Saturday, March 2, 2013

So I used a pressure cooker. Congrats to me

Hey, look I'm not even going to get into how long it's been so just pretend like nothing is amiss.
Anyways, this Christmas I got a pressure cooker / slow cooker / steamer from my mom.
It's not that I didn't want it, but I didn't want to disappoint her because I have a hair blanching, skin ripping, wall climbing fear of pressure cookers. Also a little bit afraid of the house burning down capacity of a slow cooker, but that was less of an issue.

So I read the manual, and searched the internet, and did a Facebook and Twitter poll. There's this really fantastic blog called Recipe Rifle manned by the charming and honest Esther Walker that I love to read when the firewall at work lets me (and you should too, so the link is up there). And I thought, if she were in my shoes and had an irrational fear of pressure cookers (which I don't know if she does or doesn't) would she do it? Yes, and then write about how fucking terrified she was. And so that's what I'm doing here right now.
I did it.
and I was fucking terrified.
and we all lived.
and it was good.

I started with the idea that I would do a lamb ragout. Lamb shoulder with garlic and onions and tomatoes and mushrooms. Nothing too finicky, nothing too adventurous. And so I got to this point.

And then I realized I actually have to put food in this machine and turn it on. Paralysis.
You see, you have to understand where the fear comes from. I got another pressure cooker many years ago as a gift and the instruction manual for that one had death and dismemberment warnings in it.

I'm going to let that one sink in for a bit.


And then I lost the manual and of course never used the bastard. Oh actually I used it once, but it was so terrifying and traumatic that I've blocked the memory of it almost entirely.

So, after I put my big boy pants on, the food went in and I waited.

Don't be fooled, that's a zoom in. If you think I was getting that close to it for any length of time, you're sorely mistaken.
I think at one point Harlie went within 6 feet of it and I barked at her to get out of the kitchen. But I DID risk life and limb to rescue the iPad that I had left next to it.

And after 35 hand wringing, stomach churning minutes, it was over. I poked at it with a wooden spoon for a bit and then we had food.
It was a little more watery than I wanted, but no one died so essentially it was a success. We served it over tagliatelle and pretended that I wasn't a total maniac for being afraid.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Shameless plug, oh and hello again

Hello there, my name is Candace, maybe you don’t remember me, we met once, on the interwebs. I used to write this here blog...

Beh, sorry guys, I’ve been overwhelmed.

You see there was this

And then this became that

And then that started doing this all the time.

She’s the best, she REALLY is. And every day is a new adventure, but it takes up a lot of time and energy.

So anyways, I recently received an email about infoods. I had gone to a food bloggers event through them a while ago (this was before the great writing dearth of 2011/2012) and I was contacted again about writing a bit about their newer products. If I could have reached through the wifi waves and given a big hug I would have. This is exactly the push that I needed, and by exactly the right product. A group of products that I’ve come to rely on.

Kyle and I look at eachother all the time and ask ourselves “Do other people live like this? Do other families struggle like this?” Our week days are a blur of making dinner, preparing dinner for the next night, fighting to feed the beast dinner, and laundry (always laundry). So when I found the incuisin risottos at the grocery store, the company already had a huge soft spot in my heart and I jumped at the chance to try them. Really? Something that’s not made of 60,726 chemicals and doesn’t turn out tasting like a salt bomb? Really? It takes 5.5 minutes? Maybe I’ll take you home little buddy...

My mother tells me that when I was small my mantra was ‘Candace do it’ and I guess I never really grew out of that. So using a prepared product is a little nerve wracking... I mean... Candace DIDN’T do it. But what I found when I tried the incuisin stuff is that while it was solid enough to stand alone as a side, there was definite room to get creative. Dear sausage risottos, and buttery mashed potatoes with spinach and artisanal cheese, welcome back into my life.

And then another time I had a bunch of horrid sad broccoli and a few withering onions and one frozen piece of salmon and one frozen piece of tilapia, and a 1/4 of a bag of frozen roast potato wedges. It seems disgustingly wasteful to throw it all out, but what am I going to do with all of this? With a bag of the incuisin cauliflower puree, 2 eggs, a squeeze of lemon and a cupcake pan they became fish and vegetable croquettes. So while I’m not promoting the use of almost putrid vegetables and abandoned frozen fish, I’m just saying that having the puree already there really saved my bacon... Mmmm bacon.

So my point is, THANK YOU, thank you thank you thank you infoods for making products that are real food, are tasty on their own, but also basic enough that you CAN add your own spin to it without spending all night. Also it’s really nice to be able to even contemplate a cauliflower puree. I was THIS close

(you like my desktop? it’s Olive’s arse) to trying to develop a silencer for my food processor... Actually I’m still considering it — DON’T WAKE THE BABY!

So someday I’ll post about the molecular gastronomy kit that Kyle got me for my birthday and the one blissful afternoon that I got to play with it (ancini di pepe w/ tomato oil & balsamic pearls) but in the meantime I’ll be happily spiking my frozen tomato risotto with caramelized onions and hot Italian sausage and NOT keeling over from exhaustion. And if you get in my way in the frozen section, I’ll guiltlessly elbow you in the face. (I’m all talk, that won’t happen)

Here’s the other night’s dinner. For no reason since I never talked about it. But guess where the risotto comes from.....