Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Summmer Cooking in Review

And now a break from baby blogging:

Despite a busy and HOT summer, Mr. Right and I managed to do some cooking. Some of these meals were real accomplishments, worthy of a post here in the blog. A lot of them were driven by Mr. Right's food passions. Here goes:

Baked beans -- Mr Right brought home a recipe he found on the internet to make the beans. Curious, I scanned it and was annoyed that the recipe for homemade baked beans involved TWO CANS OF FACTORY MADE BAKED BEANS. WHAT??? We dug up another recipe to use instead, and found the secret to making really good beans is to accidentally bake them for three hours longer than the recipe says.

For father's day, the kids and I gave Mr. Right a bbq smoker. Mr. Right made ribs and tenderloin on his first try. In keeping with Mr. Right's generous personality, when the recipe called for a few pieces of wood to put in the smoker for flavor, he used 3 different entire packages of wood. So the meat was definitely smoky, but very tasty.

Beer can chicken -- This was fun for Mr. Right to try. He even bought a little contraption that keeps the whole thing upright. As always, beer can chicken is super yummy. And amusing to discuss.

Fried Chicken -- During a hard week at work for Mr. Right, I emailed him during his workday, "Want to make friend chicken for the first time tonight?" And you know you have a husband who likes to cook when he is just as excited to make it as he is to eat it. Our first try was pretty successful as we followed the recipe to the letter. Second try was less successful as we were being more experimental, and we didn't let the oil get hot enough. But both times it was very fun and very delicious. Next time we do this, we're going to brine the chicken in buttermilk and salt. And use the crisco and not the cooking oil..

Pasta -- I insisted that we do this over the summer as we have been talking about making pasta at home for years now. And you read about how incredibly easy it is. All of this was true. The recipe we followed was much more extravagant than is really necessary as it used a DOZEN eggs, but as I mentioned above, Mr. Right is of a generous nature and wanted to try the fancy recipe. The noodles were delicious, and it was fun to make.

Canned pickles -- I can't claim I made these but rather I learned at the feet of a master: my amazing mother-in-law. She showed me how to make bread and butter pickles using cucumbers grown in her own backyard. And did I mention she did it all with her arm in a sling from a broken elbow? She is incredible. And these are some good pickles, spicy and sweet, and they are so beautiful in their jars.

Ice cream with lumps -- I've made ice cream before (and blogged about it here), but this was my first time using the Ben & Jerry's cookbook as well as trying to use flavorings. We made a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough flavor and it came out great. My only caveat is that it is a lot more work making this than regular ice cream, as you are basically making ice cream AND a recipe for cookies at the same time. But it thrilled my stepdaughter to get to make it, and she helped so it wasn't too much work.

And after all these lovely gourmet moments, we also have the evenings like last Monday, where you mix a can of creamed soup with pasta and chicken and serve. I made it for Mr. Right, and he is the happiest man in the world because he loves that type of thing just as well as the gourmet treats. All good.

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