Saturday, December 26, 2009

After Christmas Kitchen Happenings!

Well, I finally unpacked "Big Bert" - my Christmas present from my mother was a professional Cuisinart, the Williams-Sonoma exclusive one. She shocked me when she bought it because I had drug her to W-S to pick up a few gadgets for myself (strainer, mini-muffin pan, etc.) and she disappeared behind one of the mid-store display walls and I found her staring at the Cuisinarts. To make a long story short, I talked her out of the one she was looking at, I said, let me do a little research -- and before we left the store, the very nice clerk we asked questions of had sold mom the brand new one - 3 interlocking bowls so you don't have to use the big 16-cup bowl if you're only chopping a few nuts or slicing an onion. My goodness, the thing even came with an instructional video.

And, to inaugurate it today, I also pulled out my Christmas present to myself, The Flavor Bible. THIS is the recipe book to end all recipe books - and not a single recipe in the entire book. It is simply (or not, as the case may be) a compendium of flavor charts. It will help teach you to cook without recipes and encourage you to try new combinations. For instance, if you are tired of the old applesauce-with-pork-roast routine, you can look up, "pork" and see what other flavors will complement your roast.

Today's inaugural recipe wasn't too complicated as I just wanted to get going and try something. So, when the grocery store put cauliflower on sale this week, I bought 3 big heads and boiled them today (the excess cooking liquid will go to stretching the turkey soup I made last night since the noodles keep soaking up all the broth!). I then pureed them in the big bowl (almost all three, but reserved a few florets for the soup) with a bit of butter, milk (too much, as it turns out) and garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and chervil. The thyme and chervil ideas came from the book -- and voila! I have a great big bowl of mashed cauliflower that tastes divine.

Next up is my famous red cabbage. But first, a trip to the grocery store for stuff to store all this food in and some Tarragon, which I discovered I don't have and which was listed under cauliflower as well. And, just maybe, I might be brave enough to get a Chia Herb Garden. I may do OK with cooking, but I have black thumbs as far as growing . . .

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