Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Day to Myself

So it's been a long time since I've posted. There are several reasons for this:

1) I've been busy (yeah yeah, everyone's busy)
2) I've been going to a ton of new restaurants (so why don't you write about them??)
3) I've been traveling a lot (don't you have a laptop?? duh!)

I feel like I've been on the go for months and months. I finally realized last week that I really need some time to myself. I'm usually the type of person who doesn't like saying no to things. I don't like missing out! Do you want to try this new restaurant? Sure! Wanna go to a sporting event? Uh, YEAH! Are you interested in going to this concert? OMG, I love them! So I decided to say no to everything this weekend and just give myself some time to just BE.

As far as relaxing, I've failed. I did so many things! About half of those things are related to food!

I woke up in the morning after having slept for 5 hours because I need to make the rub for my pork ribs. I used Thomas Keller's recipe for dry rubbed pork spareribs in his book, Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home. Super easy - just mix the rub ingredients (light brown sugar, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, allspice, garlic powder and pepper flakes) and rub it onto pork ribs - place on a parchment lined baking sheet, wrap it and place it in the fridge. Then wait...for 2-6 hrs. Time to do something else!

I went to the local farmer's market to get some fresh produce this morning. There was so much wonderful food there that I wanted to buy everything. Thank goodness I only brought one reusable grocery bag. I figured I can only allow myself to buy what I can place in the bag. Even then, it's surprising how much one can stuff into a bag.

Check out the booty from the farmer's market! =D (Clockwise from left: pomegranate, spearmint seedling, dill seedling, thyme seedling, onions, radishes, lemon quark, fresh brown eggs, brussel sprouts, assorted bell peppers)

I wanted to do a simple afternoon tea at home (with NCAA football games in the background). While I was at the farmer's market, I found quark! =D Quark is a german "cheese" that's more like a curd. It's almost all protein, so it's pretty good for you. Cheesemakers make quark in different flavors. I love lemon quark and felt like it would be the best complement for the scones I planned on having for tea. I was right! They were perfect for scones, especially considering the fig and balsamic jam was very sweet. It balanced the jam out very nicely.

Oh yeah, I also made fig and balsamic jam. I found a recipe in Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home!

Combine coarsely chopped black mission figs, sugar, balsamic vinegar and a sachet of black peppercorns in a pot. Simmer it on the stove until it reaches 215F. When it's at temp, cut the heat and add lemon to taste. Fill your container with the jam and place it in the fridge. I took out some for my scones. Fresh jam, lemon quark and blueberry scones - DROOL!!!

I started the charcoal grill with hardwood briquettes. I like the flavor that it imparts on my food. For any random grill meal, I would probably use the propane grill, because it makes my life easier - it's cleaner and I get my grill going about 10 minutes faster. Today is MY day, so I decided to go with the charcoal grill. Now... umm... I have to admit that I am not a great griller. In short, I overcarmelized (burned) my ribs when I did my initial sear on the meaty side. I guess the temperature of the briquettes was too high and I kept it on for a touch too long. It was very disheartening, but I continued to the indirect cooking step anyway. I found that if I peel off the burned portion of the spare ribs (super easy cuz the ribs are very soft and tender), it is REALLY delectable! It was soft, tender, juicy and flavorful. I got a taste of what it should taste like because the other side was not burnt and the glaze was lip-smackingly good! Slightly sweet and with a tiny bit of heat to finish. No pictures... cuz... it wasn't pretty on the outside, but it was delicious on the inside! ^_^

Since dinner is basically a giant piece of pig, I felt like some veggies are in order to balance out the meat. I made Thomas Keller's Butter Braised Radishes with Brussel Sprouts and Kohlrabi - you guessed it, Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home! I can't find kohlrabi anywhere, so I just omitted that from the recipe. It was dearly missed though. Blanche the halved brussel sprouts in salted water. In a separate pan, baste the radishes in a butter and chicken stock mixture, then combine with the brussel sprouts. I just tried not to cringe when I basted my veggies in butter. It tasted fantastic, but it just seems so wrong to take these healthy, fresh veggies and adulterate it with butter...but ohhh butter! Honestly, I think I enjoyed the brussel sprouts more than the radishes. I just like the flavor of brussel sprouts more. I find radishes are a bit blah. The texture of the veggies were firm, yet tender. I think Thomas Keller describes it as crisp tender. Blanching veggies is one of my favorite ways of cooking, because it cooks the veggies through and maintains flavor and a beautiful color.

I also interspersed lots of other things in while cooking and eating. Maybe one of these days I'll take it easy. For now, it's just nice to stay at home and do the simple things in life that make me happy - cooking and eating. =D

Now if only my team won tonight...GAH!!!


  1. if this is what u do just for yourself, wow what lucky person are you going to cook for next...please say ME! :)))

  2. You're making reallyy good use of that cookbook! I can't wait to come over. LOL.