J and I have been trying to one up each other in the kitchen lately. I’ve been watching Chopped, Iron Chef, Throwdown with Bobby Flay, Rachel Ray (yes- I admit it!), Top Chef, and other food shows on Food Network for years now. I’ve never entertained the idea that I am a “chef”, but I do love to cook with fresh ingredients only and my food tastes amaaazing. I’ve replaced cans of shortening with imported olive oil from Italy- a large jug of it- and rarely buy sliced bread anymore: whole and multi-grain baguettes only. Canned tomatoes have been replaced with fresh vine ripened and the ever-so-handy grape tomatoes (which are great for halving and fire roasting) and bricks of sharp cheddar have been replaced with Brie, goat cheese, gorgonzola and bleu, along with fresh balls of mozzarella (still soaking in the brine), and, I suppose my favourite replacements are the fresh mixed greens that I simply can’t live without: turnip, collards, and kale. (I always keep a moderate supply of spring mix on hand also.)
I’ve long forgotten what it’s like to buy frozen foods (God forbid) and canned and boxed “processed foods” are an absolute no no. Ever since I studied the molecular make-up of foods and their organic compounds last semester (Nutrition class) – I’ve accidentally become a bit of a health nut and a foodie! I didn’t see it coming.
I just want freshness, and I’m a stickler for it.
My food battle with Josh started out simple enough: I wanted to surprise him with a healthy breakfast of cantaloupe, ruby red grapefruit, green grapes, and small, fresh mozzarella balls.
Josh was naturally delighted, and so when he decided that he would make dinner for us later that evening, he whipped up something that could have been straight from the Food Network Channel: roasted chicken with fresh green beans (as in, fresh from the produce section) with red, caramelized onions, and sautéed kale with kosher salt and a dash of balsamic vinegar.
Well I certainly couldn’t be outdone by him, although I later learned my son had made the chicken, (because my son prefers to be called by an alias, I’ll call him “Bob”- Bob is a fantastic cook- he gets that from me) I decided to muster up some grub that Josh could never, ever compete with. It’s so fantastic, there’s not even a name for it. But it looks like this:
It consists of: Curried, cumin sunny side up eggs over brioche (ok, who am I kidding- this is not brioche! Shamefully, I admit that I was reduced to using sliced wheat bread, but believe me, it would have so been brioche had I been able to change it at the moment) with vine ripened tomatoes- fire roasted- sprinkled with rosemary, thyme, basil and parsley, topped with fresh, gorgonzola and feta cheeses- underneath a healthy drizzle of Imported extra virgin olive oil, finished with a garnish of fresh arugula and frisee.
YEAH. Top that, J!
Somehow, Carl ended up in my food folder, but he was just too cute to leave out. (Carl is the perpetually pissed off cat that my daughter rescued from the wrong side of the tracks. He’d been in a fight and had just had a bath.)
Is it really possible that Josh and I could actually squeeze in a year of Culinology and become private chefs on weekends? We’re entertaining the idea of compiling our first CD, as we’re both musicians, singers, and songwriters (and play a host of instruments between us). Then there’s the children’s book thing. And college. And work… We have a lot of irons in the fire, but we really wouldn’t want it any other way.
After I gave Josh his “egg/curry/frisee/almost-brioche thing”, I could hear loud, audible moans coming from the bedroom. Josh clearly enjoyed it. 🙂 I’m used to feeding the men around here and doing it up right and I’m quite sure that I’m not the only woman in the world who is used to eating last and taking the scraps.
My plate looked something like this:
But that’s pretty standard around here.
Until next time, bon appétit.
It’s 4:56 a.m. and I just made the best salad I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve been watching Chopped for years now, and must say, I’m a much better cook for it.
Here are the ingredients:
Marinated skirt steak/cooked medium rare/cut into thin strips
Baby Spring Mix (greens) which include: green leaf, mizuna, green romaine, tango, green oak, green chard, baby spinach, arugula, frisee, tatsoi, mache, red chard, red leaf, lolla rosa, red romaine, red mustard, radicchio, red oak, and beet tops
Sliced scallions + white onion heads
Red and yellow peppers/sliced
Toasted pumpkin seeds
Vine ripe tomatoes/quartered (6 small ones)
Fresh Gorgonzola cheese
Vanilla yogurt (preferably, Greek)
Green Curry paste
Fresh lime juice
Fresh cracked pepper
Since I created this salad, there’s no actual name for it. I suppose I’ll call it a Southwestern, Asian salad, with green curry dressing. It’s unbelievably delicious with an abundance of freshness and various layers and depths of flavour.
After grilling the skirt steak (medium rare), I let it rest for about six minutes. That locks all of the juices in. I then broke apart the fresh portabella mushrooms- I like my food rustic. No measuring is necessary. (I eyeball everything and it’s always just the right amount.)
Start cooking the mushrooms over medium-high heat with extra virgin olive oil. Throw in the sliced scallions, along with the white onion heads. I like my scallions to be fairly large- in fact, everything is cut or broken up into liberal pieces. It’s prettier that way, and you can savor what you’re eating- it’s not all mangled up like a chopped salad.
Slice up some red and yellow peppers and throw them in with the mushrooms and onions- again, big, generous pieces of everything. Toss in some fresh, yellow corn and braise the veggies until they carmelize and get a good roasted colour on them. Slice up some vine ripe tomatoes, along with some avocadoes- mix them up with the greens. Add some dried cranberries along with some toasted pumpkin seeds. Add some fresh gorgonzola cheese. Next, mix some mayo up with vanilla yogurt- about 1/4th of a cup each. Add a squirt of lime juice, some kosher (or sea) salt, three teaspoons of green curry paste, and some cracked black pepper. Mix.
Mix it gently together, the salad with the dressing. Voila.
(This goes well with a toasted baguette, thinly slice, flash-fried in olive oil, finished off with fresh rosemary and cracked black pepper.)
We topped off our late night feast with a fresh Au Jus pear and a blood orange.
Josh and I had tried to sleep earlier, but I was lying there thinking about food. I was going to snack on green grapes and fresh mozarella balls, but ended up making this salad on the fly instead. I can’t begin to describe how delicious it is: it’s all so juicy and fresh.
Is it really 5:27 a.m.?
Good grief. Time to hit the hay.
School is kicking my butt.