It's been a few weeks since my last post and it all started, or rather stopped, with SFIT. As I had guessed, I was beat that Sunday. Even though I did cook a meal, I most definitely did not do it with joy. My lack of joy, and sleep, had me go to bed early and not write my usual article. We find ourselves Almost a month and several meals later. While I will mention the meals from the past, I'll probably rush past them because my memory is a bit fuzzy. Along with weeks off, I also (mostly) finished the first section of the book labeled the domestic. Rather than move onto the wild, I moved out of The 4-Hour Chef and moved into cooking from a different cookbook this weekend. Time to see if I learned anything useful in the weeks before. However, before we talk about that let's discuss the last 3 recipes I made in the book.
Sous-Vide Chicken Breast
This was made the Sunday after my long day at SFIT and I was beat. I was in a miserable mood and while I was cooking I was cursing under my breath constantly. Despite this bad attitude the meal turned out great. The two skills I was suppose to learn from this lesson were sous-vide and multi-tasking. If you have been following my cooking with joy updates thus far you'll realize I've already done quite a bit of multitasking. However, I've never cooked sous-vide style before. I probably won't do it much but I wouldn't be afraid to do it in the future if I felt there was a good reason.
This was a crazy meal to try with the kids. Not because of the scallops wrapped in prosciutto, because that was quite delicious. Right up there with the eel I made before. No, the reason this was crazy to try with the kids was that one of the skills was loving bitterness. Let's just say none of us fell for bitterness in this meal. I will say I enjoyed learning about the bitter taste a little though. i might even be able to get used to it if I ate bitter foods more often.
MLBJ - The ML stands for Meatloaf
Let's start of with the name of this silly recipe - MLBJ. Tim Ferriss writes this book a bit like an annoying frat boy and while the ML stands for meat loaf the BJ stands for blow job due to some anecdote he wanted to tell in the intro to this recipe. Anyway, just had to get that out of my head because it has annoyed me since I read the anecdote way back in November. All bad opinions about writing style aside, this is a good recipe for meatloaf. It came out well and I will probably make this or something similar in the future. This meatloaf did not come across as the usual gut busting hung o' ground beef that meat loaves can some times be. Thanks to the many mix ins and the center of goat cheese and spinach we had some wonderful flavor. With this, and many other meals over the weeks, I've been making the arugula, avocaado and roma tomato salad I made many weeks back. Its a good salad and I'm getting pretty quick at throwing it together.
Leaving the guidebook - Old recipes made new
There are a couple reasons I decided not to keep pushing my way through the recipes in the book. The first reason is, it felt like I was pushing my way through the book and my resolution is cooking with joy. Another reason is that the recipes keep teaching new things and I wanted to see if I was actually learning anything by trying other recipes. Finally, I want to start making meals and the book doesn't do a great job of pairing the foods up together by themselves. This lead me to my choice in a cookbook called Vegan Express which has pairings with each of the recipes inside of it. You may have noticed from the fact that I have made meat loaf, scallops, and chicken that I am not a vegan. It's okay! Non-vegans can eat vegan/vegetarian food and enjoy it. In fact I love the chain restaurant Veggie Delight. Anyhow, I made Golden Tofu in a peanut sauce along with an accompanying salad recommended in the book. I've made this recipe before so I knew I would enjoy it. However it was a good test to see if I could use any lessons learned.
- Wash the dishes beforehand, especially if you've got a small kitchen. I've been meaning to say this in almost all my updates. For the most enjoyment in preparing your food have a clean work space. I didn't do this tonight and I was kicking myself. Also, if you have a small kitchen you may want to wash dishes as you go.
- Don't be a stirrer. He talks about this in the book, don't stir or shake unless it is actually necessary. I got a better golden result on my tofu this way than in the past.
- Tool selection: Peltex is good for turning over soft foods like tofu. In the past I've had trouble making this recipe (which probably stemmed from stirring/shaking that had me end up with less triangle shapes and a bit more tofu crumble. The Peltex spatula did well in this roll.
- I should have made the salad the same way I make the arugula, avocado, roma tomato salad. When you toss a salad with all the parts together, the non lettuce ends up on the bottom. Better to toss each of the ingredients in the salad separately and put together a better presentation in each persons' salad bowl.
- Be prepared and split up your meal. I got a little overwhelmed multi-tasking in this meal. In the 4-Hour Chef he splits it up into prep and cooking. In no other cookbook I own does this split exist. There is definitely some work I could have done ahead of time to make my space less cramped and my cooking more relaxing. Gotta be relaxed to cook with joy.
I needs must remember to keep cooking with joy. This will keep me cooking and this will keep me writing about it. Hopefully, inspiring others. If you would like any more details on any of the recipes above please leave comments. I will do my best to get back to them. I still am enjoying cooking, even if my kids aren't enjoying eating my little experiments. Until next time, take care.