Monday, February 16, 2009

Chronicles of the Calamitous Kitchen: V- Day Weekend Special

So I've been trying to backlog and catch you up on all my cooking endeavours, but in the light of the holiday weekend, I'm going to jump ahead in time to...the present. How very magical power-like am I right?

I don't supposed anyone is surprised when I tell you Erik and I got each other food for V-day. For me, fried pickles. For him, an eclair cake. We also went to see a chick flick on Sunday. Now, I know you would normally expect my version of a chick flick to be something with an amazon butt-kicker with big guns, but I went for the more standard girl thing this time. You know, I had the green light, so I just couldn't pass it up. We saw He's Just Not That Into You. It was entertaining and cute. We both enjoyed it.

Now, back tracking a bit. Friday started with a trip to our favorite place in the world: Freddies.

There's the mini-deep fryer we bought for the pickles, complete with pickle catching thing and pickle scooping device. I also picked up a pan for the V-day pie and a sifter - because I wanted it.


Being that I'm the next Iron Chef America, we decided to dine in this V-Day weekend. So while Erik did a test run of pickle frying, I got to work on Friday's dinner: Turmeric Fried Rice and Sweet and Sour Pork.



We learned very quickly why Kitchen stadium is HUGE! I mean, look at this mess. And this was before we even got half way through cooking!


We also learned a very valuable lesson: deep fry in moderation. Here I am deep frying the pork, while Erik is still working on the pickle test run. Needless to say, by the end of the evening the whole house smelled like the inside of a french fry frying machine.



More mess. You can see Mr. Cooking Trainer there, keeping me in check. Right next to the spoons.



Please ignore the fallout zone. You see, when I do things, I do it right. I do it with flare, I do it with pizazz, and I do it with the standard bull in the china shop cliche firmly in place.


Oh, and the pickles were doing pretty good. We forgot to take a picture until...well, all but the last end of the last pickle was devoured. Opps.



And here's the final product for Friday's meal. Erik and I both agreed this is one of the best things I've made yet. It was excellent. Even with the deep frying after-aroma that permeated the pores in the paint on the walls.



Here's the nice spread. I love how the yellow in the rice brings out the sensual, happy feeling of a dinner for two.....Right. Bright yellow rice is cool.



So I had to feed the monsters, who were now pretty hungry. Who wouldn't be after smelling all that fine cuisine? Since the camera was out, I figured I'd share what I deal with every night. This is Sausage, and that would be the horrid noise she makes - constantly - while I'm filling the food bowl. Yes, it sounds just as annoying as it looks.



She can even blink at the flash, and still keep going.



Sausage Bear is most displeased with the delay in her dinner.


So Saturday morning started great. We had to go back to Freddies. Why? Because I forgot half the stuff I needed for the cake. WTF, you ask? Yeah, I'm right there with you.
Anyway, Erik stayed upstairs while I made surprise happy eclair cake. What I really don't understand about my cooking experience thus far is my insistence on doing something wrong - even though I know something has to be wrong - the first time. So I'm making the frosting (from scratch, go me! Corn syrup is very sticky.) and I get to the part where I need to add the baker's chocolate squares. I look at the squares, look at the bowl, look at my mixer. Now, I'm fairly certain my $25 hand mixer is not going to liquefy the chocolate I can't even cut with a knife. So what do I do? I put them in anyway and try to blend them. Sigh. Satisfied that I was right - after doing it wrong anyway - I dumped the bowl and started over. And melted the chocolate first.


The results were much better.

I finished the cake and chucked it in the fridge, as per directions. It needed to chill for about 10 hours. We spent the rest of the day doing what is pretty standard business for us. Playing video games, goofing around, etc.
Then it was time for dinner and more fried pickles! Yay!


Here they are, in all their glory! Yum, yum, yum - even if they weren't perfect. We think two things were amiss - first, the pickles seemed to be too seasoned. We want to try a different brand next time. And second, the batter mix came pre-seasoned. We're going to make it from scratch when we try this again. And we will try this again. And again, and again, and again...


For dinner, I stretched my limitations. How in the hell people cook four different things and have them all hot on the table at the same time is beyond me. I did okay. V-day dinner: steak, cheesy potato goodness, lemon and herb asparagus, and hollindaise sauce.
Above you can see my prepped asparagi - heh, like fungi? get it? - and the cheese and back for the potatoes.



My potato masterpiece. Bacon, cheese, potatoes, onions, white wine, salt and pepper.
YUM.


And here's the full spread. The hollandaise was sub par, only because I cooked it too long to try and keep it warm. Also, the steak was meh - the afterthought of the meal. I was so excited about my side dishes, that the steak just wasn't my prime directive. All and all, I think the potatoes made up for it.


Another shot of my mad plating skills.



And here's a picture of my ghetto fabulous cake. Now, it tasted pretty good, but man. This thing looks a hot mess, don't you think?

Guppy Cooking Tip #11: When you deep fry, shut your bedroom door, least you smell like fried goodness in the morning.

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