Saturday, March 5, 2016

Day 15:

Day 15:

And now for something completely different...

The kitchen can be an intimidating place. It is both an art studio, and a science lab: the difference is that your work will be judged immediately, harshly, and can literally kill someone (depending on the food you make...)

Scared yet?! Which is why I would like to reveal, my

Top 5 Biggest Accomplishments in the Kitchen in my Twenties:

5: Being able to perfectly slice an onion. (In any desirable way.)

I know it doesn't seem like much but the truth is, the onion is the key that unlocks every major savory cuisine in the world! I learned a long time ago that even people who claim to not like onions, miss the flavor when it's not there. There is something inherently delicious about that wonderful flavor and it goes in basically everything. It's very important! I slice it three different ways for my guacamole, salsa, and bean dip! 

4: The realization that booze makes every dish better and incorporating it; even in recipes that don't call for it.

This point proves itself but the right kind of alcohol can take a regular recipe and make it gourmet. Making marinara? Add Merlot. Making a pan sauce? Add beer! Whisky bean dip, Koltiska strawberry shortcake, Baileys and Oreos (just kidding!)...but seriously. It's all magical! Try it!

And speaking of that point,

3: Perfecting My Mulled Wine

If you know me at all you know my favorite time of year is the holidays. Winter is my favorite season followed closely by fall and both seasons call for spice. Mulled wine is a magical beverage that monopolizes my thoughts during the colder months. I'm proud to say that at the age 26, I completed my recipe and was confident enough to share it. This December, I even made custom labels for bottles that we shared. People love it and so do we. When you start making recipes your own, you truly start to "own" the kitchen.

Also speaking of booze (I guess these should both be subcategories.)

2: Perfecting My Pie Crust.

This process took a long time and the resulting recipe is a combination of 6 different recipes and lots of experimentation, butter and flour, a touch of shortening, and vodka. The reason being, the liquor makes the dough a workable consistency but evaporates almost entirely, making the crust flaky and tender.

And last and definitely not least,

1: The Thanksgiving Turkey.

This is a right of passage for every cook, in every home, in this country. Many people don't even attempt it! Rightfully so I might add. I have mighty shoes to fill! My Mom's Mom is an amazing cook! Her Thanksgivings are the stuff of legend! Everything she made was amazing and lots of the recipes I make are in an effort to live up to the traditions she and the rest of our family put in place. Love you, Grandma! 
*(That's why I still make four pies, even if there are only two of us: Apple, Pecan, and two Pumpkins {because the 32oz can of pumpkin makes two}).  
*[I did try and make a pumpkin pie from scratch and found its not really worth the trouble but I do like to season my own pumpkin] 

The very first year I attempted to make a Turkey, I was terrified! I'm not going to lie to you, raw poultry freaks me out! I had decided to brine it and when I was taking it out of the fridge, it slipped and raw poultry infested liquid went EVERYWHERE and I channeled my father and swore up a storm. My wife and sister still make fun of me for that outburst but I feel it's justified. As a victim of salmonella, I can tell you it's not a fun thing to risk. 
*(side note: we got salmonella from an Arby's Turkey Sandwich, not mine or anyone else's cooking. We couldn't even touch Turkey for several years. In fact, I think I made two turkeys, we took four years "off", and then I started again. I lost so much practicing time!)
I have since learned to enjoy the process and can turn out a pretty decent if not delicious bird. It's still nowhere near my Grandma's but who knows, maybe someday.

The point is, there is something that's truly amazing about preparing your own food and food for people you love! One of my favorite things we started last year was a monthly dinner party with a group of friends. It hasn't been every month but scheduling anything in this town is a nightmare! The point is, I'm proud I've used my first decade of real adulthood to do some real adulting by cooking: you should try it! I'm still learning everyday and love every minute of it!

I'll give you a hint, the secret ingredient is always a cliche: love!

Go make something!

*an interesting happenstance was that this post has been planned for a while but tonight while working at the Public, I saw for the first time our new show, "Hungry." It's a wonderful play about a family and takes place in a kitchen, the interesting thing though is they actually cook onstage! It smelled so good in there I almost couldn't handle it.


  1. You forgot one important cooking trait that you possess- patience, lots of patience! Case in point- a gingerbread theater, hours and hours in the making. Definitely a masterpiece and work of art. Homemade pie crust? That too - So happy that you didn't inherit my semi-homemade style, it wouldn't suit you at all.

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