Sunday, May 2, 2010

Cooking and confessing

I've had a wonderful week of cooking.  I made these chocolate chip cookies- about 6 dozen or so of them Saturday afternoon.  High school-age son just snagged a bag of them to take to share with his AP US History study group that is meeting today.  I will take some as a thank you gift for one of my students.  He made baguettes this week and brought me two of them.
They were délicieux!  It was not easy for me to share this with my eaters, but I did.  Okay, only one of them.  The other one was all mine and went to school with me with some cheese for my lunch.  Instant sandwich au fromage.
The same family also gave me their share of seafood from Walking Fish CSF, a community supported fishery.  I picked up two live softshell crabs and about a dozen clams at Duke Gardens.  I asked advice from Salamanzar, my favorite wine guru from Wine Authorities, on how to prepare the crabs.  Cut off their heads, remove the gills and cook them up.  I ended up giving them to him, actually.  I didn't have time to prepare them and I couldn't stand the thought of them going to waste.  I was sure that the family who gave them to me would approve since they love WA, too.
I knew that I could quickly prepare the clams.  I cooked palourdes for the first time in Arles and have wanted to make this dish since I got home (already 16 months ago).
I had a bag of spinach from Brinkley Farms that I got at the Durham Farmers' Market.  I sauteed the spinach in olive oil, removed it from the pan and put it in my tian, an earthenware dish that I brought back from Arles after my sabbatical.  It made the trip home in my carry-on bag so it wouldn't get broken!  Then I put some water and white wine in the pan and added the clams.  I covered them and waited to hear the sound of them popping open.  I added a little fresh nutmeg to the spinach and stirred it up before adding the clams.  The un-ex and I just ate it straight from the tian.
Saturday morning, I made the nutella brownies from my previous post.  Really good when you need a chocolate fix.
Today I heated up my cast iron grill that fits over the gas burners on my stove.  Señor brought his to school the other day to use with his cooking club and we discussed the merits and ease of this wonderful truc.  I wanted to get a head start on dinner and I grilled some chicken breasts with a few herbes de Provence sprinkled on them.

While the grill was still hot, I decided to cook some sausages.  Not just any old grocery store sausages either.  These came from "Pork Knox" at Wine Authorities.  We tasted the Giacomo Garlic Spinach Chicken sausages last week with Italian wines at WA's Saturday tasting.  By the time the BFF and I got there, they'd already sold out.  40 pounds in about that many minutes... all gone.  We didn't miss out this week when another shipment came in.
Très bon for lunch today.
I kept at it and decided to caramelize some onions before they needed to be thrown out.  That would be a sin (and not a cute one, faithful readers).  I pulled out my stainless steel pan, heated up some olive oil and tossed in the sliced onions.  I snipped a few sprigs of thyme from my back deck herb garden and just let them brown nicely.  I added in some mushrooms that I had sauteed earlier in the week and then put the mixture into a pastry shell and baked it at 400F for about 20 minutes.
Voilà!  My second course.

But before I finish this post, I must confess to last night's adventure in eating.  The BFF's husband, Daddy-O (he is a musician in his spare time, having played with the Castaways back in the '70's and '80's and now with The Fabulous Hot Dog Daddy-Os), will celebrate his birthday soon so she gave him tickets to a concert at Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary to hear Dave Mason and Cheap Trick.  The un-ex and I got to tag along.

The BFF was trying to snap photos with my little camera when some guy took it from her and headed up into the VIP section and got this picture.  It was a great concert!
After it was over, we were all starving.  Other than bake brownies and cookies, I had not done much cooking.  So, at 11:00 pm when you are really hungry, what do you do?  We found the closest Waffle House and Erica, our waitress, took care of us.
Two eggs over easy, grits, bacon and wheat toast.  Daddy-O was the only one to order a waffle.  But he shared.

Bon appétit et bon (almost) anniversaire, Daddy-O!

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