Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mmmm, Comfort Food

I have a reputation for cooking well.  There are a lot of factors that go into that reputation.

One is that my grandmother is AMAZING.  She can cook or bake anything.  When I was very young she had a small business out of her kitchen. Then when I was a teenager she made the rolls that the sandwiches were made on at a local deli.  Oh my! They were so good!  Now she makes food for her family and the church and anyone else who may need something homemade from "Grandma".

Two, is that I own Mastering the Art of French Cooking. When I received this cookbook last year for my birthday, I sat down and started reading it.  I know that sounds a little strange but seriously, there is so much information and instruction in this cookbook that just reading the introduction increased my skills and abilities.  It is a wonderful book.

The finally reason that contributes to this reputation is that I love food and I love making food for others.  At family gatherings I volunteer to make something...usually difficult and elaborate.  One year family was coming in for Thanksgiving and since everyone was in a hotel no one was able to contribute to preparing the meal therefore catering was brought up as an option.  I was willing to do it all myself just so that we could enjoy the pleasures of homemade food together.

The funny thing is, I don't think that I have any special talent or gift in this area.  Many of my creations BOMB! Boo's birthday cupcakes were made twice because the first time flopped so badly.  I have even burned a frozen pizza. For 8 years of marriage I have wanted to be able to make a roast that was moist and tender and full of flavor.  Tonight, I actually accomplished that goal.

It was a risk to begin with because when my family doesn't like a meal it is a lot of unwanted food.  Yes, they have to eat what we give them but often times they would rather go hungry then eat dry-over cooked beef, too spicy chili, or whatever else flopped for dinner.  The pork roast had been on sale though and potatoes and onions are cheap.  I was also reminded by my DH that I had the resources and the desire to figure out HOW to make something better. I guess I had never taken the time to actually do it.

I pulled up Google and asked "how to make the best pork roast."  My short study taught me about brining, why to do it and why not to, and cuts.  I pulled out my pork and saw that it was a three pound need to brine.

Next I turned to Julia and French cooking. Hot fat to brown all the sides, after drying the roast of course.  If you have seen the movie, know that drying really does make all the difference.  Anyway, a few cloves of garlic, salt and pepper and a tea bag of bay, thyme, and parsley and it all went into the oven in a cast iron dutch oven at 350 degrees for one hour.  While that was cooking I blanched the potatoes and onions and then browned them in butter...oh, I love butter!

At this moment I realized that I had too much time before dinner to keep cooking at 350 degrees.  I lowered the temp to 200 and poured in the onions, potatoes and butter. Back into the oven it all went and I started basting every 45 minutes.  The result was...not amazing...but it was good!  The satisfying ending to a cozy, cool, rainy day.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I Think I'm Back

Let's try this again. It is birthday season and soon Christmas will start. I am in full "planning" mode for what to make and I have completed some projects. My problem, trying to get pictures of them so I can show you. I will do better! It has not been an entire year since I last posted so that is a little encouraging but two posts a year is not a very good record. Again, I will do better!
My niece celebrated her first birthday a couple of weeks ago. They live on the other side of the country so we were not able to be there HOWEVER I was able to get Boo to model her wonderful present...legwarmers. Yes, they are all the rage these days and so easy to crochet. This is the pattern that I used and I am now trying to adapt them for older children and using different yarn and stripes and all that fun personalizations.
There is more to follow since Boo had a birthday and I made some different legwarmers for her. Stay patient...I will get there.