Tag Archives: cooking

The Next List (finally!)

“Ask not what you can do for your country.  Ask what’s for lunch.” – Orson Welles

I have once again been thwarted by distraction:  I had a cold, then I was busy at work, then one night I was sidetracked by “Gossip Girl” (I know…shameful.)  But, I have stalled long enough.

But I'm so distracted by the antics of Upper East Siders on the CW....

Last week I figured out that I was 31 weeks from my 31st birthday.  Being Type-A, I work well with even artificial deadlines, so it seemed fortuitous.  So here goes nothing (cracks knuckles).  Time to conquer another list of quintessential recipes….all of which are new to me.

Strap on your aprons, sharpen those spatulas….we’ve got one ambitious/delicious list in front of us.  Here they are, in the order God intended:

1. Saltimbocca- it means “jump in your mouth”.  Sold.

2. Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic- to keep the vampires at bay

3. Egg Drop Soup

4. Baked Alaska – I literally have no idea what this is

5. Calzones

6. Perogies – especially for my mom

7. Baba Au Rhum- “Rhum” = rum so it should be good

8. Pommes Annas- I think this is pretty much layer cake made out of potatoes and butter

9. Pasta Carbonara

10. Rack of Lamb- Valentine’s day dinner?

11. Beer- no really, I’m brewing beer.

12. Gnocchi- pasta made of clouds

13. Plum Pudding- suggested by my London-loving friend

14. Weiner Schnitzel- for the German in all of us

15. Croque Monsieur – or the egg-tastic Croque Madam

16. Homemade Sausage – I didn’t get a sausage stuffer for Christmas for nothing!

17. Eggplant Parmesan

18. Boef Bourguignon – per a request from a Francophile friend

19. English Muffins – my favorite

20. Steak Au Poivre – the Handsome Husband’s favorite

21. Ceviche – hopefully I will not poison anyone.

22. Pickles – totally trendy

23. Something “en flambé”- gather round while I light things on fire!

24. Pheasant- hunted and donated by a friend!

25. Classic Fish and Chips

26. Baklava – from another friend’s family recipe!

27. Crepes

28. Quail with Rose Petal Sauce – from the book “Like Water for Chocolate” 

29. Real macaroni and Cheese – the good stuff!

30. Summer Rolls- fresh and delicious

31. Chicken Kiev – for a “Mad Men” themed night, perhaps?!

Quite the list, huh?  I’m so excited to start cooking/burning/stuffing/eating.  In factI’ve already started!  Thanks for helping with all the ideas….now hit the gym, there is butter ahead.

xoxo The Flyover Foodie

Working on the next list….

“We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.” – food writer Adelle Davis

This blog started off as a happy distraction to turning 30.  In that regard it was HIGHLY successful as 30 came and went in a swirl of champagne and lobster.  It was also successful by measure of total butter consumption, increased dinner parties, and a spike in the use of puff pastry.

So, as I get ready to launch the NEXT LIST I need your help.  I had been brainstorming a “theme” for my list, when I realized we’re 31 weeks from my 31st birthday.  As we say in the flyover house it was “MTB” (Meant To Be).   So, the next list created itself:  31 Before 31.

There are so many classic recipes and quintessential dishes out there….time for me to conquer 31 more that I’ve never before attempted.  Here’s where you come in: I need help filling up the remainder of the list.  I’m stuck at number 22.

So tell me, what are you “quintessential” dishes?  Are they things your grandmother made from scratch?  Or a favorite item you always order at restaurants? Or just things you’ve heard of again and again?

I have a couple of each category on the list so far:  rack of lamb (classic); Baked Alaska (heard of it…no idea what it is); gnocchi (ordered again and again); and I have perogies on the list, mostly to win points with my mom.

Also, I added a type of bread to the list at the request of a friend who thinks its “funny when you get frustrated”.  See what a good sport I am!?

Ok, so give me your ideas.  I still need 8 or 9 mores to round out this list of mine.  Send me your classics….help!

xoxo Flyover Foodie

p.s. I’m so excited to get cooking again! I’ve missed you.

p.p.s. Confession: I already started the first item on the new list!!!

The First in the Nation Lobster Caucus

Soooooo…..yeah. I’ve been absent.  Basically, real life crept up on me and then hogged all my time.  Real life can be very demanding. Damn, Real Life…lighten up.

BUT- I’m back and with a LONG overdue post.  The culmination of my 30 Before 30 List: a live lobster.  I mentioned the lobster to some friends (who had already sampled Beef Wellington and Duck L’Orange) and they requested to be present there.  Over drinks the event turned into a “BYOL” party.

Yes, BYOL means Bring Your Own Lobster.

Our friends arrived….lobsters in tow:

You're the guest of honor!

We're so excited to have you for dinner! I mean, err....

For those of you who have seen “Julie/Julia” you’ll remember that Julie Powell was haunted by the idea of “offing” a crustacean.  I was significantly less put off by the task, but my dinner guests were practically gleeful about it:

No sign of a guilty conscience.

Not batting an eyelash.

You're enjoying this, aren't you?

Captivating

We boiled 13 Lobster.   Sidenote: Is the plural “lobster” or “lobsters”?

It was a lot of boiling and plunging of lobsters. I think at one point my kitchen was turning into the set of a snuff film, but we pulled through:

Dinner is served!

UNFORESEEN BONUS: Boiled lobster “hold” well.  The first few in the water were still tender and warm by the time we sat down at the table.   We had plenty of first time lobster caucus goers, so I laminated  instructions to help everyone.  But again, there was no hesitation:

15 gallons of boiling water later....

