven has convection cooking, and the cooktop has five gas burners with a continuous grate that will be much friendlier than what we currently have. Unfortunately it will be a few weeks before the electrical and cabinet work are done so we can have all the neat new stuff installed, but knowing that we made the leap and bought them is a great step. After that, new countertops! No more formica for me, we're going to Swanstone because I can put a 450 degree pot on it without insulation. In this really cool sage and violet pattern, will go great with the sage green walls in the kitchen. Backsplash is going to be metal, one that works with magnets so I can put all my spices in cans and stick them to the backsplash over my work counter. Can't wait...

Me and Jacques (sort of)

The IACP conference is here in Seattle this week. Wish I'd known about it sooner. Guess I'd better join, even though I'm not really a "professional" (yet). But, I got to volunteer at the "birthday party" for Jacques Pepin last night. In case you're wondering, he's 70. But he looks about 55! And that's my point -- I got to talk to him briefly last evening, and took his picture. Actually I talked to him twice, but once was to yell across a corridor to him that he should not go up the escalator, because he was going to the wrong place (in my role of crowd herder). But a little later I was working at the registration table and it turns out his coat was on the chair beside me. He walked up to get something out of it and I told him hello, it was nice to see him here and he said hello, how are you in that adorable French accent of his...yeah I know, it's not much but it was something, and I was thrilled. He stopped in front of me and I whipped out my little digital camera (in my pocket for just such an event) and I got a quick snapshot. Rick Bayless was there too, but I didn't talk to him. He looks really great since he's lost all that weight, I guess he is now into yoga. Anyway, the IACP people ought to be thrilled because the weather in Seattle this week has been glorious.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Back again

Okay, so I've not exactly been using my blog. But that sure doesn't mean I haven't been cooking. Stocks and broths are big for me right now; in the past month I've made duck stock, beef broth, lobster stock, and crab stock. Some of the duck stock went into an aspic to coat my first try at duck pate -- actually duck and pork meat, no liver. Not bad, but a little dry for my taste. I think I needed more pork fat in the mix. But it was really good with a little dried fruit chutney I cooked up. I soaked dried sour cherries, chopped prunes, and raisins in some brandy, then simmered it with some chopped walnuts along with black pepper, allspice, cloves, and some Splenda. That stuff would make a rock taste good.