Welcome Gentle Readers

This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What's Cooking Thursday through Sunday

Why so many days, you ask? I got a bit ambitious last week. I think it's due to nervousness over the appointments this week. Or I'm just crazy with boredom. There is a limit to how many court reality shows one can watch in a given week. I've finally reached mine. Whatever the reason, I had a bit of a cooking frenzy last week, but I'm still a bit slow in my execution of a dish, especially when it's a new one. I made a few new dishes, so the time span for executing them was even longer than usual. My cooking of late has been market driven. I've been deciding what I'll make based on what is on sale in the circulars we receive on Tuesdays or in-store specials. Thus, my goal for Friday's meatless dinner was the elusive Fish Soup Provencal. There was a sale on lobster tails at one of the nearby markets. At less than $4 per tail, I couldn't pass them up. I have a great seafood stock recipe that involves shellfish shells. I had some shrimp in the freezer from a previous sale. It seemed like destiny. On a side note, I finally learned to cook shrimp and lobster tails without overcooking them. I roast them without the shells in a hot oven. I coat them with a little olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. For some reason, I get it right with that method. When I boil or steam shell fish, I can't seem to not make them rubbery and overcooked.

Now, keeping in mind that I'm still slow and tire easily, I also brought home a nice piece of Alaskan cod as a back up for dinner(on sale as well). That was prudent. We ended up having homemade filet o'fish sandwiches with a side of fries Friday night. I finished the soup on Saturday. The fish sandwiches were very good. The soup was quite yummy. It wasn't the toe curling goodness I sampled at the Food Fare last week, but it was quite yummy. I didn't have the moxy or energy to whip up some aioli or rouille that typically garnishes this soup. That will have to wait for another, far more ambitious day. Besides, I like to make sure that I can execute the recipe so well that it stands out on its own. Then, I can make the clever garnish or sauce that goes with it. However, my soup was not unadorned. I made these amazing, healthy and decadent croutons to go with it and my side salad. Healthy and decadent, you say. How can that be? It can be when it's Deep Fried Eggplant Croutons. This bit of brilliance is courtesy of Food Network chef Aaron McCargo Jr – also a denizen of the Delaware Valley. I threw a twist on his recipe by also using zucchinis with the eggplant. It is very tasty in the soup and salad or on it's own when you're warming up the soup and get the munchies.

The other big thing on sale this week was pork shoulder. I bought two large roasts this time (it was under $1 a pound). I made the slow roasted pulled pork again, but I tried something completely daring with the other one. I actually made Scrapple from a recipe that was featured on Diners Drive-ins and Dives. Instead of pork scraps, the cook made hers with slow cooked pork shoulder chopped fine and mixed with stock from the cooking, corn meal and fresh sage. And it actually worked! The texture was denser and less fragile than the brand we were buying out here. And the flavor was really good. I got tickled when I was loading the mixture into the loaf pans. The texture reminded me of a dense corn muffin batter. I considered glopping some into a muffin pan and making meat muffins for Anthony Bourdain. He'd appreciate that.

More on the Year of Fun activities and the latest on the film and TV projects later today or late tonight.

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