So, 1 pound of butter, 13 lobsters, 8 bottles of wine, and 3 bottles of champagne later….

I. Was. Thirty.

Lobster. Champagne. Friends. Maybe this 30 thing isn't so bad afterall.....

The pictures don’t do it justice.  Our BYOL party was christened with a new more official title and secured itself as an annual tradition.  It even made it onto this year’s Christmas card!

If you forgive my long absence, you might even get a invite for next year.

More soon,

xoxo Flyover Foodie

Christmas in July

“In my experience, clever food is not appreciated at Christmas.  It makes the little ones cry and the old ones nervous” – English food writer, Jane Grigson

I wasn’t trying to be clever by doing a “Christmas in July” dinner.  In fact, the idea didn’t even cross my mind when I added “Crown Roast” to the list of 30.  Had the item been “roast goose” I’d obviously have been mentally queuing up the carols.  I knew that crown roast was a festival meal fit for a celebration, but I started to get worried as I looked at recipes.  Every review seemed to say “a new Christmas tradition!” or “I can’t wait to make this again next Christmas!”.

So, unexpectedly, I prepared a Christmas dinner in the middle of a July** heat wave.

Like this: but with flip flops

And it was delicious.

To begin: a Crown Roast is a rack of pork ribs that have been trimmed, frenched, and tied into a round so the ribs can stand on end while roasting.  The shape of the roast mimics a crown, hence the name.  Also, I like to think its a meal fit for royalty, but that’s just because I like fancy stuff.

Start by, once again, befriending your butcher.  I explained what I wanted and our butcher found and trimmed the ribs for us.  We did the trimming and frenching ourselves at home, but a butcher can do this for you.

The Rack, untrimmed. (heheh..."rack". Whatever...you were thinking it too!)

NOTE: I made my first mistake here.  We were having 6 for dinner, so I had him cut down the rack. DO NOT DO THIS. Spend the extra money and buy the whole rack.  We discovered an hour later that our roast was too short to bend into a full crown (less ribs = less length = tighter circle).  In fact, we couldn’t even stuff it.  I just made this stuffing separately, baked it, and served it as a side dish.

So, once you get this thing home, you cut the extra meat from between the ribs (save it for the stuffing!) and then french the ends of the bones.  Frenching is when you take a sharp knife and clean all the meat etc. off the bones.  You’ve probably had lamb chops like this.  The roast gets seasoned, bent in on itself, and secured with cooking twine.  I seasoned it with salt, pepper, thyme, and marjoram.  It goes into a roasting pan and then pour 1 1/2 cup of water in the pan to keep it moist.

I didn’t take a picture of this…I was still berating myself for lacking basic knowledge of roast engineering.

The roast goes in the lower 1/3 of the oven at 350°.  After about 30 minutes, cover the tops of the bones with foil.  You’ll want to periodically check the roast to see if you need to add additional water.  I added additional water.  Then some white wine and some chicken stock as well.  Cook until its out of poisonous range, 155°.  It took our 12 rib roast about 2 1/2 hours.

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Pretzels and a little peer pressure

“Now you’ll be glad to know the president will practice safe snacks.” —First Lady Laura Bush, talking about Bush’s pretzel mishap, on the Tonight Show

A few of my lovely coworkers have been reading this blog.  (Thanks guys!)  And, not surprisingly, one of them inquired when I was going to bring something off the list to share at work. (Our office has a healthy rotation of regular carb sharing)  In fact, he even made a couple suggestions, since obviously, no one wants to share lobster at the office.  Well…maybe at this office, but not at our office.

So I took the hint and started looking at the list.

I was browsing some back issues of Everyday Food by Martha Stewart and stumbled upon this recipe for Sweet Soft Pretzels.  Perfect!  I can make something off the list AND have a carb-licious treat to go with everyone’s morning coffee.

The pretzels start with a basic dough recipe, which Martha supplies here.  And of course, Martha’s recipe is totally simple and versatile. (Pretzels in the morning, pizza for dinner!)  The dough is really easy: mix the water and yeast and let sit for a few minutes.  Then whisk in the sugar, oil and salt.  Finally add the flour and mix until it forms a sticky ball.  Like this:

Freshly mixed dough

Cover and let the dough rise for about an hour, until it has doubled in size.   For some reason, this is always thrilling to me.  Coming back an hour later and seeing it grow like some crazy science experiment…it’s just weirdly exciting!

IT'S ALIVE!! (Technically, it is "alive". Damn, science is wild sometimes)

A quick note: I made the dough the night before making my pretzels so it would have time to rise.  I also timed my walk the next with the flyover pup around the dough.  The dough was resting while we were busy barking at joggers in our neighborhood.  This way I could make fresh pretzels for work without having to get up at 4am.

Ok, so we have the dough…now on to pretzels!  I separated the dough in half and mixed 1 half with chocolate chips and one half with some golden raisins.  Then let it rest again while walking my fluffy friend.

After the dough has risen, I used 1/8 of each half to make the individual pretzels.  The hardest part was pulling and rolling the stretchy dough into a thin enough length to then form a pretzel.  I found that I was stretching, forming into a pretzel, then holding it up to stretch it again so it would be thin enough.

Formed Pretzels...in a (unintentional) variety of sizes!

NOTE: the Everyday Food recipe has a super simple diagram of how to make a pretzel shape.  (Make a U shape, cross the long ends, the bring down to the bottom of the U).  So used that if you need help.  Despite having watched the pretzel makers at the mall, I’m 95% sure I would have had trouble figuring out the process.  I can’t even draw a pretzel!

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