Monday, May 03, 2010

These Past Few Days

You know what I love? Little drawers. Specifically, furniture with lots of little drawers.

Isn't it lovely? Sorry for the wonky photo angle.

I've always wanted a card catalog of my very own, but as you can guess, they're not very easy to come by. If you're lucky enough to find one, it is usually pretty dang expensive and I don't have the money to be buying unnecessary furniture. Therefore, when my former boss told me that she had one I could have, if I had room for it, I did not hesitate to tell her that I would FIND the room. Where there is a will, there is a way, after all.

It took a bit of creative rearranging, but I managed to squeeze this beauty into a corner of my craft room. I've already started to fill some of those amazing little drawers with various odds and ends. I don't know what it is about those drawers. Maybe it's because the idea of micro-drawers lends itself to the possibility of micro-organization - a thought that makes Miss M's OCD go positively giddy. Who knows. All I know is that I love love love this piece of furniture, and it may be my favorite thing in the house now. Furniture wise, at least.

To thank her, I made her and her significant other dinner. We had Potato Leek Pizza and Four Cheese (fresh mozzarella, Gruyère, gouda, and Parmigiano Reggiano) Pizza, followed by blackberry cobbler with homemade vanilla ice cream that I made that morning. Yum. I owe a lot to that Pioneer Woman, I'll tell you!

The night before the Full Fat Dairy Extravaganza I made the fourth recipe from Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution: Hardly Any Prep Shrimp Stir Fry.

I love these mise en place photos I've been doing, because I am a nerd.

I had a few issues with this dish. First of all, Jamie warns you to only cook the rice sticks for TWO minutes, not a second longer. Um, yeah, they were totally undercooked. Do you know how many different kinds of rice sticks there are in an Asian supermarket? Like, enough to fill an entire aisle full, and they're scattered all over the store. It probably doesn't help that I could hardly read anything on the packages beyond the words "rice sticks." We boiled some more water and tossed the noodles back in, hoping that they'd cook the rest of the way, but they just turned into a soggy, disgusting mess. Luckily I had bought two packages and they were super cheap. I think they were only $1.19 or something like that so it wasn't a huge loss.

Lesson learned - follow the package directions on stuff like that.

This was just okay for me. I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was about this that wasn't sitting right - the flavor was okay, the textures were fine, but something was off. Maybe it was the rice stick fiasco, who knows. I probably won't make this one again.

Saturday night a friend invited me to the birthday party of one of his friends. They were having their second annual Iron Chef party. Check the trophy:

Yeah, I totally ganked that photo from the event page on Facebook. Shh, don't tell.

Anyway, can I tell you it was freaking AWESOME??? I was surrounded by people who really appreciated food! Not only was it a party with nary a meatball soaking in a jelly/ketchup (gag) concoction in sight, the food there was GARNISHED. Chocolate was used in savory applications instead of just for dessert. Not only did I eat a jalapeño popper that had been dipped in dark chocolate (dubbed Chocolate Abomination), I LIKED it. I don't even like jalapeño poppers!!! I don't like any chiles at all!

I told myself that I would try everything that was entered into the contest. I'm proud to say that I did, even though there were things that I know I don't like to eat, such as salsa (which was redubbed "chutney" because the chips to go with were forgotten at home), chicken mole, ricotta cheese, raspberry sauce, and barbecue sauce. Not only did I taste all those things, I LIKED all those things! It totally was blowing my mind! I mean, I'm almost 33 years old - I have a pretty good idea about what foods I like and which ones make me gag. This just goes to show two things:

One, a good cook can find new ways of making the familiar new (and palatable). Just as a bad cook can make something you love taste horrible, someone who is good with food can take something you thought you hated and make it taste fantastic. You just have to be brave enough to try something new.

Two, never stop trying things just because you don't like them. Your tastes are constantly evolving. This is as true for my toddler as it is for me apparently. I know that growing up, I loathed avocados with a passion. They were slimy and tasted gross. Now, I can't get enough of them, in a sandwich on fresh bread with a little sprinkling of kosher salt. If my tastes could change from the time I was a child to the time I was in my twenties, surely it is still evolving.

I am so thankful to my friend (and his friend, who made the chocolate barbecue sauce to accompany this amazing lemon pork tenderloin) who invited me to this party. I seriously hope to get an invite if they do it again, and to possibly participate in the contest next time. It will definitely be a stiff competition!

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Blogger Jenn said...

The Iron Chef party sounds like so much fun!! What was the secret ingredient? Or did it not work like that?

12:36 PM  
Blogger Sarah's Fab Day said...

I'm extremely jealous of your lovely card catalog. Lucky!

7:12 PM  
Blogger Hooptee said...

LOL at the card catalog, very cool!

Chef party sounds totally amazing. Hope you got some new fun ideas. btw - I have a chocolate recipe for Salmon that is so good. Will have to post.

6:57 PM  

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