I’m starting my explorations in contemporary cuisine this New Year’s Eve. My husband’s palette contains primary colors only dominated by carbohydrates and meat. Even his yellow is a little “iffy.” He is in fact an excellent, careful grill cook who makes ordinary things very good just with his good preparation and careful timing. I am pretty much dragging him along, however.
How easy to anticipate that potatoes are his very favorite thing on the planet to eat. He’s an Irishman. Pass the F*&^in’ Spuds can be heard any evening at the Castle Leslie riding lodge in County Monaghan if there’s an authentic Irishman in the dining room after the sun sets on the water jumps and the horses are relieved of their tack. Horses and cows do well on the grasses in Ireland which led to my choice of butter for the spuds. Michael says he’ll eat a potato in any form whatsoever and so far that has proven true. This should pass muster.
F*&^in’ Spuds are in the fashion of Robuchon. I am using Idaho fingerling potatoes and Irish butter rather than their French counterparts. I could have ordered the butter online but the shipping cost stopped me. For a home kitchen it’s hard to use the butter quickly enough to get several pounds in a shipment, which would reduce the shipping vig.
One thing one encounters (or at least I do) as a home cook is, well, you know, no staff, though Michael I have decided will be pressed into service. I’m working off the principle that being invested will open his mind and senses. So tonight’s menu at codiyioti 2Roofs contains three forms of food. Contemporary cuisine, mass quantity prepared food, and folk food. The entire menu is: Pine Meatloaf, F*&^in‘ Spuds, and Corporate Steamed Green Beans in MassQSauce. He will be placed in charge of the Corporate Steamed Green Beans in MassQSauce and the centerpiece to consist of pine needles and pine cones that seem to perpetually litter my neighbor’s lawn.
The meatloaf is ground chuck, pine nuts, and shallot with a ketchup plop on top. The potatoes are explained, the green beans are a steamer bag I think from Green Giant.
My philosophy is that for the home cook or perhaps less adequate kitchens than our Michelin Men/Women all is fair media if one is true to the philosophy and makes decisions with purpose and intent.
The meatloaf is being made in a crockpot. The statement in the previous paragraph is an issue I’ve fought with, within myself for decades. I didn’t own a crockpot when they were first around nor for the three decades after that. One day I became mature enough to buy a crockpot because of what it does and to ignore the imagery and some of the awful recipes that can be connected with it. In fact, I look toward sous vide as an expansion of my change of heart. When I read about sous vide, in particular among contemporary techniques, it just went CLICK! Today I have no sous vide cooker but my goal for today is experimenting with the potatoes. Only Nouvelle, yes. Only “impressionism.“ Not Picasso, not Banksy, but in the relationship between me the home cook and my finicky diner, a good choice as a starting point. Also, the aggravating degree of detail to make them is good for “warming up my chops” (in the musical sense).
I’ve acquired a food mill, sieve and gram scale and ingredients that make sense to me. I didn’t buy the traditional scraper for puree of the potatoes. I bought a huge wall-board taping knife at Home Depot instead. I like the way the top of the blade curves in toward the handle so it won’t be hard to maneuver it in some tight spaces I anticipate.
The crockpot has been put on the high setting though large chunks of dead animals are typically cooked on low in my crockpot. I can’t wait to explore even lower temperature cooking with sous vide, but I do want to read the Myhrvold microbiology stuff first. Given this is chopped meat in the crockpot, the high setting will be used to somewhat reduce the steaming of the meat (without pressure) that typically is part of the cooking process. There’s no liquid in the pot just some olive oil on the bottom with a meat loaf “ball” containing rice, the pine nuts, and shallot sitting directly on the bottom. I have added no leafy or ground spices except what might be in the ketchup. I find this less approach is less confusing, like the difference between salted and unsalted butter or a Rothko color field painting and a Charles Russell illustration The familiar ketchup will help my husband “orient” to the meatloaf. I thought about concocting something more confusing, more illustrative, but left it at the ketchup as an anchor for him. I have some concern about the high setting and the meat in direct contact with the ceramic liner, but we’ll see. I’m also curious to see what the juices do with themselves and/or the bottom layer of the ground beef.
Charles Russell, is shown. One of the three most prominent American artists who depicted the "cowboy and Indian" cultures of the West, he was raised in St. Louis, Missouri and moved to Montana, leaving a prominent family for an earthy life in the Big Sky Country. The feel of his artwork falls somewhere between illustration and impressionism.
Edited by codiyioti, 31 December 2011 - 01:11 PM.