Monday, April 06, 2009

More than just cooking around here

Woo-hoo! I finished crocheting a baby blanket a few minutes ago. Yes, I know I'm supposed to talk about food but I just taught myself to crochet a couple of months ago, and I am very proud of it. I put a nice lace edging on it.
In addition to the crocheting the kitchen has been busy. Yesterday I made oatmeal-whole wheat bread. I used steel-cut oats that I soaked in hot water to soften them up, and a combination of graham wheat and AP flours. I added some wheat gluten for texture and it turned out soft and fluffy even with all the whole grain stuff. I turned the dough into sandwich buns – more on that in a minute.
Yesterday’s dinner was paella with halibut cheeks, shrimp, and clams, with some asparagus left over from Saturday’s steak and salad dinner. The steak was a flatiron steak, which comes from the chuck and is really marbled even though it’s just a “choice” cut. I sear it and put it into the oven until it’s medium-rare, then slice it down on the plates. Salad was baby shrimp and blue cheese with mixed greens and herbs, and steamed asparagus with sauce Maltaise (a hollandaise made with orange juice and zest instead of lemon). The sauce was good with the steak, too.

Tonight’s dinner will be grilled lamburgers (really 2/3 lamb, 1/3 beef). We are grinding the meat ourselves, so I have cut it all into small pieces and seasoned with cumin, oregano, garlic, and salt. The beef is chuck roast, it was on sale 2 for 1 so we picked up a couple. That’s what the sandwich buns are for. While four days ago it snowed, today it is supposed to get up to 70! That means we will probably take all the dishes and a tablecloth upstairs and eat up on the terrace. Dave wants sweet potato chips so I will have to get busy on those shortly.

I also have a pot of beef stock cooking. When we went to Cash & Carry (the restaurant supply store) we picked up some sliced Swiss cheese and a bag of onions. Dave asked for French onion soup, so of course that is on the menu for this week and I need a good beef base for it. I will add some of the veal demiglace that is now in the freezer to up the richness component.

And finally, I have cubed beef in a seasoning rub for chili. That’s where the rest of the chuck roast went. I’ll make that up tomorrow, probably, and we will can it with the pressure canner. Then we’ll have quarts of my chili on the shelf, and that tickles me no end.

I’m sitting here at the computer with the closet door open, and I can see all the canning jars – pickles, pickled carrots, pickled asparagus, jalapeno mint jelly, apple butter, honeydew syrup, applesauce, pork chile verde, cherry-plum sauce, tomato puree, green salsa, red salsa – and I feel pretty good about myself. I may not be “bringing home the bacon” but I can make it and preserve it.

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