The Devils are in the kitchen making mischief! The Devils in this case are Scott and Liz…and every so often a special guest chef! (we use the term ‘chef’ liberally). The Devils wanted to take a stab at expending our knowledge and you now get to be a part of the mischief making! Each week we will attempt to prepare a menu of items we have never made before, using equipment we never used before (or equipment we would never have thought of using in the kitchen)…all in an attempt to provide you with a world of comic relief! There will be commentary on everything…from food to politics, reviews of our favorite cookbooks to our favorite restaurants and maybe even some gossip! But mostly it will be just about The Devils in the kitchen…because mainly we just like the attention.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Week 2: September 11th, 2008

Week 2.

Roasted Chicken
Pommes Anna
Steamed Asapargus
Lime Chiffon Pie

Scott: We punished ourselves this week! Total cooking time was about 24 hours! Not really, but it was 3 hours of cooking before we finally ate. As Liz referenced in last weeks post, I do not particularly like working with raw meat...especially whole chickens. What's fun about that? So Liz worked on the roasted chicken following a 20 page recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. And I am not kidding....the reciped was long! I decided to tackle the Pommes Anna.

Wikipedia gives the following description of Pommes Anna: a classic French dish of sliced, layered potatoes cooked in a very large amount of melted butter. BTW, they actually make a special pan for cooking Pommes Anna. It is expensive! It is made in France! No, I did not buy one!

It is true....lots of butter and lots of labor! You have to clarify the butter before you use it which takes a bit of time. Then you have to peel and slice 5 lbs of potatoes (8 cups)! This was my first time using a mandoline and thank God for it. My arm is still sore from slicing all those potatoes with the mandoline, but it saved me from the horrifying prospect of slicing them all by hand! More importantly, it saved the bloodshed that was bound to occur! In the end, the Pommes Anna turned out to be fantastic and well worth the effort.

I also got to try out my new All-Clad Asparagus Steamer this week! And the snack for this week was Magin Hat beer. Snacks can be liquid, right?

My lesson learned from this week: don't touch anything hot with your bare hands. Added to the shopping list is lots of additional oven mitts!

You might be asking about the Lime Chiffon Pie right about now....and I will leave it to Liz to tell you about that! This was also our first week with guests and they even provided some commentary below. AJ and Laura were our taste-testers for the week and the both provided hours of entertainment and heated discussion. Our table talk was all about politics and there was not even a single bodily injury in this discussion. Perhaps next time we should choose to talk about some gossip!

Liz: Mmmm. The pie. So the picture of the pie in the cookbook was true cookbook porn. One of those things that you just have to try because it's so pretty. Not only that, we really like pie. And limes. So Scott started on the crust (crushed up ginger snaps and butter) while I made the filling. We also like ginger snaps, so we highly recommend the crust. Now if you try making this yourself, you will realize that like most citrus fillings, zesting and juicing the limes is the hard part. Once you're through that though, it's pretty simple. You heat the egg yolks, and the sugar, and the lime juice, and you stir it. Slowly. Now after a few minutes of this, there will be a completely amazing smell coming from the pan, and it will have taken on a kind of velvety consistency. At this point it will occur to you that there are probably things you could do with it that would be a lot more fun than pouring it into a pie crust. But Scott and I don't have that kind of relationship, so I went ahead and beat up the egg whites. The filling cools a little bit, and then you fold in the egg whites. Now THIS is the point where when you tell someone who knows what they are doing in the kitchen about it, later, they will look at you with great suspicion and say "How did you fold in the egg whites??!". Folding has always been a bit opaque to me, and in this instance it resulted in a somewhat lumpy, faintly still eggy, mess. See? I told you to stop with the lime custard. Anyway, we persisted, and poured the custard-folded egg white slightly ominous filling into the ginger crust, and then into the fridge it went. Some hours, and a little time in the freezer later, we ate it. It wasn't bad, but it didn't compare to scraping the filling out of the pan with broken up ginger snaps... or...whatever.

Notes from the Peanut Gallery (Laura)- Musings of an innocent bystander: Upon arriving on the scene of what appears to be several kitchen crimes, I was quickly directed to the beer in the fridge. We'll see if it's a one, two, or three beer night... potatoes are sizzlin', chicken is brownin', and the key lime pie that was promised is apparently being held in an undisclosed location...but I see some VERY promising remnants of key lime bliss... Most importantly, the chefs are happy and the mess is, at this point, still manageable. There does appear to be a lot of recipe ad-libbing - it's apparently a well known kitchen secret that a couple shots of whiskey can substitute for port wine. Just overheard: "hmmmm...whiskey doesn't taste much like port, does it?" I'm hungry and on the edge of my seat!

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