We have less than 2 weeks to go until the wedding, but instead of freaking out or feeling exhausted, I am suddenly in the mood to try lots of new recipes. Maybe it's the fact that fall is coming, maybe it's that Nico is treating his sleep apnea and his happier, more-awake attitude is catching. Maybe it's the zoloft, or the fact that I read Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential recently and it's inspired me. Maybe it's that now I'm reading Amster-Burton's Hungry Monkey, or maybe it's just an avoidance tactic for dealing with the real stress of the wedding. I'm not sure. Whatever it is, it sure tastes good.
This morning I sous vide'd a couple eggs for breakfast. Basically it's poached eggs, but instead of dropping the egg directly into the water you make a little package of it inside some buttered and seasoned plastic wrap. It works! The poached egg comes out perfectly. There's a great tutorial on Chow.com . But be sure you're using the microwave-safe plastic wrap. Don't ask me how I know.
And it turns out I love poached eggs. I've never had them before. I've never had any eggs where the yolk isn't thoroughly cooked. Uncooked yolk has always seemed kind of queasy to me; I even order my omelets well-done. So I'm very surprised that the runny yolk in a poached egg is, in fact, not bad. It's even, dare I say, good - mopped up with some buttered toast. Next stop: eggs over-easy.
On Friday I made boeuf bourguignon. Boeuf bourguignon! But I didn't make Julia Child's version, which is for the advanced class. Instead I made the easier, simpler but still Frenchy-French version that the NY Times covered here. I see that now the actual recipe calls for you to log in/register with the NY Times. If you want me to email you the recipe, I could do that. It's a good recipe. It takes a long time but it isn't overly fussy. When it calls for the stew to simmer for a couple of hours I transferred it into the crockpot, which was preheated on high. It simmered nicely and I was able to leave it alone and go do other things without worrying. And the stew itself was amazing. I've never had boeuf bourguignon before but with the first bite I immediately recognized it as the beef stew that I've been trying to make for years without ever quite succeeding. Fan-freaking-tastic.
I mentioned that I've been reading Amster-Burton's book Hungry Monkey. It's a sort of food memoir (with some recipes) about a man trying to feed his little daughter things that he and his wife might actually enjoy. I checked it out from the library based on the NY Times book review, and because I thought it might give me some ideas for things that aren't too hard to make and that Nico and I could both agree on. Nico's tastes are certainly more sophisticated than those of a toddler, but when it comes to spicy foods and vegetables he is definitely the picky one in the relationship. The book is a nice light read and the two recipes I've tried so far have been utterly successful. The Thai Shrimp Curry (p. 228) is infinitely repeatable and works even better with some chopped potatoes or squash and some frozen broccoli and cauliflower thrown in. I can tell it's going to become one of our winter-time staples. The Stacked Green Enchiladas (p. 55) were a novelty what with the stacking and broiling, and the tomatillo sauce was surprisingly excellent. In fact it makes me want to try growing tomatillos next year, since the quality available at the local supermarket leaves something to be desired. I'm also looking forward to trying out the recipes for pad thai sauce, duck ragu, larb gai, roasted parsnips, broiled teriyaki mackerel, thai salad dressing, Cornish pasties and potstickers. Whew!
Even Nico's been stretching his cooking muscles by making Irish sausage rolls with a mushroom sauce. This was also his first exposure to working with puff pastry dough and store-bought bread crumbs. It turned out pretty good, and he's going to do a repeat of it tomorrow. No complaints here.