Sunday, January 31, 2016

Cookers, Lookers, and Eaters

My eaters (and their cooker) at Son #2's high school graduation, 2011

The Ex-Ex says there are two kinds of people:  cookers and eaters.  I wrote about this once upon a time.   Actually, when I went to the blog and searched, several blog posts popped up.  A recurring theme, I guess.  However, I am now officially adding one more category-- lookers.  I fit into all three categories.  I love to cook, I love to look, and I love to eat.

Cooking...This past week I cooked up a couple of good things.  One was chicken legs.  I found some really nice fat ones at the store and then found a great recipe for cooking them in the oven. Unfortunately, no photos.  I also made a new variation on chili.  The Ex-Ex said it was my best.  Go me!  He used the very last of it to make nachos one night and was quite proud of himself.  Yep, that's the extent of his cooking.  I did send the chicken legs recipe to Son #2 who is starting to do some cooking.  (I even gave him my Crock Pot at Christmas, along with some recipes.)

Looking.... in shop windows and wandering around through the open air markets in France is probably my favorite past time.  Even if I don't or can't buy anything, I love to look, smell, and take photos of all the deliciousness that is offered up.

Want to go along with me?

Paul at Charles de Gaulle airport

I have never seen pain aux raisins called an Escargot aux raisins.  It does kind of look like a snail, now that you mention it.

Colorful meringues in a Paris shop window

Now, why didn't I come up with this idea?  Mini-cupcakes sold in a mini-shop (really nothing more than a doorway).

Oops.  This one belongs in eating, too.  Stay tuned.  Back to looking.

Another cupcake shop

A MOF shop (Meilleur Ouvrier de France-- the Olympics of baking-- see Kings of Pastry)

Last January, I found myself wandering around at a market near the Bastille.

Lots of goodness to look at.  If I had been staying in an apartment with a kitchen...

I wasn't the only one looking and smelling!

And last but not least, eating...
The best things I ate during the month of January in no particular order-

The charcuterie plate at The Boot here in Durham

A gougère filled with confit de canard at Rue Cler also here in Durham

Pavé de boeuf, assez saignant, s'il vous plaît, monsieur (I like my steak rare) at Le Select in Paris

The croque-madame at Le Bonaparte in Saint Germain des Prés, Paris

Corsican charcuterie and fromage in a little café near Notre Dame

Foie gras at the hotel restaurant where I stayed courtesy of ACIS, Marriott Paris Rive Gauche

A mini-cupcake from the mini-shop pictured above

And an afternoon break for a café crème and macarons at Un dimanche à Paris

January was a good month for cooking, looking, and eating, mes amis.

Maybe these two recipes will be used again next Sunday for Super Bowl L...

Steve's Favorite Chili

(you can double or triple this recipe to feed your crowd of eaters)

1 pound lean ground beef, browned and drained
1 15-ounce can of petite diced tomatoes, do not drain
3 15-ounce cans of Bush Chili Beans (black, white or kidney), do not drain
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Brown the ground beef and drain.  Add the tomatoes, their liquid, and one empty can of water and spices.  Bring to a boil.  Taste and adjust spices, if necessary.  Lower the heat to simmer.  Add the beans and their liquid.  Add more water using the empty bean cans, if necessary.  Simmer for 45 minutes or an hour.  Stir occasionally and check to make sure there is enough liquid.  Add more water, if needed.
You could also sauté onions with the ground beef and/or add minced garlic instead of garlic salt.  The Ex-Ex is not a big fan of "hot tomatoes" as he calls them, so that's why I only use one can of petite diced tomatoes.  Add more, if you wish.

Oven-baked Chicken Legs
from 101 Cooking for Two

These chicken legs are really, really good.  On a few of them I decided to add barbecue sauce, but I didn't like them nearly as much as just the seasoned ones.  I mixed up his suggested blend in Step 3 and sprinkled it on both sides quite generously.  I did put them on a rack on top of a baking sheet lined with foil.  (Easy clean up!!)  I put the thicker part of the drumstick to the outside of the pan, as he suggested on his website.  I baked them exactly 35 minutes.

This is about as easy as a recipe can get. Just pat dry the drumsticks, spice and cook in a high oven. Then you will have crispy goodness for the family.
Recipe type: Grill, chicken
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6 drumsticks
  • 5-6 Chicken drumsticks (about 1½ lbs)
  • 7:2:1 or 7:2:2 seasoning (or kosher salt and pepper)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 convection. Pat dry the drumsticks with paper towels. (See about rinsing chicken)
  2. Trim of any extra skin and any loose joint pieces.
  3. Spice to taste. A light sprinkling of my 7:2:1 seasoning is great. If you don’t have that, mix 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and optionally ½ teaspoon garlic powder (granulated preferred) and ¼ teaspoon Cayenne (skip for little ones). This makes more than you need. Keep for next time.
  4. Placed on a prepared cooking pan with the thicker part of the drumstick to the outside. I usually line with aluminum foil to help cleanup. A rack elevates the chicken to help all sides cook evenly. You can do it without the rack but better with. Of course, a heavy spray of PAM on the rack or foil.
  5. Cook to 185 plus internal temp. DO NOT STOP SHORT of 185. About 35 minutes in my oven. Let set for 10 minutes before serving. They are way too hot to eat right away and will be better after a rest.

Bon appétit to all-- cookers, lookers, and eaters!

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