Monday, July 12, 2010

Things I learned this weekend!

I was a bachelor this weekend, Nana took a trip to Rhode Island and joined up with our Daughter-in-law and her posse and they all went to Cape Cod for a Melissa Etheridge concert. 

So Saturday I had made a plan to go to the Brooklyn Flea Market to check it out but the TV weatherman was reporting thunderstorms in New Jersey were moving in and flash flooding warnings were posted. So I figured I'd stay in and avoid getting wet.  PS we had a 20 minute shower around 6 p.m.

After collecting some new recipes from the Internet and putting them into Mastercook, I decided to clean the kitchen.  I started by scrubbing a grill pan that didn't get a good cleaning last week.  I heated up some water and baking soda in it and it boiled over making a mess on the stove top.  So once the pan was clean I cleaned the stove top.  Then I started on the counter top, put all the utensils and their crocks into the dishwasher and scrubbed the counter top and the stainless steel back splash.  A few hours later I was done and made dinner.  After dinner I unloaded the dishwasher and put everything back together the way it should be and made a plan to wash the floor in the morning.

Today, I decided to try out the new Beer Can Chicken Roaster I got via UPS on Thursday.  I'd make a nice roast chicken for Nana's return home dinner.  So off to the store I go, returning with a bounty of food and a plan to spend the afternoon cooking.  I started by brining the chicken with Herbes de Provence added to the salted & sugared brine.

Then I started to make Ragu Bolognese from a Mario Batali recipe. I had printed it out but hadn't made the adjustment for smaller quantity so I was dickering with the calculations in my head.  I rarely measure out olive oil but decided I'd better make a perfect mis en place so I didn't need to continuously recalculate the measurements as I was cooking.  I put the needed 1/4 cup of olive oil in a small prep bowl and set it onto the cutting board.  Just as I was putting the last two items for my mis en place in their containers I bumped the little bowl of olive oil and it spilled onto the counter.  Since my bamboo cutting board sits on feet, the olive oil ran under it.  

So here's what I learned: always resize the recipe before printing; don't bother measuring out olive oil, since I'm a klutz and will probably spill it; and the kitchen counter is not level as the oil ran down the entire length of the counter towards the sink.  Once it was spread out it looked like a lot more than 1/4 cup!!

I debated about cleaning it up, which would now require removing all the mis en place to another location.  I decided to blot up only the section of counter nearest the stove, (possible fire danger) and start cooking, and once all the mis en place was used, and the sauce simmering then I could clean up the mess!

Eventually, I was able to get this accomplished and moved onto making a big batch of Ratatouille; a Summer Squash & Buttermilk Soup to be eaten cold tomorrow night; and the Roasted Chicken we enjoyed for dinner.  I filled the container with red wine and a fresh bouquet garni of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme.  Along with the chicken I roasted onions, potatoes and baby carrots.  With a salad of Spring Mix Greens and thin slices of Ciabatta toasted we had a very satisfying meal!

And the other thing I learned, I probably shouldn't deep clean the kitchen the day before I'm cooking four meals for the week!


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