Friday Five: cooking!
Courtesy of Heather, here's the latest round of the Friday Five.
- What was the first thing you ever cooked?
I made a lot of ramen noodles in high school. I'm afraid that actually counts.
- What's your signature dish?
When guests come over, it's my slow-roasted pork tenderloin recipe. I make it for guests because it's easy, the spice combination is really intriguing, and it's virtually foolproof. It's a recipe from Jacques Pepin, whose style of cooking I just adore.
- Ever had a cooking disaster?
More than I can count. Oh, my goodness. What a horrible question to ask. Let's just take the most RECENT one, shall we? I tried to do a very simple breaded-cutlets recipe. For the fat, it required me to render some pancetta. It's a really good idea and would give a lot of flavor…that is, if I had trusted my instincts, which said "medium-high" was too high of a temperature for sautéeing the pancetta. I ended up with burned spots on the pan, which just got worse and worse as I cooked the cutlets, and I ended up having to scrub out the pan and just make up some thoroughly awful sauce from scratch. Left the kitchen smoky, too. Wasn't one of my shining moments.
(Postscript: I'm a dork. I can't believe I forgot the worst disaster of them all. See my next entry for pictures of the event.)
- If skill and money were no object, what would make for your dream meal?
Actually, money doesn't come into it. The time of year, however, does. I've spent the past three years building up a very solidly-stocked kitchen. I don't own every gadget and whizbang in the world, but the ones I do own are professional-grade or near it. I'm to the point that with a few more things added in, I can do virtually any dish I could ever want to do. So, for me, the wish is for summertime. Here in the South, in the summer, you can get corn and tomatoes that are so fresh that they may literally have been picked hours ago—and they are wonderful. Sunlight and good soil can do more for those ingredients than any chef ever could. I spend the rest of the year wishing for the bounty of summer.
- What are you doing this weekend?
Tonight, dinner for seven; I'm making my chicken stew. We got our tax refund in, so we're going to order computer parts for our big computer upgrade, which means that I need to go through my files, make backups, and prepare for a big, nasty old transition. I'm probably going to tiptoe off to see In The Bedroom, but I don't know that anyone will go with me. Other than that, I think I'll start another book. I just finished Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, but I don't know what I want to read next.