Thursday, January 01, 2009

Sometimes, "easy" is not the way to go...

While I lazed about the house in my post-New Year's Day food coma, I caught up on some blog reading that I've neglected for the last few months. This October blog post is just one of the reasons I love Michael Ruhlman. (The other reasons have to do with that episode of No Reservations, where he and Bourdain do the Hunter S. Thompson version of, the man is c-u-t-e cute. And, he can cook, which is like a double-whammy. Looks good, cooks good...probably cleans up after himself in the kitchen.  Lucky, lucky Mrs. Ruhlman.)

Anyway, the gist of his post is that he received a press release of a new cookbook, which is essentially how to take a Michelin-starred chef's cuisine and make it at home...deconstructed, demystified, and declassified. Ruhlman makes some very salient points about not demystifying great good food...and that not everybody is cut out to be a 3-star chef...or even a 1-spatula fry cook at Denny's. (Okay, that last part, about Denny's, is my own snarky take on it.)

Honestly, if we were all Iron Chefs, why should we even bother to go out and eat? Personally, there's some foods that I don't want to make at home...ranging from simple fried chicken to those damned short ribs. And, there's food that I want to eat that is better than what I can cook at home, and I'm happy to go and eat it somewhere else.

I don't want to make fried chicken, or anything else deep fried, at home, because I cannot stand the smell that lingers for days and days. And, I swear up and down that, as Julia Child as my witness, I'm never making short ribs again...they were just too much work! Although, my friend Cheryl tells me that she has a recipe for making them in a crockpot that I might give it another whirl. (Or, I'm moving in with her parents, because her dad makes the most amazing short ribs in a cast iron Dutch oven...)

Don't want to make sushi, either.  I love sushi...have even taken a couple of sushi classes.  Went out and bought a little mat to cover in plastic wrap to help roll and shape the sushi, got a wooden paddle for the rice, got the rice wine vinegar, and the coolest thing--a sushi press--which looks like a little wooden box, but actually allows you to layer and press sushi into
 something that halfway resembles something you might get at a sushi bar...or the grocery store "gourmet sushi" cooler.  (Yeah, yeah, I know it's for beginners, etc., but I thought it made some nice pretty rolls.)

The first time I made sushi at home was pretty much the last time.  After I kept finding tobikko (flying fish eggs) for the next 3 weeks in my tiny apartment kitchen, I decided that some things are best left to the experts.  (But they're pretty, aren't they?)  Plus, the availability and suspectibility of the fish I had available in the local markets was another deciding factor.  

I'm not an amazing cook...I'm not bad at it, and I've managed to pull off some pretty outstanding dishes, but I'm nowhere remotely in the same airspace of people like Ruhlman, or even the flat top cook at Waffle House--you remember how much I stressed out about making an omelet in Pantry Class, don't you?  And, I don't want to be...too much pressure to perform.  Plus, I'd have no excuse to dine out, now would I?  (And, you people would have nothing to read.)

Happy New Year to all, and best wishes for a safe and prosperous 2009.  I think I'm going to have another piece of Red Velvet Cake to celebrate. : )

1 comment:

J said...

Well said! So when you read recipes, what is your ingredient or technique threshold? Mine is a candy thermometer. If that is mentioned, I'm turning the page!