Friday, May 2, 2008

All About Food- Sometimes cooking- Always eating- (Take 1)

I spend hours (broken into very short bursts of minutes) pouring over cooking magazines. Now I've always liked to read cookbooks- particularly the "chatty" ones that talk about the food as well as list ingredients and give instructions. And of course my favorite paper of the week is the NYTimes Wednesday edition with the "Dining In/Dining Out" section. And here in San Francisco I've read even more cooking magazines than ever. Probably potentiated by the fact that there are scores of them always at the grocery checkout (I bought 2 more today) and little bursts of time is all the extra time I have- perfect to flip through a magazine about food.

Now I must admit- I do a lot more reading about food than I do actually cooking food- and gratefully much more than actually eating food- But I do cook from time to time, for Don, to keep him from complaining. Complaining about always eating out- about all of the myriad of kitchen equipment- about all the cookbooks we own.

Max is a collector of cook books and kitchen stuff. She just knew that she wouldn't need her mixer here, so we left it in Cincinnati. It turns out we didn't really need it, but we apparently did need a new bigger one. And we didn't need some of our pots from Cincinnati, but we did need some new rather expensive ones once we got here. How many of you have a red tajine pot or even know what one looks like? We have one and have used it once now.

But I do have to admit that we have had some wonderful meals that came from all of the recipes from the magazines. And I suppose Max couldn't have made some it without the proper equipment. She did use the tagine pot to make a chicken tajine dish once, and it was very good.
And for what ever reason, Max has gotten really involved with breads. But I suspect she will focus on that in a future blog because she has really gotten good at it. There have been a few minor failures, but the successes far out number the failures.

So on a Friday night after a lazy day off we cooked- from scratch- using as many of our tools as we could fit into one meal.

But first the beginning. We are committed enthusiasts for the "eating locally"- that is as long as what we have a yen for is "local". But we were in luck on this day-

We started with the Rosemary...

Don harvested rosemary from a neighbor's shrub- pretty smart huh? And we're not in farm country at all- but in the middle of some of the priciest real estate in San Fran.

It is really amazing to look at the plant life that grows here in San Francisco. These are all just rosemary plants, but here in San Francisco they grow year around and become large bushes and hanging plants. They are just everywhere. There are lots of other small bedding plants that we grow in the Midwest that turn into major landscape plants here in the bay area, but further talk about that is the subject of a future blog.

Because of course we were going to have homemade bread- homemade rosemary bread. But this was to be artisan bread (more about that on a later blog-maybe- but suffice it to say it required the purchase of MORE EQUIPMENT).

To make this bread we used my new larger size KitchenAid counter top mixer (thanks Am for finding a use in Chicago for my old KitchenAid counter top mixer that I was absolutely sure I wouldn't need in San Fran- because after all, I didn't plan on cooking that much!) And then the bread machine for the rise- and then my new heavy dutch oven to create just the right oven conditions for Artisan bread- in order to get the hard crust and soft inside of Italian bread.

And of course there is homemade pasta- also using the KitchenAid counter top mixer- with the pasta attachments- my oh my!

And then Don harvests the Basil from the plant by the bedroom window...

For the tomato, mozzarella ball salad (the olive oil and balsamic vinegar were local- from the Farmer's Market downtown)-

Max is used to my herb garden that we always planted in Cincinnati. It supplied all the basil, mint, chives, thyme, and sage that we needed. Here all we have a a few south windows, so I was encouraged to plant some pots of herbs. All we really have is mint and basil, but as you can see from above, we have plenty of rosemary available.

And then Bay scallops and peas - the peas are from not sure where but I bought them in the freezer section of the local store- for the pasta...

And finally it is DINNER!

Perfect Day! Perfect Meal!


Lucas said...

I really shouldn't be reading your blog all hungry like I am. Especially because all I have to put in my rumbly tumbly right now is cottage cheese. I've got to get to the store!!

Anonymous said...

Looks wonderful! Real pros in kitchen.

Anonymous said...

when will I get the motivation to good good food? Right now it is all I can do to throw a sandwich at my kids! I am getting the desire for better food, just not the time or motivation to learn how to make it! Does that come with time? (notice I did NOT say age?) :)
Love you both!