Musings from a Seattle personal chef
Archive for the 'Whatcha Got' Category
My darling and I try to tame our sweet tooths (teeth?) as much as possible, limiting our treats to nibbles of ultra-dark chocolate, a piece of mochi ice cream, a cup of rice pudding or perhaps a bowl of frozen mixed fruit.
Then there are the days when light and healthy just don’t cut it.
The other evening, after I quaffed two of my favorite libation (dirty vodka martini with double-stuffed olives) and my darling knocked back two shots of Lagavulin, we were jonesing for something sweet. The half dollar-sized piece of Theo Chocolate nib brittle? Merely an amuse-bouche. Only the truly decadent would feed our fix.
Recalling the partial bags of white and dark chocolate chips in our pantry, I thought cookies would do the trick. Unfortunately, we were out of eggs. Driving clearly was ruled out due to our impaired state, and neither of us were up for walking. What to do, what to do.
I spied a ripe banana in our fruit bowl and the gerbil in my brain arose from its slumber. I found some shredded coconut and a handful of walnuts in our cupboard, and the gerbil started spinning its wheel. I then remembered the ball of pizza dough in our fridge and the gerbil broke out into a full-on sprint. Seeing the crazed fire in my eyes, my darling knew he was in for a treat. But he also knew better than to get in my way; I was a woman driven.
I somehow managed to toast the coconut and walnuts without scorching them (or myself, for that matter). I rolled out the dough, sprinkled it with the white chocolate chips and topped them with the banana slices. The pizza went into a 500-degree oven for five minutes to caramelize the bananas. I then sprinkled on the dark chocolate chips and the toasted coconut/walnut mixture and placed it back in the oven for three minutes.
Can you say Ooey Gooey Rich & Chewy?
What the heck was I thinking? TWO turkeys for just 11 people? Was I concerned our tryptophan levels were perilously low? Did I anticipate we’d become snowbound without any chance of getting out? (That actually isn’t too far-fetched; we’ve been stricken with a bone-chilling snowstorm over the past few days). Whatever the reason, I’ve been saddled with a butt-load of leftover turkey. Time for Whatcha-got experimentation!
After meticulously deboning the turkey I threw all the bones and turkey detritus into a large stockpot, covered the mess with water and simmered it into a stock (which will most likely be used for future experiments). My first test was the epitome of the Whatcha-got meal — nothing was purchased other than the bread we served with it.
In addition to the turkey, I dragged home what seemed like a trunkful of apple, sweet potato and turnip cubes (I wasn’t the only one to over-estimate how much we’d eat). After picking out the best ones (by now half the lot was getting pretty brown), I tossed them with some turkey, fresh cranberries, a bit of brown sugar, a handful of raisins and about a cup of the turkey stock.
As that baked I raided the fridge for other things I could throw in. Parmesan breading? Nah. Jalapeno-garlic stuffed olives? Please — they’re just for martinis. Apple-cranberry Chutney? Has potential, but I already have cranberries and raisins. Curried panko? THAT’S IT! Nothing like taking a traditional American meal and giving it an international flare. I sprinkled that on top and continued baking until the casserole was bubbly and the top was golden brown.
Now I just have to figure out what to do with the other 50 pounds of turkey that’s in my freezer.
As mentioned in an earlier post, now that the weather has turned I’m craving hearty soups and stews. To me, there’s nothing better on a windy, cool day than to wrap yourself in a quilt and curl up on the couch with a steaming bowl of goodness.
Originally I was going to prepare a Moroccan-themed dinner for my darling on Friday — Tunisian vegetable & bean soup, or Hlelem; spicy carrot salad and Moroccan lemon chicken — but the ganglion cyst on my right wrist had other ideas. Actually, it was the lack of a cyst that caused the problem — I went to my doctor to have it aspirated and she advised keeping my wrist immobilized over the weekend. So much for cooking! Instead my darling prepared a simple Thai steamed mussel dish with rice.
I’ve been suffering from blog envy. As I read through some of the other food blogs out there, I just can’t help feeling that they’re so much more remarkable, more witty than mine. Granted, I’ve just started and I realize it takes time to get one’s groove on. But it seems that all the other bloggers have a ton of time to create fabulous new recipes, try out fabulous new restaurants, travel to fabulous foodie locales and lead a much more fabulous life than mine. sigh
Okay, time to snap out of it…