Sunday, March 31, 2013

Cobb Salad

Sometimes I channel my inner TGI Fridays, and crave a Cobb salad. Luckily for me, so does my wife.  Truthfully, it’s a bit of a production, but if done in order, you and your special someone can be sitting down to this

in about 30 minutes.    Left to right, hard boiled eggs, bacon, blue cheese, avocado, tomato, chicken and chopped romaine on the bottom.  Here are some tips for a speedy assemblage of these guys.  First, have maybe some leftover chicken in the fridge, you know from the “Roast Chicken” (remember to say that with an English accent),  crisp your bacon on a plate between paper towels for 3 minutes, and WHATEVER you do ! Start the eggs first.

Full proof method of hard boiling eggs.  Notice how perfect they are in the photo.  Place eggs in saucepan and cover with cold water, turn on high. Look at the clock. Tell yourself in ten minutes to turn heat off.  Then do it. Wait another ten minutes. Remove eggs.

Let’s recap. Ten minutes in water while the heat is on, ten minutes heat off.   Perfection every time.  So during that twenty minutes, assemble the other ingredients. 

Or, you can do what I did a couple months ago.

Assemble all the ingredients, THEN realize I forgot the eggs!!!! (Insert drama music here)

So now I’m facing a delay of another 25 minutes until lunch is ready, while my better half’s blood sugar is hovering just north of her toenails.  Just then, I look to my shoulder to find what appears to be a startling miniature image of myself in chef whites, except this version of me has a tail, a couple horns on his head, and he’s holding a pitchfork.  Weird. 

“Dude,” this mini Tim says to me, “use the microwave.” He says this while pointing with his pitchfork.

My first thought was, where did he get that mini chef coat?  My second thought was I had never cooked an egg in the microwave. “I can’t do that.”

“Dude, sure you can! It cooks everything faster”

“Who are you talking to, honey?”  asks my beautiful bride from upstairs, “Is lunch ready yet? I’m starving. “

I look back to my little friend as he’s mouthing the words “honey I’m starving” while nodding his head towards the microwave.  I grab two eggs, place them in a shallow pool of water in a pyrex pan, cover, place into the microwave, set it for 3 minutes, then on high.

I’m fourteen years old.  I’m in the woods with my brother in law, holding his double barrel Winchester shotgun.  I never shot one before.  We all have plenty of firsts in life, and I’m pretty sure most of us remember the first time we pulled a trigger of a shotgun. This gun had two triggers, two barrels.
“Now, just point at the tree there, and slowly pull the trigger.


How does one describe a deafening explosion without all caps and upgrade of font size? That boom was a product of me pulling both triggers and that boom knocked me on my ass and I hadn’t heard such a boom again until sometime just less than three minutes after I pressed the start button on the microwave.

The microwave jumped about four inches to the right. It nearly came off the shelf.  It had steam leaking from the lower right corner, and I knew, I had done something terribly wrong.  I opened the door to find the lid off the Pyrex,  one egg intact, and the ceiling of the microwave covered in faint yellow debris.  If you could spray eggs, like from an aerosol can, that's what it looked like.

Needless to say, that Cobb salad was egg-less.  So remember sports fans, always start your eggs first, and if a miniature self appears on your shoulders, don't listen to it.


Roast Chicken

So here’s another thing that bothers me (since I can seemingly be bothered by any number of things), Roast Chicken.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good roast Chicken, its just that every time I open a cookbook or read an interview with a famous chef there will be this exchange:
Do you ever cook at home? 
And what do you most like to cook at home?
To which the chef in his most affected Prince Charles accent,
“A roast chicken”
Now, maybe my grumpy meter is red lining right now because of Miami’s performance the other night.  Really? 16 points in the first half? 24 percent shooting?  I’m not sure which bothers me more, the loss or the inability of chefs to cook anything other than a Roast Chicken at home. (Last time I type Roast Chicken)
We had a guest last night and Sharon suggested I cook, you guessed it, and after throwing back a couple of these, 


I did what everybody else does and slapped a picture of this on Facebook bragging that I will show the world how to cook the perfect you know what.


 That’s the star of the show there in the foreground, surrounded by russet potatoes, Kale, and Cauliflower.  I don’t normally use Russet’s for whipped potatoes, but the Yukon’s were giving off a weird vibe at the store. Really. I’m not saying food speaks to me in the same manner, say my daughter does, but I often chat with my bread dough.
Anyway, here’s my secret to good R______ C______. First, turn the oven to 450 and get it hot!   Rub the bird thoroughly with olive oil and then ( and this is the most important thing) season it liberally with your salt of choice.  Now, if you are one of those people who are averse to salt, then kindly hit the back button there at the top left of this page and go back to whatever diet planet you came from because I cannot help you.  Take your pepper grinder and do the same. I mean season it, don’t leave with it.
Cut 2 lemons in quarters.  Stuff the lemons and 6 healthy springs of rosemary (which you undoubtedly clipped from a bush just outside your kitchen, and if you didn’t, then plant one tomorrow. I don't care what your house looks like if you have a rosemary bush outside then you have a cool house) into the cavity of the bird.
That’s it!   Put that bad boy into your hot oven and cook it at the high temp for 30 minutes.  It should be nice and brown.  Then, drop the temperature to 350 and cook it another 35-45 minutes, depending on the size of the bird.  Remember, the last part of the bird to cook will be the inner thigh, so to be sure its done, simply take knife and prick the flesh at this point and see if the juice runs clear.  If it is, you’re done, if its pinkish, cook it a little more.

Should look something like this

Transfer the bird to a platter and set it in a warm spot.  At some point during the last hour or so, it would have been nice if you had chopped a half an onion and pasted 3 or 4 cloves of garlic.  You'll need that now for the Kale.  Now, look down into your roasting pan, notice those juices, start clapping your hands, nodding your head several times, and let go of a "Yeeeeaaah Boy!" because your staring at gold and your family needs to get excited about this meal, AND they need to understand you are in complete command of the kitchen right now.

Toss the onions and garlic in the juices for a minute, then add your chopped kale.  Season lightly (the juices are pretty seasoned,  and cook until the kale wilts.  Done. Serve with Whipped Potatoes ( do I really need to tell you how? Okay, hint, warm your butter and/or milk product before you add to the potatoes), roasted cauliflower, yeast biscuits.  Recipes for which (if you can call it that) another time.