Friday, May 31, 2013

Farmer's Market Inspiration

I love the Farmer's Market in Memphis.  The sights, the sounds, the pet adoptions, the food trucks, the flowers, the colors, the people, the music.  It's awesome.  It's a little pricey, but that's part of knowing where your food comes from.  And if you look hard enough, you will find the best deals.  On this particular day I found 5 oz. of goat cheese for $6, comparable to my grocery store goat cheese prices, yet locally made, so WAY more fresh!  So I scooped it up and I made the best sandwich ever with it.

Here's What You Need:
Thinly sliced chicken cutlets (4 for 2 sandwiches)
2 eggs
Salt & Pepper
Pesto (any kind will work, I used Basil in this sandwich)
Goat Cheese
Ciabatta Bread

Here's What You Do:
Season your chicken with salt and pepper.  Break and beat your eggs in a bowl, and place flour and breadcrumbs in two separate bowls.  Take your chicken and lightly coat it in flour, then eggwash, then into the breadcrumbs.  In a hot, hot pan on medium high heat, cook your chicken until done, about 3 minutes each side, depending on the thickness of the chicken.  Just make sure it's done so you don't kill yourself.

While the chicken cooks, mix the goat cheese with the basil pesto and add salt and pepper to taste.  Toast your ciabatta bread in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes.  Spread the pesto/goat cheese spread on both sides of the bread, top with chicken and go to town. 

And while your at it, check out your town's local farmer's market. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Patience is Important

 Smashed potatoes

Patience is very important.  In all aspects of life.

I don't have any.  But I AM learning, that if you want to make and serve good food to people, you MUST learn patience in the kitchen.  Patience will make you a better cook.  It can save your life too. 

When I first learned how to cook, I would burn things, under-cook things, put too many ingredients in a dish, or not enough.  And I started to realize that all of this was due to my lack of patience.  I wanted to eat.  And I wanted to eat now.  It didn't matter that I spent $20 on a filet Mignon.  I wanted to cook that baby up, and dive into it.  I didn't want to let it get to room temperature before throwing it on a grill.  I DEFINITELY wasn't going to wait for the charcoal to be ready.  No way!  I was going to throw my steak on the grill, flames flying skyward...Hell, I'd stand there with a spray bottle and just spray the shit out of my steak until it was basically steamed on the grill...all gray and nasty looking.  And never in a million years was I going to let my steak rest before cutting into it.  Are you crazy?  I didn't buy steak to pamper it.  I bought it to tear into it like a caveman.  But these are the things you must do to create good food.  You have to treat your food with respect and be patient enough to give it time to cook in its most perfect cooking technique.

My best dishes are dishes that I forget about.  The ones that I remember after I'm all snuggled up on the couch.  The ones that make me jump up...curse...and run toward the kitchen, as if I just left a baby in the bathtub (thank God I have no kids).  I kid you not, those are my best dishes.  So maybe patience, and negligence is what the best food needs!  I kid...I've set kitchens on fire before.  It's terrifying.  Don't forget about the food you cook.  But do give it its necessary love to allow it to become the best tasting thing you've ever had.  Because that's foods' job.  I know, I know...there's that survival thing...but REALLY food just wants to make you happy.  It wants you to rave about how awesome it is.

Above is a picture of some smashed potatoes I made with no patience.  Had I allowed them to boil longer before baking them, they would have been perfect.  But they were still demolished.

Here's What You Do:  
Take as many new potatoes as you like and boil them in salted water until they are fork tender (I didn't have the patience for this part).  After draining the water, place your potatoes on a greased baking sheet and smash them down with your hand, the back of a pan, whatever works.  Drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake at 425 for about 15 minutes, turning them as they brown, until they are as brown and crunchy as you like.  I obviously like mine to be super crunchy.  When they are finished, sprinkle fresh parsley over them and mix them around so that the heat brings out the aroma of the parsley.